Emerging Civil War is pleased to assist preservation efforts and share the following message and call to action from President Jim Lighthizer from American Battlefield Trust about an important piece of congressional legislation.
My name is Jim Lighthizer — and it is my privilege to serve as president of the American Battlefield Trust, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today.
Since the founding of the Trust’s first predecessor organization — the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites — in the summer of 1987, we have successfully saved more than 50,000 acres of American battlefield land in 24 states.
But we have not reached this milestone alone.
Preservation is a partnership — and our success is rooted in working together with partners at all levels of government and individuals from across the country and around the world who share our passion for American history.
Suffice it to say: I would be hard-pressed to name a group of people more passionate about that history than the men and women of the Civil War Round Table community.
And, now more than ever, the Trust needs your help.
Earlier this year, Congressman Jody Hice of Georgia introduced H.R. 6108, the Preserving America’s Battlefields Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program — a successful, dollar-for-dollar, federal matching-grants program that promotes the preservation of battlefields from the Civil War, Revolutionary War and War of 1812.
The grants provided by this program, competitively awarded by the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program, encourage state and private-sector investment in battlefield preservation. It is impossible to overstate here just how essential these grants have been, and remain, to the success of the Trust’s mission.
The battlefields saved as a result of the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants Program are among the most famous in American history, including Antietam, Md.; Appomattox and Fredericksburg, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Chickamauga, Ga.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Princeton, N.J.; and Shiloh, Tenn.
Currently, the program is authorized at $10 million per year; the Preserving America’s Battlefields Act would double that amount to $20 million annually. This figure includes up to $2 million a year for the restoration and interpretation of high-priority battlefield sites, helping to transform these battlegrounds into genuine heritage-tourism destinations.
You’ll find a copy of the bill here with space at the top for supporters to be able to print and personally sign on as citizen cosponsors. I and all of us at the Trust would be grateful if you could circulate this attachment in turn to the members of your Civil War Round Table or other historical groups, then collect the signed copies and send these back to the Trust in a single batch for us to utilize in our ongoing advocacy effort to ensure the successful passage of this legislation.
Thank you for your consideration as well as your support — and we look forward to hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact Paul Coussan of my staff with any questions regarding this effort via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 202-367-1861, ext. 7218.