RICHMOND (WHSV) -- Thanks to new grant provided through Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund, nearly 1,3339 acres connected to Civil War history will be protected in Virginia.
The grants were awarded by the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) to three organizations that aim to preserve the lands: the Capital Region Land Conservancy, the Civil War Trust, and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
These groups will use the new grants to preserve land connected with the battles of Chancellorsville, Fisher’s Hill, Malvern Hill, and the Wilderness.
---PRESERVING MALVERN HILL---
The Capital Region Land Conservancy will receive $400,000 toward preservation of 923 acres situated mostly in eastern Henrico County, as well as 27 acres in western Charles City County, associated with the Battle of Malvern Hill, fought on July 1, 1862. It was the last of the Seven Days Battles of the Union army’s Peninsula Campaign and ended in a defeat for the Confederates, although it prompted Union Gen. George B. McClellan to terminate the campaign.
---PRESERVING CHANCELLORSVILLE AND THE WILDERNESS---
The Civil War Trust will receive $200,000 toward preserving more than 353 acres in Spotsylvania County that encompass core and study areas affiliated with two battles, Chancellorsville and the Wilderness.
Military historians consider the Battle Chancellorsville, fought April 30 to May 6, 1863, to be Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s greatest victory. It is also where Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was mortally wounded by friendly fire.
The Battle of the Wilderness, waged May 5-7, 1864, was the first battle fought between Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Lee, and opened Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign against Lee and his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. It essentially ended in a bloody stalemate for the two sides..
---PRESERVING FISHER'S HILL---
DHR also will award $192,000 to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation to assist in the purchase of a little more than 62 acres constituting the core and study areas of the Fisher’s Hill battlefield in Shenandoah County. Waged between September 21 and 22, 1864, the Battle of Fisher’s Hill resulted in a Union victory that effectively drove Confederate forces out of the Shenandoah Valley, giving control of the region to the Union.
---HOW THE GRANTS WORK---
Each organization has to match the funding awarded by the state in order to purchase their respective battlefield acreage. he state grants require that an easement on the lands acquired be donated to DHR’s Virginia Board of Historic Resources for perpetual preservation and stewardship in partnership with the respective organizations.
---HOW THE GRANTS WERE AWARDED---
The three awards are the result of a rigorous evaluation process conducted by DHR, which received 16 applications from seven organizations seeking funds to save Virginia battlefield lands. In all, the funds requested totaled more than $2.9 million, far more than the $792,000 DHR had available to award and distribute from this year’s battlefield preservation fund.
“The award of these funds demonstrates the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to the preservation of significant historic battlefield properties as well as the perpetual protection of open space for the benefit of future generations of residents and visitors,” explained Julie Langan, Director of DHR.
---WHY GIVE THESE GRANTS?---
Civil War heritage tourism plays a large role in Virginia’s economy. A 2015 economic impact study requested by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission showed that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War brought more than 3.7 million people and $290 million to Virginia, where roughly a third of all war’s major battles were fought.
In addition to supporting heritage tourism, the preservation of battlefield lands also serves many conservation and recreational goals. Preserved battlefield acreage protects wetlands, timberlands, wildlife habitats, and farm lands still in use. Many of the open-space sites offer places for recreation near to growing urban areas.
---A SUMMARY OF THE BATTLES FOR WHICH LAND HAS BEEN PRESERVED---