Battlefield Preservation
 
Little Round Top

To those who love history and our shared heritage, there exists no more crucial work than the preservation of the past. When you gaze out over Seminary Ridge, Little Round Top, Culp's Hill, Cemetery Hill, McPherson's Ridge, the Wheat Field, The Angle, Copse of Trees, and so many other sections of the Gettysburg Battlefield, you benefit from the efforts of those who came before you to save these precious grounds. Seeing the open fields, the craggy heights, the boulder strewn rises, and the remains of earthworks and lunettes, realization creeps in of just what occurred here. Similar insights arise from walking the Sunken Road or Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, following the route of Jackson's flank march at Chancellorsville, standing at the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania, Snodgrass Hill at Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga Tennessee, and so many other sacred battlegrounds.

Walking the grounds of any battlefield, you begin to understand what men did and how they did it. You notice the terrain, obstacles, sheltering swales, distance, field of vision, and so may other aspects that cannot be truly seen through pictures and descriptions. Once you walk the fields and understand what occurred, the question of why naturally follows. Answer this question and you begin to know our country grew, changed, and became what it is today. You also see what farmers, carpenters, lawyers, cadets, mill workers, professors, students, firemen, and other ordinary people can accomplish when they come together to answer duty's call.

The 149th PennsylvaniaIf you have walked the grounds of these fields or have enjoyed what you have seen at this web site, you can thank in part the outstanding efforts of organizations such as The Civil War Preservation Trust and The National Trust for Historic Preservation among many, many others. Preservation organizations hold as their goals the conservation of historic battlefields, sites, and structures, the preservation of the monuments, and the education of the public. Their tireless efforts have helped to preserve these sacred fields for current and future generations so that we all may understand the sacrifices made by the men and women of years past. But their work continues with portions of many battlefields still at risk. Please click here to visit preservation sites including those focusing on Antietam, Central Virginia, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Manassas among others.

Individuals can contribute to the effort as well. Most Battlefield Visitor Centers have boxes for donations. Perhaps you believe that your dollar will accomplish nothing. But if each of the millions of people who visit Battlefields each year would contribute just one dollar, millions more would be available for preservation. In part to encourage visitors, many of the fields that asked minimal fees, 3 to 5 dollars, now ask for nothing. So please, when you visit, give as generously as you can. Those who visit today and in the years to come will say as I do...

Thank you