WASHINGTON: The National Park Service has awarded close to $1 million in grants for easements and land acquisition at three endangered Civil War battlefields: Richmond Battlefield, Ky.; Franklin Battlefield, Tenn.; and Bentonville Battlefield, N.C.
“Americans have a duty to protect these scenes of combat. We must honor the memories of those who fought and teach people about the Civil War and its pivotal role in our nation’s history,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “These grants from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund will help state and local governments commemorate fallen soldiers and offer place-based education on par with that provided by the National Park Service.”
Madison County, Ky., received $29,500 to buy the Moody Tract of the Richmond Battlefield. Confederate forces won the Battle of Richmond, fought on August 29 and 30, 1862.
November 1864, however, saw significant Confederate losses at Franklin, Tenn. This engagement, launched by Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, contributed to the failure of Hood’s military efforts in Tennessee. The city of Franklin received a grant of $492,000 to acquire land at the Franklin Battlefield.
The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources received grants to acquire two segments of the Bentonville Battlefield: $306,000 for the Nell Howell Tract and $150,000 for the Joyce Britt-Halliwell Tract. At Bentonville, Confederate forces led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston waged an attack on the left column of Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s army, which was making its way north to combine with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s forces. According to the national historic landmark documentation for the battlefield, the defeat of Confederate forces at Bentonville rang “the Confederacy’s death knell, for it fatally weakened their last mobile field army.”
State and local governments received a total of $977,500 from the National Park Service. Priority was given to battlefields listed in the National Park Service’s Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields. Funds are awarded based on the significance of the land to be acquired and the availability of required non-federal matching.Congress appropriated $9 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help non-federal entities acquire and preserve Civil War battlefields (Fiscal Year 2010 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Public Law 111-88). State and local governments, or qualified non-profit historic preservation organizations acting through an agency of state or local government, can submit proposals, which are accepted year-round and reviewed monthly or quarterly, depending on the degree of priority of the battlefield in question.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is just one of the programs through which the National Park Service helps communities in nearly all of America’s 3,141 counties. To learn more, please visit http://www.nps.gov/communities.