Today, the National Park Service announced the award of 32 grants totaling $1,367,144 to assist in the preservation and protection of America’s significant battlefield lands. With an increase in funding this year, the grant program was able to support a dozen more projects than in 2007—projects that will help preserve more than 100 battlefields nationwide.
“These grants help safeguard and preserve American battlefield lands,” said Mary A. Bomar, Director of the National Park Service. “It is important to protect these lands as symbols of individual sacrifice and national heritage for present and future generations.”
This year’s grants provide funding for projects at endangered battlefields from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Second Seminole War, Civil War, World War II and various Indian Wars. Awards were given to projects in 24 states or territories entailing archeology, mapping, cultural resource survey work, documentation, planning, education and interpretation.
Winning projects include underwater archeology at the Revolutionary War Battle of Valcour Island in Vermont; documentation of the Revolutionary War battlefield of Snow's Island in South Carolina; an archeological assessment of the War of 1812 River Raisin Battlefield in Michigan; a survey of Montana’s Indian battlefields; two different mapping projects that will determine precise boundaries for more than 40 Civil War battlefields in 13 states; a preservation plan for the Tebbs Bend Civil War battlefield in Kentucky; mapping the World War II Battle of Midway in the South Pacific; and a cultural landscape survey of the World War II Kiska Battlefield in Alaska.
Priority was given to those groups submitting applications for nationally significant battlefields. The majority of awards were given to battlefields listed as Priority I or II sites in the National Park Service’s Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields and the Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.
These grants are administered by the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP). Federal, state, local, and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible to apply for these battlefield grants each year. ABPP promotes the preservation of significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. More information about ABPP is available at http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp. Brief descriptions of each grant project follow.
Year 2008 Grants and Funding Amounts:
- Arlington County, Virginia $60,000
Building on the work of a previous ABPP grant, a preservation and management plan will be developed for Arlington’s Fort Ethan Allen. Several of the “Circle Forts” built to defend the Nation’s capital during the Civil War were located in Arlington. This plan will also address a more unified plan for interpretive opportunities for all of these forts, including forts CF Smith, Scott, Barnard, and Bennett.
- Civil War Preservation Trust (13 states) $95,000
This project will provide detailed GIS mapping data for 30 Civil War battlefields identified by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission as among the most significant and most endangered. This data will help identify parcels that are currently unprotected and clarify priorities for land protection.
- Civil War Preservation Trust (Virginia) $50,000
An interpretive plan will be developed for the Mine Run Battlefield—site of the first major offensive of the Union Army of the Potomac after the Gettysburg Campaign. The interpretive plan will explore options for trails and signs that convey the story of this important site while at the same time protecting the battlefield resources. Suggestions will be gathered for the battlefield’s interpretation during several public meetings.
- Francis Marion University (South Carolina) $43,440
General Francis Marion’s victory at Black Mingo not only provided his colonial troops with artillery and horses, but also fostered greater support for the Revolutionary cause in South Carolina. This project will identify and document the battlefield using land grant research, genealogy, pension accounts, and limited archeology.
- Frontier Heritage Alliance (Montana) $55,800
O’Fallen Creek Battlefield is the little-known site of a conflict between the Sioux and the U.S. military, who were protecting railroad surveyors on the unceded hunting lands of the Sioux. Sitting Bull’s announcement during the battle that the Sioux would kill those trespassing on their land was considered a declaration of war by the U.S. government, and as such, eventually led to the Battle at Little Big Horn. This project will document and map the battlefield using army, civilian, railroad, and Indian accounts in the form of archival materials and oral histories.
- Great Lakes Historical Society (Ohio) $18,000
The 1813 Battle of Lake Erie swung the tide of the fighting on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812 in favor of the United States. This project will define the boundaries of the battlefield through an underwater archeological survey of the naval engagement. The condition of any remaining resources will also be assessed.
- Gulf Archaeology Research Institute (Florida) $36,140
In the 1830s, Fort Dade was a critical supply depot and hospital for the Wahoo Swamp Battlefield during the Second Seminole War, a conflict between the U.S. Army and Florida’s Indians. The fort’s footprint and features will be determined through archeology, and a National Register of Historic Places nomination will be prepared.
- Heidelberg College (Michigan) $28,674
On January 22,1813, British and Indian forces attacked the Americans at Frenchtown along the River Raisin in what was one of the worst American defeats of the War of 1812. The massacre of prisoners and wounded soldiers after the surrender inspired the rallying cry "Remember River Raisin." Building on the work ofa previous ABPP grant, an archeological assessment will be conducted on areas recently documented as important areas of the battlefield. Recommendations will be made to address threats to the battlefield, and the findings of this project will be presented at public meetings.
- James City County, Virginia $55,224
This project will clarify the boundaries of the Revolutionary War battlefields of Spencer’s Ordinary and Green Spring. These engagements werea precursor to the final conflict at Yorktown, in which the patriot forces were tested, and gained both confidence and experience. Mapping information produced with this grant will be integrated with local planning and zoning information, to identify parcels to purchase and further protect.
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (Vermont) $36,608
Valcour Bay was the site of the Revolutionary War naval battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in Clinton County, New York. Although the American forces lost nearly their entire fleet, the damage inflicted on the Britishstrategically delayed any invasion until the American forces grew stronger. The Museum has conducted extensive underwater archeology at this battlefield site through a previous ABPP grant, and will create a brochure that details the best practices of working with volunteer underwater archeologists.
- Montana Preservation Alliance (Montana) $59,750
This statewide project will identify and assess 25 to 40 battlefields associated with various Indian Wars in Montana. Some of these battlefields are well-known; others are not and are at higher risk because of the lackof their documentation. The battlefields include virtually unknown sites of intertribal battles that hold tremendous historic and cultural significance. Threats to these battlefields will be identified and strategies for their preservation will be recommended.
- Montpelier Foundation (Virginia) $35,090
Building on the work of a previous ABPP grant, an archeological survey will be conducted of Confederate General Samuel McGowan’s winter encampment at Montpelier. Troops deployed from this area into the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, and the site was occupied throughout the winters of 1863 and 1864.
- National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office $62,028
A cultural landscape survey will be conducted for the World War II battlefield of Kiska. For nearly 14 months, Japanese forces occupied Kiska and several other remote islands off the Alaskan mainland. Following the Aleutian Campaign and scores of attacks from U.S. Army and Navy squadrons, Kiska was recaptured just after the Japanese forces evacuated.
- Ohio Historic Preservation Office $45,000
The state historic preservation office will update inventory and survey data for nine Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields in Ohio. This project will build upon surveys conducted for the ABPP in 2002.
- Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (Midway) $60,400
The U.S. victory at the Battle of Midway ended Japan's seemingly unstoppable advance across the Pacific during World War II. A GIS database will be developed to synthesize information on the archeological, architectural, and submerged resources of the battlefield. The battlefield’s land and sea boundaries will be delineated and recommendations will be made for updating National Register and National Historic Landmark documentation.
- Peleliu War Historical Society, Inc. (Palau) $12,650
Peleliu was the longest and one of the most hard-fought battles of the Central Pacific amphibious operations of World War II. Although the island's Japanese defenders lost the battle, they held out for 74 days and inflicted heavy losses on American Marine and Army forces. Building on the work of a previous ABPP grant, GPS data will be collected for the preparation of GIS-generated maps.
- Princeton Battlefield Area Preservation Society, Inc. (New Jersey)$30,534
This project will create a GIS database and maps of the Revolutionary War Battle of Princeton. The boundaries will include troop movements and delineate the entire battlefield area, not just the smaller portion of the battlefield that is a state park. The Battle of Princeton was General George Washington’s first victory in the field against the British regulars.
- Purdue University (Indiana) $41,957
The Scott-Wilkinson campaign of 1791 was an attempt by the U.S. to consolidate its territorial control after the Revolutionary War. Anarcheological investigation will be conducted in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, at sites related to this military campaign.
- Research Foundation of State University of New York at Binghamton $53,286
During the Clinton and Sullivan Campaign of the Revolutionary War the Continental Army destroyed the villages of the Iroquois Indians who sided with the British. Newtown was the only major battle of the campaign, and resulted in a significant defeat of the Iroquois and British forces. This project will draw on research including American Indian and British perspectives to develop a GIS database and map of the battlefield, and are search design for future preservation planning.
- Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation (West Virginia) $23,020
Camp Elkwater was the site of a decisive Union victory in September of 1861, when General Robert E. Lee’s troops attacked after a failed assault at nearby Cheat Mountain. This project includes preparation of a nomination for the National Register of Historic Places for Camp Elkwater, as well asa concept plan for its interpretation.
- Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (Virginia) $43,518
The Civil War battlefields in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley exemplify the military achievements and decisive campaigns of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and General Philip Sheridan. This project will convert historic Civil War era maps of 11 of these battlefields into GIS/GPSmapping technology and match them to modern spatial data to assist in future planning efforts.
- State Historical Society of North Dakota $26,843
The fiercest clash between the U.S. military and Indian tribes in North Dakota took place September 3, 1863, at Whitestone Hill. An archeological study and National Register of Historic Places nomination will be prepared for this battlefield.
- Sullivan County Government (Tennessee) $16,822
The Civil War Battle of Blountville was the initial step in the Union’s attempt to force the Confederates from East Tennessee. The project will develop a comprehensive assessment of the battlefield including a National Register nomination, GIS map, and preservation goals.
- Tebbs Bend Battlefield Association (Kentucky) $36,112
A preservation plan will be developed for the Tebbs Bend Battlefield. The Civil War Battle of Tebbs Bend was the first major engagement of Confederate General John Morgan’s Great Raid, a push into the northern Midwestern states intended to capture supplies and erode support for the Union war effort.
- Trust for Public Land (Tennessee) $41,120
During the Campaign for Chattanooga, the city witnessed several key battles for control of this vital Civil War transportation hub. This project will convert six historic maps of the Chattanooga area battlefields into GIS data, for integration into Hamilton County’s GIS specific parcel data to identify possible areas for future preservation.
- Unison Preservation Society (Virginia) $34,660
After the Confederate defeat at Antietam, Major General J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry attacked the Army of the Potomac at Unison—a successful attempt to delay the Union troops and screen the retreat of the larger Confederate forces. As a result, the Confederates were able to regroup, and Unison became the final loss for Union Major General George McClellan. Following up on the work of a previous ABPP grant, a National Register of Historic Places nomination will be prepared for the Unison Battlefield.
- University of South Carolina Research Foundation $28,348
After the first shots of the Civil War in Charleston, there was a protracted struggle at the entrance to the Charleston Harbor from late 1861 to the fall of the city in early 1865. This project will locate the underwater archeological resources related to the Union and Confederate naval operations in Charleston Harbor, and develop a GIS database of this information.
- University of South Carolina Research Foundation $48,445
Numerous Civil War fortifications constructed for the defense of the Charleston to Savannah Railroad in three counties in South Carolina were involved in two significant battles and many skirmishes during the war. The forts will be documented through historical research and GPS data, for the preparation of GIS-generated maps, state site forms, and a historical context statement for a potential multiple property nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
- University of South Carolina Research Foundation $39,366
Snow’s Island was the campsite of Brigadier General Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, and his troops, from which they conducted numerous raids on British outposts during the Revolutionary War. The British attacked and destroyed the campsite in March 1780. Historical research and limited archeology will be conducted to determine the boundaries for this battlefield, and a revised National Historic Landmark nomination will be prepared based on those findings.
- Vermont Division for Historic Preservation $41,115
The only Revolutionary War battle fought entirely in Vermont, the Battle of Hubbardton was one of the most successful rear guard actions in American history. The Green Mountain Boys of Vermont held the British off so the main Colonial force could retreat, and although technically a British victory, heavy losses forced them to abandon their pursuit. This project will use military terrain analysis to document the battlefield, determine its boundaries, and produce digital maps.
- Village of Sackets Harbor (New York) $65,716
A preservation and interpretation plan will be developed for the Sackets Harbor battlefield, based on extensive community involvement. During the War of 1812, the British launched a naval and army attack on Sackets Harbor on May 29, 1813. The pitched battle resulted in an American victory, safeguarding this important harbor for ship construction.
- Wood Lake Battlefield Preservation Association (Minnesota) $42,478
Wood Lake was the final major battle of the U.S. Dakota War of 1862. Preoccupied with the Civil War, the U.S. government violated treaties and payments to Minnesota’s Dakota Indians, leading to hardships and hunger for these tribes. These conditions motivated their attacks on American settlers, and eventually the U.S. Army. This battlefield will be documented through a cultural resource inventory and a National Register of Historic Places nomination. An informational brochure will also be developed.
Keywords: Civil War Sites Advisory Commission, Civil War Preservation Trust, Battlefield preservation, grants, funding, National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program, Civil War Sites Advisory
Posted: June 30, 2008
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