A Student of History

August 17, 2012

Sesquicentennial of the Second Battle of Manassas

Filed under: Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 6:53 am

Sesquicentennial of the Second Battle of Manassas:
Commemorative Program Schedule August 25 – September 2, 2012

“The 5th Texas, Second Manassas, August 30, 1862”

Manassas will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Second Battle of Manassas with a series of special programs and events, beginning on August 25 and extending through September 2. Programs will include special tours highlighting significant events of the campaign and battle of Second Manassas, lectures covering topics related to the battle and the Civil War in 1862, and living history and historic weapons demonstrations.The programs will address a broad range of themes connected to the battle and its impact upon the course of the war and will appeal to the interests of Civil War enthusiasts as well as the general visiting public.The special events also include programs beyond the park boundaries in the local community, showing the historical ties between the battlefield and related sites in the Manassas area.

The campaign and battle of Second Manassas demonstrated the impact of an expanding war, both in terms of the size of the armies that fought here and in the numbers of casualties resulting from the battle.The campaign showed the effects of a widening Union war effort, resulting in increasing impacts upon civilians and consideration of emancipation as a war aim.The campaign also marked the rise of Robert E. Lee as a battlefield commander: his success at Second Manassas opened the opportunity to the Confederate army to carry the war into the North, leading directly to the Maryland Campaign and the Battle of Antietam.

 

August 25, 2012
In the Steps of “Stonewall” Jackson: Prelude to Second Manassas Bus Tour
On August 25, 2012, Manassas National Battlefield Park will be offering a special reservation-only bus tour following the approximate route that Maj. Gen. T. J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Confederate forces covered on their historic 55-mile march to Manassas Junction. The tour is scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the start of Jackson’s march on August 25, 1862. The two-day flank march around Maj. Gen. John Pope’s Union army cut the Union line of supply and communication with Washington and triggered the actions culminating in the Second Battle of Manassas.

The park bookstore is now accepting reservations for the bus tour. Reservations may be made by calling 703-361-6549, ext. 2. Seats are reserved on a first come basis at $50.00 each. The fee includes a box lunch.

Living History and Weapons Demonstrations
The annual commemoration of the second battle with living history portrayals of soldiers in an encampment of canvas tents. Units portrayed will include the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters, the Black Hat Brigade’s 2nd Wisconsin, 5th New York Infantry (Duryee’s Zouaves), 4th Virginia Cavalry, 14th Tennessee, Confederate Military Forces, and “Manassas’s Own” Artillery. All living history events will take place at Brawner Farm (Tour Stop #1).

Artillery Firing: 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Cavalry Demonstrations: 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Infantry Firing: 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.

August 26, 2012
Thoroughfare Gap: A Walking Tour
This joint program, offered by Manassas National Battlefield Park and the Turn the Mill Around Campaign, focuses on the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap. The walking tour, led by park historian Jim Burgess, will last approximately 90 minutes and include a tour of the ruins of Chapman (Beverley) Mill. The program will begin at 3:00 p.m.

Manassas Junction and Its Railroads: From Union Lifeline to Confederate Prize

This joint program, offered by Manassas National Battlefield Park and the Manassas Museum, focuses on the significance of the junction during the Second Manassas Campaign. The one hour talk will be offered at the Manassas Museum (9101 Prince William Street) in downtown Manassas. 7:00 p.m.

Living History and Weapons Demonstrations
The annual commemoration of the second battle with living history portrayals of soldiers in an encampment of canvas tents. Units portrayed will include the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters, the Black Hat Brigade’s 2nd Wisconsin, 5th New York Infantry (Duryee’s Zouaves), 4th Virginia Cavalry, 14th Tennessee, Confederate Military Forces, and “Manassas’s Own” Artillery. All living history events will take place at Brawner Farm (Tour Stop #1).

Artillery Firing: 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Cavalry Demonstrations: 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Infantry Firing: 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.

August 28, 2012
One hundred and fifty years to the day, August, 28, 2012 will witness a commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of Second Manassas, which raged over Manassas Plain near the bank of Bull Run on August 28-30, 1862.

7:00 p.m. Tour: Brawner Farm – The Battle Begins
Join a park historian for a guided walking tour tracing the opposing battle lines at the opening engagement of the Second Battle of Manassas. 90 minutes. Tour departs from the Brawner Farm Interpretive Center.

August 29, 2012
One hundred and fifty years to the day, August, 29, 2012 will witness a commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of Second Manassas, which raged over Manassas Plain near the bank of Bull Run on August 28-30, 1862.


10:00 a.m. Tour: Standoff at the Railroad
This walking tour focusing on the morning fighting near Sudley Church along the railroad grade on August 29. Tour departs from Sudley Church, near Tour Stop 5.

2:00 p.m. Tour: Breakthrough at the Railroad
Join a park historian for a walking tour covering the afternoon attacks on the Confederate along the Unfinished Railroad, detailing the brief success of Cuvier Grover’s brigade in breaking through the Confederate front. 90 minutes.Tour departs from Tour Stop 6.

4:00 p.m. Tour: Battling for the Rocky Knoll
This program details the desperate struggle along and behind the Unfinished Railroad during the late afternoon of August 29. 90 minutes. Tour departs from Sudley Church, near Tour Stop 5.

7:00 p.m. Tour: Clash at Groveton Crossroads
A walking tour covering the evening fighting at Groveton on August 29. 90 minutes. Tour departs from Tour Stop 9.

August 30, 2012

One hundred and fifty years to the day, August, 29, 2012 will witness a commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of Second Manassas, which raged over Manassas Plain near the bank of Bull Run on August 28-30, 1862.

11:00 a.m.: Tour: Robinson Farm: Behind Union Lines
This program covers the experiences of the James Robinson family, a free African-American family, during the Second Battle of Manassas. 60 minutes. Tour departs from the Visitor Center.

2:00 p.m. Tour: Slaughter at Deep Cut
This walking tour covers the largest Union assault during the battle, the afternoon attack of Fitz John Porter’s troops at the Deep Cut on August 30. 90 minutes. Tour departs from Tour Stop 7.

4:00 p.m. Tour: Counterattack at Chinn Ridge
A guided walking tour covering the massive Confederate counterattack leading to the climactic fighting of the battle. 90 minutes. Tour departs from Tour Stop 9, New York Monuments. (Tour concludes at Tour Stop 10, Chinn Ridge.)

7:00 p.m. Tour: Battling Until Sunset: The Struggle for Henry Hill
Join a park historian for a walking tour focusing on the final phase of fighting along the Manassas-Sudley Road and on Henry Hill. 90 minutes. Tour departs from the Visitor Center.


August 31, 2012

On the Battle Lines: Sudley Church at Second Manassas

This evening program features a guided walk along the Unfinished Railroad to key sites of the battle and to Sudley Church, offering insights into the impact of the war on the church and the surrounding rural community. Following the tour, Sudley United Methodist Church will offer a vespers service, beginning at 8:00 p.m. The vespers service will feature period music and a guest speaker. 90 minutes Tour departs from Sudley Church, near Tour Stop 5.


September 1, 2012

Second Manassas Lecture Series:
Lectures will be offered in the Visitor Center auditorium, to be followed by book signings adjacent to the park bookstore.

11:00 a.m. Alan Gaff Author of Brave Men’s Tears
1:00 p.m. Stephen Potter Editor of Archaeological Perspectives on the American Civil War
3:00 p.m. John Hennessy Author of Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas
7:.00 p.m. James I. Robertson, Jr Author of Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend

Living History and Weapons Demonstrations
The annual commemoration of the second battle with living history portrayals of soldiers in an encampment of canvas tents. Units portrayed will include the 14th Tennessee and various Union regiments. All living history events will take place at Brawner Farm (Tour Stop #1).

Artillery Firing: 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Cavalry Demonstrations: 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Infantry Firing: 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.

September 2, 2012
Second Manassas Lecture Series:
Lectures will be offered in the Visitor Center auditorium, to be followed by book signings adjacent to the park bookstore.

11:00 a.m. Author TBA
1:00 p.m. Scott C. Patchan Author of Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge
3:00 p.m. David Blight
Author of A Slave No More and American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era

Living History and Weapons Demonstrations
The annual commemoration of the second battle with living history portrayals of soldiers in an encampment of canvas tents. Units portrayed will include the 14th Tennessee and various Union regiments. All living history events will take place at Brawner Farm (Tour Stop #1).

Artillery Firing: 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Cavalry Demonstrations: 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Infantry Firing: 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.

July 30, 2012

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail Now Open

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 12:10 pm

 

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

Ready for Visitors

 

The Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland

Baltimore, MD – Today, the National Park Service officially launched the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail with a ceremony in the Fell’s Point neighborhood of Baltimore, MD. Partners from all nine regions along the trail were recognized for their hard work to develop the trail in their local areas.

 

“The launch of the Star Spangled Banner Trail is a key part of our nation’s bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “It will provide Marylanders and visitors with a way to access and appreciate the sites engaged in our nation’s Second War of Independence. Highlighted by kiosks, wayside signs, and highway markers, the trail will offer a unique combination of land and water-based sites and give visitors a unique understanding of Maryland’s role in the war that helped shaped our nation.”

 

With help from regional partners, important sites along the trail are now ready for visitors in southern Maryland, the Upper Bay, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

 

“The launch of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a proud moment for all Marylanders,” said Congressman John Sarbanes, who authored legislation to create the trail. “As we commemorate the War of 1812 Bicentennial, the Trail will help bring to life historic events that unfolded in our own backyard and changed the course of our nation’s history. I hope it will help visitors, students and others to learn more about our state’s critical role in the ‘second war of independence’ and how the United States’ victory set the stage for the spread of democracy around the world.”

 

Over 100 partners, friends, and tourism professionals showed their support at the trail’s launch today. NPS Superintendent John Maounis said, “The hard work and dedication of our partners throughout the region results today in a trail that is open and ready to receive visitors. Families can tour the trail, visit historic places, ride their bikes or visit by boat. The NPS Chesapeake Bay Office will continue to work with our partners to offer additional opportunities for education and recreation.”

 

“The trail connects the multitude of sites significant to our national heritage,” said Bill Pencek, Executive Director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, and chair of the trail’s Advisory Council. “The trail is also a vital economic resource, attracting the “touring traveler” who spends more, takes longer trips, and travels with more people than typical visitors to Maryland.” 

 

The Maryland State Highway Administration has begun installing highway markers in the southern Maryland region of the trail. “The State Highway Administration is proud to partner in support of creating scenic and historic byways and trails throughout Maryland,” said SHA Deputy Administrator Doug Simmons. They carry residents as well as visitors along paths that highlight our history, reflect our common heritage and welcome everyone to explore Maryland again and again.”

 

New services and materials to help visitors explore the trail include:

  • the trail’s history and travel pocket guide
  • interpretive kiosks at 25 trail locations
  • highway markers on Maryland roads
  • the trail’s Junior Ranger program
  • new mobile application and website
  • the Virtual Resource Center for educators
  • illustrated history and travel guide In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake, a collaboration of the National Park Service, the Maryland Historical Trust, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

 # # #

About the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail:

The trail commemorates the War of 1812 and its legacy in the Chesapeake region. Over 560 miles of land and water routes in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia follow movements of British and American troops during a period of political and social turmoil that forever changed a young democratic nation. The National Park Service, in cooperation with state government, local jurisdictions and hundreds of nonprofit organizations, is working to preserve and develop sites and places along the trail to provide interpretation of the causes, events, and outcomes of the War and improve water access and recreation opportunities for visitors and residents. For more information, visit www.starspangledtrail.net.

June 8, 2012

Rebuilding Ft. Price George in S.C.

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 9:04 am

 

The Pickens County Historical Society (in S.C.) is planning to reconstruct Fort Prince George, a French and Indian War post in the far backcountry of South Carolina. The fort was originally built in the 1750s.  A description of the fort from PCHS website:

The fort took only two months to complete and, with its complement of cannons and swivel guns in range of Keowee Town across the river, it was an imposing garrison. Constructed entirely from wood cut from the area, the square fort was relatively small. The walls were made of pine logs 8 to 10 inches in diameter sunk into the ground one beside the other and sharpened on top. A bastion stood at each of the four corners with a swivel cannon in each. The fort contained several wooden buildings with dirt floors which were improved over the years. The garrison was supplied with water from a well located in the center of the fort. The entire footprint of the fort, including the dry moat surrounding it, was only 200 feet square. There were, however, problems. In 1756, Fort Prince George was almost completely rebuilt because of structural issues due in part to the loose, sandy soil on which it stood.

Today the site of Fort Prince George lies one hundred and fifty feet below the water of Lake Keowee. Below is a map of S.C. showing where the fort was located. The site was excavated in the 1960s prior to being flooded by the lake, a report of which is here.

According to a recent news article, the PCHS is exploring the possibility of reconstructing the fort near its original location. “A renewed effort to rebuild historic Fort Prince George is now underway, and the hope is that once completed, the fort will attract a lot of tourists to the area, according to Wayne Kelley, who is helping head up the project.”

The fort was garrisoned by the Independent Company of South Carolina, pictured below in a modern illustration.

May 30, 2012

Seven Days Battles 150th in Richmond

Filed under: Historic Places,The strange place called the South,Wars — John Maass @ 10:39 am

The Richmond National Battlefield Park is commemorating the Seven Days Battles (June 26-July 1, 1862). Free ranger-led anniversary tours and talks commemorate the Battles of Beaver Dam Creek (June 26), Gaines’ Mill (June 27), Glendale (June 30) and Malvern Hill (July 1). Living history weekends with more talks and tours are set June 23-24 at the Gaines’ Mill battlefield and June 30-July 1 at the Glendale and Malvern Hill battlefields. Lectures and bus tours are scheduled during the anniversary commemorations. See nps.gov/rich for the complete list.

Gen. R. E. Lee

Gen. R. E. Lee

May 17, 2012

Historic Huntley Finally Restored

Filed under: Historic Places,Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 10:07 am

This site is well known to southeastern Fairfax Co. residents, just off Rt. 1 in the Hybla Valley area, south of the Beltway and not far from Mt. Vernon.  It is the plantation that Huntley Meadows Park is named for.  With NPS help of $100,000, it is set to open to the public on May 19. Looks like the stairs need a little work though, but they are close!

The villa was built in 1825 for Thomson Francis Mason, a grandson of George Mason IV, “father” of the Bill of Rights, whose home was Gunston Hall (also in Fairfax). According to a press report “restoration of the exterior included demolishing non-period additions to the structure and reconstruction of the exterior to appear as it did in the early 19th century. The site was acquired by the Fairfax County Park Authority in 1989 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Virginia Landmarks Register and the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites.”

Huntley

Huntley

May 16, 2012

Revolutionary War Highway Marker In Albemarle Co. Dedicated May 5

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 6:58 am

A new Virginia highway marker has been erected in the Charlottesville, Va. area. According to a news report, “A new highway marker is highlighting the role the Charlottesville and Albemarle County community played in the Revolutionary War. Virginia Department of Historic Resources dedicated the marker on Saturday at the entrance to the Barracks Equestrian Center in Charlottesville.”  The marker is about the British and Hessian prisoners brought to Albemarle County after their surrender at the battles of Saratoga, NY, in October 1777. The road along which the marker is located is still known as Barracks Road, although it is doubtful most locals know why.

The full text of the marker can be found here: http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/pdf_files/Sept2011markersFINAL.pdf.

Below is an image of the barracks as they appeared during the Revolutionary War:

May 15, 2012

New Market-1864

Filed under: Historic Places,The strange place called the South,Wars — John Maass @ 8:13 am

By the way, today is the 148th anniversary of the Battle of New Market in 1864, fought in the Shenandoah Valley.

Charge of the VMI Cadets at New Market

Charge of the VMI Cadets at New Market

May 4, 2012

New clue to what happened to the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke?

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places — John Maass @ 12:41 pm

Here’s an article on Yahoo News about a new clue to the Roanoke Islanders of the so-called “Lost Colony,” in the 1580s. An old map has been re-examined to show a possible location to which the colonists removed.  Under a patch on the original map there appears to be the spot of a fort not previously known of, as seen here:

Fort under patch

Fort under patch

 Here is a picture of the map with the patch, from the website of the First Colony Foundation, which has an excellent detailed piece on its website:

John White Map

Some of the news story:

A new look at a 425-year-old map has yielded a tantalizing clue about the fate of the Lost Colony, the settlers who disappeared from North Carolina’s Roanoke Island in the late 16th century. Experts from the First Colony Foundation and the British Museum in London discussed their findings Thursday at a scholarly meeting on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their focus: the “Virginea Pars” map of Virginia and North Carolina created by explorer John White in the 1580s and owned by the British Museum since 1866.

“We believe that this evidence provides conclusive proof that they moved westward up the Albemarle Sound to the confluence of the Chowan and Roanoke rivers,” said James Horn, vice president of research and historical interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and author of a 2010 book about the Lost Colony.

There’s also a video clip on the Yahoo News site as well.  Here’s some of the official announcement (from the LCF site):

Portions of a unique late 16th-century map in the British Museum (which documents voyages to North America for Sir Walter Raleigh), have recently been examined to reveal hitherto unseen lines and symbols that have been hidden for centuries. Using a variety of non-contact scientific methods carefully chosen to be safe to use with early paper, researchers at the British Museum in London are peering at and through two small ‘patches’ of paper applied to an Elizabethan map of parts of modern eastern North Carolina and tidewater Virginia. The first patch (number 1 at the southern end of the map) appears to have been applied primarily to allow the artist to alter the coastline. The second patch (number 2 at the northern end of the map) offers even more exciting finds. It appears to cover a large ‘fort’ symbol in bright red and bright blue and, and has a very faint (just barely visible to the naked eye) but much smaller version of a similar shape on top. There is also a red circle under the patch that may represent an Indian town. The map is part of a large set of watercolours that gave England and Europe its first accurate views of the new world of North America. Drawn by John White, these watercolours from the British Museum collection were the centrepiece of the New World exhibition held at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh in 2007.

 

May 1, 2012

New 1812 Exhibit at James Madison’s “Montpelier”

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 9:57 am
Montpelier

Montpelier

A special exhibit at James Madison’s home, Montpelier, will tell the story of James Madison’s Presidency and wartime struggle. On June 18, 1812, President James Madison formally requested from Congress a Declaration of War against the United Kingdom of Great Britain. In declaring war, Congress and the President exercised powers granted to them in the United States Constitution. For our young country, only three decades removed from the first war for independence, the War of 1812 tested the ideas put forth in the Constitution, and called upon Madison to abide by the limitations on power he worked so hard to institute.

The exhibit opens June 18, 2012.  Montpelier estate was formed in 1723 when Ambrose Madison, President James Madison’s grandfather, and his brother-in-law, Thomas Chew, were deeded 4,675 acres in the newly opened Piedmont of Virginia. To receive final title, he had three years to clear the land and build a house.

For more than 120 years – from 1723 until 1844 when Dolley Madison sold the property – the Madisons owned Montpelier. Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States. It was here that he read, researched, and thought more deeply about our republican form of government than any other Founding Father.

Today’s Montpelier includes the Madison home; the 2,650-acre gardens and grounds; the Gilmore Cabin: A Freedman’s Farm; the Civil War Trail; the Visitor Center and William duPont Gallery; Museum Shop; Landmark and Demonstration Forests; Madison Family Cemetery; Slave Cemetery; active archaeological digs and lab (including kids’ hands-on archaeology); 1910 Train Depot and segregation exhibit; and the Annie duPont Formal Garden.

Montpelier

Montpelier

 

 

April 25, 2012

New War of 1812 Marker to be Dedicated at Va. Church

Filed under: Historic Places,The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 7:03 am
Yeocomico Church

Yeocomico Church

At the old colonial Yeocomico Church (1706) in Westmoreland Co., Va., there’s a new historical marker going up related to the War of 1812. The incident was called “the Yeocomico Poisoning” and the marker will be erected on the church grounds near the roadway. Dedication and unveiling on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at Yeocomico Church. A short program will be held in the church at 9:00 a.m. with the unveiling of the marker at 9:15 a.m.

Yeocomico Church is located on Rt. 606 between Kinsale and Tucker Hill. Yeocomico Church is the oldest church in Westmoreland County. Originally built in 1655 of oak timbers sheathed with clapboards, the church was rebuilt in 1706 with bricks fired in a nearby kiln. 

From the church’s website:   The church, built in 1706, or almost precisely a hundred years after the first settlement at Jamestown, takes its name from Yeocomico River, flowing into the Potomac and dividing Westmoreland from Northumberland. It stands near the Potomac shaded by trees and protected by a brick wall, the restoration of an old one, which even in 1857, according to Bishop Meade’s testimony, was “mouldering away.” The church also has been considerably restored, but it remains notable among Virginia Colonial churches for the curious roof lines created by a gentler slope and then a steeper slope in the gable, and for the porch on the T-side of the cross which has the same broken roof lines. The placing of the windows is likewise unusual, and though the general pattern of the brickwork is the regulation Flemish bond and glazed header combination, there is a quaint variation of that pattern in the gable of the porch and, over the door of the porch, an unusual combination of three arches, the top one based on the two lower—suggesting the top of a mullioned window.

Date in church wall, 1706

Date in church wall, 1706

April 5, 2012

New Preservation Effort at Shiloh

Filed under: Historic Places,Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 9:40 am

This morning, April 5, as part of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s annual signature event commemorating 150th anniversary the Battle of Shiloh, the Civil War Trust joined with the National Park Service and State of Tennessee to make announcements regarding the permanent preservation of 925 acres on the Shiloh Battlefield.  The achievements discussed were threefold: the transfer of 167 acres from the Trust to the park; the launch of a $1.25 million campaign to preserve an additional 491 acres inside the park; and the successful completion of efforts to purchase 267 acres at Fallen Timbers.

“We believe that every acre we save is an investment in our country’s future. There can be no more lasting and fitting tribute than protecting the sites where the war’s outcome was decided — the battlefields themselves,” said Trust President James Lighthizer.  “As a permanent and meaningful legacy of the sesquicentennial, we give our children and grandchildren the opportunity to walk these same fields unblemished and undisturbed.”

The day’s events began with a welcome from Susan Whitaker, Tennessee commissioner of Tourist Development and a co-chair of the state Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and remarks from Gov. Bill Haslam.  Following an introduction from Dr. Carroll Van West, director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and the sesquicentennial commission’s other co-chair, Lighthizer and Trust chairman emeritus John Nau joined federal and state officials for the preservation announcements.

Shiloh National Military Park (NMP) superintendent Woody Harrell said that the transfer of three properties totaling 167 acres, initially acquired by the trust in 2007 and 2008 with the intention that they would eventually become part of the park, is symbolic of the longstanding partnership between the two organizations.  The Trust has previously transferred 192 acres to the park and continues to maintain ownership of two small parcels totaling less than three acres.

“Alongside our dedicated partners at the Civil War Trust, we have been able to enhance the experience of visitors to Shiloh in ways that neither of us would have individually,” said Harrell. “This is the type of outstanding partnership that enables our National Parks to thrive.”

“The significance of Shiloh battlefield is unquestioned; the need to preserve as much as possible is paramount.” said Dr. Carroll Van West, director, Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University and co-chair of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “We applaud this gift of the Civil War Trust to our state, our nation, and the future.”

Nau, who is also the immediate past chairman of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and serves as vice-chair of the National Parks Foundation, noted that the transfer is part of a larger effort by the Department of the Interior to acquire historic properties at battlefield parks as part of the sesquicentennial commemoration.  During the past year, the federal government has set aside more than $5 million to transfer battlefield lands into the National Park Service.  When all is said and done, more than 536 acres of battlefield land will have been added to battlefield parks at Manassas, Richmond, Fort Donelson and Shiloh as a tangible legacy of the anniversary period.

“There can be no higher recognition of a site’s historic significance than its inclusion within one of America’s ‘crown jewels’ — its National Parks,” Nau remarked.  “We are thankful that thoughtful officials in the federal government share this vision and have made the acquisition and integration of high priority battlefield land into existing parks a key part of the Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration.”

In addition to the culmination of one preservation effort, the Trust also announced the beginning of an ambitious new project — one that, if successful, would be the largest single acquisition of land at Shiloh since the establishment of the national military park in 1894.  For decades, this 491-acre parcel, which completes the battlefield’s southeastern corner, has topped the park’s acquisition wish list, as it represents the final unprotected portion of the eastern edge of Shiloh Hill. 

During the opening hours of the battle, Confederates from Mississippi and Tennessee, attempting to flank the end of the Union left, slammed into troops of the 54th Ohio and 55th Illinois. These Union soldiers held the high ground above a steep ravine until, out of ammunition and exhausted, they were forced to retreat.  As they withdrew, they came under fire from the triumphant Confederates, one of whom later recalled: “It was like shooting into a flock of sheep.  I never saw such cruel work during the war.”

With is large size and tremendous history, the price for this land is $1.25 million. But, the Trust expects to be able to apply a $1 million government matching grant toward the acquisition, leaving just $250,000 to be raised from private donations.  Moreover, because the property lies within NPS boundaries, the land will quickly become part of Shiloh National Military Park.

The final portion of the announcement concerned a campaign to protect 267 acres associated with the fighting at Fallen Timbers on April 8, 1862 — often considered the “final chapter” of the Battle of Shiloh — that was first announced in December 2011.  Thanks to the generosity of its members, the Trust has now completed its fundraising effort and closed on the property, protecting a full 75 percent of the battlefield in a single transaction.  While the full purchase price for the acquisition was $935,000, the Trust was aided by a $400,000 matching grant from the federal Civil War Battlefield Protection Program. 

The Battle of Shiloh, fought April 6–7, 1862, at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., was the bloodiest battle in American history up to that point, with more than 23,000 men falling as casualties. Although the Confederate attackers met with initial success, the arrival of Union reinforcements left the Southerners outnumbered and unable to carry the field and sent them retreating to the vital rail hub at Corinth, Miss.  This Union victory, following on the heels of the surrender of Confederate Forts Henry and Donelson, led to Northern domination of Tennessee which and played a role in the ultimate surrender of Vicksburg, dividing the Confederacy in two along the Mississippi River.

In addition to the Shiloh property, the Trust is currently engaged in active fundraising efforts to save significant battlefield properties at Bentonville, N.C., Cedar Creek., Cross Keys, Va., Fredericksburg, Va., Gaines’ Mill, Va., Mill Springs, Ky., Perryville, Ky., and Tom’s Brook, Va. 

 

March 27, 2012

Theft at Petersburg National Battlefield

Filed under: Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 8:00 am

From Examiner.com:

An unemployed 52-year old Petersburg, Virginia, man has been sentenced to a year and a day for digging more than 18,000 civil war relics from the Petersburg National Battlefield Park.

Over at least a four year period, John Jeffrey Santo, a Pennsylvania native living with his girlfriend in Petersburg’s Walnut Hill neighborhood, almost daily took his metal detector and dog out on National Park Service property to dig battlefield artifacts, hoping to sell them for cash. Digging and selling relics became his job. His detailed journal of his illegal exploits, recovered in the July 10, 2011, search of his residence, not only served to convict him, but itemized more than 18,000 bullets, 31 cannonballs and explosive shells, 13 belt buckles, seven breastplates, and 91 buttons.

Below is a photo of some of the musket balls police found.

Bullets

Bullets

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