The American Battlefield Trust seeks to preserve our nation’s hallowed battlegrounds and educate the public about what happened there and why it matters today. We permanently protect these battlefields for future generations as a lasting and tangible memorial to the brave soldiers who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.
The new nonprofit umbrella organization builds upon a 30-year record of exemplary work done by the Civil War Trust and its predecessor organizations. The Civil War Trust and Revolutionary War Trust (which began in 2014 as Campaign 1776) are the two divisions beneath the American Battlefield Trust banner, focused on preserving the battlefields and perpetuating the memory of those formative conflicts in U.S. history.
The formation of the American Battlefield Trust is the latest step in the evolution of the modern battlefield preservation movement, which began in the mid-1980s in response to the loss of important historic sites to spreading commercial and residential development. The new entity is a direct descendant, through a series of mergers and name changes, of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, founded by a group of professional historians and preservation advocates in 1987.
The organization is best known for its high-profile battlefield preservation efforts, including protection of the historic epicenter of the Antietam battlefield, the site of George Washington’s famous charge at Princeton, the Slaughter Pen Farm at Fredericksburg, and Robert E. Lee’s battlefield headquarters at Gettysburg. In addition, as the Civil War Trust, it engaged in grassroots campaigns to prevent development at Chancellorsville and the Wilderness in Virginia; Franklin, Tennessee; and Morris Island, South Carolina (site of the famous charge portrayed in the movie Glory).
“Over those years and under a variety of names, we have saved nearly 50,000 acres of battlefield land throughout the United States, while earning accolades for being one of the most efficient and effective nonprofits in the nation,” Trust President James Lighthizer said. “Now, as the American Battlefield Trust, we will continue that tradition of preservation leadership.”
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