The Lighthizer Legacy Fund

Buddy Secor

Honor Twenty Years of Dedication to America’s Hallowed Ground

After twenty years of leadership and tens of thousands of acres preserved, Jim Lighthizer is planning to retire from his position as President and CEO of the American Battlefield Trust. In tribute to Jim’s extraordinary service to our organization and the movement to save America’s hallowed ground, we’re proud to introduce The Jim Lighthizer Legacy Fund. 

The Fund will support three high-priority preservation projects that hold special meaning for Jim:

1. Gaines’ Mill and Cold Harbor

Matthew Huntley

The Significant Preservation of Gaines’ Mill and Cold Harbor Battlefields

The Virginia land where two major battles took place – Gaines' Mill in 1862 and Cold Harbor in 1864 – contains the most important unprotected Civil War hallowed ground anywhere in America. Residential and commercial development is relentlessly rolling like a tidal wave outward from Richmond toward this hallowed ground.

We are truly “building a battlefield” at two major Richmond-area Civil War sites, by adding crucial pieces of the puzzle that will eventually result in a well-preserved battlefield.

2. The Liberty Trail

Brian Keeley Photography

Blazing the Liberty Trail

Many historians consider the Revolutionary War to have been decided in the swamps, fields, woods and mountains of the South, won by the resilience and determination of Continental soldiers and Patriot militia. Although the full story of the Southern Campaigns is not widely known, the events of 1779-1782 in the Carolinas directly led to an American victory in the war.

The Trust has been working in concert with local partners in South Carolina to right this wrong by creating The Liberty Trail. Our goal is to preserve nearly 1,000 acres of South Carolina Revolutionary battlefield, accompanied by state-of-the-art interpretation, in time for the nation’s 250th birthday celebration beginning in 2026.

3. The Maryland Campaign

Patrick Connolly

The Significant Preservation of the Key Battlefields of the Maryland Campaign

Antietam wasn’t just the largest battle to occur in Jim’s home state of Maryland; it was also the single bloodiest day in American history. The battle of Antietam was also a major turning point in the Civil War, as it thwarted Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the north, and acted as the catalyst for President Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Much work has been devoted to preserving the four primary battlefields of that 1862 campaign – Antietam, South Mountain, Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown – but the effort to complete the picture of this pivotal epoch in American history is far from over.

“I can be replaced, but you most definitely cannot!”

James Salzano

With The Lighthizer Legacy Fund, we hope to build on the incredible progress we’ve made under Jim’s leadership by completing these three projects of particular passion and historical significance. Your support of this Fund honors Jim’s years of dedication and makes a valuable contribution to our nation’s shared history. We hope you’ll agree that continuing Jim’s momentum on these three critical projects is more than a tribute to the man himself – it’s a gift to our nation. 

To inaugurate The Lighthizer Legacy Fund, we currently have the opportunity to save 278 hallowed acres at Shepherdstown, where, after the carnage of Antietam, the Confederates managed to slip back into Virginia to fight another day. Learn more about the land at stake, then make a tax-deductible donation to start building on Jim’s extraordinary legacy today. 

Please honor Jim’s service to the cause of saving America’s hallowed ground by making a gift to The Lighthizer Legacy Fund.