Help Save 49 Acres at Gettysburg | American Battlefield Trust

Help Save 49 Acres at Gettysburg

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As Jim Lighthizer prepares to retire, will you join us in welcoming the Trust’s new president, David Duncan, by donating a special gift to help preserve and restore 49 acres at Gettysburg?

With your support, we can restore three crucial tracts at Gettysburg and keep up the momentum to protect iconic hallowed ground at Gettysburg for future generations.

Join us today and be the hero of this preservation story, making an important and lasting impact on our nation and halting the longtime spread of commercialization at Gettysburg. Moreover, your continued support at this critical time, will help us make the transition to a new president as seamless as possible. 

The Background 

Today we are fighting to secure three tracts that will be vital additions  to the preserved land at Gettysburg.

First, we look to the southern end of the battlefield in part on the south slope of Big Round Top and along the banks of Plum Run. On July 2, 3 and 4, 1863, anyone standing on this land would have seen the battle swirling around them – marching, fighting, and artillery fire over the course of all three days.

This tract abuts preserved land on two sides. If we are unable to save this property, it’s likely that a housing subdivision of large-lot “McMansions” – interfering with the views of Big Round Top – will soon pop up on this parcel.

Next, is a small but crucial parcel on lower Cemetery Hill, in the shadow of Culp’s Hill. It includes the historic home owned at the time of the battle by James McKnight. He had purchased the house, barn and five acres of land in 1860 and that year’s census records him as a 42-year-old farmer who lived with his 30-year-old wife, Margaret Ann, and a one-year-old daughter Jane. Three years later, the largest battle ever fought in North America swept over their farm . . . 

Tens of thousands of Union troops marched right in front of, paused on, passed over, fought on or were buried on the McKnight Farm on July 1 and 2. On July 1, as the Union met disaster north and west of Gettysburg, Northern troops fell back to and fortified Cemetery Hill. Union General Winfield Scott Hancock ordered Captain Greenleaf Stevens’ 5th Maine Battery to occupy McKnight’s Hill, now known as Stevens Knoll. 

The final parcel is immediately south of the McKnight House on the Baltimore Pike and witnessed those same important events. In the last two decades, the construction of the Comfort Suites hotel directly across the Baltimore Pike – along with the popularity of the National Park Service Visitor Center – has made this tract, already zoned for commercial use, ripe for further development.  

Please make your most generous gift today to help raise the $276,700 we need to save these 49 vital acres at Gettysburg!

The Opportunity

The total amount we need for the acquisition and restoration of these 49 important Gettysburg acres is $1,487,400 – almost a million-and-a-half dollars!

But the good news is that, through a combination of anticipated federal matching grants, a landowner donation, and some large gifts already received, our total need today is down to $276,700 – a $5.38-to-$1 match of any gift you are able to contribute. This means that we should have 81.4% of the funding lined up, but need to raise the final 18.6% as soon as possible. All three transactions must close by the end of 2020, which will be here before we know it.

The need to preserve these tracts at Gettysburg is urgent and we can’t do this without your support! We have the opportunity to change the fate of this land and protect it for future generations. 

What you and I have done for the future citizens of this country has never been done before. No other effort, nor any other preservation organization, even comes close to what you have accomplished when it comes to historic land preservation...
Jim Lighthizer, American Battlefield Trust President




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