Protect Five Key Acres at Gettysburg
A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity at Gettysburg
We need your help today so that we can buy and eventually restore these 5 key acres of battlefield land at Gettysburg. The first is a four-acre tract of land near Culp’s Hill that contains the Battlefield Military Museum and the second is a nearly 1-acre tract at the often-neglected South Cavalry Field.
These two special tracts of land have a total value of $2.24 million. That’s a huge number! Luckily, thanks to previously received contributions from generous supporters like you, combined with anticipated government grants and a few large private gifts, about 83% of the needed funds are lined up. But we’re not there yet.
The Trust still needs to raise the remaining $384,720 to save this land forever. That is no easy task, and we must hurry to do it. If successful, we will add key missing pieces of Gettysburg Battlefield to the hallowed ground we have worked together to faithfully protect — through a combination of determination, cultivation, and negotiation — for well over a decade along the roads leading to Gettysburg.
Please make your most generous gift today to help us raise the remaining $384,720 to preserve forever five key acres of battlefield land at Gettysburg. Your gift will be multiplied by 5.83 for every dollar you contribute to this campaign.
BONUS: For every gift of $50 or more, you will receive the first-ever American Battlefield Trust Gettysburg Challenge Coin. This special commemorative coin is only the second in the Trust’s series of challenge coins and a wonderful keepsake to honor the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice on this land for our great nation.
The first four-acre tract is an exceptional piece of historic land, which figured prominently on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. This property is known to generations of Gettysburg visitors as the site of the Battlefield Military Museum.
The tract is located on the slopes of East Cemetery Hill, abutting the Baltimore Pike and sitting just below the crest of the Union artillery position on Stevens Knoll. Today, the four acres contain the large, 1960’s-era Battlefield Military Museum. Last year, the family that has owned this property for many years sold an adjacent one-acre tract to the Trust that contained the historic McKnight House. Now, the Trust has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to purchase the four-acre remainder of the family’s property for preservation and eventual restoration to its 1863 appearance.
Tens of thousands of Union troops marched right in front of, paused on, passed over, or fought on McKnight’s property and the four-acre tract the Trust is now working hard to save.
The National Park Service has restored the historic wood line around Stevens Knoll, making this four-acre parcel we want to save even more visible and important.
Several years ago, a Comfort Suites hotel was built on the Baltimore Pike opposite this property. I fear that if we fail to act now, another name-brand hotel or other commercial structure could be built there. Or maybe a residential developer would scoop up the property and attempt to have it re-zoned for an apartment building or townhouses.
This would be a devastating blow to our years-long preservation efforts along the Baltimore Pike. Take a look at the 2009 and 2021 “then and now” maps to see our work along the Baltimore Pike. Together we’ve completed nine transactions, totaling more than $3.1 million, permanently protecting almost 40 acres! Each acre we preserve along the Pike prevents developers from gaining a foothold to mar this hallowed landscape.
Our vision is to buy this pivotal piece of battlefield ground and restore it to its near-original condition such that, if General George Meade’s troops were to somehow march up to the site again, they would know exactly where they were.
The second 1-acre tract will add to the 83+ acres we have already preserved together at South Cavalry Field — where infantry and cavalry, North and South, struggled before and after Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd, 1863.
The target tract is not large, but it would be devastating if we weren’t able to save it. Developers are hungry to snatch it up and put a “McMansion” on it. Anything short of protecting this land would ruin the viewshed of that part of the battlefield, which is right where Union General Wesley Merritt’s cavalrymen advanced toward waiting Confederate soldiers.
This was such important land that the War Department erected informational markers and tablets on an adjacent tract more than a century ago, but few people have ever seen them. The problem is access.
There is currently no safe place to park, walk the ground, and read those markers. By saving this one small tract, we can at last provide a safe access point to this part of South Cavalry Field. The Gettysburg National Military Park is interested in providing this access point if they can get the funds to acquire the tract from us.
Will you help save forever these two endangered parts of the Battle of Gettysburg before they fall prey to development?