What can $29,000 get you? Today, that amount can forever protect 118 acres of Civil War history at Bristoe Station battlefield valued at over $17.2 million.
You read that right: every dollar you give to save these 118 acres will be worth $539. In fact, this is the largest matching-grant opportunity in the Trust’s history.
We now have the opportunity to build on previous progress by acquiring a pristine tract we thought was lost to development. This 118 acres, together with a 34-acre portion you helped preserve in 2017, will be donated to Prince William County, adding significant acres on the Union side of the field and doubling the size of the county’s Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park.
Because of its commercial potential, the transaction to purchase this land would cost over $17.2 million at market value. Fortunately, the landowner is preservation minded, and between their donation of value and an anticipated federal matching grant of over $1 million, today, we have a chance to preserve this hallowed ground for just $29,000!
October, 1863. Mere months after the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee is back in Virginia with a reduced army of 47,000, playing defense against General George G. Meade’s 77,000 Federals. Upon learning that Meade has sent two corps west into Tennessee, Lee looks for a way to “strike a blow” while the Federal army is on his turf.
He attempts a flanking march to get between Meade and Washington City, hoping to force a battle on open ground, perhaps a “Third Manassas!” Meade, however, has seen too many fellow Union generals embarrassed, defeated, or both, by Lee in this region of Virginia and begins an orderly withdrawal toward the Federal capital. As October 14th dawns, this withdrawal is well underway. Confederate General A.P. Hill aggressively pursues the retreating Federals.
As he approaches a place called Bristoe Station, Hill beholds a sight that military commanders surely dream about. The Union forces are directly in his front, not in line of battle, but in the process of crossing the Broad Run stream – with half of a corps already over the water and still marching away, but half still penned in against the bank of the stream, waiting to cross, ripe for the picking.
Hill, seizing what appears to be a golden opportunity, orders an immediate attack. But as two of his brigades shift to drive some pesky Union skirmishers back toward a nearby railroad embankment, three previously concealed Union divisions (nine brigades) rise from behind the embankment to pour a devastating fire directly into the faces of their Confederate foes.
What Hill believed to be the last Federal corps in the line attempting to cross Broad Run was actually the next-to-last corps. And the commander of the actual last Federal corps, General Gouverneur K. Warren, saw his own golden opportunity in Hill’s hasty offensive. Realizing his presence had gone unnoticed, Warren patiently set up, as one observer termed it, “as fine a trap as could have been devised by a month’s engineering.”
With a 5-to-1 advantage, Union forces suffered about 300 casualties, and only 50 of that number were killed. It all lasted scarcely an hour, yet 1,380 Confederates lay dead or wounded upon the field, and the Army of Northern Virginia had suffered its most one-sided defeat in more than two years.
Please consider making your most generous gift now to help raise the $29,000 we need to preserve this precious American history forever.