Jim Lighthizer, president of the American Battlefield Trust.
Dear Friend and Fellow Preservationist,
I have some good news and some bad news:
The good news is that we are getting close to our goal of raising $177,000 to save 128 acres that will essentially complete the Perryville battlefield in Kentucky, one of the most important Western Theater battlefields of the entire Civil War.
The bad news, however, is that we are still about $27,000 short, gifts have slowed to a trickle, and we must close on the property in about 120 days.
I don’t say this often but, in short, I’m worried.
I’m worried because, as I said in my letter back in July, in more than 19 years of fighting to save hallowed ground, we almost never raise as much in gifts for Western Theater Civil War battlefields as we do for Eastern Theater sites.
It’s unfortunate, because you and I both know how important a place like Perryville is to tell the full story of the Civil War; but it is the truth. It would be just as much of a crime to see this hallowed ground desecrated by houses or other development in coming years, as it would be to lose 128 acres at Gettysburg, Antietam or Chancellorsville, don’t you think?
Was the blood spilled by soldiers on Western Theater battlefields any less worthy or patriotic than that of soldiers east of the Blue Ridge? Of course not.
But the fact remains, we are still about $27,000 short. Fortunately, we can extend the closing date, but only once and we really can’t ask for another extension at the end of 120 days.
I cannot fully express how much I appreciate your previous gift to help save this crucial piece of hallowed ground. And believe me, I am this very day writing to some other members asking for their help as well.
But as you obviously care about this battlefield and this effort to essentially complete an entire Civil War battlefield, may I ask for your help once again?
Remember, if we can save these 128 acres – the largest remaining unprotected part of the battlefield at Perryville – we and our partners will have preserved close to 90-95 percent of that battlefield!
Perryville was the largest and bloodiest battle fought in Kentucky. More casualties (7,600) were inflicted in this fight than many other well-known battles – bloodier than Champion Hill (6,700), Resaca (5,600) or Kennesaw Mountain (4,000). The one-day battle of Perryville saw more casualties than all of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign combined!
The U.S. Congress named Perryville as one of the Top 11 most endangered sites in the entire country (out of 384 battlefields!), one “with critical need for action,” and one of only 45 “Class A” battles that had “a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war.”
Perryville is one of the key events of the war in the Western Theater, and when the Confederates under General Braxton Bragg withdrew after the bloody fight on October 8, 1862, Abraham Lincoln breathed a sigh of relief. What did Lincoln say? Something like, “I’d like to have God on our side, but I must have Kentucky.”
If we get these 128 acres – even if we were never able to save another acre here – you and I could be proud of the legacy we have created at Perryville.
The purchase price and closing costs total $1,040,523. We’ve raised about 97% of what we need, all but the final $27,000. I have rarely sent a follow-up appeal for funds, but this one has me concerned.
Please help in this truly historic effort to save the last major part of the Perryville battlefield.
Thank you so much for your generosity, and for your extraordinary dedication to such an important cause. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jim Lighthizer, President
P.S. Don’t forget that there is a wealth of information on our website about this important effort. Just go to www.battlefields.org/perryville19, for more photos, maps, history articles and many more resources. I encourage you to make your gift securely on-line – putting your generosity to work at nearly the speed of light! Please help with your gift today of any amount. Thank you again, and again, and again!
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