Save 170 Threatened Acres at Lookout Mountain, Mill Springs and Fort DeRussy
We need to raise $149,144 to purchase this property on Lookout Mountain as well as three tracts at two other critically important battlefield sites — Mill Springs in Kentucky and Fort DeRussy in Louisiana — totaling 170 acres.
The total value of these transactions is $1,590,288. But if we can raise $149,144, we can get the deal done and YOU can leverage your generosity with a match of $10.66-to-$1!
Please donate to support this critical cause today. With just one gift, you can help preserve three sites, in three states, from three years of the Civil War!
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
We’re not only protecting pristine battlefield land whenever and wherever we can. We’re also striving to restore what was once lost to development, like that tourist motel that was built decades ago on Lookout Mountain.
Lookout Mountain would appear impregnable to most any military commander. Its slopes were steep, and Confederate soldiers were strongly posted. But in November of 1863, recognizing the critical role that Chattanooga played as a railroad hub for the Confederates, General Grant determined the time for an attack had come.
With Gen. Geary’s division of the 12th Corps in the lead, Gen. Joseph Hooker crossed the creek and formed a line of battle on the very slope of Lookout Mountain.
Rather than attack the mountain head-on, Hooker planned to move his troops across Lookout Creek and advance below the crest of the mountain. There, Hooker’s men engaged in fierce fighting by Confederate brigades led by Generals Edward Walthall and John C. Moore.
For the better part of a day, the battle was relentless. Col. George Cobham’s Pennsylvanians delivered a withering flanking fire from the upper portion of the slope. Gen. Moore’s brigade made a counterattack around 1:00 p.m., only to be stymied by crossfire.
By the time the smoke had cleared on Lookout Mountain and the battle for Chattanooga was over, an estimated 13,824 brave men were killed, wounded, or captured, with bodies strewn down Lookout Mountain and blood staining the waters of Wauhatchie Creek.
Priv. Woodson later wrote about his experiences:
“The shells burst, knocking off thousands of pieces of rock and scattering them hither and thither. The whole face of the mountain was lurid with bursting shells and seemed to belch smoke from every crevice, while the mountain itself seemed to howl and shriek as if a million demons had been aroused in its caverns.”
Mill Springs, Kentucky
President Abraham Lincoln recognized how crucial it was to keep Kentucky in the Union. But in late 1861, a Confederate force of around 6,000 men under Gen. Felix Zollicoffer encamped for the winter near Mill Springs. When they learned that a Union force under Gen. George H. Thomas had also gathered nearby, the Confederate area commander Gen. George B. Crittenden ordered Zollicoffer to give them battle.
Zollicoffer’s men attacked on January 19, 1862, in the early morning mist and rain, and initially gained success. The fighting raged for over an hour until Thomas ordered the Union line to advance, overwhelming the Confederates.
The Federal victory at Mill Springs not only helped to bolster Northern morale but also helped to keep Kentucky, initially a neutral state, firmly in Union control where it would remain for the balance of the war.
We now have the opportunity to purchase two parcels of 83 and 64 acres before they are lost to history forever. We can’t miss this chance!
Fort DeRussy, Louisiana
The Confederates had built Fort DeRussy in 1862 to defend the lower Red River and the cities of Alexandria and Shreveport. It was partly plated with iron, and was believed to be impregnable to Union attack!
But on March 14, 1864, Union troops under the command of Gen. Joseph A. Mower began their assault. Union Gen. Mower’s infantry dispersed an enemy brigade, after which Confederate Gen. E. Kirby Smith set his men in motion up the road to Fort DeRussy.
Around 6:30 p.m., Smith ordered a charge on the fort and about 20 minutes later, Mower’s men scaled the parapet, forcing the garrison to surrender. In the end, none of the Union forces deployed ever reached Shreveport. But there were 317 men killed, wounded, or captured that day.
Do we honor these brave men by preserving this historic place? Or do we let development and commercial interests mar these hallowed grounds?