Shiloh National Military Park, Tenn.

Shiloh National Military Park, Tenn.

Tommy Kays

Save 343 Acres at Five Battlefields in Four States across the Western Theater

A massive new campaign to save 343 additional acres spanning five battlefields in four states across the Western Theater. 

Double Bonus! Your gift will be matched $18-to-$1 and you can receive a copy of Battle Maps of the Civil War: The Western Theater

The Opportunity

The transaction value for these hallowed acres is a staggering $2.5 million. With government grants, donors, and other partners in multiple states who will hopefully provide more than $2.3 million to this effort.

We need to raise the final $140,732 to seal the deal and acquire these multiple key tracts. Your gift will be multiplied by an impressive ratio of $18-to-$1!

These are five battlefields in four states without which the full story of the Civil War cannot be told. And we cannot allow them to be destroyed or developed!

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The History

It’s impossible to tell the full story of the Civil War without knowing the importance of the Western Theater — including battlefields like Chickamauga, Bentonville, and Shiloh.

From 1862 to 1865, these were places where some of the fiercest fighting raged and thousands of soldiers lost their lives. And where some of the final battles of the Civil War were fought, including the very last Confederate victories.

As Civil War historian Steven A. Woodworth has noted: “The Virginia front was by far the more prestigious theater ... Yet the war’s outcome was decided not there but in the vast expanse that stretched west from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi and beyond. Here, in the West, the truly decisive battles were fought.”

While the properties we are trying to preserve span four different years and four states, they are all connected by the ebb and flow of the War. And, by connecting the dots between these battles, each plays a crucial part in the story of the Civil War.

Chickamauga, Georgia 

At Chickamauga in Georgia, the land that we seek to acquire is four acres. But its significance is incalculable. This is part of the ground that saw the Confederate capture of Reed’s Bridge, which opened the larger battle. It’s also located close to a growing residential development, which means it forms a crucial buffer to protect the visitor experience from unsightly sprawl.

At the Battle of Chickamauga, 125,000 men fought and more than 34,000 were killed, wounded, or went missing in the second-bloodiest battle of the entire Civil War. This is hallowed ground, and we must save it.

Brice’s Cross Roads, Mississippi 

At Brice’s Cross Roads, the American Battlefield Trust has worked for nearly two decades to purchase and protect land at this under-recognized battlefield. We’ve helped save more than 1,500 acres thanks to the generosity of our members. But this remarkable tract, totaling 95 acres and bordering previously protected land, has remained just out of our reach until now. We must save it while we can!

This tract witnessed significant maneuvering and combat during the battle. Late 

in May 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest launched an expedition into Middle Tennessee, intending to wreak havoc along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, a vital supply line for General William Sherman’s Union armies as they moved toward Atlanta. Despite being outnumbered, Forrest and his troops outmaneuvered the Union men and forced them to retreat — inflicting casualties at a rate of five-to-one and taking control of the field.

Wyse Fork, North Carolina 

We are conducting a crucial effort to acquire two separate and adjacent plots totaling 86 acres. But state plans for a new bypass of U.S. Highway 70 could plow through the core battlefield area and pave over history.

Thankfully, we received two grants, including from generous local partners, leaving us only to raise a small balance to secure the properties. It’s the kind of opportunity that won’t come around again, and I want to sign on the dotted line just as soon as possible. We must act now to save as much as we can from being steamrolled!

On this ground the Confederate Army of Tennessee, a mere ghost of its former self following heavy losses, attacked across the field, driving the Union skirmishers back to their main line of defense along Wyse Fork. Their victory in taking the ground was short-lived, and in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, the men at Wyse Fork are a true expression of valor and courage.

Bentonville, North Carolina 

In Bentonville, two tracts together combine the largest prize in our current Western Theater campaign — more than 159 acres. Both tracts have important historical significance. We’ve been closely watching this part of the battlefield for years!

In Bentonville, we have the incredible opportunity to save 158 acres of important historical significance.

The smaller tract, at 15 acres, includes the land where the 100th Indiana, together with the 46th Ohio, drove the Confederates northward, clearing the crossroads near the Flowers House.

The larger tract comprises 144 acres where Confederate cavalry emerged from the woods behind a skirmish line and nearly captured three Union generals. Such was the surprise of their attack that the pack mules of the 100th Indiana bolted, and one onlooker from 97th Indiana later wrote, “The air for a while seemed to be as full of frying pans, coffee pots, tin plates and cups as bullets.”

Shiloh, Tennessee 

During the Battle of Shiloh Union forces, under the leadership of General Ulysses S. Grant, rallied to win the second day after losing the first day. Also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, the actions of Grant and his men made this battlefield among the most famous of the Western Theater. 

The carnage was unprecedented, and the human toll of the battle marked the greatest of any war on the American continent up to that date. Today, we can secure a small but strategic two-acre tract that will expand our holdings to the east, near the heart of some of the fiercest fighting! 

The Battle of Shiloh reminds us that vigilance is imperative. As the sun set on April 6, 1862, General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, who had just ascended to the Confederate command following the battlefield death of General Albert Sidney Johnson, believed his army victorious. He did not know that Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio had just arrived with reinforcements for General Grant. As Grant’s army attacked the next morning at 06:00, the Confederates were suddenly outnumbered. Soon, Beauregard and his men were forced to retreat toward Corinth. 

It is not only in battle that we must remain vigilant. It is also in battlefield preservation.

We are facing critical deadlines...  

Please make your gift of $54 or more in the next month and you will receive your personal copy of Battle Maps of the Civil War: The Western Theater.

It’s a dazzling collection of the Trust’s full-color battle maps, with scholarly commentary on troop movements provided by our team of historians — an invaluable resource for students of history like you! 

Now, we must fight on multiple fronts to hold and preserve crucial battlefield tracts spanning 343 acres at Chickamauga, Brice’s Cross Roads, Wyse Fork, Bentonville, and Shiloh.

Donate Now

“It can take years of work, and sometimes years of waiting, for key tracts to come onto the market. When they do, we often find ourselves competing with developers. If we can’t come up with the funds at these critical moments, we risk losing out. And that often means that part of our nation’s hallowed ground is lost forever.”
David N. Duncan, President

Five Battlefields. Four States.

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Five Battlefields. Four States.

At The American Battlefield Trust, we recognize the importance of protecting and preserving Western Theater Civil War battlefields. So do you! Today...