Right now, a 50-acre tract of land integral to two major Richmond-area Civil War battles – Gaines’ Mill in 1862 and Cold Harbor in 1864 — is at great risk of development.
The History: According to historian Robert E.L. Krick — the expert on these battles and battlefields — Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson “deployed the 10,000-man division of Gen. D.H. Hill across every foot of the county property” on June 27, 1862, during the battle of Gaines’ Mill. Nearly two years later in 1864, “the property was involved in all aspects of the two-week fight at Cold Harbor.”
As the site of both of these critical battles, this ground holds unique significance to Civil War history. It witnessed Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s first and last major victories. The first, at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, would send the Union Army under George B. McClellan fleeing, saving the Confederate capital and launching a series of successes that would embolden Lee to invade Maryland for the first time. Two years later, Lee’s victory at the Battle of Cold Harbor would be no less devastating to the Union. Yet this time, the Union Army under Ulysses S. Grant would press on despite massive losses to besiege Petersburg and eventually capture Richmond.
The Opportunity: These 50 acres belong to Hanover County, Virginia. County officials have graciously agreed to give us a chance to buy and preserve the land, but to do so we must raise $1 million by June 30, 2019 — just a little over six months from now. (Update: the agreement to acquire the property has been extended to December 31, 2019.) If we fail to raise the purchase price, the county has plans to develop the property into a massive “sportsplex” complete with up to six soccer and lacrosse fields, acres of parking lots, intrusive light towers looming over the rest of the battlefield and the exponential increase in traffic and inevitable development that will arise to support such a major facility.
We believe we can secure as much as $821,000 of the $1 million we need to save this land through grants plus donations from a couple of dedicated preservationists and foundations. That means we only need to raise another $179,000 in this emergency effort to save this land – a $5.59-to-$1 match of your generosity!
Please consider making your most generous gift today to help us raise the $179,000 we need to secure these 50 acres.