Buddy Secor

Save Slaughter Pen Farm

The Heart and Soul of the Battle of Fredericksburg

The Preservation Backstory

Way back in 2006, battlefield preservationists went above and beyond to save the Slaughter Pen Farm, the heart and soul of the Battle of Fredericksburg, from industrial development with an investment of $12 million – because the history was that important.

Today, thanks to donors like you, this hallowed ground has been preserved and restored – but our work isn’t over. 

Fifteen years ago, we didn’t have $12 million just lying around to preserve the Slaughter Pen Farm land in Fredericksburg. The same hallowed ground where 9,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured, and where acts of valor occurred that resulted in five Congressional Medals of Honor.  

Yet if we didn’t take a calculated risk that was audacious, bold, and yes, perhaps just a little bit crazy, the place where the Battle of Fredericksburg was decided, was going to be destroyed. 

We took the risk. This $12 million transaction was the largest private battlefield purchase in America’s history and remains to this day the biggest transaction the Trust has ever attempted.  

And for the past 15 years, we’ve been able to meet each year’s obligation. During that time, taking advantage of the ups and downs in the economy, we also refinanced our loan, saving us several percentage points (and many tens of thousands of dollars in interest) and allowing us to make payments based on a 20-year repayment schedule!

The Opportunity 

Now in 2022, if we can raise the $400,000 needed to cover the loan payment coming due this year for the Slaughter Pen Farm, an anonymous benefactor will double that and donate $800,000!  

This means that if we can raise $400,000 with your support, we’ll be able to pay off the loan in full! We could retire the debt five years ahead of schedule and save money.  

Imagine saving forever the heart and soul of the Battle of Fredericksburg for our children, grandchildren, and future generations of proud Americans ... and doing that at tremendous savings for our most expensive land transaction in our history! 

We have a real chance to save the Slaughter Pen Farm forever and retire the loan. Help us raise the final payment with a generous $2-to-$1 match by making a gift today!

The History

On December 13, 1862, Federal troops marched across muddy farm fields south of Fredericksburg. The main assault of the Battle of Fredericksburg struck a weak point in the Confederate line, touching off a seesaw battle that raged from the wooded slopes of Prospect Hill and across the shell-swept plain of what is now known as Slaughter Pen Farm.

By the end of the day, more than 9,000 Americans – Union and Confederate – had become casualties in one of the worst Union defeats of the Civil War. Five of the men who fought there would receive a Medal of Honor for their bravery. Today, this hallowed ground inspires modern Medal of Honor Recipients with the stories and history that it holds.

What Could Have Been

Please take a moment to look at the image below:

Aerial photo of Virginia data centers
American Battlefield Trust

This aerial photo taken last week by Trust President David Duncan while flying into Dulles airport shows the data centers and warehouses that are beginning to dominate the Virginia landscape. This is what the Slaughter Pen Farm may have been destined to look like if no one stepped up to the plate to defend this vital piece of our country’s history.

Now, thanks to you, instead of seeing data centers, future generations will be able to walk across the Slaughter Pen Farm, in the footsteps of the soldiers who fought and died for what they believed in, gaining a deeper understanding of the events that unfolded there.

Please help us preserve the memory of those brave Americans who sacrificed so much by continuing to protect the Slaughter Pen Farm with your most generous gift today.

Save the Slaughter Pen Farm forever and retire the loan