(Gettysburg, Pa.) — The American Battlefield Trust and the United Lutheran Seminary today announced the permanent protection of 18 critical acres on Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg. The $3.5 million transaction — one of the most ambitious preservation efforts in the Trust’s history — closed on February 25 and encompasses property of profound military significance that has remained largely unchanged since the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. To date, the Trust has helped protect 1,040 acres at Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil.
“Seminary Ridge will forever carry a defining legacy as the land that witnessed intense combat at the Battle of Gettysburg and the beginning of the end of the Civil War,” remarked Trust president James Lighthizer. “We are honored that the United Lutheran Seminary entrusted us to protect this remarkable landscape after its careful, 186 years of stewardship. Today is a win for our nation’s history.”
The preservation of Seminary Ridge includes the Trust’s acquisition of 11 acres to the west of Seminary Ridge Road, coupled with the placement of a conservation easement on seven acres to the east, along Chambersburg Pike. The land has been part of the Seminary since it moved to the site in 1832 and is adjacent to the original Mary Thompson House, which served as General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters after the first day of the battle. The Trust successfully preserved and restored the house in a landmark effort launched in 2014.
“United Lutheran Seminary is excited to partner with the American Battlefield Trust to preserve this ground on which a ‘new birth of freedom’ was gained through the sacrifice of so many,” said Richard Green, United Lutheran Seminary interim president. “This land should forever be preserved and honored as the space where national and religious history intersected as shown through our Seminary Ridge Museum. United Lutheran Seminary and the American Battlefield Trust will continue to work together to see this pledge through.”
Recognized as some of the bloodiest ground at Gettysburg left in private hands, the land at Seminary Ridge witnessed the climactic scene of the first day’s fighting. The determined defense on Seminary Ridge by men from the Union’s Iron Brigade and 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry enabled the army to regroup and hold Cemetery Hill, key to the ultimate Federal victory at Gettysburg. Hundreds of soldiers from North and South fought and fell on the ground to be protected by the Trust.
About the American Battlefield Trust
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 50,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War, including 1,155 acres in Pennsylvania. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.
About the United Lutheran Seminary
With deep roots on its two campuses in Gettysburg and Philadelphia, the United Lutheran Seminary is theological education’s newest graduate and professional school. It awards seven different degrees, and has more than 10,000 graduates. Learn more at www.unitedlutheranseminary.edu.