Jennifer Goellnitz

American Battlefield Trust Celebrates Protection of Land in 25th State, 56,000 Acres Saved Forever

Milestones announced during Board of Trustees meeting and major donor gathering

Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231

(Washington, D.C.) – After taking possession of 117 acres at Buffington Island, site of the largest Civil War battle in Ohio, the American Battlefield Trust can now claim to have permanently protected hallowed ground at half the states in the Union. Founded in 1987 in Virginia, the Trust has grown to become the nation’s premier heritage land protection organization, having saved a total of 56,000 acres across 155 sites in 25 states. Geographically, the organization's footprint stretches from upstate New York westward to New Mexico, and chronologically from the “shot heard ’round the world” at Lexington and Concord that began the Revolutionary War to the stillness at Appomattox as the Civil War drew to a close.  

Short obelisk monument covered in rocks in a field with trees and mound seen in the distance
Buffington Island Battlefield Memorial park, Portland, Ohio. Jennifer Goellnitz

“The remarkable growth and success of this organization and the broader battlefield preservation movement are a testament to the power of place,” said Trust President David Duncan. “Standing where you know that historic events unfolded gives you a deeper understanding than any book or documentary can muster. By protecting these important places, we are ensuring that generations yet to come can enjoy that same profound experience. It is an honor to do work that is born in equal parts out of deep respect for the past and aspiration for the future.” 

The Trust first announced its intention to secure the Ohio site, adjacent to the existing Buffington Island Battlefield Memorial Park, in the spring of 2022 with assistance from the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation. Although it has now taken ownership of the property, assisted in the project by the logistical steps, including the placement of perpetual conservation easements and ultimate disbursement of grant funding, remain before complete victory can be declared in the campaign. 

In July 1863, against the backdrop of Confederate losses at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, a daring cavalry raid ventured into Ohio. At Buffington Island, Maj. Gen. John Hunt Morgan encountered 3,000 Union artillery, infantry, and cavalry accompanied by U.S. Navy gunboats. The fighting ended with 700 Confederates surrendering above and beyond the killed and wounded. Morgan escaped but was captured eight days later.  

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 56,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War across 155 sites in 25 states. Learn more at