Robert James

Campaign Underway to Preserve Hallowed Ground at Brandywine, Other Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites

Nationwide effort will also protect land at New York’s Newtown and Sackets Harbor battlefields ahead of 250th anniversary commemoration

Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231

(Washington, D.C.) —  The American Battlefield Trust is in the midst of a significant national campaign to  preserve 158 acres of hallowed ground from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. These properties at Brandywine, Pa. (16 acres), Newtown, N.Y. (55 acres) and Sackett’s Harbor, N.Y., (88 acres) carry a combined value of $4.8 million, but through a combination of federal and state matching grants, local government commitments and the enthusiastic partnership of allied land trusts, the Trust’s portion of the cost is only $201,500, creating a $23.80-to-$1 multiplication factor for donors.  

Joseph Davis House
Joseph Davis House in Chadds Ford, Pa. North American Land Trust

“As we approach the nation’s 250th celebration, the Trust has been offered an opportunity to continue expanding the preservation of Revolutionary War hallowed ground,” said Trust President David Duncan. “Protection of these important sites from early stages of our nation’s journey help us meet our goal of saving 2,500 acres of hallowed ground from the Revolutionary era as a lasting legacy of the commemoration that future generations will enjoy.” 

The lynchpin of the preservation package, Brandywine, saw what was, by many measures, the largest battle of the Revolutionary War on September 11, 1777, when nearly 30,000 troops clashed in the conflict’s longest single-day engagement. Despite enduring a crushing defeat with 1,300 casualties inflicted by the British, the Battle of Brandywine showcased the resilience and determination of the Continental forces and is renowned as one of the war’s most significant encounters.  

The Trust has cumulatively preserved 187 acres at Brandywine, but because of the incredibly high cost of purchasing large parcels in the Philadelphia suburbs, each acquisition opportunity is both precious and ambitious. For this particular parcel, which was a crucial part of Washington’s main defensive line at Chadd’s Ford, the purchase runs more than $244,000 per acre, and the acquisition would not be possible without a close partnership that the Trust has developed with the North American Land Trusts (NALT), which is based in the area.  

As it did following a previous collaboration with the Trust at the Brinton Run Preserve, NALT plans to open the land to the public after developing hiking trails and creating pollinator habitats in the rolling fields. It will offer historical and cultural programs at the preserve and eventually move its headquarters to the historic Joseph Davis House. Built in 1725, the house later served as the home of noted artist N.C. Wyeth and his family from 1907 to 1911; he created some of his notable works in a carriage house converted to a studio.  

Meanwhile, in the Empire State, we are seeking to protect 55 acres that will effectively double the size of the existing Newtown Battlefield State Park by connecting previously preserved properties associated with that August 1779 engagement. And at Sackets Harbor, the 88-acre tract, situated on Lake Ontario and site of the 1813 battle, would not only complete the waterfront but also establish a crucial link to key points of the New York State Historic Site. 

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 58,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War across 155 sites in 25 states. Learn more at