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Civil War Trust Honors Tennessee Battlefield Advocates

National organization recognizes two outstanding champions of historic preservation efforts

(Memphis, Tenn.) – As part of the Civil War Trust’s spring board meeting in Memphis, Tenn., two outstanding advocates for historic preservation in the Volunteer State were honored for their contributions toward public appreciation and understanding of Civil War history.  Long-time Trustee and former Chairman of the Board James S. Gilliland of Memphis, Tenn., received the groups prestigious Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award, while philanthropist and activist Gregory Britt of Lexington, Tenn., received the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Preservation.

“The greatest strength of the Civil War Trust lies in the passion and commitment of our friends and partners.— their efforts, day in and day out, lay the groundwork for our success and make all of our achievements possible,” said Trust Chairman Henry Simpson.  “Both Jim and Greg have made tangible contributions to the love and appreciation of history in their communities that will stretch far beyond our lifetimes.”

During a Thursday evening dinner at the University Club, James S. Gilliland received the Trust’s Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award in recognition of his long service to the organization, including two terms as chairman of the board. Beyond his strong leadership, Gilliland personally served as a driving force to facilitate the purchase of critical tracts of land at White Oak Road, Va., and Fort Donelson, Tenn. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Law School, Gilliland served tenures in private practice and as general counsel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A veteran of the United States Navy, he has been deeply involved in a number of causes, including the Environmental Law Institute, Institute of Human Origins, LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis Arts Council and Liberty Bowl Association.

The next evening, amidst a reception at the Westin Memphis Beale Street Gregory Britt was honored with the organization’s Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Preservation. Britt and his family have been the largest monetary contributors to the preservation and interpretation of the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield in Henderson County. The Britt family has deep connections to the battlefield — in addition to selling a 51-acre parcel now incorporated in the Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Park, Mr. Britt’s father built and operated a successful business in the structure that today houses the park’s visitor center. Moreover, a financial contribution from Gregory Britt and family enabled the preservation, restoration and relocation of the McPeake Cabin to become the park’s focal point for living histories and other events

Beyond his involvement with the Civil War Trust, Simpson is a member of the law firm Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson, LLP in Birmingham, Ala.  He has previously served as a lecturer at the University of Alabama, state chair of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and state chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.  Its goal is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism.  To date, the Trust has preserved more than 36,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states.  Please visit the Trust’s website at, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.