(Gettysburg, Pa.) – The Civil War Trust today announced the acquisition of a 37-acre property associated with the first day of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. With this additional land, the Trust has helped save nearly 1,000 acres at Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Situated on Barlow’s Knoll, the newly preserved land saw intense combat on July 1, 1863, resulting in hundreds of casualties including Brigadier General Francis Channing Barlow.
"This is without a doubt one of the most important unprotected properties at one of the most hallowed places in America," said Trust President James Lighthizer. "Barlow’s Knoll saw crucial and costly fighting on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and this land will now be preserved for generations to come."
The site was acquired from Adams County for $400,000, raised through a combination of major gifts from Trust donors and a fundraising campaign announced in October 2016. The property runs adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park – near the monument to General Barlow – and eventually will be transferred to the National Park Service to enhance the interpretation of the battle’s first day.
"We're very grateful to the Civil War Trust for preserving this land where intense fighting occurred on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg," said Ed W. Clark, Gettysburg National Military Park. "We look forward to working with the Civil War Trust to acquire the property as part of Gettysburg National Military Park, permanently protecting the land for the American public."
Barlow's Knoll at Gettysburg.
American Battlefield Trust
The acreage – located next to the Adams County Conservation District complex – is being used for crop farming, and land use will not change as a result of the sale. Though the site qualifies for the county’s Clean and Green Program, noted Adams County Commissioners Chairman Randy Phiel, sale proceeds dramatically exceed the minimal Clean and Green annual tax income.
“The sale of county land on Barlow’s Knoll is a wonderful example of government working with the private sector to preserve historic ground for future generations while also benefiting the residents of Adams County,” added Phiel.
Early on the afternoon of July 1, 1863, General Francis Barlow placed his division of the Union Eleventh Corps on a small rise north of the Gettysburg Almshouse. Shortly thereafter, Confederates under General John B. Gordon attacked Barlow’s position, steamrolling the Federals off the knoll and across the Almshouse property below. Pockets of Yankees made short, desperate attempts to stem the tide, only to be washed away by Gordon’s impetuous men. Hundreds of men fell on the ground between the Almshouse and Barlow’s Knoll, including General Barlow himself, who was captured. Half of Barlow's men became casualties at Gettysburg.
The Civil War Trust is the premier nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds. Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 45,000 acres of battlefield land in 23 states, including 1,030 acres in Pennsylvania. Adams County, formed in 1800, witnessed the entire three-day Battle of Gettysburg.
The Civil War Preservation Trust became the Civil War Trust in January 2011; the Civil War Trust became a division of the American Battlefield Trust in May 2018. Campaign 1776 was created in 2014 as an initiative of the Civil War Trust; in May 2018 it became the Revolutionary War Trust, a division of the American Battlefield Trust.
The fighting on Barlow's Knoll was one of the pivotal moments of the First Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Historian Ron Coddington of Military Images Magazine takes a closer look at two of the men who fought there.