Goal to Save 2,500 Battlefield Acres for America's 250th Will Preserve Legacy of Nation's First Citizen Soldiers
Mary Koik, (202) 367-7231
(CONCORD, Mass.) — America’s first citizen soldiers forged a new nation through valor and sacrifice on battlefields, from the “Shot Heard Round the World” at Lexington and Concord to the “World Turned Upside Down” at Yorktown. To honor the legacy of this diverse group of minute men and patriots, the American Battlefield Trust announces a campaign to preserve 2,500 acres of Revolutionary War battlefields for the 250th anniversary of America’s founding conflict.
The ambitious goal was announced at Minute Man National Historic Park in Massachusetts, where the first armed conflict of the American Revolution took place on April 19, 1775. Joining the Trust in announcing this goal were representatives of the National Park Service, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Sons of the American Revolution.
“In protecting and interpreting Revolutionary War battlefields, we ensure the current and future generations of Americans retain tangible links to our nation’s founding era,” said Trust President David Duncan. “The preservation of these historic landscapes will ensure a lasting legacy of this milestone anniversary that we can pass on to our children and grandchildren.”
As momentum builds toward the nation’s semiquincentennial commemoration in 2026, so too will renewed interest in the stories of the earliest days of the nation’s founding. This effort will serve both to protect these hallowed grounds from development or neglect but also to raise up the stories of the men and women, including Black and Native patriots, who had the audacity to fight for independence and democracy.
To accomplish this work, the Trust will work closely with individual sites and partner groups, as well as the state and federal agencies who support this work though competitive matching grants that augment private donations from its members.
“In preserving the landscapes of the Revolution, the Trust is ensuring that the memory of our patriot ancestors lives on in tangible way,” said Paula Pratt Renkas, Massachusetts DAR State Regent. “This work honors not just generals and statesmen, but the farmers who left their harvests in the fields and the tradesmen who left their workshops, people not so dissimilar from us who answered the call and forged our nation.”
“The Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution are proud to stand alongside the Trust in its work,” said Massachusetts SAR State President Edgar Hoak. “Through collaboration and shared vision, we are sure to help shape a meaningful and durable commemoration of our semiquincentennial anniversary.”
The conflict lasted seven long years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, with engagements fought in each of the 13 original colonies, plus the modern-day states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama and Florida. The surrender of the British army at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1781 was a watershed moment, but some fighting persisted into 1783 and the signing of the peace Treaty of Paris.
The Trust has identified tracts of land on dozens of battlefields that could be pursued toward this preservation goal,ultimately working with willing sellers to save places that will inspire Americans for generations to come. The Trust estimates that the project could take a decade to complete, mirroring the duration of the war’s anniversary. It may ultimately cost up to $39 million, with the Trust applying for project-specific, competitively awarded grant funding from the federal American Battlefield Protection Program to leverage against matching dollars from state and local government grants and private sector donations, as well as other sources. The undertaking has been endorsed by the national Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution, which have made preservation a priority for decades, and is supported by the National Park Service.
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 54,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.