American Battlefield Trust

Trust Marks Annual 'Victory Week' Announcing Completed Projects in Georgia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania

Now completed projects include high-profile efforts at Gettysburg’s General Pickett’s Buffet and Battlefield Military Museum

Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x723

Melissa Winn (202) 367-1861 x7252 

(Washington, D.C.) — For the fourth year, the American Battlefield Trust has marked National Preservation Month in May with Victory Week, celebrating projects which have reached the end of their journey, at least for the time being. More than just taking possession of a property, “Victory” signals that fundraising is complete and all anticipated grant disbursals have been received. In 2024, projects at Chickamauga, Ga., Chickasaw Bayou, Miss. and Gettysburg, Pa., totaling approximately 40 acres were touted. 

When the American Battlefield Trust claims ‘victory,’ the term signifies the conclusion of a thoughtful process,” said organization president David Duncan. “Although further restoration and interpretation may be yet to come, the fate of that piece of hallowed ground is fully secured for posterity.” 

At Chickasaw Bayou, the Trust has pieced together a number of small transactions, working toward securing a critical mass of an important Vicksburg Campaign site for interpretive purposes. The four acres celebrated at Chickamauga are tied to the Confederate seizure of Reed’s Bridge and bring the Trust to 145 total acres preserved on the battlefield. 

The two Gettysburg victories were previewed last month for attendees when the Trust’s Annual Conference convened in town. In 2021 and 2022, the organization asked for help with two high-profile campaigns in Gettysburg: purchase of the iconic General Pickett’s Buffett and Battlefield Military Museum sites. When those venues’ owners were ready to evolve their operations, the generosity of our members and partners enabled the Trust to engage with them on preservation strategies. Both sites will require further work to restore them to their wartime appearance, for which the Trust must now craft detailed restoration and interpretation plans. 

The former site of General Pickett’s Buffet is a little more than a half-acre that overlooks the field of Pickett’s Charge, across which, on July 3, 1863, some 12,000 Confederate soldiers advanced, without cover, toward Cemetery Ridge. During World War I, the area that became restaurant parking was the headquarters of Camp Colt, where American troops trained under a young Dwight David Eisenhower in the emerging art of tank warfare before deploying to Europe; the future president so loved the battlefield and town that he later made Gettysburg his home. The same site eventually became a prisoner of war camp for captured German soldiers during World War II. 

For decades, General Pickett’s Buffet was part of the battlefield backdrop experienced by millions of visitors. In 2022, the restauranteur decided to relocate to larger facilities at the Barn Resort – a revitalization of the vacant Boyd’s Bear Country south of the battlefield – and engaged with the Trust toward preservation and restoration of the original site. With the help of the Gettysburg Foundation, the American Battlefield Protection Program and its generous members and donors, the Trust has completed its purchase and brought busloads of its members to the spacious new Barn Restaurant during its April event.

The Trust’s purchase of the Battlefield Military Museum, another recognizable structure on the battlefield, is also complete. During the battle James and Margaret Ann McKnight owned this land on the slopes of East Cemetery Hill, abutting the Baltimore Pike and below the crest of the Union artillery position on Stevens Knoll, which was among the first tracts preserved at Gettysburg. The modern landscape retains historic features, like the stonewalls, that would be recognizable to the tens of thousands of Union troops who marched past, fought on and were buried on McKnight’s property on the first and second days of battle. Per the terms of its acquisition, completed with the help of partners, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the American Battlefield Protection Program and the HTR Foundation, restoration will occur in phases, some of which may not begin for several years. 

Even as the Trust looks toward interpretive plans for newly preserved sites, including the integration of augmented reality to highlight multiple eras of significance at Pickett’s Buffet, it continues to upgrade the visitor experience at other properties around Gettysburg. Conference guests were treated to a freshly upgraded exhibit space at Lee’s Headquarters. Thanks to a collaborative agreement with the nearby Seminary Ridge Museum, the house will welcome guests summer Fridays and select Saturdays, while the grounds are open daily. Additional stewardship work is ongoing at the nearby James Thompson House.

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 57,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at