NPS Awards Over $2 Million To Protect Four Historic Civil War Battlefields

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Independent Picture Service/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

On November 21, the National Park Service (NPS) announced that its American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) awarded $1,903,065 in Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants.

The grants will protect 212 acres at four Civil War battlefields in Mississippi, Virginia, and West Virginia. Nonprofit partners, along with local and state governments, collaborate in a unified effort to preserve our collective history.

These awards are made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This fund reinvests revenue from offshore oil and natural gas leasing with a mission to help strengthen conservation and recreational opportunities across the country.

The four awards were released to:

One award released earlier today works toward continued efforts to protect more than 600 acres at Shepherdstown.

Shepherdstown, near Antietam, plays a significant role in American history.

The grant, awarded to the Jefferson County Landmarks Commission, supports nearly 122 acres of the Shepherdstown Battlefield in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

NPS Preserves History of Shepherdstown, Chickasaw Bayou, Chancellorsville, and Cedar Mountain

The project bands together a wide variety of groups sharing an interest in preserving the park. The county government, a local landowner, nonprofit American Battlefield Trust, and Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle all collaborate on this effort. The groups hope to keep Faraway Farm as it has been for most of the past 160 years.

In September 1862, after the Union army held back the Confederate invasion of Maryland at Antietam, Gen. Robert E. Lee retreated across the Potomac. He left troops to defend the river’s ford, which caused heavy losses.

Union troops suffered major casualties while crossing the river. This rearguard action halted the pursuit of the retreating Confederates. This loss then caused Lincoln to fire Union Maj. Gen. George McClelland.

However, the following Union victory at the end of the Maryland campaign remained the “turning point” in the war. Shortly after, on Sept. 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It ensured perpetual freedom to persons held in slavery in secessionist states at the beginning of the new year.

NPS ABPP’s Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants help partners across the country to acquire and preserve threatened battlefields on American soil.

The program also produces three other grant programs: Preservation PlanningBattlefield Interpretation and Battlefield Restoration grants.

Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants are available on a rolling basis. To learn more about how to apply, head to NPS ABPP’s website.