The National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) has continued to protect the country’s battlefields. Earlier today, the program awarded $2.3 million in Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants to departments in Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey. The latest awards will help protect nearly 500 acres of American Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has made the preservation efforts possible by reinvesting revenue from offshore oil and gas.
National Park Service’s ABPP administers four grant programs: Preservation Planning, Battlefield Land Acquisition, Battlefield Restoration and Battlefield Interpretation grant programs. Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants (BLAG) allow state and local governments to permanently protect battlefields. This occurs using fee simple acquisition or through the purchase of an interest in the land through a preservation covenant.
In order to be eligible for BLAG programs, the land and grant must meet the following requirements:
- Lands must be at least 50% within the boundary of a Revolutionary War, War of 1812 or Civil War battlefield, or other NPS-identified battlegrounds
- Lands must be outside the boundaries of any National Park Service legislative boundary
- Grants require a dollar-for-dollar non-Federal match
- Prior to 2026, NPS will be awarding special priority to lands that support histories and legacies at American Revolutionary War sites
Currently, 37 states qualify for BLAG battlefield lands and funding.
National Park Service Funds Protect Important Landmark at Virginia Battlefield
According to National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, the funds are the ideal representation of what happens when public and private sectors work together to protect the nation’s most beloved lands.
“These grants to state and local governments represent an important investment in public-private conservation efforts across America,” said Sams. “They ensure that future generations have access to green spaces and can reflect on our collective history.”
The areas receiving the latest grants are the Middlesex County in New Jersey, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. In Virginia, one of the land acquisitions includes the spot where Todd’s Tavern once stood. This tavern was a landmark during the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in 1864.
According to the National Park Service, “Both Union and Confederate soldiers camped at the site, which once stood on the southern portion of the 137-acre property, now protected by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the American Battlefield Trust.”
Additionally, the Tavern also represents crucial moments in African American history.
“While one might not expect taverns to be important to military history, they are often a location that sheds light on the lives of ordinary people caught in the crosshairs,” the service explained. “At Todd’s Tavern, there are promising clues about the lives of enslaved and freed African Americans who labored there. This land acquisition allows for the site to be preserved and for future investigation into its nuanced history.”