Friday, October 31, 2008

News---Battlefield of Glendale Virginia on the Block for $4.1 Million: Civil Preservation Trust's Final Push for the Last $1.1 Million

“Never, before or after, did the fates put such a prize within our reach. It is my individual belief that on two occasions in the four years, we were within reach of military successes so great that we might have hoped to end the war with our independence…the first was at Bull Run [in] July ’61…this [second] chance of June 30th ’62 [at Glendale] impresses me as the best of all.” – Brigadier General Edward Porter Alexander, CSA

A year ago in October, Jim Lighthizer asked for funds to purchase "319 acres of hallowed ground at Frayser’s Farm / Glendale, just outside of Richmond, Virginia, at a total purchase price of $4.1 million." A year later he explains the good news and bad news of the situation on The Civil War Preservation Trust's website.

"The good news is that you and your fellow members have been so generous that we have been able to raise $3 million of the $4.1 million. The bad news is that – with the economy as it is right now, and with the downturn in year-end giving I am already bracing for – I am concerned about what will happen if we cannot raise the remaining $1.1 million by June 2009, just eight months away. That is when we must make our final payments to the landowners, who already generously gave us two years interest-free to give us time to raise funds to save this hallowed ground."

Lighthizer gives two very compelling reasons why it is in the best interest to finish paying off this effort as soon as possible:

"First, while I cannot divulge any details just yet, I can tell you it is possible – even likely – that we will have an opportunity to save even more core hallowed ground at Glendale in 2009, pushing us even closer to completely saving this battlefield. Second, the developers are in a frenzy to buy open land right now. Here is a copy of yet another letter we recently received from a sneaky developer (posing as a local individual buyer, complete with computer-generated handwriting), offering to purchase part of the Glendale battlefield from us! You know if they are targeting us, they are targeting the other local landowners, too! The pressure is on! And while we pride ourselves on being able to multiply your generosity through matching grants, Glendale presents its own challenges. Let me explain . . .

You see, the difficulty is that because of the way the official National Park Service boundary lines are drawn, these 319 acres are considered to be “inside the boundary” of the Richmond National Military Park (even land inside a park boundary can be owned by private landowners). Unfortunately, in this case, that means we cannot apply for any federal matching funds. (The original intent of the federal Civil War Battlefield Protection Program only allows us to use these special funds to protect hallowed ground that is “outside of park boundaries.”)

Also, even though the Commonwealth of Virginia recently set up a $5-million matching grant program to save Civil War battlefield land, this particular transaction happened too far in the past to be eligible for those funds – it cannot be “grandfathered” in! And of course, in the Richmond suburbs, land-hungry developers are still encroaching from every point on the compass, even given the downturn in the housing market. They are looking to “buy and hold.”

"So where does that leave us? It means if the heart of the Glendale battlefield is going to be truly saved for future generations to learn from and enjoy, just as you and I enjoy Vicksburg or Antietam today . . . then you and I are going to have to save it on our own."

CWL: The Pennsylvania Reserve Division was in the middle of the battle. As a matter of fact, the Rebel with the flag on the Union artillery piece was shot to death within seconds of getting on the canon by the Pennsylvania Reserve regiments. CWL happens to be a Pennsylvania Reserve reenactor; the Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves, a reenactment unit founded in 1981, of which I am on the executive board, contributed $100 to the CWPT in January of this year for the Glendale battlefield. I'll ask the unit again to send another $100 this year.

No comments: