Thursday, January 6, 2011

49 Acres Saved in the Wilderness

Today in Orange County: January 5, 2011.

OK, it happened yesterday. From the CWPT website.

Civil War Preservation Trust Completes $1 Million Campaign to Save Battlefield Land at the Wilderness

National fundraising campaign results in protection of 49-acres of hallowed ground at historic Saunders Field on Wilderness Battlefield
(Orange County, Va.) – The Civil War Preservation Trust is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed a $1 million fundraising effort to permanently protect 49 acres at the very heart of the Wilderness Battlefield. First announced in October 2010, the effort will set aside a portion of historic Saunders Field immediately north of State Route 20 for eventual incorporation into Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
“Saving critically important landscapes like this is precisely why this organization exists,” said CWPT president James Lighthizer. “Generations of Americans will now have the opportunity to walk this hallowed landscape and gain a fuller understanding of the horrors of war experienced by the soldiers fighting in the Wilderness.”
Acquisition of the Middlebrook Tract has long been a priority for the preservation community, both for the intensity of the fighting that occurred there on May 5 and 6, 1864, and for its unique location, entirely surrounded by land owned and protected by the National Park Service. Since the land sits within national park boundaries, the project was ineligible for federal matching grant funds, leaving preservationists to raise the entire purchase price from private sources.
“I would personally like to thank everyone who stepped forward this holiday season to give a gift to the nation by donating in any amount, large or small,” said Lighthizer. “Several contributors indicated to me they considered this property so historically significant that they made multiple donations to the effort.” Lighthizer also noted that the campaign was also our most successful online fundraising effort to date.
The terms of the acquisition contract placed the purchase price at $1,085,000, if closing occurred before the end of 2010. While the transaction will be finalized in 2011, a year end fundraising surge means that CWPT has collected enough in donations and firm pledges to cover the base price and an extension fee.

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