Month:

January, 2010

Blindly lashing out in response to the letter from the four preservation entities opposing the Gettysburg casino, the spin doctors hired by David LeVan have issued an especially ignorant and intentionally misleading response:

We are extremely offended by the decisions of the Civil War Preservation Trust(CWPT), National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Pennsylvania & the National Parks Conservation Association to not remain neutral in regards to the application of Mason Dixon Resort & Casino in the Adams County/Gettysburg Area. These Washington D.C. and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania based lobbyist groups are only interested in one thing and that is to use this casino “debate” to raise money for their own greed. Not one of these groups has helped to create or save one job since 2006 in this county, but yet raised a lot of money by using the Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP) as a “prostitute” to fill their coffers full of donations during the last casino project. These full donations, “to save Gettysburg'”, have yet to be delivered here.

From their own press release they obviously do not understand the economic impact this project will contribute to this area: “the letter outlined additional concerns with the project, including potential impact on the regions vibrant heritage tourism industry. Citing current visitation statistics and scientific economic impact analysis, the groups concluded that the combination of Civil War preservation and the family friendly nature of Adams County has created a proven, winning formula for the park and its neighboring communities. A casino will conflict with this proven economic engine heritage tourism, and development compatible with and respectful of that heritage.”

The county has experienced a 35% decrease in visitation since 2002 and we are now at nearly 9% unemployment which equates to nearly 10.000 residents. So just how successful has this “proven, winning formula”
been? Maybe they should have asked some of the local residents that would like to have a chance at a job at the casino.

Not one of these groups bothered to contact our organization to request information or obtain the local “pulse” of area residents. Had they done so or even bothered to interview those unemployed residents, maybe they could have a clearer picture of what “we the residents” think and desire.

Their missions are to educate and preserve historical locations from development, yet they side with No Casino Gettysburg (NCG), who’s own leader freely admits that she and her husband are sub-dividing their farm land for residential development which is in the “view shed” from Confederate Ave and on the boundary of the battlefield. The groups have stated that this sub-division is not an issue to them, yet a proposed casino is?

PCAC has been contacted by several former CWPT members stating they were lied to, cheated out of their donation and taken advantage of during the 2006 casino campaign. Once these members found out the true facts of that project, they quickly became ex-members of the CWPT. Pennsylvania Preservation did not even bother to get involved with the application of the Valley Forge Casino, a casino that is now located approximately 3,000 feet from the Valley Forge National Historical Site. They could not provide even one quality reason why that site is less important than the GNMP.

Like NCG, these four lobbyist groups have just proven how hypocritical they really can be. We are warning “All Americans” to avoid these lobbyist groups new scams for cash and media attention.

Jeff Klein & Tommy Gilbert
PCAC Spokesmen

There is so much wrong with this intentionally misleading statement that I hardly know were to begin.

First, and foremost, it’s clear that these organizations are not “lobbyist groups”, as these liars claim. These are organizations that put their money where their mouth is and actually SAVE battlefield land to preserve our heritage for future generations. This is an intentional misrepresentation intended to mislead those members of the public not familiar with these organizations. Let’s remember that this entity seeks to cannibalize its neighbors in Gettysburg and stand to make millions at the expense of the small businesses in and around the town.

PADDOCK LAND USE ISSUE

Susan and Jim Paddock donated a conservation easement on a large, agricultural property – but like most easements retained some future building rights.

This allowed for some subdivision into large parcels, not to be confused with anything approaching sprawl.

They are exercising their right to sell these parcels which carry restrictive covenants on future building sites which will not be visible from the Fairfield Road or the National Military Park. This is being carried out with the utmost sensitivity to the adjacent historic and natural resources – sensitivity not being a term in the Pro-casino dictionary.

Thus, the nasty and completely unwarranted ad hominem attack against No Casino Gettysburg leaders Susan and Jim Paddock is wholly inaccurate – they placed a conservation easement on the property to prevent the construction of houses that would be visible from the battlefield. Again, this is an attempt to intentionally mislead the public.

NPS VISITATION FORMULA

According to the NPS November 2009 statement:

“The National Park Service has updated the formula used to estimate monthly and annual visitation to Gettysburg National Military Park. Retroactive to January 1, 2009, the park’s visitation estimates have been revised to use new people-per-vehicle numbers, resulting in a lower estimate of park visitation. The people-per-vehicle numbers are based on the results of a 12 month survey.”

This change in formula was a result of a new study and survey that found:

“A new person-per-vehicle multiplier of 2.4 for November through March; and 2.6 for April through October. Previously the park had been using a multiplier of 3.3 for November through March; and 4.0 for April through October.”

According to GNMP Chief Ranger Brion Fitzgerald, “This new visitation estimate will create a more accurate baseline and provide a better look at trends for the future.”

More Info: http://gettysblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/gettysburg-national-military-park.html

The good folks from the preservation organizations have wisely elected not to stoop to the same level in the gutter as the spinmeisters, and have sent the following letter

January 29, 2010

Mr. David LeVan
1094 Baltimore Pike
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325

Mr. Jeff Klein
216 E. York St.
Biglerville, PA 17307

Dear Mr. LeVan and Mr. Klein,

In recent conversations you have had with members of the preservation community, you have deplored what you both described as the “misinformation” generated by the 2005-2006 Gettysburg Casino controversy, and expressed concern about the sometimes uncivil nature of that debate.

Local and nonresident members of the preservation community agree that this debate should be carried on by all parties in a civil and respectful manner. Our commitment is to provide our members, local decision-makers and the public with accurate information. This is particularly important because of the manner in which the previous Gettysburg Casino controversy divided citizens of Adams County. Keeping the debate civil and factual will help minimize the divisiveness that occurred during the previous controversy.

With this in mind, we would like to draw your attention to remarks by Mr. David La Torre, posted this morning on the Hanover Evening Sun website and in the Gettysburg Times. Mr. La Torre was either not privy to our conversations, or inadvertently made an inaccurate comment. He issued a statement that read: “To somehow suggest that there are enough jobs in Adams County when unemployment is now over 8 percent is ludicrous. It will be interesting to see how this message from these Harrisburg and Washington organizations will resonate with Adams County residents who are out of work and facing yearly tax increases.”

This is reminiscent of certain claims made by spokesmen for Chance Enterprises during the previous casino controversy that distorted our actual statements and written comments. We are committed to dealing professionally and courteously with you and your supporters, and after our recent conversations, we know you share our desire to avoid such misunderstandings.

Our letter (available for reference online at www.civilwar.org/aboutus/news/news-releases/2010-
news/assets/levan-casino-letter.pdf), which praised Mr. LeVan’s local philanthropic endeavors, at no point mentioned unemployment in Adams County, or the issue of jobs potentially created by any Gettysburg-area casino. Many of us also have friends and family deeply affected by the recession and would never minimize its impact.

Regarding jobs and this proposal, other casinos in Pennsylvania have made similar optimistic promises about job creation that have yet to be realized. Further, since the Eisenhower Resort is an existing amenity and no Category 3 facilities have yet opened, it is difficult to accurately project how many jobs will be created by casino operations over and above what already exist at the long established hotel.

Moreover, we have heard concerns expressed by a number of local small business owners who fear that the casino will relocate/divert existing jobs now based downtown, and dramatically hurt the business district of America’s most famous small town. Cost to taxpayers from traffic- and safety related projects and other predictable casino impacts also need to be analyzed by impartial experts.

Until such a nonpartisan, independent analysis is completed, the economic impact numbers remains speculative at best.

Finally, we note that in its rejection of the Crossroads application, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board specifically stated, “The Gettysburg area itself is primarily a rural area without large population centers nearby to sustain the casino, thus the emphasis on the market to the South. In theory, this strategy is appealing. However, during the licensing hearings, Gettysburg presented testimony that it was ‘virtually the same drive time away’ from the Baltimore/Washington D.C. market as Charlestown slots in West Virginia . . . [and] the Board was not presented with any credible evidence to demonstrate how much of that Charlestown business could be expected to leave that facility and travel north to Gettysburg.”

To reiterate, our commitment to you throughout this process is to maintain a civil, factual and respectful tone. We are hopeful that, despite today’s inflammatory statement issued to the media by Pro-Casino Adams County, you and your supporters will fulfill your pledge to do the same.

Sincerely,

James J. Campi
Policy and Communications Director
Civil War Preservation Trust

Joy M. Oakes
Director, Mid-Atlantic Region
National Parks Conservation Association

Walter W. Gallas, AICP
Director, Northeast Field Office
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Melinda G. Crawford
Executive Director
Preservation Pennsylvania

This letter amply spells out any and all necessary reasons why someone would and should oppose this casino.

Aside from the libeling of the preservation organizations involved in the fight against this blight on the battlefield, the motivations of these pro-casino hired gun spin doctors ought to be abundantly obvious. Their intentions are to intentionally mislead the reading public into believing that this casino–which has absolutely no business being placed on battlefield land–will be a good thing.

It’s not. Let’s be honest about it, and let’s use these lies to mobilize folks to oppose this blight.

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I suppose one has to give that moron David LeVan some credit for persistence. Rebuffed in his first effort to bring a grossly inappropriate casino to Gettysburg, LeVan–the same person responsible for the enormous and enormously loud Harley-Davidson dealership in Gettysburg–is trying again. This time, he wants to put his casino at the Eisenhower Conference Center, which is just a few hundred yards south of South Cavalry Field. The ground where this place sits was used as the campground for Judson Kilpatrick’s division on the night of July 3, 1863, and it served as a staging ground for the fighting on South Cavalry Field. There is absolutely NO place for a casino there.

From the CWPT:

Preservation Groups Declare Opposition to New Gettysburg Casino Proposal
Proposal poses direct threat to National Park and America’s most famous small town

(Gettysburg, Pa.) – In a letter dated January 26, 2010, a coalition of state and national preservation groups conveyed to Adams County, Pa., businessman David LeVan their decision to oppose his effort to open a casino a half-mile to the south of Gettysburg National Military Park. In the letter, the Civil War Preservation Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Pennsylvania cited the location’s proximity to the battlefield as a direct threat, noting that the potential development and traffic impacts place the National Park at further risk.
Contacts

* Virgil McDill, NTHP, 202-294-9187
* Jim Campi, CWPT, 202-367-1861 x7205
* Mindy Higgins, Preservation PA, 717-234-2310
* Shannon Andrea, NPCA, 202-454-3371

Related Links

* Joint Letter to Casino Investor (PDF)
* Map of Proposed Casino Location

Battlefields

* Gettysburg

After thanking LeVan for his outreach to the preservation community in this matter and his generosity to various local philanthropic causes, the four groups stressed that their position does not stem from any opposition to gambling, but, rather, from “our longstanding commitment to ensuring that singular and significant historic sites like the Gettysburg Battlefield are treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.”

“Some places are just too important to be treated with anything less than the greatest respect, and Gettysburg is one of those places,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Anyone who has visited the battlefield in recent years can attest to the fact that commercial development is threatening the visitor experience at Gettysburg, and this proposed casino would greatly exacerbate the problem. A new casino located so close to this sacred soil is simply unacceptable.”

After preliminary plans for the casino became public in late 2009, each preservation organization performed its own independent due diligence investigation, including meeting with Mr. LeVan personally, before reaching the same conclusion: the site’s proximity to the hallowed ground of Gettysburg creates an inappropriate juxtaposition damaging to the national park.

“We remain committed to protecting our national icon—Gettysburg National Military Park” said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association. “A casino conflicts with the heritage-based economy of Gettysburg, with its meaning in American history today, and with its future relevance.”

If licensed, the casino would be incorporated into the existing Eisenhower Resort and Conference Center, just one half-mile from the boundary of Gettysburg National Military Park. The site is also within the historically sensitive “study area” of the battlefield, as defined by the American Battlefield Protection Program (the battlefield preservation arm of the National Park Service).

Not only is this proposal significantly closer to the park than the 2006 Crossroads Gaming Resort and Spa plan, it also lies along the Emmitsburg Road, at the heart of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway (created in October 2009) and Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (signed into law in May 2008). Such designations are not undertaken lightly and, according to the letter, “reinforce our belief that this is a region of tremendous historic significance that we have a duty to safeguard for future generations.”

“I remember four years ago when our organizations joined a dedicated group of local activists to defeat this short-sighted scheme the first time. No matter where I went, anywhere in the country, people were astounded at the very idea of a gambling casino at Gettysburg,” said CWPT president James Lighthizer. “There was a near-universal agreement that locating and marketing a gambling facility at Gettysburg unavoidably conflicts with the essential meaning of this place in American history.”

A. Roy Smith, chairman of the board of Preservation Pennsylvania, reiterated that the fundamental reasoning behind his group’s opposition to a Gettysburg-area casino has not changed. “We remain steadfast in our opposition to any casino proposed in close proximity to the Gettysburg National Military Park. Preservation Pennsylvania’s reasons for including this sacred place on the 2006 Pennsylvania At Risk listing have not changed — a casino near this highly significant site, in any location, is inappropriate.”

In addition to the proposal’s proximity to the national park, the letter outlined additional concerns with the project, including potential impact on the region’s vibrant heritage tourism industry. Citing current visitation statistics and scientific economic impact analysis, the groups concluded that “the combination of Civil War preservation and the family friendly nature of Adams County has created a proven, winning formula for the park and its neighboring communities. A casino will conflict with this proven economic engine—heritage tourism, and development compatible with and respectful of that heritage.”

The letter further noted that the portion of Cumberland Township where the casino would be located predominantly features residential dwellings and agricultural operations, with limited and generally small-scale commercial development occasionally intermixed. The groups expressed the opinion that the facility would “have the potential to significantly increase traffic through the area, generate more incompatible large-scale development, and would likely necessitate the kind of eye-catching signage that would be out of place in what has up to now been a relatively undeveloped area.”

There are plenty of places to put a casino. A Civil War battlefield is not one of them.

Give it up, LeVan.

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My first book, published in 1998, was titled Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, and it won the Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award, given by the Robert E. Lee Civil War Roundtable of Central New Jersey for each year’s best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg.

It’s a short book, only 130 or so pages, but it was the first really detailed treatment of the aspects of the battle it addresses–Farnsworth’s Charge, Merritt’s fight on South Cavalry Field, and the Battle of Fairfield–and it was well received. It was published by Thomas Publications, and was a very steady but not spectacular seller. It sold nearly 7500 copies before Thomas, over my objections, permitted it to go out of print. I believed that there was still a market for it, and I was very unhappy when Thomas decided not to do a second printing. Consequently, it’s been out of print for four or five years now, and it’s become EXTREMELY rare. There are five copies for sale on Amazon as I write this, and the cheapest of the five is priced at $114.50. Considering it’s a short book that was only ever published in softcover, that’s really remarkable. I have two copies here. That’s it.

For the past several years, I debated what to do about it. I definitely wanted to see it back in print, but I was torn between bringing it back out as originally published or doing a second edition. There were compelling reasons for both. If I brought it back out as originally published, there was minimal work to be done. I thought long and hard about bringing it back out myself, and actually had one of my few copies cut apart and scanned. I then paid a friend of mine to clean up the scan so it could be sent right to the printer and a new printing of the original edition published with a new colophon and new publishing information. Other than that, nothing would change.

At the same time, it was my first book, written in 1997. Fifteen books and thirteen years later, my writing has improved dramatically, and there are some things about the writing style I would like to fix. Back in those days, I had a problem with over-use of the passive voice, and by doing a new edition, I can fix those issues. Further, over the years, I have accumulated a lot of new material that I did not have when I wrote the original version, some of which has never been published. As just one example, after the book was published, I purchased a letter written by Capt. William M. Graham–a nephew of George Gordon Meade–to his first cousin, George Meade, that discusses the fighting on South Cavalry Field. It’s never been used by any historian, I own it, and I have long debated what to do with it. There’s also one map in it that I don’t like that really should be replaced.

I ultimately decided that bringing out a new, revised second edition was the way to go, and Ted Savas of Savas-Beatie, who has published three of my other titles, has agreed to publish it. Ted has given me carte blanche to do pretty much as I please with it, and I am working on the revisions. I will largely re-work the chapter on Farnsworth’s Charge and will add some significant new material to the chapter on Fairfield. The map that I don’t like will be replaced (John Heiser, who did the original maps, has agreed to come out of cartographic retirement for that one map, so that they all match, for which I am very grateful–I’ve always loved John’s maps, and I am really pleased that he’s agreed to do this for me). Since the appearance of the area where Farnsworth’s Charge occurred has changed dramatically due to the Park Service’s tree cutting program, I will shoot all new photos of the monuments, etc. I will also be adding a walking/driving tour with GPS coordinates. And the full 5500 word essay that J. D. Petruzzi and I wrote in response to an article that was published in Blue & Gray magazine will be an appendix to the book (a dramatically edited version was published in the magazine). Although that piece has been available here on this blog for some time, it’s never been published. The new edition should be out about this time next year.

In short, the new edition will be significantly different from what was published in 1998, and I am absolutely convinced that what started out as a good book will end up being even better as a result. I am excited and pleased that it will be back in print again, and I am having fun working on it. Although I thought I was finished with it along ago, it’s like visiting an old, dear friend again.

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It’s been a LONG time since I last profiled a forgotten cavalryman, so here goes…

Julius MasonJulius Wilmot Mason was born in Towanda, Pennsylvania on January 19, 1835. He was named for his father’s law partner, David Wilmot, who later became a U.S. Senator and the founder of the Republican Party.

He graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute in June 1857 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He then enrolled in Shelby College, also in Kentucky, as a resident graduate. He studied there for a year, and then received a master’s degree in engineering from the Kentucky Military Institute in 1859. He took a job as a division engineer with the Brooklyn Water Works, and was employed there when the Civil War broke out in April 1861. He also served as a militia officer in New York prior to the Civil War.

Answering President Lincoln’s initial call for volunteers, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the 5th U. S. Cavalry on April 26, 1861. Mason had had plenty of military training while a student at the Kentucky Military Institute, and the ranks of the Regular cavalry regiments were badly depleted by the departure of Southern officers and the assignment of Regular officers to command volunteer regiments. The 5th U. S. Cavalry, in particular, had been badly hit, losing, among others, Col. Albert S. Johnston, Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee, Maj. William J. Hardee, Capts. Earl Van Dorn and Edmund Kirby Smith, and Lts. John Bell Hood and Fitzhugh Lee to the Confederacy.

He joined the regiment at Washington, D.C. on May 15, 1861, and served at the U. S. Treasury until June 4, when he joined his company for the First Bull Run Campaign. He fought at First Bull Run, where he drew praise for his “daring intrepidity”, and was promoted to first lieutenant on June 1, 1861. He served in the defenses of Washington during the winter of 1861-1862, and was promoted to captain on December 6, 1862.

Mason and the 5th U. S. actively participated in McClellan’s 1862 Peninsula Campaign, participating the siege of Yorktown. However, Mason contracted typhoid fever shortly after the siege of Yorktown, and was hospitalized at Chesapeake Hospital in Hampton, Virginia for the better part of two months, meaning that he missed the Seven Days Battles and did not participate in the 5th U. S. Cavalry’s ill-fated mounted charge against Confederate infantry at the Battle of Gaine’s Mill. He rejoined his regiment at Harrison’s Landing in July and served with the regiment as a rear guard during the evacuation of the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula.

The Regulars served under McClellan’s command during the 1862 Maryland Campaign, and Mason was engaged in skirmishing at the September 14, 1862 Battle of South Mountain, again in skirmishing at the Middle Bridge during the September 17 Battle of Antietam, and in the September 20 fight at Shepherdstown Ford on the Potomac River. He served at St. James College, near Williamsport, Maryland during November, and then participated in a December 1862 reconnaissance near Falmouth, Virginia.

When the Army of the Potomac went into its winter encampment near Falmouth after its defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Mason spent the winter on picket and court-martial duty. He briefly commanded the regiment for a few days in March, and then returned to company command for the May 1863 Stoneman Raid simultaneous with the Battle of Chancellorsville. He commanded a squadron that served as the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps’ advance guard at the beginning of the raid, and crossed the Rapidan River at Blind Ford, just below the junction of the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers. While his squadron was isolated from the main body, he captured nearly the entire complement of men assigned to a Confederate battery, and was only prevented from taking the guns by the arrival of the 13th Virginia Cavalry. Mason held his position at Blind Ford until the rest of the Cavalry Corps crossed the river at Raccoon Ford, five miles above Blind Ford. As the regimental historian of the 5th U. S. Cavalry put it, “This was one of the most gallant dashes made by any part of the regiment during the war.”

Mason then participated in the June 9, 1863 Battle of Brandy Station, where he earned a brevet to major, to date from June 9, 1863, for gallant and meritorious services. When Capt. James E. Harrison suffered a debilitating sunstroke just after Brandy Station, Mason assumed command of the 5th U. S., and led it during the June 17, 1863 Battle of Aldie and the June 19 Battle of Upperville, and then in the fighting on South Cavalry Field at Gettysburg on July 3. He remained in command of the regiment throughout the retreat from Gettysburg, and again earned a brevet–this time to lieutenant colonel–for gallant and meritorious service at the August 1, 1863 fight at Brandy Station. He led his regiment through the Bristoe Station and Mine Run commands.

In March 1864, he was selected to command the bodyguard for Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (consisting of Cos. B, F, and K, of the 5th U. S. Cavalry, as well as detachments from Cos. C and D), and served in this important role until the end of the Civil War. He led Cos. B, F, and K in raids on the Petersburg and Weldon Railroads in August 1864 and through Surry County, Virginia in October 1864. He accompanied army headquarters to Washington in May 1865, and continued to serve with Grant until August 12, 1866.

He was then selected for recruiting service in Carlisle and Philadelphia until April 14, 1867, when he rejoined his company in Washington. He commanded General Grant’s escort until he inaugurated as President of the United States in January 1868. He then served in the same position for Gen. William T. Sherman until March 31, 1870, when he was transferred to frontier service.

He arrived at Fort David Russell in Russell, Wyoming on April 29, 1870, and served there until December 12, 1871, when he and a detachment of the regiment moved to Arizona. He arrived at Fort Hualpai from February 27, 1872 and served in the Apache Campaign of 1872, participating in skirmishes in the Big Canyon of Bill Williams’ Fork on July 5, 1872. He then won the first significant victory of the campaign at Muchos Canyons, near the headwaters of the North Branch of the Big Sandy River on September 25, when he commanded Cos. B, C, and K of the regiment and a detachment of Hualpai scouts. He was also engaged in skirmishes near the Santa Maria on October 24 and at Sycamore Crek on October 25.

Unfortunately, Mason became debilitated with what was diagnosed as inflammatory rheumatism and had to take medical leave and seek a change of climate. He rejoined the regiment at Fort Hualpai on July 15, 1873 and then marched his company to Camp Verde, where he served until May 3, 1875. During this time, he did detached service at Los Angles and as special Indian agent of the Rio Verde Agency after the regular agent went “violently insane”. He then participated in surveying the Fort Lowell Reservation.

Mason was twice nominated to be a brevet colonel to date from September 15, 1872, for gallant conduct in the engagement with the Apaches at Muchos Canyons, but the U.S. Senate never approved the brevet.

In May 1875, he marched Cos. A, E, and K to Fort Hays, where he served until September 19. He then marched to Fort Riley, Kansas, where he served until May 19, 1876. He then served in the campaign against the Sioux, including in the Custer relief expedition in June 1876. He commanded the pursuit of the Sioux near the South Branch of the Cheyenne River and in the skirmish at War Bonnet, Wyoming. He was promoted to major of the 3rd Cavalry on July 1, 1876, but remained in command of a battalion of five companies of the 5th Cavalry during the operations at the Little Big Horn and the Yellowstone expedition, and was engaged in the skirmish at Slim Buttes, Dakota Territories.

When the expedition disbanded at Fort Robinson, Nebraska in October 1876, he joined the 3rd Cavalry and was assigned to command Fort Robinson. He retained that command until February 1877, when he was assigned to Fort Laramie. He served at Fort Laramie from April 1877 to August 1878, and commanded Fort Fetterman from February to November 1879, during which time he supervised the construction of a bridge across the North Platte River. He relinquished a leave of absence during the winter of 1880 at the request of the department command for the purpose of superintending the construction of bridges across the Snake and Bear Rivers between Rawlins, Wyoming and Ute Agency on the White River in Colorado, and upon successful completion of these duties, took command of Fort Washakie, Wyoming until May 1882. In May 1882, he and his regiment were transferred to Arizona and participated in a campaign against hostile Apaches until the fall of 1882. He was then assigned to command Fort Huachuca, where he died of “apoplexy” on December 20, 1882. Mason was buried in the post cemetery at Fort Huachuca. He is one of three former post commanders buried there.

He married 21-year-old Mary E. Dunham on December 19, 1860 at the Jamaica M. E. Church in Jamaica, Long Island. They had a son, Julius Addison Mason, born in Towanda in 1861. Mary outlived her husband and died in 1893. Julius Addison Mason died in 1914.

Here’s to forgotten cavalryman Julius W. Mason, who served his country well and faithfully for 21 years and died while still in the service of his country. Thanks to Carolyn Mason Buseman, the great-granddaughter of Julius W. Mason, for filling in some family details for me.

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13 Jan 2010, by

A New Role

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I’ve decided to expand the scope of my work to include the American Revolution. I firmly believe that change–challenging oneself–is a good thing. It’s good to take on a new challenge and shake things up.

Along the way, I discovered a magazine focused on the Revolutionary War called Patriots of the American Revolution, which is published about an hour from here. I made contact with the publishers and have established a relationship with them. Along the way, we reached an agreement whereby I have now been appointed the review editor for the magazine. Effective now, I am in charge of book and media reviews for the magazine, and I will also be contributing content. Just a couple of days ago, I submitted my first article, on the May 1780 Battle of Waxhaws, which will be the feature article in May/June issue of the magazine.

I enjoy working with the publishers, and I have enjoyed introducing them to some of the Revolutionary War students that I know. It’s going to be an interesting experience and will also be a good way for me to continue to learn more about the American Revolution.

I’ve added a permanent link to the magazine in the links to the right.

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11 Jan 2010, by

Upcoming Event

I’ve been invited to participate in a cavalry conference being sponsored jointly by Longwood University and the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park at Longwood University on February 27. For those of you who might be interested in attending, here’s the flyer for the program:

ELEVENTH ANNUAL CIVIL WAR SEMINAR

THE CAVALRY: WEAPONS, LEADERS, and BATTLES

Cavalry Generals J.E.B. Stuart (CSA) and Philip Sheridan (USA)

WYGAL AUDITORIUM
LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY
FARMVILLE, VIRGINIA

February 27, 2010

Schedule

9:00 a.m. Doors open

9:25 a.m. Introduction by Dr. David Coles, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Longwood University

9:30 a.m. Robert Dunkerly
“Horsepower and Firepower: Weapons of the Cavalry.”

10:00 a.m. Eric Wittenberg
“Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of
Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.”

11:15 a.m. Jeffery Wert
“‘He Stood out from the Great War Canvas’: Jeb Stuart.”

12:30 Lunch

1:45 p.m. Clark “Bud” Hall
“The Battle of Brandy Station: Attack and Defense of the Daremark Line.”

2:45 p.m. Scott C. Patchan
“Overview of cavalry operations in the 1864 Valley Campaign.”

Participants

ROBERT DUNKERLY
Bert Dunkerly is currently a park ranger at Appomattox Court House NHP, where is the park’s historic weapons safety officer. He has worked at several other National Parks, including Gettysburg, Stones River, Jamestown, Kings Mountain, and Moores Creek. He has authored several articles and books on the Revolution, Civil War, and historic preservation.

CLARK B. HALL
Clark B. Hall serves as Senior Managing Director for The Fairfax Group, a premier international security and investigative firm. Mr. Hall previously served as Global Business Security Director for General Electric and also as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to service with GE, Mr. Hall enjoyed a distinguished career with the U.S. Congress as a criminal investigations manager, during which time he served as Chief Investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Iran/Contra Committee. Prior to Congressional service, Mr. Hall spent seventeen years with the FBI, wherein he managed nationwide organized crime investigations, serving as Unit Chief, Organized Crime Section, FBI Headquarters. He has written and lectured widely on cavalry operations in the Civil War and is a co-founder and past board member of the Chantilly Battlefield Association; Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and the Brandy Station Foundation. Mr. Hall has been presented numerous battlefield preservation commendations, including the “Anne B. Snyder Preservation Award.” He is a decorated Marine combat veteran, who served in Viet Nam as a tactical commander. Mr. Hall received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kansas State University. He has performed graduate studies in history and law at Kansas State and the University of Virginia and now resides in Middleburg, Virginia. He is currently working on Sabers Across the Rappahannock: The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863.

SCOTT C. PATCHAN
Scott Patchan was born and raised in Ohio, and attended college at James Madison University. He has written dozens of articles for Civil War Magazine and other periodicals, is a contributing writer and historical consultant for the Time Life Series Voices of the Civil War and for the Kernstown Battlefield Association. He is a frequent lecturer on many aspects of Civil War history and is often requested as a battlefield tour guide. He is the author of Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign. His first book The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont, Virginia received critical acclaim when it was published in 1996 and is now out of print. He has a forthcoming book on the Battle of Third Winchester.

JEFFRY D. WERT
Jeff Wert graduated cum laude with a B. A. History from Lock Haven University in 1968. In 1976, he completed his M. A. in History at Penn State. Wert taught at Penns Valley Area High School from 1969 to 2002 and was Pennsylvania’s “Teacher of the Year” in 1999. He is now a full time author and an historian. He has written articles for Civil War Times Illustrated, American History Illustrated, Blue & Gray Magazine, America’s Civil War, Military History, Virginia Cavalcade, Pennsylvania History, and the Civil War News. Wert has contributed and edited Historical Times Illustrated’s “Encyclopedia of the Civil War.” He has wrote seven books including: From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign 1864; Mosby’s Rangers; General James Longstreet: The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier; Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer; A Brotherhood of Valor, Gettysburg—Day Three, The Sword of Lincoln; and Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart. His books have won numerous awards. Wert has appeared on the History Channel’s “Civil War Journal”; C-Span 2’s “Book Talk”; and PBS’s “Valley of Fire.” Wert is an Honorary Board of Directors for the Civil War Preservation Trust; serves on the Advisory Council for the Lincoln Award at Gettysburg College; and is on the Historical Advisory Board for the Friends of Gettysburg.

Eric J. Wittenberg
An attorney in Columbus, Ohio, Eric Wittenberg has long been a student of Civil War cavalry operations. Wittenberg has published fifteen books on Civil War history, most of them centering on Virginia. Additionally, his articles have appeared in Gettysburg Magazine, North & South, Blue & Gray, Hallowed Ground, America’s Civil War, and Civil War Times Illustrated. He is very active in battlefield preservation, and serves as the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation and also serves on the Governor of Ohio Commission on Ohio’s Civil War Sesquicentennial. He is also active with the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation. He is a graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

This annual seminar is sponsored by Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Eastern National Bookstore, The Department of History, Political Science, & Philosophy, and the Center for Southside Virginia History at Longwood University.

This seminar is FREE and open to the public.

Parking available on Longwood University campus except in 24 hour reserved spaces, handicapped, or tow-away zones.

Lunch is available at the Longwood University Dining Hall

Signs will be posted on the Longwood University Campus. For directions to the campus go to www.longwood.edu. For more information contact Dr. David Coles at 434.395.2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434.352.8987, Ext. 32.

Some of my favorite folks–Scott Patchan, Bud Hall, and Jeff Wert–are on the program with me, and Patrick Schroeder, the staff historian at Appomattox, is the coordinator. And best of all: it’s free!

If you’re in the area, please stop by.

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The following threat to develop critical land near the Brandy Station battlefield was reported in yesterday’s edition of the Culpeper Star-Exponent newspaper:

‘Civil War Williamsburg’

By ALLISON BROPHY CHAMPION
Published: January 8, 2010

Union forces clashed with Confederates in two separate fights at Rappahannock Station — the wartime name for modern-day Remington — in August 1862 and November 1863.

A major crossing here was the Orange & Alexandria railroad bridge, which the Yankees burned in October 1863, the Library of Congress records.

Both sides wanted control of the vital waterway at the site and many died fighting for it.

Now, a local developer wants to return the place to its roots with the establishment of Culpeper Crossing, a Civil War-themed tourist destination on 14 acres of wooded, riverfront land adjoining the battlefield.

Bob Currier, in addition, has already placed a much larger parcel of actual battlefield into permanent conservation easement.

“We need a Civil War Williamsburg,” said the Remington resident, whose family has owned 100-plus acres at Rappahannock Station for more than a century. “It will be the only thing like it — on a battlefield where trenches are still intact.”

Located about five miles north of the more famous village at Brandy Station — the site of North America’s largest cavalry engagement in June 1863 — Remington sits about half a mile from the Rappahannock River in Fauquier County, though a portion of it sits within the border of Culpeper County.

Currier, who has a background as a builder, plans to get started on his “reproduction Civil War town” on the Culpeper side of the river this spring.

Besides an 18-room bed and breakfast and a museum, the secluded, riverfront development will include shops, a church, restaurant and live theater — the potential for up to 20 buildings in all, according to Currier.

He also plans to incorporate other periods of history relevant to the area including a Native American village, French and Indian War fort and Revolutionary War attractions.

Currier said he’s found hundreds of arrowheads and two dozen stone axes on the property. He wants to offer wildlife exhibits and the arts at Culpeper Crossing as well.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources sees the possibilities.
“Your concept for Culpeper Crossing offers an exciting opportunity to present the rich history of this area in an engaging format and setting,” wrote DHR director Kathleen Kilpatrick in a letter to Currier last year. “We look forward to working with you to develop a sensitive and important new asset for Virginians and the nation.”

She encouraged “the use of local building tradition … to link Culpeper Crossing with the cultural heritage of its location.” It’s something Currier remains committed to doing as he moves forward, having ordered bronze statues of Gens. George Meade (Union officer from Pennsylvania) and Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who met in Remington.

Civil War soldiers who fought in Culpeper — believed to be the most marched upon county during the war — surely would never have guessed the history-themed recreation that awaits the river land at Rappahannock Station.

One letter in Currier’s collection of correspondence drafted in this area from that time stands out especially.

“I hope the time is not too distant when all who live may see this war ended and peace flow again in one unbroken stream through all our valleys — from east to west and from north to south,” wrote John M. Lovejoy of the 121st New York Regiment, stationed near Brandy Station in 1864.

Conservation easements

Currier wants his family’s land to remain unbroken by rampant development, which has crept closer to Culpeper’s battlefield sites in recent years.

And so about a year ago, he placed 189 acres of Rappahannock Station battlefield — adjoining Culpeper Crossing — into permanent conservation easement, meaning it’s going to stay as is forever.

He admitted that his foremost reason for pursuing the conservation easements through the DHR was for the money — easement holders can sell the tax credits they receive for cash. Currier did just that, getting about $3 million for the tax credits.

According to the terms of the easement designation, the land can never be subdivided and it carries strict limits, for perpetuity, on very limited development.

Currier credited family friend Sandra Stevens, an easement consultant from McLean, for helping him navigate the complicated process.

“What she is doing has dramatically affected the county,” he said of other easement projects Stevens worked on last year, including battlefield land in Brandy Station.

“I wouldn’t have gotten through it without her.”

Property value

Stevens, who has a background in lobbying, began her easement consulting business with Currier back in December of 2008.

“I did his and decided this was something I love doing,” she told the Star-Exponent in a recent interview. “It gives me an appreciation for the value of people’s property and how they feel about it.”

Successfully obtaining easement status is a complicated process, Stevens said, that spans about nine months. In Virginia alone, she said, there are 34 different land trusts, including DHR, the Civil War Preservation Trust and Piedmont Environmental Council, that hold properties in easement.

It’s an altruistic motive to put your land into easement, Stevens said, but these days many folks are doing it for the money too – to save the family farm.

She said she has thousands more acres in Culpeper County “in the pipeline” for easement designation.

The benefit to the county of historic easements is open space preservation, Stevens said.

“The state of open land in the county right on U.S. 29 has definitely changed,” she said. “We won’t be having overpasses and congested traffic areas like it would have been if had been developed as originally planned,” Stevens said, referring to the previously planned large development at Willow Run, property that she helped put into easement in 2009.

Wendy Musumeci, the DHR’s easement program coordinator, said her department holds 1,175 acres in historic conservation easement in Culpeper County.

Of those, 641 acres were added last year, she said, noting, “Future generations have to abide by these land restrictions.”

Culpeper County Planning Director John Egertson, speaking for himself and not the county, said conservation easements are a positive thing for the county because they maintain its overall rural character.

On the other hand, he noted, conservation easements could be detrimental if they prevented development in areas intended for growth, like the county’s technology zone next to the Daniel Technology Center.

“As for the various easements which have put into place to date, I am supportive of them all.”

Union soldier W.H.B. Dudley, camping near “Rapperhannac Station” in September of 1863 did not feel so supportive of the other side.

“We had a nice cav fight,” he wrote to his nephew George Payson. “We drove the rebels about 15 miles; they did run, tore up things good. I could see lots of dead rebels.”

We definitely do NOT need a Civil War Williamsburg where this guy wants to put it. I’m hard-pressed to think of a worse place for such a thing. It brings to mind the scheme to put a Disney park near Haymarket in the 1990’s.

Remington is immediately north of the Rappahannock, and adjacent to Beverly’s Ford, meaning it’s just north of the Brandy Station battlefield. It’s got its own battlefield in its own right. While I great appreciate the fact that Mr. Currier granted the preservation easement for his land, this is an incredibly stupid idea.

I want to encourage each and every one of my readers to do what you can to oppose this stupid scheme. Write to VDHR. Write to the CWPT. Write to Congress. Do what you can to prevent this thing from being built.

I’m not opposed to something like a Civil War Williamsburg being built–in fact, it could be a terrific idea if executed properly. However, a real battlefield next to one of the most important sites of the entire war is most assuredly NOT the place to built such a blight.

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With special thanks to reader Chris Evans for providing this link, I give you some more moronic re-enactors, written be a re-enactor of the 4th Virginia Cavalry:

About six years back, my pard and I decided to see how many events we could do in one year. [Obviously single or well on the way to a divorce.] We do not venture north of Gettysburg much, as we are spoiled on all the wonderful events on the actual battlefields here in Maryland and in Virginia. I was however intrigued by an ad in the Camp Chase Gazette, for an Analomink, NY event. Soon after arriving at this event, we forever after called it “Analmink”. The ad stated, “Indiscriminate firing of weapons in camp is encouraged!”

I’m convinced that surveyors within 70 miles of this place would have been put out of business, for lack of yellow survey tape, as it had all been bought up and sewn to the uniforms of these guys. 99% of the people there were dismounted cavalry.

The weapon of choice was the chromed Remington revolver, with at least two extra cylinders. The “battlefield” was a baseball field next to a bar (yes a saloon, tavern). When any of the combatants needed to reload, they entered the bar, ordered a beer and sat on the bar stool to reload. [An amenity.] Our mouths were agape by time the “battle scene” was ready to start, as there’d been continuous firing going on all day. The small valley, where the camp was situated, was covered by a thick cloud of burnt powder smoke.

Suddenly from out of nowhere, a dilapidated pick-up truck hove into view with fenders flapping and dragging what was supposed to pass as a horse trailer. The engine gave off a cacophony of grinding noises and smoke. Various and sundry engine parts and tools were in the bed, along with a rebuilt “big horn” saddle with the horn cut off. The doors were emblazoned with a crude, handwritten legend: “Rebel Construction Co.” Out jumps a young man, somewhat lost in the cloud of dust, exhaust fumes and the accumulated pall from the morning’s unbridled skirmishing. He stood akimbo, hands on hips and announced for all to hear: “I’m Lt. (name deleted). I’ve just completed officer’s school, so I’ll take charge of all “Rebel” cavalry.” [Assertiveness training obviously formed a part of officer school.] We looked at each other with mild amusement and continued to stir the beans we were preparing for lunch. Somehow the Lt. had enough native savvy to realize that he was not going to be carried into battle on our shoulders and he went about his business, tacking up his horse.

He was the only other local reenactor who was mounted, except for Rush’s Lancers. This group contained 19 troopers, all of which had deadly-looking lances to go with their chromed Remingtons, but only one horse among them. Their cavalry boots were home-altered Dingos that had extra leather sewn on the tops. They all wore scarlet hankies about their necks and appeared very serious about their impression. [Well, at least they were all attired the same. You have got to give them that.] However, we did have to stifle laughter when their bugler called them “to horse.” They all lined up with their lances, dismounted, except for the one guy whose turn it was to use the horse. Once the battle was joined, it overflowed the ball field and continued up the mountainside. At one point we spotted a Louisiana flag and rode over to warn, what we mistook to be a true southern unit, of a Yankee flanking move. The “Col.”, covered in yellow survey tape and with an obvious NJ accent rallied his men with the cry: “Git youse guns goys, we gotta killed some Yankees heah!” It was not hard for the spectators to know where the combatants were, for the cloud of gun smoke that continually shifted back and forth across the face of the mountain.

Later, when we figured all black powder had to have been expended, the weary fighters came off the mountain and entered the bar to reload and refresh, immediately after which, the combat was renewed. Nobody was safe, even in the portajohns (doors were kicked in, in order to fire upon the hapless occupants). [!] As we continued to observe this spectacle, an officer entered our camp to assign picket duty for the night. We allowed as how we did not mind standing guard, but what in God’s name were we to guard against, as every “no-no” of reenacting was already being carried on in the open during daylight? The officer told us that we needed to guard against “civilians” participating in the skirmishes. “Well, golly Sir, look at this herd. Most of these guys are wearing Levi’s and white shirts. Who can tell who’s a civilian?” He blew off our concerns and assigned us an hour to “stand watch.”

At 2330 hrs., we were sitting in the bleachers with a cold beer watching in amazement as the lines formed for yet another charge. These guys never tired of burning powder. When we loaded our mounts for the trip back to Maryland, one of the “organizers” came over to shake our hands and express his hope that we had enjoyed the “premiere Civil War event in NY!” Our stomachs hurt and tears ran down our cheeks from the laughter that was generated on the ride back home. [Sounds like a successful weekend, then. Laughter will add years to one’s life, authentic reenacting won’t.] We relived what we’d seen, but we still did not believe it. I’ve related this story several times and even carried the ad for awhile. The ad said it all:”indiscriminate firing in camp is encouraged!”

Steven in Maryland, 4th Virginia Cavalry

As Bugs Bunny would say, “what a bunch of maroons!” Thanks, Chris. I needed the laugh.

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Hat tip to Russell Bonds for bringing this beauty to my attention.

From the January 7 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, we have our first nominees for Civil War morons of the year for 2010:

Stanardsville Civil War dispute ends in courtroom stalemate
By STAFF REPORTS
Published: January 7, 2010

STANARDSVILLE — In a Civil War re-enactment that went too far, two Union and Confederate cavalry commanders who tussled on the field of battle each were found not guilty of assault.

The two pressed charges against each other after the Sept. 19, 2009, re-enactment of the Battle of Stanardsville.

The Confederate commander, Doug Nalls, claimed his Union counterpart, Joseph Ferguson, knocked off his hat and Nalls allegedly responded by firing his revolver. While the weapon was not loaded with a bullet, the Union commander suffered facial injuries from the revolver’s powder blast, according to a prosecutor.

This chapter of the Civil War ended in a draw: A judge concluded yesterday that he could not find either man guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Greene County commonwealth’s attorney said the re-enactment gone bad was the result of “bad blood” between the men that boiled over on the battlefield, located about 20 miles north of Charlottesville.

Confederate re-enactors testified during the several-hour trial that the two had exchanged words before the violent encounter. According to Confederate witnesses, the Union commander used archaic slurs such as “blaggard” and “knave” to describe his Confederate counterpart.

The prosecutor, Ronald L. Morris, said today that more contemporary insults were also exchanged. He said courtroom accounts of the physical exchange were in dispute except for two points: “The hat came off and the gun was fired.”

Nalls’ father testified he had to wade into battle to separate the men.
Ferguson left court unhappy with the outcome. “The feud on the battlefield goes on,” he said.

Injuries, accidental or otherwise, are not uncommon during Civil War re-enactments. In 2008, a Confederate re-enactor brought a loaded weapon into a battle being filmed for a documentary and shot and wounded a Union re-enactor. — The Associated Press

I’d call this galactically stupid, but that would be an insult to stupid people. Amazing. Truly amazing.

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The Civil War Preservation Trust issued a press release today that indicates that, in spite of the terrible economic conditions that marked the year 2009, it nevertheless managed to save 2777 acres of battlefield land at 20 different locations:

CIVIL WAR PRESERVATION TRUST RESCUES 2,777 ACRES OF HALLOWED GROUND IN 2009

Despite difficult economic climate, national nonprofit group protects historic landscapes at 20 battlefields

(Washington, D.C.) – The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation group, has announced its land preservation accomplishments for 2009. Despite the difficult economy and challenges facing all charitable organizations, CWPT helped to permanently protect 2,777 acres of hallowed ground at 20 different Civil War battlefields in five states during the last calendar year. Overall, CWPT has protected more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land at 109 sites in 20 states.

“Despite the worst economy in recent memory, we pressed onward with our mission and achieved a level of success that surpassed all expectations,” noted CWPT President James Lighthizer. “We posted one of the most successful years in this organization’s history — including our second-highest-ever tally for acres preserved in a calendar year.”

With 30 acres of Civil War battlefield land lost to development each day, there has long been a pressing need to see these hallowed grounds protected, but many preservation projects in 2009 took on an added sense of urgency. In 2008, the Commonwealth of Virginia approved $5.2 million in matching grants for battlefield preservation, specifying a limited time frame for use of the landmark allocation.

“At a critical time in the fight to preserve some of this nation’s most hallowed ground, Virginia’s landowners, citizens, organizations and the government leaders at all levels have led the way to secure these battlefield lands for future generations of Americans,” remarked Kathleen Kilpatrick, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “There is so much to celebrate in these remarkable accomplishments, even as we prepare for the hard work ahead.”

However, in order to secure these funds, CWPT and other preservation groups had to secure $2 from other sources for every dollar they requested from the state. Understanding the once-in-a-lifetime nature of the opportunity, CWPT members responded, contributing to a “Virginia Legacy Fund” to meet the match requirements.

“CWPT’s members are the lynchpin of our success,” said Lighthizer. “They are smart, savvy people who want to know exactly what they are contributing toward — they want to examine a map, see pictures, read a personal account of the fighting on that property before they write a check. We respect our members and work hard to be responsible stewards of their generosity.”

In addition to land purchases, the year was also notable for the organization’s donation of 176 acres of the1862 battlefield to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The land was purchased by CWPT several years ago with the express intention of being transferred to the National Park Service once it was able to incorporate the gift. Incorporating newly protected land into existing parks is a perpetual goal for CWPT. In 2009, the organization participated in the preservation of land at two sites — Davis Bridge, Tenn. and Cedar Creek, Va. — where the acreage was transferred to a state or national park. In the case of Davis Bridge, the state of Tennessee contributed $864,000 toward acquisition of this key battlefield site.

Recognizing that the work of protecting historic landscapes is often beyond the scope of any single organization, CWPT strives to work in partnership with a wide variety of regional and local preservation groups to purchase significant pieces of land otherwise outside the reach of either independently. For example, CWPT this year partnered with the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, based in Fredericksburg, to protect 93 acres at the Wilderness Battlefield, lending technical expertise to the transaction process, as well as contributing financially.

Another hallmark of CWPT preservation strategy is working toward reaching a “critical mass” of preservation at individual battlefields and connecting previously protected the parcels into unified entities. In 2009, the joint effort between CWPT and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation to protect 209 acres at Third Winchester, Va., created a 576-acre swath of protected battlefield land. Recent preservation efforts added 11 acres at Glendale and 178 acres at Malvern Hill, both in eastern Henrico County, Va., — an area in which CWPT has now protected a total of 1650 contiguous acres, almost 900 of which have already been transferred to the National Park Service’s Richmond National Battlefield.

In addition to land purchases, CWPT remained actively engaged in education and advocacy programs designed to inform the public of the threats facing Civil War battlefields. In 2009, two major news conferences with Academy Award-winning actors — Richard Dreyfuss unveiled CWPT’s annual History Under Siege report in March and Robert Duvall called attention to Walmart’s plans to build on Virginia’s Wilderness Battlefield in May — raised the profile of historic preservation efforts and brought national attention to the cause. Also last year, CWPT received national-level awards of excellence for the complete overhauls of its website and Hallowed Ground, its quarterly membership magazine.

The full roster of sites protected by CWPT in 2009 includes: 55 acres at Natural Bridge in Florida; 60 acres at Wood Lake in Minnesota; 66 acres at Raymond and 12 acres at Tupelo in Mississippi; 643 acres at Davis Bridge and 5 acres at Parkers Crossroads in Tennessee; 68 acres at Aldie, 47 acres at Appomattox Station, 433 acres at Brandy Station, 85 acres at Chancellorsville, 11 acres at Glendale, 178 acres at Malvern Hill, 35 acres at Sailor’s Creek, 730 acres at five Shenandoah Valley battlefields, 253 acres at Trevilian Station and 94 acres at the Wilderness in Virginia. The value of these transactions totals more than $38 million.

“Although it is incredibly satisfying for me to reminisce on the successes of the past year, our work is far from done. The staff, trustees and members of the Civil War Preservation Trust will continue our efforts to protect these unique resources for future generations,” said Lighthizer.

With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. CWPT has preserved more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land across the nation. CWPT’s website is www.civilwar.org.

Even with the economic hardships that so many people suffered through this year, people still dug deep and donated money to save Civil War battlefields. Good work, folks, and another year of great battlefield preservation accomplishment by the CWPT.

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