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The Civil War Trust received $250,000 to buy land on the Appomattox Court House battlefield.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Another 90 acres of Appomattox battlefields will be preserved for future generations thanks to a state grant.
Appomattox Court House battlefield recently was announced as a recipient of a Civil War Site Preservation Fund grant to help protect Civil War battlefields. The fund was established by Gov. Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly in 2010.
“It’s pretty fantastic to be able to take something that was significant 150 years ago and preserve it so my children and grandchildren can walk on it in the future,” said Mary Koik, a spokeswoman for the Civil War Trust, the organization responsible for requesting the site be protected.
She said it especially is nice to be able to save the land so close to the sesquicentennial for the Army of Northern Virginia’s surrender in 2015, when thousands of people are expected to visit the area.
“In a couple of years, those special exhibits will be packed up and taken away, but this land will always be here,” she said.
Recipients are selected by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, through evaluations based on each battlefield’s significance as determined by the “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields,” a report commissioned by Congress in 1993 and updated several times. Other deciding factors include the battlefields’ proximity to other protected land, encroaching development, and potential for education, research, recreation or heritage tourism.
The money is spent on purchasing land or obtaining easements on tracts outside of the national parks. It is awarded to organizations, such as the Civil War Trust, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and the Richmond Battlefields Association. The money covers only half of the purchasing or easement costs. The rest is covered by donations to the organizations.
This year’s grants will help protect 1,265 acres on 13 battlefields across the state and total more than $2.25 million.
The Civil War Trust was awarded $250,000 to purchase the 90.5-acre Hunter Tract in Appomattox Court House, a piece of land Koik said the group has been trying to secure for a few years. Once purchased, the organization will donate the easement to the state. Plans include removing the site’s non historic buildings so it looks closer to how it appeared at the time of the battle and subsequent surrender.
The Hunter Tract is in the middle of the site where the last major battle of the Army of Northern Virginia took place. The Union army surrounded the Confederate army and, about dawn, the Confederates attempted to break the Union line, which held under the pressure. After the attack’s failure, Gen. Robert E. Lee admitted he had to surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
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