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$1.5 Million In, $2.6 Million To Go To Pay For Glendale LandDeborah Fitts
- (December 2007) HENRICO COUNTY, Va. - With the purchase of four tracts of land for $4.1 million, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) has in one fell swoop nearly completed preservation of the Glendale Battlefield (see July 2007 story). Now it has to pay for them.
CWPT spokesman Jim Campi said the Trust had closed on all four properties, but had financed the purchase. "So we still need the money to pay for them," he said. So far the nonprofit has $1.5 million in pledges and donations.
Jim Lighthizer, CWPT president, said that until two years ago, "practically none of the historic center of the battlefield was protected. Visitors had trouble finding so much as a place to pull off the road." The four tracts - three large and one small - total 319 acres.
Robert E.L. Krick, historian at Richmond National Battlefield Park, said the new acreage, plus land saved earlier, represented about 80 percent of the core battlefield. The four properties are contiguous and are at the center of the fighting of June 30, 1862.
"These are the most significant parcels," said Krick. "This is the area where all the hand-to-hand fighting occurred." The land also includes three historic house sites.
Krick added, "What's really astonishing here is that 15 years ago there was one acre preserved, across from the national cemetery. And now we're in the 400s [acres]). I've been saying all along that I can't think of an example in the East where a major battlefield is saved almost from scratch."
Campi said the Trust was "doing something unusual this time" in its fund-raising efforts. "We started by working through our larger-scale donors, and those we felt would have a special interest," sitting down with them individually. The donors were told that their gifts would be matched one-to-one by the general membership, so they would "double their money."
Among the donations for Glendale is an "extremely generous" gift of $100,000 from the nonprofit Richmond Battlefields Association, Campi noted.
Additional funds will likely come from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Campi said, although nothing has been awarded yet. Because the land is within the boundary of the Richmond park, CWPT cannot apply for matching federal funds.
On the other hand, Campi said the Trust hopes that eventually the park will be able to buy the property, but "right now they don't have that kind of money."
Campi said that CWPT's acquisition of 39 acres at Glendale in 2005 "essentially began to open other doors. It was a question of a positive experience by that landowner, and he gave us an introduction to other owners. And so 39 acres became an additional 319."
CWPT recently sent a fund-raising appeal to its members. In a six-page letter Lighthizer spelled out the significance of the battle and battlefield. Everyone who contributes $100 or more will be listed on a permanent display at the site.
The battle of Glendale, or Frayser's Farm, was the fifth battle of the Seven Days Campaign. The Confederate attack was poorly coordinated. After an early rout of Union forces the Federals were able to regroup after close-quarters fighting at a strong position atop nearby Malvern Hill.
With the acquisitions at Glendale, the CWPT and National Park Service will have created a three-mile long contiguous line of preserved battlefield, Lighthizer said in his letter. For more information go to www.civilwar.org.