Gettysburg Land Purchase Updates:
Preservation Groups Score Successes

(April 2011 Civil War News)

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Gettysburg Country Club

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The Conservation Fund with help from the Civil War Trust recently purchased 95 acres of former Gettysburg Country Club land for future transfer to the National Park Service.

The developer released information to the Gettysburg Times before the preservation groups and Gettysburg National Military Park were prepared to make a public announcement.

Cumberland Club Services LLC developer Martin K.P. Hill told the newspaper that he will keep 15 acres with the clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and banquet facilities and market those services. There was no mention of the remaining 10 acres of the 120-acre club property.

The country club property, where Confederate and Iron Brigade forces fought on the battle’s first day, is within the park boundary on the south side of Chambersburg Road, Route 30, west of Willoughby Run. Zoning would allow hundreds of houses to be built there.

The Civil War Trust donated $25,000 from revolving funds towards the $1.6 million purchase price and is now fundraising to replenish the fund.

Last year Park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon told Civil War News the site was a “major battle action” area.

The park’s 1993 Land Protection Plan said: “…as part of the historic Harmon and Abraham Spangler farms, Confederate Brigades advanced and retreated over it during an attack on Union positions on McPherson and Seminary Ridges on July 1st.”

According to John W. Busey and David G. Martin’s Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg, more than 900 men died there. The tract is also where the Iron Brigade Confederate Gen. James Archer was captured.

Lawhon said the east side of the parcel adjoins park land that is already accessible to the public. Last year she said, “If we acquire the land, the National Park Service could potentially do some battlefield rehabilitation work on property and we could provide guided walking tours and programs to the public there.”

 

Josiah Benner Tract

The Civil War Trust is raising an additional $45,000 for the nine-acre Josiah Benner Farm property near Barlow’s Knoll, another first day action site, making a total of $70,000 needed for Gettysburg land purchases.

The Benner property cost is $450,000. Gettysburg National Military Park has $405,000 in acquisition funds and the Trust will make up the difference.

This parcel includes the Josiah Benner house.  On July 1, 1863, as the battlefield widened from west to east, Union troops under Gen. Francis C. Barlow occupied the knoll just across Rock Creek from the Benner farm.

In the vicinity of the house, four companies of the 17th Connecticut were fired on by the advance forces of Jubal Early’s Confederate Division. Elements of Confederate brigades under John B. Gordon and Harry Hays advanced over the Benner farm to attack the Barlow’s Knoll position.

After the battle, the Benner farm became a hospital, with General Barlow being one of the patients. Scores of Union and Confederate dead were buried on the farm.

Lawhon said this property also is within park boundaries. “We are working with our extremely supportive partners at the Civil War Trust … to acquire it for preservation and protection for future generations,” she said.

To donate and see maps, articles, images and videos about these Gettysburg properties visit the Trust’s Web site at www.civilwar.org/gettysburg2011.

 

Power’s Hill

The Civil War Trust announced successful completion of its October campaign to raise $75,000 to purchase five acres of Nathaniel Lightner Farm land on Power’s Hill.

Union artillery batteries guarding the Union right flank from the hill on the morning of July 3 trained their fire on exposed Confederates at Culp’s Hill and Spangler’s Spring creating an “artillery hell.”

The total purchase price was $310,000. The park had $235,000 to put toward the acquisition.

The tract along the Baltimore Pike is within the park boundary. It adjoins the park-owned Shealer property on Power’s Hill.

Lawhon said the park will work to remove the nonhistoric buildings and trees this year.