The Civil War Preservation Trust annual report.
The Civil War Preservation Trust annual report, “History Under Siege, A Guide to America’s Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields,” lists which Civil War sites are being threatened by development, park closings, mining, and other local projects which risk the integrity of the sites.
With next year being the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, attention is being paid to the condition of historic sites and what can be done to protect them.
Author Jeff Shaara, who has written several Civil War books and serves on the CWPT Board of Trustees, wrote the report, his only non-fiction work. The CWPT reports that “Shaara donated the entire advance from the project toward battlefield protection efforts.”
The report lists the most endangered battlefields and additional sites which are considered to be at risk. Here are some of the sites which are included in this year’s list.
Camp Allegheny, West Virginia
Various engagements took place early in the war between North and South in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Camp Allegheny is scheduled for a field of 40 story high wind turbines within view of the battlefield.
Cedar Creek, Virginia
An expansion of mining operations next to Cedar Creek would destroy nearly 400 acres of battlefield land. A Confederate surprise attack at Cedar Creek brought a counter attack driving the South out of the Shenandoah Valley in the fall of 1864.
Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C.
In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln watched the attack by Confederate forces from Fort Stevens. A church next to the fort has applied for an exemption to build a community center which would tower over the fort.
There is a proposal for building a casino only half a mile from Gettysburg National Military Park. A larger project was rejected in 2006, in part due to public opposition, but the group is currently returning with a smaller project. This is one of the best known Civil War sites, where one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War which took place in 1863.
Picacho Peak, Arizona
With so many Civil War sites in the Southeast, it is easy to forget that the war involved all of the states and territories in one way or another. Confederate Capt. Hunter was moving towards the Pacific to create an ocean-to-ocean Confederacy, but they were met by the Union cavalry. Picacho Peak State Park is scheduled to be closed in June 2010 due to cuts in the state budget.
Pickett’s Mill, Georgia
Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site was the site of a defeat of Gen. Sherman’s campaign against the Confederate transportation system. The park has been well preserved, but last year it had a flood which destroyed footbridges and part of the historic mill. On top of that the park has reduced its hours due to budget cuts.
South Mountain, Maryland
The annual report tells the story of intrigue with Gen. Lee’s plans for an invasion of the north being found wrapped around cigars, so that the Northern commanders could stop the offensive. The local power company bought 135 acres of the battlefield land for a natural gas compression station, a plan currently suspended.
Thoroughfare Gap, Virginia
The small Battle of Thoroughfare Gap led into the battles of Second Manassas and Antietam. There is a proposal to build a 150 ft. tall communication tower within the battlefield area.
This Battlefield where Gen. Grant and Gen. Lee first met in battle has been in the news since the Orange County, Virginia Board of Supervisors gave permission for Wal-Mart and other retailers to build a huge commercial center right at the gateway to the battlefield. Protesters have filed a lawsuit, so the project is on hold. This threatened site was also on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list of 2010 Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places in the USA.
Source: Civil War Trust Preservation Annual Report for 2101.