Military Wiki
The Civil War Trust
Founded 1999
Focus American Civil War battlefields
  • Washington, D.C.
Area served
United States
Method Land preservation
Key people
Jim Lighthizer, President
$25,040,355 (2012)

The Civil War Trust is a charitable organization (501(c)(3)) whose primary focus is in the preservation of American Civil War battlefields. The Civil War Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war's history and the fundamental conflicts that sparked it.



Former logo, used until 2011.

The modern Civil War battlefield preservation movement was first undertaken by the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS), which was founded in 1987. APCWS not only protected thousands of acres of battlefields from destruction, but offered educational tours and seminars with prominent historians.

The Civil War Trust, another non-profit focused on preserving Civil War battlefields, was formed in 1991. The Civil War Trust helped save 6,700 acres (27 km2) of land in the eight years of its existence and conducted education and heritage tourism programs to educate the public about the significance of the war and the vital importance of battlefield preservation.

The Civil War Preservation Trust was created on November 19, 1999, through the merger of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS) with the Civil War Trust. The merger, which was propelled by a unanimous vote of both boards, was effected in order to streamline and strengthen efforts to protect America's most endangered parcels of Civil War history.[1]

The President of the Civil War Trust is O. James Lighthizer, a former Maryland county executive and Secretary of Transportation who pioneered the concept of using Transportation Enhancement highway funds to protect thousands of acres of Civil War battlefield land in Maryland.

Since its formation the Civil War Preservation Trust has grown to 55,000 contributing members and has saved more than 32,000 acres (130 km2) of American Civil War battlefield land.

On January 11, 2011 the Civil War Preservation Trust shortened its name to the Civil War Trust, and added a new logo.

Civil War Trust's preservation methods[]


Antietam Battlefield, Maryland

The Civil War Trust is a membership-driven organization that uses donated funds to protect Civil War battlefield land. Land is acquired by the Civil War Trust from private sector parties at fair market value or by donation. Once land is acquired, the Civil War Trust is responsible for land stewardship and interpretation, often with assistance from local governments and other preservation groups.

In cases where a landowner wants to retain ownership the Civil War Trust can arrange a conservation easement to protect their property. Conservation easements ensure that the property remains free of development in future years.

In its effort to preserve Civil War battlefields, the Civil War Trust will seek to leverage federal and state programs that are designed to foster preservation of historic and natural resources. The primary source of federal support for the preservation of Civil War battlefields is the Civil War Battlefield Protection Program (CWBPP), administered by the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), an office of the National Park Service. CWBPP is designed to promote the preservation of significant Civil War battlefields by offering competitive matching grants for qualifying preservation opportunities.[2] Other federal sources include the Transportation Enhancement program and the Farm and Ranch Protection Program. the Civil War Trust has also leveraged funds made available by state and local governments.

Battlefield preservation achievements[]

The Civil War Trust has helped to save more than 29,000 acres (120 km2) of Civil War battlefields at more than 110 Civil War battlefields within 20 different states within the United States.[3]

Key battlefield preservation achievements include:


Jim Lighthizer at Slaughter Pen Farm

The campaign to preserve the 208-acre (0.84 km2) Slaughter Pen Farm is the most expensive private battlefield preservation effort in American history.[4] the Civil War Trust, working in partnership with Tricord, Inc., SunTrust Bank, and the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust, was able to purchase the property for $12 million in 2006. To support the preservation efforts at the Slaughter Pen Farm the Department of the Interior awarded a $2 million CWBPP grant based on the significance of the land and the availability of non-federal matching funds. The Slaughter Pen Farm was the largest remaining unprotected part of the Fredericksburg Battlefield. It is also the only place on the battlefield where a visitor can still follow the Union assault on that bloody day from beginning to end.
In October 2010, the Civil War Trust announced a new and ambitious campaign to save 49-acre (0.20 km2) of the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia. This Middlebrook Tract includes the eastern edge of Saunders Field and land associated with the May 6, 1864 flank attack by Confederate forces under John B. Gordon. Historian and author Gordon Rhea stated that this land "witnessed some of the Wilderness' most brutal combat". In January 2011, the Civil War Trust announced that it had reached its $1,085,000 fundraising goal for this historic property.
  • 578 acres (2.34 km2) at Glendale, Virginia
While the Richmond, Virginia suburbs remain a hotbed for development, the Civil War Trust has made significant strides at the Glendale battlefield, preserving 319 acres (1.29 km2) in 2007 and 578 acres (2.34 km2) overall. Fully 75 percent of the battlefield is now preserved. When combined with previous efforts at nearby Malvern Hill, the Civil War Trust has now created a three mile (5 km)-long continuous corridor of protected battlefield.
Unique preservation strategies allowed the Civil War Trust to protect 144 acres (0.58 km2) at the heart of the Champion Hill battlefield in 2007. This key portion of the field is still owned by the Champion family, for whom the area and the battle were named, but now is also under conservation easement. As a result the Champion family will maintain ownership of their historic land, while ensuring that their intentions of seeing it protected are realized in perpetuity.

CWPT Preserved Land at Chancellorsville

The Civil War Trust has a record of working with preservation-friendly developers to protect battlefield land. In 2004, the Civil War Trust worked with Spotsylvania County officials and family-owned Tricord, Inc., to protect 134 acres (0.54 km2) of land associated with the First Day at Chancellorsville Battlefield. Two years later, a similar deal was worked out with Spotsylvania County and Toll Brothers, Inc. to protect another 74 acres (0.30 km2) of this historic battleground.[5] Thanks to these efforts, more than 2 miles (3.2 km) of contiguous battlefield land along the historic Orange Turnpike have been preserved. The Civil War Trust is currently working with Virginia Civil War Trails to install an interpretive trail on the property.
In addition to its efforts at the First Day at Chancellorsville site, the Civil War Trust has helped protect an additional 108 acres (0.44 km2) at Chancellorsville, including 85 acres (0.34 km2) on the site of Stonewall Jackson's famous flank attack.

As of January 2011 the Civil War Trust has preserved battlefield land at the following sites:

The Civil War Trust's grassroots activities[]


A Billboard Drawing Attention to the Proposed Casino at Gettysburg

To further its aim of preserving American Civil War battlefields, the Civil War Trust has engaged in a wide range of grassroots and community outreach efforts.

No Casino Gettysburg[]

The Gettysburg Battlefield has faced two separate threats from proposed casinos.

In 2005 a proposal was put forward to build a casino with 3,000 slot machines less than a mile from the Gettysburg Battlefield. Soon after the proposal was announced, the Civil War Trust joined forces with a local concerned citizens group called No Casino Gettysburg to advocate against the proposal. Later, the Civil War Trust formed the Stop the Slots Coalition, a collection of national and local groups opposed to the casino.

As a result of these grassroots efforts, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted on December 20, 2006, to reject the Gettysburg casino proposal.[6]

In 2010 a new Gettysburg Casino application was filed and the Civil War Trust, with a broad coalition of partners, undertook a successful campaign to prevent approval of this new application. Nearly 300 prominent historians wrote to the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, urging the rejection of the application. Susan Eisenhower, Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, Medal of Honor recipient Paul W. Bucha, composer John Williams, and actors Matthew Broderick, actor, and Sam Waterston were all featured in a Jeff Griffiths produced video declaring their opposition to the proposed Gettysburg casino.[7]

On April 14, 2011, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted to reject this second proposal to bring casino gambling to the doorstep of Gettysburg National Military Park.[8]

Chancellorsville rezoning[]

In May 2002, a regional developer announced a plan to build 2,300 houses and 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of commercial space on the 790-acre (3.2 km2) Mullins Farm, site of the first day of fighting at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Soon thereafter, the Civil War Trust formed the Coalition to Save Chancellorsville, a network of national and local preservation groups, that waged a vocal campaign against the development.

For nearly a year, the Coalition mobilized local citizens, held candlelight vigils and hearings, and encouraged residents to become more involved in preservation. Public opinion polling conducted by the Coalition found that more than two-thirds of local residents opposed the development. The survey also found that 90 percent of local residents believed their county has a responsibility to protect Chancellorsville and other historic resources.

As a result of these efforts, in March 2003 the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors denied the rezoning application that would have allowed for the development of the site.[9] Immediately following the vote, the Civil War Trust and other Coalition members began working to acquire the battlefield. By working with county officials and developers, the Civil War Trust acquired 140 acres (0.57 km2) in 2004 and another 74 acres (0.30 km2) in 2006.[5]

Morris Island[]

With the help of the Civil War Trust, the Morris Island Coalition was formed in early 2004 to oppose development on historic Morris Island outside Charleston, South Carolina. Morris Island was the scene of the charge of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry on Fort Wagner, famously depicted in the film Glory.

The Coalition, led by local resident Blake Hallman, was very successful in generating local government support for preservation of Morris Island.[10] Press reaction was favorable as well, and public opinion polls found that an overwhelming number of Charleston residents wanted to see the barrier island remain undeveloped. Hallman earned the Civil War Trust's "Preservationist of the Year" award for his efforts to save Morris Island.[11] At one time, development plans called for a 20-unit luxury house development on Cummings Point (the site of Fort Wagner). In early 2005, the landowner tried unsuccessfully to sell the property on eBay. At the end of 2005, a preservation-friendly developer acquired the property. He later agreed to sell it to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) for preservation purposes a few months later.

In 2008, the Civil War Trust engaged in fundraising efforts in support of the State of South Carolina, City of Charleston, and the Trust for Public Land’s $3m effort that would preserve an additional 117 acres (0.47 km2) of Morris Island.

Stop the Wilderness Walmart[]

Together with the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the National Parks Conservation Association, Preservation Virginia and a group of concerned local residents, the Civil War Trust opposed the construction of a Walmart Supercenter on the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia. Following a nationwide outcry from preservationists and historians alike, Walmart Stores, Inc. announced in January 2011 that it had “decided to preserve” rather than develop the historic site where local officials had given the company permission to construct its newest superstore in 2009. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian James McPherson had identified the site as part of “the nerve center of the Union Army during the Battle of the Wilderness.”

Civil War Trust President Jim Lighthizer praised Walmart’s decision, noting that founder Sam Walton – a veteran of the Second World War – would have been “proud” of his company’s move to preserve the hallowed ground. “We stand ready to work with Walmart to put this controversy behind us and protect the battlefield from further encroachment,” Lighthizer stated. “We firmly believe that preservation and progress need not be mutually exclusive, and welcome Walmart as a thoughtful partner in efforts to protect the Wilderness Battlefield.”[12]

History Under Siege: The Civil War Trust's Most Endangered Battlefields[]

Each year the Civil War Trust produces a report identifying the ten most endangered Civil War battlefields in the United States. The report, entitled History Under Siege,[13] was announced in May, 2010, and included the following Civil War battlefields:

The 2010 History Under Siege: Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields report news conference also featured a keynote speech by the best-selling author and Civil War Trust Board Member Jeff Shaara.

Educational Programs[]


Volunteers Help Clean up the Battlefields on Park Day

In addition to preserving Civil War battlefield land, the Civil War Trust conducts programs designed to inform the public about the events and consequences of the Civil War, foster an understanding of the need for preservation, and create a personal connection to the past.

  • – The Civil War Trust's web site provides comprehensive American Civil War educational information, including numerous battle maps, primary sources, lesson plans, and photos.
  • ''Hallowed Ground'' – the Civil War Trust's quarterly magazine, includes articles on history, preservation techniques and upcoming events.
  • Annual Civil War Trust Teacher Institute – The Civil War Trust conducts an annual event featuring teacher workshops and visits to Civil War battlefields.
  • Public Education – the Civil War Trust maintains a two-week curriculum for use in classrooms.[14]
  • Civil War Battle Apps – GPS-enabled battlefield touring apps for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.
  • Civil War Discovery Trail – a heritage tourism initiative that links more than 600 Civil War sites in 32 states,[15] and promotes visitation through themed itineraries; it is one of the White House Millennium Council's sixteen flagship National Millennium Trails.
  • Battlefield Interpretation – The Civil War Trust works to interpret many of the battlefields that it saves with wayside exhibits, walking trails, and iPhone GPS-enabled battlefield touring applications.
  • Park Day – The Civil War Trust's annual volunteer clean-up day for the Civil War Sites throughout the United States.
  • Teacher and Student Programs – The Civil War Trust hosts numerous contests, workshops, and programs for students and teachers alike.


The Civil War Trust is located in Washington, D.C., with a field office in Hagerstown, Maryland.

The President of the Civil War Trust is O. James Lighthizer. Lighthizer was a former partner, Miles and Stockbridge; former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Anne Arundel County Executive, and member of the Maryland General Assembly.

In December 1999, Mr. Lighthizer accepted the presidency of Civil War Preservation Trust, a new organization created by the merger of two other national battlefield preservation groups, the Civil War Trust and the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites. Mr. Lighthizer had previously served as a member of the Civil War Trust's Board of Trustees.

When Lighthizer took the reins at CWPT in 1999, the fledgling organization had 22,000 members and its predecessor organizations had saved 7,500 acres (30 km2) in the previous 13 years. During Lighthizer's tenure as President of the CWPT and the Civil War Trust, the group has saved more than 22,000 additional acres, and now boasts 55,000 members nationwide. Lighthizer was also the architect of the rescue of the Slaughter Pen Farm on the Fredericksburg Battlefield, the most expensive private battlefield preservation effort in American history.[16]

Henry E. Simpson was elected as Chairman of the Board of Civil War Trust in May 2011. Simpson is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University Of Virginia Law School, and an attorney with Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson, LLP in Birmingham, Alabama.


The Civil War Trust was a recipient of a 4-Star award from Charity Navigator in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. This award is presented to those charitable organizations that exhibit strong results and financial discipline.[17]

The Civil War Trust received a 2012 accreditation from the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.[18]

The Civil War Trust was awarded the "Partner in Conservation Award" by the United States Department of the Interior in 2010.[19]

The Civil War Trust's membership magazine, Hallowed Ground, received the APEX Grand Award for Publication Excellence in both 2009 and 2010.[20]


External links[]

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The original article can be found at Civil War Trust and the edit history here.