The Civil War Preservation Trust

This website is a strong advocate of the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT). This wonderful organisation’s primary mission is the preservation of Civil War battlefields – ground that can be lost forever to urban sprawl. They have been very successful over the past decade in saving land, with over 25,000 acres saved, to date. However, there is still plenty of work to be done. According to the CWPT website, only 20% of hallowed Civil War ground has been saved. Additionally, we are losing approximately one acre of hallowed ground per hour. So what exactly does the Civil War Preservation Trust do? Their mission statement, as written on their website, really sums it up.

Our Mission: The Civil War Preservation Trust is America’s largest non-profit organization (501–C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields. The 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.

Based in Washington D.C., the Civil War Preservation trust has a professional staff that specialises in the many functions of land preservation: real estate, grants and government relations. Additionally the Trust employs a staff of professionals that manage their website, databases, communications, membership development, events and educational programs.

While so many of us enjoy visiting major battlefields, managed by the National Park Service, many of the most pivotal fields of battle are not protected by Federal or state governments. They are privately owned lands that are vulnerable to development. This is where the Civil War Preservation Trust really shines. Working with local and state governments, and other organisations, they can quickly organise an acquisition strategy to save valuable lands – lands that might end up housing a strip mall, lumber yard or parking lot. Obviously there is a cost associated with land preservation. Members of the CWPT are quickly alerted to time-sensitive Civil War battlefield preservation opportunities. In most cases, the Trust has already secured matching funds that help the member’s donation double, triple or quadruple. These matching grants are critical in acquiring large tracts of lands that can cost millions of dollars.

When an individual becomes a member of the Civil War Preservation Trust they immediately receive benefits: the wonderful quarterly magazine, Hallowed Ground, high quality battlefield maps, monthly e-Newsletter, invitation to the Annual CWPT Conference and rental car discounts. But most importantly you become involved in saving battlefields that future generations of Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy. Gifts to the Trust are tax deductible in America.

James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust

This website encourages each of you to consider becoming a member of this important organisation. You can be confident that your membership dues, and battlefield campaign donations, will be put to use saving battlefields. While there are fixed costs that the organisation incurs to sustain its activities, the CWPT operates very efficiently with most of their members’ money being used to save land.

One of the better Civil War websites and one highly recommended by this site is This Mighty Scourge. Currently available on this site is an interview with Mr. James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust. The eight part audio interview can be listened to by clicking here.

The concept and principle for which the Civil War Preservation Trust exists is of such significance that their success is of paramount importance not just for America but for historical sites around the world.