American Battlefield Trust working to save over 600 acres of VA battlefields

Jamieva

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bdtex

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I might have to go ante up and kick in. That's a $40-$1 match. $50=$2000. 430 acres at Sailors Creek is a lot. I hope to go there next year too.
 

Waterloo50

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430 at Saylor's Creek, 53 at Ware Bottom Church (with pristine earthworks!!), 30 at Cedar Creek and some at Cedar Mountain

Just read a few of the comments in the link that you provided. Someone mentioned that farm land is disappearing at an alarming rate and that many civil war sites are under threat from developers simply because they are in areas of land which are near to main roads which would be useful for commuting. It stands to reason that developers will want to develop areas that are on main transport arteries but it seems that it doesn’t just stop there, they build houses and then they need to build the infrastructure to maintain those communities and so it goes on. It seems to me that those trying to prevent development have one hell of a battle on their hands. I reckon the only way to prevent development is for organisations like the Battlefield Trust to raise the profile of these historic sites but I really don’t know what else can be done. Its all very well getting the word out to interested Civil War groups but what about those people that have no interest in the CW, are they really prepared to work hard to preserve these sites?

I’d be interested to know what the process is for saving CW places of interest. The reason that I ask is because here in the UK, we have a governing body called the National Trust and another organisation called English Heritage, if either of these two organisations state that an historic site must be preserved then thats exactly what happens. Ive noticed in a number of cases in the USA that developers are prevented from developing an historical site because the owner of the land has been educated on the importance of the history on their land. I can remember in one particular case, a small CW graveyard was due to be developed but a CW interest group contacted the owner of the land and pleaded that the land be saved, it really was just a case of educating the landowner, he had no idea that his land was of historical significance.
 

John Winn

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Just read a few of the comments in the link that you provided. Someone mentioned that farm land is disappearing at an alarming rate and that many civil war sites are under threat from developers simply because they are in areas of land which are near to main roads which would be useful for commuting. It stands to reason that developers will want to develop areas that are on main transport arteries but it seems that it doesn’t just stop there, they build houses and then they need to build the infrastructure to maintain those communities and so it goes on. It seems to me that those trying to prevent development have one hell of a battle on their hands. I reckon the only way to prevent development is for organisations like the Battlefield Trust to raise the profile of these historic sites but I really don’t know what else can be done. Its all very well getting the word out to interested Civil War groups but what about those people that have no interest in the CW, are they really prepared to work hard to preserve these sites?

I’d be interested to know what the process is for saving CW places of interest. The reason that I ask is because here in the UK, we have a governing body called the National Trust and another organisation called English Heritage, if either of these two organisations state that an historic site must be preserved then thats exactly what happens. Ive noticed in a number of cases in the USA that developers are prevented from developing an historical site because the owner of the land has been educated on the importance of the history on their land. I can remember in one particular case, a small CW graveyard was due to be developed but a CW interest group contacted the owner of the land and pleaded that the land be saved, it really was just a case of educating the landowner, he had no idea that his land was of historical significance.

Historical preservation can be tough over here. We've got a very strong private property rights tradition and don't have much in the way of laws that require things to be preserved. Any time land is taken out of the marketplace there's often some vocal opposition (e.g. some weren't happy when the Trust bought "Lee's headquarters" because it eliminated a business). Our fearless leader is at this moment undoing our previous fearless leader's restrictions on federal lands in the west so that they will be open for oil and gas leasing and the like.

There's some exceptions but it's nothing like what I've read about in many European countries. You just have to buy the land before the developers do. I've been a long-time supporter of the Trust and think they do a great job. Sometimes people or family will put property in a legal trust such that it must be maintained for a specific purpose (which might be maintaining a place for its historic value). The Nature Conservancy does a similar thing as the Trust - as well as brokering deals with governments and developers - for protecting natural resources (I also support them). Once you lose it it's gone for good most times.
 
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Waterloo50

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Historical preservation can be tough over here. We've got a very strong private property rights tradition and don't have much in the way of laws that require things to be preserved. Any time land is taken out of the marketplace there's often some vocal opposition (e.g. some weren't happy when the Trust bought "Lee's headquarters" because it eliminated a business). Our fearless leader is at this moment undoing our previous fearless leader's restrictions on federal lands in the west so that they will be open for oil and gas leasing and the like.

There's some exceptions but it's nothing like what I've read about in many European countries. You just have to buy the land before the developers do. I've been a long-time supporter of the Trust and think they do a great job. Sometimes people or family will put property in a legal trust such that it must be maintained for a specific purpose (which might be maintaining a place for its historic value). The Nature Conservancy does a similar thing as the Trust - as well as brokering deals with governments and developers - for protecting natural resources (I also support them). Once you lose it it's gone for good most times.
Sometimes, historical sites get built upon and hardly anyone knows about it, a few years ago, a British farmer was given a nice big government grant to cover the cost of a new barn, the builders moved in and were preparing the ground when they uncovered a complete Roman mosaic floor, the farmer didn't want the work on his new barn to be delayed and he certainly didn’t want to lose his grant and so he ordered the construction team to dig it out. The problem for the farmer was that an unannounced visit by a building inspector arrived and spotted what was left of the damaged mosaic.

The floor was eventually saved but the damage caused by the construction team meant that it was lost forever and that’s a real problem, sometimes we just don’t know the value of a site until construction has begun and its history is uncovered, its normally down to the discretion of the site manager to report significant finds but I’m pretty sure that not all of them want to run the risk of site closure and massive financial penalties.

Fortunately, the CW is pretty well documented and I suspect that most CW sites of historical importance are known about which at least gives the various CW organisations the advantage to jump on those sites which are at risk from development, its slightly different here in the UK in that we have a great deal of hidden history and we simply don’t know where the next important historical site will be found.

I’d say that those who have knowledge of CW history have a responsibility to keep their ears and eyes open and raise awareness especially when they see a for sale sign on a piece of land which could contain evidence of an important CW site. I’m not saying that the UK have done things better when it comes to important sites but organisations like the National trust and English heritage work tirelessly to preserve and protect our history, they have the full might of the law on their side and any breaches of their rules can land a developer in prison along with a hefty fine.
 

John Winn

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Sometimes, historical sites get built upon and hardly anyone knows about it, a few years ago, a British farmer was given a nice big government grant to cover the cost of a new barn, the builders moved in and were preparing the ground when they uncovered a complete Roman mosaic floor, the farmer didn't want the work on his new barn to be delayed and he certainly didn’t want to lose his grant and so he ordered the construction team to dig it out. The problem for the farmer was that an unannounced visit by a building inspector arrived and spotted what was left of the damaged mosaic.

The floor was eventually saved but the damage caused by the construction team meant that it was lost forever and that’s a real problem, sometimes we just don’t know the value of a site until construction has begun and its history is uncovered, its normally down to the discretion of the site manager to report significant finds but I’m pretty sure that not all of them want to run the risk of site closure and massive financial penalties.

Fortunately, the CW is pretty well documented and I suspect that most CW sites of historical importance are known about which at least gives the various CW organisations the advantage to jump on those sites which are at risk from development, its slightly different here in the UK in that we have a great deal of hidden history and we simply don’t know where the next important historical site will be found.

I’d say that those who have knowledge of CW history have a responsibility to keep their ears and eyes open and raise awareness especially when they see a for sale sign on a piece of land which could contain evidence of an important CW site. I’m not saying that the UK have done things better when it comes to important sites but organisations like the National trust and English heritage work tirelessly to preserve and protect our history, they have the full might of the law on their side and any breaches of their rules can land a developer in prison along with a hefty fine.

Well, it's not just CW sites. We've got native American, Spanish, Chinese, Revolutionary, pre-Revolution ... all sorts of historic sites (many only remaining below ground). All too often such just get covered over by new construction. If bodies are found they get removed to a cemetery (or maybe returned to a tribe if native) and that's it. People are often unhappy when historic buildings get torn down but saving such can be a financial burden (e.g. might require lots of restoration to make them safe). If buried artifacts are found on private land they're the property of the land owner; not the government. They can do what they want. Anyway, we just have to be willing to pay for it if we want it preserved.
 
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