Letter from Jim Lighthizer
American Battlefield Trust
I recently shared one of the biggest Civil War preservation opportunities we have had in recent years: an eight-month campaign to save Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg.
This initiative – an effort of the Civil War Trust under the American Battlefield Trust umbrella – will be no small feat. Due to the location of the land, we are unable to apply for our usual matching grants. So I’m asking you to help save this crucial part of history and raise the $3.5 million needed to preserve these 18 acres.
This land witnessed fierce fighting on July 1, 1863. Here, in the late afternoon, Union troops made a final, desperate defense of Seminary Ridge and were met with a renewed attack from the Confederates.
|Jim Lighthizer, President of American Battlefield Trust a.k.a. The Civil War Trust stands in front of the seminary and its cupola, where Union General John Buford spotted arriving elements of the Rebel army.|
Licensed battlefield guide Wayne E. Motts remarks that “[o]n or near this ground stood some of Gettysburg’s most recognizable personalities including Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, J.E.B. Stuart, John Reynolds, John Buford and so many more. Here, on July 1, heavy fighting raged. On July 2 and 3, Lee used these grounds as his part of his headquarters complex and on July 4 the Confederate defensive line was here as the Southern army began its retreat.”
Col. Doug Douds, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), adds: “[o]n this ground occurred the end of the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg and the beginning of the end of the Civil War ... To preserve it is an act of faithful stewardship. It preserves another link for future generations to understand the Battle of Gettysburg, and the great sacrifices made by earlier citizens on our behalf.”
Every inch of these 18 acres is covered with undeniable history. I hope you’ll agree with me when I say that should be protected so current and future generations can understand the costliest battle ever on American soil, and preserve the land where hundreds of troops made the ultimate sacrifice.
Remarkably, this parcel is relatively unchanged from its wartime appearance, thanks to meticulous stewardship by the United Lutheran Seminary. However, its future as an open space cannot be guaranteed. This is why I am asking you to help contribute to the effort to protect it, forever.
Because without Seminary Ridge, you cannot tell the full story of Gettysburg, and without Gettysburg, you cannot tell the full story of the Civil War.
Please help save Seminary Ridge today.
’Til the battle is won,
American Battlefield Trust
P.S. When you commit $49 or more, you will receive an “I helped Save Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg” T-shirt as our thanks.