The National Park Service awarded almost $350,000 in Battlefield Restoration Grants Nov. 8 for battlefields across the East Coast, marking the first time in Park Service’s history that the agency has awarded grants for projects at Civil War battlefields in Pennsylvania and Virginia, an NPS press release said.
The Battlefield Restoration Grants funds to restore “day-of-battle” conditions at battlefields and historic sites associated with the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The grants are awarded by administrators from the American Battlefield Protection Program, a subsect of the National Park Service that uses resources from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which reinvests funds raised from offshore oil and natural gas leasing to improve conservation and recreation opportunities across the country.
In Pennsylvania, the America Battlefield Trust received $62,500 for projects restoring Gettysburg. Two sites in Virginia were awarded $254,428 for projects involving the restoration of Brandy Station and Huntsberry Farm, with an additional $28,277 going toward the demolition of non-historic buildings near Virginia’s New Market battlefield.
Huntsberry Farm, a 209-acre property in the Shenandoah Valley, was purchased in 2009. This year’s grant will be dedicated to build a fence around the historic battlefield. The funds will help preserve a portion of the battlefield where more than 50,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought on Sept. 19, 1864.
According to the press release, a confederate soldier said the battle was like none other. “A more murderous fire I never witnessed,” the soldier said. A Union soldier was also noted as saying that Confederate artillery fire “walked death in our ranks.”
NPS Director Chuck Sams said in the press release that the grants will build on collaborative conservation efforts between nonprofit partners and state and local governments.
“By restoring landscapes, grant recipients can preserve important historic sites,” he said. “At the same time, they are conserving open spaces, protecting natural resources, and providing public access to our shared heritage.”
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.