FREDERICKSBURG, VA.. -Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced a $2 million federal matching grant for preservation of the Slaughter Pen Farm at a news conference today at the historic farm on the Fredericksburg Battlefield. .
The Secretary joined Civil War Preservation Trust President Jim Lighthizer, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Bill Howell, Virginia Senate President Pro tempore John H. Chichester and Virginia State Senator Ed Houck at the trust event.
“This is sacred ground,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “At this pastoral place 5,000 men were killed, wounded or captured in one day, on Dec. 13, 1862, during the Battle of Fredericksburg.”
The Slaughter Pen Farm adjoins Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park but is not protected within the boundaries of park. To save it from the encroachment of development, the Civil War Preservation Trust recently partnered with Tricord, Inc., to purchase this 208-acre parcel from the Pierson family heirs for the market price of $12 million.
The Department of the Interior and the National Park Service are awarding the $2 million grant to the trust to help with the purchase of the Slaughter Pen Farm. This grant comes under the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program administered by the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Preservation Program.
The program’s matching grants formula encourages private sector and state and local government investment in historic preservation.
This program was created because only a small percentage of America’s Civil War battlefields are preserved within the National Park System. The program is used to acquire battlefield land outside NPS boundaries – hallowed grounds such as the Slaughter Pen Farm.
In December 2002, President Bush signed into law the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act, which authorized increased funding for five years for the program.
“The Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program is an excellent example of the Bush Administration’s Cooperative Conservation Initiative,” the Secretary said.
Since FY 1998, Congress has appropriated $29 million for the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program. The grants have been used to save 14,000 acres of hallowed ground in 15 states.
Among the sites that are being saved as a result of this program are historic properties at Antietam, Md.; Champion Hill, Miss.; Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Manassas, Va.; Chattanooga and Fort Donelson, Tenn.; and Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
“The effort to preserve the Slaughter Pen Farm is a model for conservation partnerships throughout the nation,” remarked Secretary Kempthorne. “The Civil War Preservation Trust, working with local preservationists and government officials on the federal, state and local level, has been able to protect one of the most historically significant battlefield properties in the nation.