Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces $1.3 Million to Protect Historic Battlefield Lands.
Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund grants will help protect over 211 acres of battlefield lands across Virginia.
RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that more than $1.3 million in grant funds will be allocated to protect approximately 211 acres of battlefield land throughout the Commonwealth. The Department of Historic Resources (DHR) will administer the grants awarded through the Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund (VBPF) program.
This year, a total of eight projects will receive funding through the VBPF to acquire land for the purposes of permanent preservation and battlefield interpretation. Grant recipients also intend to install signs and develop tours and pedestrian trails to make the properties accessible to the public. Several projects in this year’s grant round protect acreage associated with the actions of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the Civil War.
“My administration is committed to preserving our history to allow future generations to learn from it – the bad and the good,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “These commitments will continue the preservation and accessibility of these important resources. These battlefields that we were at risk of losing forever serve as a reminder of our journey as a nation.”
The General Assembly established the VBPF in 2010 under Virginia Code §10.1-2202.4, which, in part, authorizes the Department of Historic Resources to administer the award grants to private nonprofit organizations for the perpetual protection of Virginia battlefield lands associated with the Revolutionary War (1775- 1783), the War of 1812, and the Civil War (1861-1865).
Two nonprofit organizations will be awarded VBPF grants this year: the American Battlefield Trust and the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. The two organizations will use the VBPF grants to leverage matching donations and conserve land associated with multiple battlefields of the Civil War: Chancellorsville (1863) in Spotsylvania County, Cumberland Church (1865) in Cumberland County, Glendale (1862) in Henrico County, Trevilian Station (1864) in Louisa County, and the battles of Ream’s Station (1864) and Dinwiddie Courthouse (1865) in Dinwiddie County.
“The awarding of these funds demonstrates Virginia’s sustained commitment to the preservation of significant historic battlefield properties,” Department of Historic Resources Director Julie V. Langan said. “I am excited to see the variety of projects that will be made possible through this round of grants as the Commonwealth continues its investment in preserving and stewarding these important historic places for future generations.”
In accordance with VBPF stipulations, grant recipients must donate an easement to the Virginia Board of Historic Resources for any acreage acquired with the state grant funds. The perpetual easement restricts or prohibits subdivision and commercial development of the land and contains provisions protecting historic, archaeological, and battlefield landscape resources on the property.
The 2023 VBPF awards will be distributed as follows:
- To preserve a total of three historically significant properties associated with the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, the American Battlefield Trust will receive two grant awards totaling $507,350, and the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust will receive one grant in the amount of $164,071.
- A $96,000 grant was awarded to the American Battlefield Trust for the purchase of 42.8 acres on the Cumberland Church Battlefield in Farmville, Va. This award will go toward preserving some of the first acreage associated with the Battle of Cumberland Church on April 7, 1865. A partnership between the Trust and the Appomattox-Petersburg Preservation Society will ensure the property is open to the public as a battlefield park while also retaining its agricultural uses.
The American Battlefield Trust will also receive:
+ $80,000 to preserve an 11.37-acre property in Henrico County associated with the Battles of Glendale, Malvern Hill, Deep Bottom I, and Deep Bottom II;
+ $300,000 to preserve 98.70 acres connected to the cavalry battle at Trevilian Station;
+ $25,500 to preserve eight acres at Dinwiddie Courthouse, located near a critical stream crossing that featured prominently in the battle; and
+ $133,750 to preserve three acres at Ream’s Station that will connect to more than 500 acres of publicly accessible land in Dinwiddie County. Conservation of this parcel will help close a gap near the center of the battlefield where three separate Confederate assaults were launched during the battle on June 29, 1864.
“The preservation of these significant battlefields enhances Virginia’s focus on historic preservation and land conservation and advances our reputation as a destination for those seeking to connect with our nation’s history,” said Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis A. Voyles.
The VBPF projects were selected based on each battlefield’s significance and ranking in Congress’s Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields, issued in 1993 and subsequently updated. Additionally, factors in the grant applications were considered, such as the proximity of a battlefield parcel to already protected lands; the threat of encroaching development that could transform a parcel’s historic look and feel at the time of a battle; and the potential for education, recreation, research, or heritage tourism in connection with a battlefield tract.
In addition to supporting heritage tourism, the preservation of battlefield lands also supports many conservation and recreational goals. Preserved battlefield acreage protects open space, agricultural properties, wetlands, timberlands, water quality, wildlife habitats, and recreational spaces near or within growing urban areas.
About Virginia Department of Historic Resources
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) is the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in Virginia. As the SHPO, DHR administers a number of state and federal programs. As a state agency in the Natural and Historic Resources Secretariat, DHR fosters, encourages, and supports the stewardship and use of Virginia’s significant architectural, archaeological, and historic resources as valuable assets for the economic, educational, social, and cultural benefit of citizens and communities.
As of 2023, DHR has placed under easement more than 45,000 acres of land. DHR easements are held by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources (VBHR), and DHR staff monitor the eased lands. The VBHR currently holds easements on approximately 15,900 acres of battlefields in Virginia.
For more, visit dhr.virginia.gov.
SOURCE: Virginia Governor