Did You Know? Only 28% of Civil War Battlefields Have National Park Protections

Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland.

Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland. Photo © Kurt Holter/iStockphoto.

In 1993, the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP)—a National Park Service program created to provide funds and assistance for battlefield preservation—documented 383 significant recognized Civil War battlefield sites around the country. Of these sites, the group indicates in its latest report that only 106 battlefields—28 percent—are entirely within or partially overlap 43 national park units. Fifty-eight of the 383 battlefields have been overrun by development, and are no longer good candidates for landscape preservation. This leaves 219 preservation-worthy Civil War battlefields that fall outside national parks. Some are protected within state parks and by private entities, but others are threatened by suburban sprawl and expanding roadways.

As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861-1865) is commemorated throughout the country, Americans are reminded of the broad scope of this war, the toll it took on families and landscapes, and the important questions it resolved. You can play a role protecting the places where important Civil War battles transpired by asking your members of Congress to support current legislation to add battlefield lands to Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Vicksburg and to create new national parks to protect other key Civil War sites.

For more in-depth information about the 383 Civil War battlefields across the country, take a look at the ABPP’s new report. Note: This report is currently considered a draft for public review. A direct link to the report can be found here (PDF, 7.5 MB), and you can send the agency your comments on the report here.

About the Author

Elizabeth Meyers is former information and outreach manager for NPCA’s Center for Park Research.