U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced he is cosponsoring the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2007, legislation to protect historic Civil War battlefields throughout the nation including many sites in Tennessee.
“The Civil War is a heartbreaking time in our history that we should never forget,” Alexander said. “Tennessee played a significant role in many of the battles that determined the outcome of the Civil War, and this bill will protect cherished Tennessee sites like Chickamauga, Fort Donelson and Parker’s Crossroads. It’s important to preserve these locations both to honor the thousands who fought and to allow future generations to learn their heritage by walking these hallowed fields.”
According to the Civil War Sites Advisory Committee, almost sixty percent of Civil War battlefields in the U.S. are gone or are in danger from urban development. Alexander said this act is intended to save those battlefields by buying them from willing private owners and partnering with state and local governments to assist with preservation efforts. The bill will authorize approximately $10 million dollars over a five year period to encourage state, local and private sector investment in historic land preservation. Of this, approximately $2 million will fund programs to protect 649 acres of battlefield land in Tennessee.
The bill is also intended to prepare the nation for the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War in 2011. The anniversary is expected to renew interest and increase visitation to the country’s 384 principal Civil War battlefields. In Tennessee, there were 1,462 military engagements during the war - including 38 major battles- making the Volunteer State second only to Virginia in Civil War military sites, according to the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.
“As we approach the anniversary of the Civil War, the Battlefield Preservation Act will help us reflect on this turbulent time in our nation’s past,” Alexander said. “Preserving this history is one more way we can make sure future generations grow up learning what it means to be American.”