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Trust donates land for Perryville Battlefield

The Civil War Preservation Trust, a nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, has donated 54 acres associated with the October 1862 battle of Perryville to the state of Kentucky for the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site.

“The gift of this land will provide an enriched experience for visitors for generations to come,” said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet secretary Marcheta Sparrow in a news release.

The Trust bought the property in 2006 for $157,000, which was partially offset by a federal matching grant for historic landscape protection.

Located on the southeastern side of the battlefield, it marks the site where Confederate Gen. William J. Hardee launched an assault against the Union center.

The gift coincides with the Trust’s annual conference this week in Lexington, Ky.

“As illustrated by the presence of our conference in Kentucky this week, protected battlefields draw tourists who want to explore them in great depth,” James Lighthizer, president of the Trust, said in the release. “On the eve of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, it is particularly important that we set aside such irreplaceable sites for the curious generations of the future.”

The Battle of Perryville, fought Oct. 8, 1862, was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky. It was the culmination of Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s invasion of the state.

The battle was considered a Confederate victory in tactical terms, but Bragg left for Tennessee after the battle, and Kentucky remained in Union hands the rest of the war.

The Trust already has participated in preserving 385 acres at Perryville and recently announced a new fund-raising effort to place a permanent conservation easement on 327 more acres on the northern part of the battlefield.

“The ground has remained largely unchanged for nearly 150 years, and, in many cases, the descendants of those who tended the land in 1862 still work their family farms today,” park manager Kurt Holman said in the release. “We are always very proud to say that if a Civil War soldier who fought here were to walk the battlefield today, he would say, ‘I know this place — this is Perryville.’”

Additional information about the trust can be found at www.civilwar.org.

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