PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 240 years after the "shot heard 'round the world" signaled the beginning of the American Revolution, historians and preservationists gathered in Princeton, N.J., to launch the first-ever national campaign to save the battlefields of that conflict. The new initiative, titled 'Campaign 1776,' is a project of the Civil War Trust, the nation's most successful battlefield preservation organization.
"The patriots who fell during the struggle for American independence deserve to have their sacrifices remembered just as much as those who took up arms 'four score and seven years' later during the Civil War," said Trust president James Lighthizer. "These battlefields are hallowed ground, living memorials to this nation's brave soldiers, past, present and future."
Although primarily focused on preservation of the battlefields of the Revolutionary War (1775–1783), Campaign 1776 will also target battlegrounds associated with the War of 1812 (1812–1814) – the defining conflicts of the early years of the United States. In a 2007 report on the status of these battlefields, the National Park Service called for their protection before they are lost to development.
"Many of our Revolutionary War battlefields were lost long ago.. Those landscapes that remain are precious reminders of the struggle to achieve independence and create a republic dedicated to the liberty of ordinary people," said Jack Warren, executive director of the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati. "No organization is better equipped to lead us in this work than the Civil War Trust — the most effective historic land preservation organization in the United States."
In addition to announcing Campaign 1776, Lighthizer also revealed the first preservation venture of the new national initiative: a fundraising campaign to save 4.6 historic acres on the Princeton Battlefield. The January 3, 1777, engagement was General George Washington's first victory over British Regulars in the field, and a turning point in the war. To preserve this land, the Trust is working in partnership with the State of New Jersey, local governments and the Princeton Battlefield Society. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, visit www.campaign1776.org/princeton2014.
"The emergence of a national battlefield preservation entity focused on the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 will empower regional and local organizations," said Princeton Battlefield Society president Jerry Hurwitz. "Not only will Campaign 1776 allow battlefields from those earlier eras to take advantage of the Civil War Trust's specialized professional expertise, but it will demonstrate the urgent need to protect these tangible links to our past."
Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert and Richard Boornazian, the state's assistant commissioner for natural and historic resources, representing the governmental partners in the Princeton acquisition project, also participated in the news conference. They welcomed the involvement of a national battlefield preservation group to help facilitate state and local land conservation efforts.
About Campaign 1776: Campaign 1776 is a national initiative of the Civil War Trust, America's largest and most effective battlefield preservation organization. Its purpose is to protect the battlefields of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and to educate the public about the importance of these battlefields in forging the nation we are today. To learn more, visit the Campaign 1776 website at www.campaign1776.org.
SOURCE Civil War Trust