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Trust, Va. preserving Civil War battlefield

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 9:16 am •  Published: November 20, 2012

Historians believe Lee unleashed upwards of 32,000 men in 16 brigades, far overshadowing the 12,500-man Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The 15,500 casualties made it the second bloodiest battle of the war to that point, topped only by Shiloh, Tenn., 2½ months earlier.

In its 1993 study, the Civil War sites Advisory Commission rated Gaines' Mill a Priority I, Class A designation. That made it one of the 11 top candidates for preservation in the U.S.

A group of prominent Richmond residents purchased 60 acres of the battlefield nearly a century ago. The land was donated to the state and ultimately the National Park Service. The trust's campaign to raise $3.2 million for the 285 acres was launched in 2011.

"The inclusion of this truly historical land will be a tremendous boon the park," Superintendent Dave Ruth said. "For the first time, visitors will be able to retrace the dramatic Confederate Charge of June 27, 1862 — by many accounts, Robert E. Lee's largest assault of the war."

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the nation. It has preserved more than 34,000 acres of battlefield in 20 states, more than half of that in Virginia.


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