The Tennessee Historical Commission and Tennessee Wars Commission Thursday announced that they have awarded nearly $700,000 in grant funding to preserve over 15 acres of critical Civil War battlefield land in three counties through the Tennessee Civil War Sites Preservation Fund, including $47,500 for Wauhatchie.
Successful grantees were awarded funds to preserve land associated with the 1863 Battle of Wauhatchie in Chattanooga, land adjacent to Fort Donelson in Dover, and a tract in Franklin near the epicenter of the Nov. 30, 1864 battle. The successful grantee organizations were the Civil War Preservation Trust and Franklin’s Charge.
“These grants will help our partners in preservation conserve these historic lands forever,” said Tennessee Historical Commission Executive Director Patrick McIntyre. "The funding will help obtain an important tract in the area already conserved along the Tennessee River at Brown’s Ferry, and enhance the area at Fort Donelson National Battlefield. In addition, grant funding will make a critical contribution to the restoration of a core portion of the Franklin Battlefield property just south of the Carter House State Historic Site.”
The specific projects and awards are as follows:
Gold Tract, Dover, Stewart County. Applicant: The Civil War Preservation Trust
This project will acquire one parcel, consisting of 11.18± acres. The property is located near the southwestern portion of the Fort Donelson National Battlefield and was the site of troop movements and combat during the Battle of Fort Donelson, Feb. 11-16, 1862.
Mohr Tract, Chattanooga, Hamilton County. Applicant: The Civil War Preservation Trust
This project will acquire one parcel, consisting of 3.61± acres. The project is located at the northern portion of the Chattanooga (Brown’s Ferry) Battlefield and was the site of troop movements of the 23rd Kentucky Infantry, U.S.A. during the Battle of Wauhatchie, Oct. 27, 1863. A part of the larger battle and siege of Chattanooga, Wauhatchie, or Brown’s Ferry, established the bridgehead upon which the Union army built their “Cracker Line” and allowed them to ultimately break the lines of the besieging Confederate troops.
Spivey Tract, Franklin, Williamson County. Applicant: Franklin’s Charge
This project will acquire one parcel, consisting of .7± acres. The property is located just south of the Federal entrenchment line at the Carter family’s farm and lies west of, and adjacent to, Columbia Pike in the city of Franklin. During the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864 it was over this tract that multiple Confederate brigades of Brown’s Division charged against hastily entrenched Federal troops and were repulsed repeatedly, taking frightening casualties in the process. The Confederate failure at Franklin to score a decisive victory, coupled with their extensive casualty rate, allowed the Federal army to remain in control of Nashville and from it strike the death blows of the Confederacy.
The TCWSPF grant program, begun in 2013, is funded through a portion of growth funds in the Real Estate Transfer Tax. It has proven to be a critical source of matching state funding for the Federal American Battlefield Protection Program, that is available for the preservation of properties associated with the 38 most significant Civil War sites in Tennessee. Additionally, grants can assist in funding the acquisition and protection of Underground Railroad sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark. The amount of funds available for grants in Tennessee this year is expected to be $1.4 million. This represents the largest amount of funds ever available for TCWSPF grants, due to the growth of the State’s Real Estate Transfer tax. The TCWSPF grants provide a 50 percent match, with the applicant providing for the matching 50 percent.
"Grant programs like this one are critical in ensuring that Tennessee continues to lead the way in preserving and protecting the sites of conflict in which we can interpret all of our shared history as both Tennesseans and Americans,” said Tim Hyder, director of Programs for the Tennessee Wars Commission.
To date the TCWSPF has been utilized to award over $1.5 million in funding, which has helped permanently preserve and protect nearly 160 acres of threatened Civil War battlefield land in Tennessee.
For more information about the Tennessee Historical Commission and Tennessee Wars Commission, please visit the Web site at http://www.tnhistoricalcommission.org.