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Grant funds to help save threatened battlefield site

The National Park Service announced Monday $28,466 in grants from the American Battlefield Protection Program to help protect 10 acres of America’s battlefields in Mississippi threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development.

These grants will be used to acquire a portion of the Champion Hill Battlefield, a significant Civil War Battlefield.

“Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants allow for the permanent protection of lands associated with historic battles in our country’s history,” National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said. “The grants enable communities to partner with public, private, and non-profit organizations to preserve and provide access to meaningful places that connect us to our past.”

Following the Union capture of Jackson, Mississippi, Union forces under Major Gen. Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate forces under Major General John C. Pemberton at a vital crossroads known as Champion Hill, halfway between Vicksburg and Jackson. Confederate forces were unable to hold Champion Hill, were outflanked and eventually driven off Champion Hill.

The decisive Battle of Champion Hill forced Confederates into the fortifications of Vicksburg and the eventually the surrender of the vital southern city.

The American Battlefield Protection Program’s Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant program provides up to 50 percent in matching funds for state and local governments to acquire and preserve threatened Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War Battlefield land through the purchase of land in fee simple and permanent, protective interests in land. Eligible battlefields are listed in the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission’s 1993 “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields” and the 2007 “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.”