Preserving Family History on a Civil War Battlefield

Row of soldiers in uniform operate two large canons with wheels, firing into grassy field at enemy line in distance. Two higher ranking soldiers look watch on horseback.
Artillery bombardment at Champion Hill, sketch by Theodore R. Davis, 1863

Harper’s Weekly

Recipient: Mississippi Department of Archives & History

Award Amount: $692,450
Acreage: 353.6

Today and throughout history, American battlefields have been places people have called home. The Champion family has lived on the lush, wooded landscape of Champion Hill Farm since the Civil War. In May 1863, part of their land was the site of a pivotal battle to control a crossroads outside Vicksburg. On May 16, US Major General Ulyssess S. Grant caught the Confederate Army of Vicksburg off guard and drove Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton’s men toward the Vicksburg defenses. Pemberton’s forces surrendered at Vicksburg after a 47-day siege.

With the support of a Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, the Mississippi Department of History and the American Battlefield Trust will be able to protect the landscape, which tells the story of this battle, and its long history and use as home. They are purchasing 353.6 acres of the battlefield for permanent preservation, while the Champion family will keep the part of the landscape where they reside and maintain perpetual access to the family cemetery. This partnership shows how thoughtful preservation can recognize and respect multiple layers of history at a single site.

Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants empower preservation partners nationwide to acquire and preserve threatened Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War battlefields. In addition, the program administers three other grants: Preservation Planning Grants, which are open to all sites of armed conflict on American soil, the newly authorized Battlefield Restoration and Battlefield Interpretation grant programs. This financial assistance generates community-driven stewardship of historic resources at the state, tribal and local levels.

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Check out the American Battlefield Protection Program's website for more information about various grant offerings and eligibility.

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Last updated: April 8, 2022