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 [graphic] National Register Bulletin Guidelines for Identifying, Evaluating, and Registering America's Historic Battlefields

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U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

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"Johnny, if a boy dies for his country the glory is his forever, isn't it?"
Confederate soldier Will Pope's dying words to his friend Johnny Green, Shiloh battlefield, Tennessee, April 7, 1862. 1

"Through those motels and fried-chicken stands, Pickett's men charged. The first line faltered in the Burger King parking lot and regrouped next to the Tastee Freeze."
Tour guide standing on Cemetery Ridge, pointing to the west of Gettsyburg National Military Park, 1991. 2  


Battle of Cowpens
Battlefields meet National Register Criterion A if they are associated with important military events. On January 17, 1781, in these fields, stretched across the Green River Road, Brig. Gen. Daniel Morgan led his army of tough Continentals and backwoods militia to a brilliant victory over Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton's larger force of British regulars. This victory at the Battle of Cowpens played an important part in the chain of British disasters in the South which led to their ultimate defeat at Yorktown. (Photo by Cowpens National Battlefield)

Throughout our history, warfare was virtually endemic in this country. From the earliest days of settlement through World War II, generations of Americans have witnessed or participated in the clash of arms on American soil.

The great issues of liberty, democracy, expansion, and the defense of homeland and culture were settled on numerous American battlefields. Warfare between the American Indians and the European ethnic groups that settled the country spanned centuries. The colonial wars between France, Spain, and Great Britain, culminating in the French and Indian War (1754-1763), ended the titanic struggle for world domination between the forces of absolute monarchy and constitutional monarchical rule. Thirteen years later the American colonists battled in the defense of liberty against what they perceived to be the despotism of the British empire. The independence of America was then secured in the War of 1812, and with the War for Texas Independence in 1836. The War with Mexico (1846-48) extended American institutions across the continent. All of these efforts paled in comparison with the American Civil War (1861-1865), when the very idea of America as a unified nation and the font of liberty was challenged and sustained in an epic struggle. The Spanish-American War (1898) was fought, among other reasons, to deliver the Cuban people from despotic Spanish rule. The American struggle for democracy during World War II (1941-1945) was fought in part on American territory in the islands of the Pacific and Alaska.

Battlefields associated with these wars are found across the land. They all share common qualities - they are a significant part of our national heritage and they face unprecedented threats to their continued existence. This bulletin is designed to provide guidance in the identification, evaluation, and registration in the National Register of Historic Places of these important components of our national patrimony.


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