U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
Battlefields represent some of our nation's most significant historic properties. Our nation achieved independence through the trial of battle, and military action often determined the very boundaries of this country. The momentous decision of whether we would remain one country or two was settled by war. The great clash of cultures between the first Americans and the later European settlers was determined in military engagements.
Battlefields are an important type of cultural landscape. They are places that have been profoundly marked by human endeavor. While the significance of many battlefields derives from a brief and extraordinarily violent moment in time, the basic principles for identifying, evaluating, documenting, registering and protecting these historic properties can be applied more broadly, particularly to significant historic rural landscapes. The characteristics that define a broad range of rural landscapes - natural features, land uses, vegetation, historic building types - also define many battlefields. The threats to rural landscapes - changing land uses, loss of vegetation, alteration to natural features, loss and replacement of historic buildings - also are occurring on many battlefields.
The battlefields of American history reflect important aspects of our culture and heritage. These lands today face unprecedented threats to their survival. Their loss would destroy an important part of our shared historic experience. This publication is designed to assist in the recogni don of these important properties worthy of preservation. We should never forget the sacrifices made on these fields.Lawrence E. Aten
Interagency Resources Division
National Park Service
Departrnent of the Interior
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