Battlefield Receives Grant Money
On Friday, November 19, 1999, members of the Civil War preservation Trust met on the Raymond Battlefield to present Friends of Raymond with a ceremonial check for $15,000. The grant money is designated to help with the purchase and interpretation of the Raymond Battlefield.
0. James Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Preservation Trust, awarded the check to David McCain, President of Friends of Raymond. Lighthizer, whose office is in Arlington, Virginia, expressed his interest and commitment regarding the preservation of the Raymond Battlefield stating, "Raymond has a unique opportunity to preserve history and encourage tourism as an important part of Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. It is important to recognize present day economic development value and its connection to historic preservation. The Civil War Preservation Trust is eager to continue and improve our partnership with Friends of Raymond."
Also present and representing the Civil War Preservation Trust were board members, Paul Bryant, Jr., John Haynes and Rosemary Williams. "I am particularly interested in the preservation of Southern heritage," stated Paul Bryant Jr., son of Coach Bear Bryant "Our daughter, Stella Gray Bryant, is working for preservation in Mississippi through her job as Director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust." John Haynes, board member from Baldwin, Ms., stated, "We are extremely pleased with the vision that the people of Raymond have concerning preservation of this battlefield property. The economic benefits in the long run will be the greatest benefit to the Raymond Community. This is all about the 'greening' of Raymond. Battlefield Preservation allows 'green space' to be enjoyed by everyone and it brings 'green money' for economic development. Ten million people tour Civil War Battlefields annually. Most of the battlefields are" in the South and, therefore this is basically a Southern, tourism industry. We definitely need to capitalize on it." Rosemary Williams, board member from Corinth commented, "The Civil War Preservation Trust is thrilled for the potential that heritage tourism brings to an area through preservation."
The Civil War Preservation Trust is a national organization established in 1999 from the merger of the former Civil War Trust and the American Preservation of Civil War Sites. Its goal is to protect and preserve the nation's Civil War battlefield sites. The organization believes that Civil War battlefields are a reminder of what it means to be an American. When we visit the battlefields we honor the men and women who fought for their beliefs.
To date, the Civil War Trust [now a part of the Civil War Preservation Trust] has been successful with their goals. During the past eight years, they have secured $14.8 million dollars to help preserve 6,700 acres of battlefield acreage in thirteen states. One such site to receive help from the Civil War Trust was Corinth, Mississippi. The Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission received $500,000. The funding was used to purchase several important land parcels associated with the Battle of Corinth. Recently, the U.S. Congress designated the Corinth Battlefield to become a national park.
Friends of Raymond has purchased only forty acres of the Raymond Battlefield but hopes to secure more in the future. The actual Raymond Battlefield encompasses hundreds of acres along Highway 18 and Fourteen-Mile Creek. The Raymond Battlefield will be featured as a featured attraction on the Vicksburg Campaign Trail. The development of the Vicksburg Campaign Trail [approximately 200 square miles] represents a national and state effort to preserve historical sites associated with Grant's march  to capture Vicksburg. Battlefield sites associated with Grant's historic march are: the Battle of Port Gibson [May 1], the Battle of Raymond [May 12], the Battle of Jackson [May 14], the Battle of Champion's Hill [May 16], the Battle of the Big Black River [May 17] and the Siege of Vicksburg [May 18-July 4]. The development of the Campaign Trail, in conjunction with the City of Vicksburg, would attract tourists to Port Gibson, Raymond, and Edwards as well as to Vicksburg, Unfortunately, many of the Civil War sites in Jackson have been used for commercial development.
Friends of Raymond, established in 1998 with the purpose of preserving historic sites, has been successful in leading the effort to preserve the Raymond Battlefield. David McCain, president, commented, "Friends of Raymond met the first bank note that was due November 1st. This was quite an undertaking and represented a lot of hard work and commitment by many people. Now, we are 'gearing up' to meet the next note and planning events to help raise necessary funds, The word of 'Saving the Raymond Battlefield' has spread and people from Mississippi as well as other states are helping to promote our cause, Just recently, we heard that the Austin Civil War Round Table [Texas] is donating a $10,000 monument to be placed on the battlefield in memory of the 7th Texas. The monument will be made of stone and have the star of Texas on the top. The placing of this monument will be the beginning of greater things to come. We hope that the citizens of Raymond and Hinds County will all work with us to meet our goal."
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