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Park Service grants funds for Champion Hill battleground

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The National Park Service has awarded Mississippi $109,806 as part of a grant to preserve Civil War battlefields.

The grant funds, totaling $499,705.96, is from the NPS’ American Battlefield Protection Program. In addition to Mississippi, funds will also go to Alabama and Virginia “to help protect 131.49 acres of America’s battlefields threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development,” the NPS said in a statement.

In Mississippi, the funds will allow the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to purchase 58 acres of land near Vicksburg at the site of the Battle of Champion Hill.

The Battle of Champion Hill was fought on May 16, 1863, as part of Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s operations against Vicksburg. At the start of the battle, Confederate Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton’s posted Brigadier General Stephen D. Lee’s men atop Champion Hill where they could watch for the reported Union column moving to the crossroads. When Grant arrived at Champion Hill, around 10 a.m., he ordered the attack to begin. By 11:30 a.m., Union forces had reached the Confederate main line and by 1 p.m. took the crest, sweeping forward to capture the crossroads and closing the Jackson Road escape route. Fighting for the hill continued until the Confederates retreated towards Vicksburg.

“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.”

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.

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Vicksburg Daily News