National Park Service Issues Report on Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites

This week the National Park Service released a “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.” The study is the broadest federal effort ever undertaken to determine the status of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 resources. The report reflects the results of years of study and was successful in identifying the sites of almost 3,000 events associated with the two wars, including 60 sites within the National Park System.

The National Park Service has developed a web site to highlight many of the sites preserved by the NPS as well as State and local governments and public and private entities. (Log onto the Preserving Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites website by clicking here). In addition to a list of sites, the web site includes information and web links to books and documents related to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.

As the 225th Anniversary of the Revolutionary War approached in 2000, members of the United States Congress were concerned that the “historical integrity of many Revolutionary War sites and War of 1812” were at risk. In order to determine the significance of the sites and to assess long- and short-term threats to their integrity, Congress passed The Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Historic Preservation Study Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-333, Section 603; 16 USC Ia-5 Notes). The report issued this week is the result of that congressional mandate.

During the study, the National Park Service called upon the expertise of an advisory committee of 13 scholars. The committee looked at the wars from the perspectives of the colonists, European nations, American Indians, and African Americans in order to determine the relative significance of the sites.

The National Park Service then began an extensive four-year field effort to examine the condition of 243 battlefields and 434 associated historic properties in 31 States, DC, and the US Virgin Islands. Field surveys indicate that as many as 170 sites, especially those located in rapidly developing areas, will face injury or destruction in the next decade.