From “Hallowed Ground”, the magazine of the Civil War Preservation Trust.
The 3rd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry reenactment group, based in Freehold, NJ., recently made battlefield preservation history: This group of more than 50 active and committed individuals pooled their resources and made a donation to the Civil War Preservation Trust of $5,000. This sum represents the largest single donation ever given to CWPT by a reenactors’ unit.
“Preservation is one of our main focuses,” explained Charles Pfeiffer, Paymaster for the 3rd New Jersey and a member of the unit since 1996. They participate in reenactments, of course, such as the most recent one at Antietam. But they also conduct “Many living history events and especially school presentations,” he said.
“We’re not just interested in going out and shooting off powder on weekends. We truly want to convey the history to the public, and honor the memory of the men who fought.”
Working with the CWPT Development staff, the leaders of the unit set one main requirement for the gift: the money should be matched so as to have the “biggest possible impact.” If land could be preserved were the 3rd New Jersey was actually engaged, so much the better. After a brief search of a regimental history, CWPT discovered that the original wartime unit was engaged at Fairfield, Pennsylvania, a battle associated with the Gettysburg Campaign. Even more significant is the fact that Fairfield is one of the first two projects in the nation where CWPT will be using matching funds from the new Farmland Protection Program. The generous donation is a huge boost to that fundraising effort, and could not have come at a better time. CWPT salutes the truly unparalleled generosity of the 3rd New Jersey, and challenges all reenactment units to match their efforts.