I asked Civil War Preservation Trust if they've had any dealings with this cryptic mysterioso, whether they sensed drift nationally, and whether they would be willing to play a leading role in coordinating the Sesquicentennial. Spokesman Jim Campi answered:
In regard to the federal Sesquicentennial legislation, CWPT is certainly concerned about the progress of federal legislation. We are hoping to be able to put some resources behind it in the next few months. Our reluctance to do so up to now is because the current legislation, despite its other merits, does not have a land preservation component. So our involvement would mean scarce money and resources being diverted from efforts that much more directly aid in the acquisition of historic properties. Of course, a federal commission could and likely would indirectly aid in preservation, by generating public awareness and interest in the Civil War.I'm sensing ever more momentum for localized anniversary events; ever less interest in a national program. At what point can we declare the national effort beached and abandoned?
I believe we did meet with Rick Beard back in 2006, but I was out of town and unable to participate in the meeting. Most of our focus has been on the state commissions. As you know, Virginia's Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is one of the best organized and prepared -- if not the best. What we have been trying to do is connect other state officials with the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission, to help them get up and running more quickly. Fortunately, the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission has been very cooperative and willing to help other states. Further, the Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission has repeatedly expressed an interest in battlefield preservation as one of the commission's most enduring legacies -- justifying our involvement.
There are likely other ways we can help promote the Civil War Sesquicentennial as well -- and are certainly open to suggestions.