Funding secured for Brice’s Crossroads
By Marty Russell
Final funding has been secured to allow the purchase of more than 700 acres of land in Lee and Prentiss counties to preserve the site of the 1864 Battle of Brice’s Crossroads.
The U.S. Department of Interior has approved the use of $125,000 from a fund established with proceeds from the sale of Civil War commemorative coins, 1st District U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker announced Friday.
The money will be used to purchase land in Lee and Prentiss counties to preserve the site of the Civil War battle that saw a small contingent of Confederate soldiers led by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest push back a sizable Union force.
“It is important to preserve these historic sites for future generations,” Wicker said, giving credit to the state’s two U.S. senators and many in north Mississippi for helping win the funding. “With this funding, the Civil War Trust can now proceed with those efforts at Brice’s Crossroads.”
The Civil War Trust is just one of the groups working to preserve the site. The entire purchase price of the land will be $600,000. In addition to the federal funds announced Friday, the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites has put up $125,000, Lee County contributed $125,000, Prentiss County gave $25,000, and the remainder came from the state.
John Haynes, executive director of the Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield Commission, said, with the funds now in hand, the group can begin to proceed with plans for the property.
“We can now go ahead and close the land deals and acquire the property,” Haynes said. “On June 10, the anniversary of the battle, we’ll probably have some kind of formal ceremony.”
The group plans to, within the next year, build trails and interpretive sites on the battlefield.
Another related project, a Brice’s Crossroads museum, also is scheduled to get under way this year. Working with a $250,000 state education grant and a $25,000 donation from the Frank B. Stubbs charitable trust, the Brice’s Crossroads Museum Commission plans to build a new museum on property near the actual battlefield.
“They plan to let bids in July and begin construction in the middle of August,” said Haynes. “It should be in operation by next spring.”