Currently, the park has more than 2,900 acres of land and wants to add another 16 acres of adjacent land located between Burnt Hickory Road and Old Mountain Road, at the base of Pigeon Hill. The land was crossed by Union Gen. Joseph Lightburn’s brigade to attack a small Confederate salient at Pigeon Hill, on June 27, 1864.
Presently, the land is privately owned by the Leavell family, which is said to be looking for a buyer.
Local Civil War historian Brad Quinlin has made it a personal mission to help the park acquire the land. He’s afraid it might fall into the hands of a private developer if the federal government doesn’t appropriate funds to purchase it. In May, he visited members of Georgia’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., seeking their support.
“We got great, positive feedback from the congressmen and senators of Georgia,” he said.
“It’s been something the battlefield has been wanting to purchase and attach to it for a while and it’s just come up for sale again. The landowner wants to sell it. Of course, with the property values reduced from the recession, it’s at a very valued sale right now.”
The 16 acres has reportedly been appraised at $2.7 million. The property still contains Union earthworks.
It’s a part of hundreds of acres of land on the park’s wish list that it wants to acquire in order to preserve its historical value.
In total, there are approximately 248 acres of more adjacent park land that are in the park’s long range acquisition goal. It’s all relatively intact property and has significant historical resources related to the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, said park Superintendent Stanley Bond.
However, the land acquisition process is a long and complicated one, he said. He said the park began the application process of acquiring the 16 acres about three years ago.
According to experts, instead of tax dollars, funding to purchase the property would come from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program that uses fees paid by companies drilling offshore for oil and gas, to fund land and water acquisitions by federal, state and local governments.
Each year, the president makes recommendations and Congress appropriates funding for a select list of projects.
Bond said there is reason to be hopeful that the 16 acres will gain approval for funding.
“This particular piece of property is in the president’s budget, on his list of acquisitions — the No. 3 property,” Bond said. “As long as we have support from our congressional delegation, then I’d say our chances are reasonably high.”
Over the weekend, the park celebrated the 147th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain with infantry and artillery demonstrations and an exhibition of 19th century civilian clothing.