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National Military Park
, National Battlefield
, National Battlefield Park
, and National Battlefield Site
are four designations for 24 battle sites preserved by the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...
because of their national importance. The designation applies to "sites where historic battles were fought on American soil during the armed conflicts that shaped the growth and development of the United States...."
There are 11 National Battlefields, nine National Military Parks, four National Battlefield Parks, and one National Battlefield Site. The National Park Service does not distinguish among the four designations in terms of their preservation or management policies.
In 1890, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, located in northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee, preserves the sites of two major battles of the American Civil War: the Battle of Chickamauga and the Chattanooga Campaign.-History:...
was the first such site created by Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....
. Originally these sites were maintained by the War Department
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...
, but were transferred to the National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...
on August 10, 1933. The different designations seem merely to reflect the mood the Congress at the time of authorization of each individual site, although "park" appears to be reserved for the larger sites. Only Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site commemorates the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, in which the Confederate army, under Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, defeated a much larger Union force on June 10, 1864, to ultimately secure supply lines between Nashville and Chattanooga,...
still bears that designation — others previously had, but have since been redesignated. To further confuse matters, some battlefields are designated as National Monuments, such as Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of the June 25, 1876, Battle of the Little Bighorn, near Crow Agency, Montana, in the United States. It also serves as a memorial to those who fought in the battle: George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and a combined Lakota-Northern...
, or National Historic Sites, such as Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park near Brownsville, Texas preserves the grounds of the May 8, 1846, Battle of Palo Alto. It was the first major conflict in a border dispute that soon precipitated the Mexican-American War. The United States Army victory here made the invasion of Mexico...
As with all historic areas in the National Park System, these battle sites are automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...
- List of National Military Parks
- List of National Battlefield Parks
- List of National Battlefields