The Civil War Trust is now the American Battlefield Trust, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose primary focus is in the preservation of American battlefields. The name was changed on May 8, 2018 to reflect the organization's more-comprehensive mission, which was expanded in 2014 to include battlefields of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The American Battlefield Trust is the umbrella organization for the Civil War Trust as well as the Revolutionary War Trust, the new name for the Trust's "Campaign 1776" land preservation project.
With the creation of the founding organization, the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS) in July 1987, the modern Civil War battlefield preservation movement began. A. Wilson Greene was the organization's first director. APCWS acquired thousands of acres of battlefield land as well as offering educational tours and seminars with prominent historians.
A second non-profit battlefield land organization, the original Civil War Trust, was created in 1991. The original Civil War Trust helped acquire and preserve 6,700 acres (27 km2) of land in the eight years of its existence and conducted education and heritage tourism programs to educate the public about the significance of the war and of battlefield preservation.
On November 19, 1999, the APCWS and the original Civil War Trust merged into a single organization, Civil War Preservation Trust after unanimous votes from the boards of both organizations. The merger was effected to streamline and strengthen efforts to protect and preserve America's Civil War battlefields by purchasing battlefield property. On January 11, 2011, the Civil War Preservation Trust shortened its name to the Civil War Trust, and added a new logo.
On November 11, 2014 (Veterans Day), the Trust partnered with the Society of the Cincinnati to launch "Campaign 1776", a subsidiary project designed to protect endangered battlefields from the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 by acquiring battlefield lands. Federal matching grants for this program were enacted by Congress in December 2014. In the 30-plus years from July 1987 to July 2020, the Trust and its predecessor organizations saved more than 52,639 acres (213.02 km2) of American battlefield land from the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 at more than 130 battlefields in 24 states.