- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Two nearly 140-year-old Civil War battlefields in Virginia are among 10 in the United States most endangered by developmental sprawl and superhighways, officials of the Civil War Preservation Trust said yesterday.
Six other Virginia sites are listed on a separate list of 15 at-risk battlefields in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Missouri and Ohio.
"With so many Civil War sites under siege from urban sprawl, we could easily have selected a hundred," said trust President James Lighthizer.
"Real people risked their lives at these battlefields for ideals they cherished above life itself. Allowing these sites to fall prey to development dishonors the memory of their courage and sacrifice," said Civil War historian and preservationist Brian Pohanka.
"The Bush administration has been very supportive of us," said Mr. Lighthizer.
Trust Chairman Carrington Williams of McLean said, "It is vital to motivate local residents if the battlefields are to be saved. We have close to 38,000 members now."
The joining of opposing forces after the Civil War was vital to the creation of the greatest democracy in the world, according to the trust. More than 620,000 Northerners and Southerners died, more than in all American wars from the Revolution through the Vietnam War.
The Civil War results are recognized worldwide. Mr. Williams said people from France, England, Germany and other nations come to America to watch and participate in annual re-enactments of battles.
"An Englishman said to me, 'I don't know why the Civil War fascinates me so much, but it does,'" Mr. Carrington said.
The two most endangered Virginia battlefields are Chancellorsville, along Route 3 between Fredericksburg and Culpeper, and Gaines' Mill and Cold Harbor, a few miles east of the Confederate capital at Richmond.
The Chancellorsville campaign is considered by historians to be Gen. Robert E. Lee's greatest victory. It was there that his fellow general, Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, was killed accidentally by his own troops.
The sprawl from Fredericksburg already has "devoured" the Salem Church battlefield along Route 3, the trust states. And in October, Virginia's Department of Transportation announced plans for a $121 million bypass near the Chancellorsville battlefield that will attract the same type of sprawl that has sprung up along Route 3.
Developers are eyeing the nearby 781-acre Ashley Farm, scene of the first day of Chancellorsville fighting, despite efforts of the trust and the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust.
Lee won the first war victory at Gaines' Mill, lifting the siege of Richmond. Two years later in 1864, Lee's Confederates were pitted against the Union Army of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at nearby Cold Harbor. The two battles killed more than 30,000.
The trust's annual report states that residential development along Interstate 295 is overcoming both battle sites. The upper half of Cold Harbor battlefield is "lost beyond recall," and three housing developments are on the perimeter of Gaines' Mill.
The other eight most endangered battlefields are at Atlanta; Bentonville, N.C.; Corinth, Miss.; Franklin, Tenn.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Harpers Ferry, W. Va.; Richmond, Ky.; and Stones River, Tenn.
At Gettysburg, the trust is concerned that the construction of a new visitors' center at Baltimore Pike and Hunt Avenue will attract chain restaurants and stores like those plaguing the Emmitsburg Road and Steinwehr Avenue corrider. Also, the nearby Daniel Lady Farm could be repossessed if the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association is unable to pay off the note.
The Virginia at-risk battlefields are Manassas and Bristoe Station, southwest of Manassas; McDowell, west of Charlottesville nearly to the Virginia border; Petersburg; Wilderness, west of Fredericksburg on Route 20; and Stephenson's Depot, along Route 11 north of Winchester.
Mason-Dixon Polling and Research conducted a poll last week that showed 68 percent of the registered Prince William County voters favored preservation of Bristoe Station from overdevelopment. About 21 percent were opposed to preservation while 11 percent had no opinion, said trust spokesman Jim Campi.
The other at-risk battlefields are Averasboro, N.C.; Morris Island, S.C.; Allatoona Pass, Ga; Raymond, Miss.; Mansfield, La.; Glorieta, N.M.; Pilot Knob, Mo.; Fort Heiman, Ky.; and Buffington Island, Ohio.


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