- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 3, 2007

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Appomattox is considering a proposal to preserve a Civil War battlefield in the middle of town, along with an antebellum house in the woods near where the fighting took place.

The former site of the Battle of Appomattox Station, now owned by a trucking company, is in excellent shape, according to a preliminary report by the archaeological-engineering firm compiling the proposal.

The wagon roads used in the April 8, 1865, battle that led to the South’s surrender at Appomattox Court House the next day are mostly visible from the ground. The one-story home is nearly in ruins but can be fully restored, said Philip Thomason, director of the Thomason & Associates firm.

“I’ve seen buildings in this condition or worse restored back,” he recently told the Appomattox Town Council.

Though trees have been cleared from parts of the 25-acre former battlefield, the site remains largely undeveloped because its hills make it difficult to use, Mr. Thomason said.

Preliminary recommendations from the study, paid for by a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, include how to buy parcels of land that were part of the battlefield.

Mr. Thomason says the story told at the Appomattox Court House national park is incomplete because it portrays only the surrender.

“The reason you have the surrender is because of the fighting that took place all around here,” he said. “It’s not the bloodiest fight, but it’s of great strategic importance.”

The battle also is unique because the fighting involved mounted Union cavalry troops attacking about 28,000 Confederate artillery troops, Appomattox Court House historian Patrick Schroeder said.

“You don’t have to just hit the man, you have to hit the horse,” he said.

Mr. Schroeder urged town officials and representatives to form a preservation group to save the battlefield, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance.

Organizers expect a completed draft report within several weeks. The plan then will be reviewed by local officials and the National Park Service. A meeting to discuss the proposal likely will be held by the end of summer.

“It’s a unique story that has been overlooked for a long time because people always focus on the surrender,” Mr. Schroeder said. “They forget why the surrender took place.”

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