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Battlefields can’t be moved. Big boxes can.

This simple and powerful sentiment concluded an editorial in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star on February 19th about a resolution passed by the Vermont Legislature which calls for the preservation of the Wilderness Battlefield in the face of Wal-Mart developers. Vermont is taking a stand against this development because the First Vermont Brigade suffered over 1,200 casualties in the Battle of Wilderness, further illustrating the national significance of this hallowed ground. More from the editorial:

No one dismisses Orange County’s need for revenue or Wal-Mart’s right to grow. But must the store occupy historic ground? As the Vermont resolution says, “The story of the Battle of the Wilderness is one of valor for both armies that fought there.” Now, will commerce recognize that and take a second seat?


More than 5,000 members and friends of the National Trust for Historic Preservation have taken this action to save the historic Civil War battlefield.

We must spread the word of this potential development to as many people as possible.

What's At Risk?

Wilderness Battlefield is one of the nation’s most important Civil War battlefields. It is designated as a Priority 1, Class A battlefield by Congress’ blue-ribbon Civil War Sites Advisory Commission.
However, construction of Wal-Mart’s massive “Superstore” would irrevocably harm the battlefield and degrade the visitor’s experience of the National Park. It also would open the flood gates for large-scale commercial development of this highly significant historic landscape.
And yet, Wal-Mart decision makers stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that Wilderness Battlefield matters to the American people.

Time is Running Out.
The Orange County Planning Board is likely to hold a public hearing in March or April, 2009 to evaluate Wal-Mart’s project, with a final vote by the Board of Supervisors coming as early as May or June, 2009. Your help is needed now to make sure that more Americans voice their support for this national treasure.

We Need More Signatures. Share This Petition.
Plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter within sight of one of the most significant Civil War battle sites in our nation have been submitted for approval in Orange County, Virginia. This 145,000-square-foot store is proposed just one-quarter mile from the main entrance to the National Park that honors the sacrifice of the Civil War combatants who fought and died at Wilderness Battlefield in May 1864.
As part of a growing coalition, the National Trust for Historic Preservation strongly opposes intensive commercial development at this historic site, located at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 3, because it would degrade the rural setting for the battlefield, promote commercial sprawl and drastically increase traffic through the heart of the National Park.
Learn more about the background of this issue.

More updates on the National Trust’s advocacy to save Wilderness Battlefield:

  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation is communicating directly with Wal-Mart corporate executives, to ask Wal-Mart to relocate its planned Superstore, and with adjacent landowners who are preparing to intensively develop their property.
  • The National Trust and the National Park Service testified before the Vermont Legislature as the legislators considered and ultimately passed a resolution asking Virginia officials to protect the historic battlefield because of its national significance.
  • The Vermont resolution was welcomed by the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star with a February 19, 2009, editorialwhich called for battlefield preservation.
  • Along with the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition, the National Trust has offered to pay for a land-use planning study that would balance preservation of this irreplaceable historic site with sustainable economic development. We hope that the Orange County Board of Supervisors will accept our offer of Technical Assistance.
  • The National Trust, along with the Coalition, is continuing to mobilize concerned Americans both in Orange County, VA and nationwide, to help preserve Wilderness Battlefield.
  • The Wilderness Battlefield Coalition includes the Civil War Preservation Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, Piedmont Environmental Council, APVA Preservation Virginia, Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, Friends of Fredericksburg Area Battlefields, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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