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Virginia land trust, property owner strike deal to save Civil War site next to national park
By CLINT SCHEMMER
Like a jeweler stringing another pearl onto a fine necklace, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust has added a new property to its collection of Fredericksburg-area hallowed ground.
Fredericksburg developer Lee Garrison recently donated 10 acres near Lee Drive--a favorite driving-tour route for visitors to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park--to the local nonprofit group.
"We can't acquire every historically significant property, so being given this property is pretty special," said Jerry Brent, the Fredericksburg-based trust's executive director. "It points out the longstanding good relations we've had with the developers in the area."
The small grass-roots trust, now beginning its 15th year, has saved more than 890 acres on the area's four major Civil War battlefields.
Some of its biggest successes grew from its ability to work with builders, Brent said. As examples, he cited its acquisition of two parcels near Grant's Knoll on the Wilderness battlefield, the preservation of Fredericksburg's Slaughter Pen battlefield along State Route 2 and U.S. 17, and conservation easements placed on Latimer's Knoll, a Confederate artillery position overlooking Slaughter Pen.
Tricord Homes of Fredericksburg was instrumental in the Slaughter Pen project, as well as the preservation of 140 acres on Chancellorsville's "first day" battlefield along State Route 3 at Lick Run.
Garrison, a former Tricord manager, just wanted to "do the right thing" with his land near Lee Drive, Brent said.
"My experience while working with Tricord on the Chancellorsville and Slaughter Pen preservation efforts gave me an appreciation for balancing the need for development as our local population continues to grow with the need to protect the significant historical battlefields in our area," Garrison said in an interview yesterday.
The 10.3-acre tract between the park road and Lafayette Boulevard lies within Fredericksburg's "core" battlefield as designated by the federal Civil War Sites Advisory Commission, the nation's top authority on where Civil War actions took place.
But it wasn't the site of bloodshed, Brent said.
"No battles were fought on this property. No bullets were flying," he said. "It probably saw rear-area troop movements or served as a supply area."
Eric Mink, the park's cultural resources manager, elaborated.
"During the December 1862 battle Confederate troops were likely stationed in this vicinity, if not on the property itself, but they would have seen virtually no action," Mink said.