Developer Donates Acreage at the Wilderness
Under a hot August sun, Fredericksburg
developer Larry Silver formally handed over a deed for six acres
of land upon which a small group of preservationists had gathered
on the Wilderness battlefield.
John D. Mitchell, CVBT president, accepted this deed, which
became the first outright gift of land the CVBT has ever received.
During this brief ceremony, Mr. Silver
acknowledged that developers are in the business of changing the
ground. All of us use
grocery stores, service stations, and other retail and service
noted, however, that some areas are worth preserving and he
welcomed the opportunity to work with an established organization
like the CVBT that is able to identify areas that are historically
significant, while differentiating them from areas that can
logically be developed.
In this instance, an area at the intersection
of modern day Routes 3 and 20 will soon have a restaurant and a
Those who are familiar with the Wilderness battlefield know that
the historic crossroads remains preserved, several hundred yards
to the east. This new
development will occur at the newer intersection. In addition, the signs for this development will be
kept low, so they do not intrude into any battlefield
The CVBT has never sought to acquire the land
upon which this new development will occur.
It is simply not historic.
The focus of the National Park Service and the Central
Virginia Battlefields Trust in this area has been to preserve the
terrain where the modern Route 20 becomes the gateway to the
The donated property fulfills this function
by expanding the preserved ground around what is called Grantís
Knoll. On May 4, 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant
established his headquarters in this area during his first
confrontation with General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern
Virginia. Mr. Silverís gift enhances this historic site by
effectively preventing development from encroaching into this
As an added bonus, this ground also has links
to the American Revolution.
In the summer of 1781, the Marquis de Lafayette carefully
evaded a powerful British force under Lord Cornwallis.
He camped his relatively small force on this high ground,
later reporting how they spent the night with weapons primed.
Shortly after the Revolution, William Jones constructed his
home called Elwood, which still stands and which has come under
the protective custody of the National Park Service.
Stonewall Jacksonís amputated left arm is buried in the
Elwood family cemetery.
Elwood has recently been opened to the public through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield. The Friends were also in attendance at the ceremony transferring the Grantís Knoll property to the CVBT. Tom Van Winkle and John Campbell both expressed their support and desire to assist with site interpretation, when such plans are developed.
Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, developer Larry
Silver, the National Park Service, and the Central Virginia
Battlefields Trust certainly represent a broad community-based
partnership that can bring together a variety of assets to
preserve historic ground. The CVBT Board is proud to be associated
with these partners and extends its sincere thanks to Mr. Silver
for his gift of land.
2007- CVBT Announces Silver Company's Second Donation - 11 More Acres of Grant's Knoll