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The CVBT is an authorized
501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation of Virginia's Civil War battlefields.  Your contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Our tax ID number is 54-1828344
 

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 establishments.  He 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 service station.  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 line-of-sight.

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 Wilderness battlefield.

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 dramatic setting.

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