CVBT Newsletter, August 2023
Photo credit: Jennifer Michael
Preservation Updates and News
From the President's Desk
Job security. This is an expression we all hope to have some of. For CVBT this is a double-edged sword. To have viable security in our mission statement means constant and persistent threats to our nation’s history. That we have in abundance in Central Virginia.
You are all aware that in the past 27 years CVBT has saved and preserved over 1,700 acres of otherwise lost critical battlefields in the Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania areas. At an aggregate cost of over $8 million, this protection is not inexpensive.
Currently we have joined the legal battle as a plaintiff in appealing the Wilderness Crossing Development rezoning decision made by the Orange County Board of Supervisors last April. This 2,600-acre development proposal dwarfs anything previously contemplated in Orange County, potentially positioning millions of square feet of data centers and distribution warehouses at the gateway to a historic landscape of truly national significance.
There is now a newly proposed gas station and convenience store project to be built on the Chancellorsville battlefield directly in the Civil War Sites Advisory Commissions Core Study area and adjacent to the National Park Service. This is hallowed ground that witnessed significant fighting on May 3, 1863.
This proposal is a ten-acre development parcel with Route 3 and River Road frontage. If realized, the project would be within eyesight of land previously saved by CVBT. Planned are at least 12 gas pumps and an accompanying convenience store, none of which are needed in this area. Additional traffic and noise pollution, bright lights, and the desecration of important battlefield land will all result if this project goes forward.
The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and our partners at the American Battlefield Trust have teamed up with local residents to advocate against this new threat.
Ongoing land purchases, paying existing mortgages on previous preservation success and the costs of legal fees all add up quickly and seemingly without limit.
The pressure of development in this four-battlefield area is intense and growing. Threats continually emerge that could negatively alter the very battlefield landscapes where the armies clashed and over an 18-month period produced over 100,000 casualties. So, job security, purpose in mission, you bet!
We need you to back your CVBT organization. It all comes down to funding. CVBT has the talent, we need the foundational support you bring us, and we need it continually to protect our historic recourses. Please remember land purchases are only a part of what we do. Consider monthly giving and other avenues of financial support.
We are a lean organization with a small staff accomplishing incredible successes. CVBT always recognizes that without you this is not possible. Thank You,
Tom Van Winkle
Proposed Chancellorsville Gas Station
Photo credit: Tom Van Winkle
On Thursday, August 10th, Pruitt Construction, the developer of the proposed gas station, convenience store, and professional building project on Route 3, near the intersection with River Road, held a community meeting at the Chancellor Ruritan Club. Approximately 275 people from the community attended to hear the discussion and overwhelmingly voice their opposition to this project, which would involve developing Chancellorsville battlefield land that witnessed fighting on May 3, 1863.
CVBT will continue to work with local residents, the American Battlefield Trust, and others to oppose this project. We will continue to keep you up to date on future developments.
CVBT Annual Conference - SOLD OUT!
The CVBT Annual Conference is SOLD OUT.
Wilderness Crossing Lawsuit Update
The law firm representing the plaintiff organizations (including CVBT) and the individuals appealing the rezoning decision on the Wilderness Crossing development project continues its work on discovery. Doing so is time consuming and expensive. CVBT is currently fundraising to assist the American Battlefield Trust with these costs. We will keep you informed about this important work as it becomes available.
Please consider making a donation and joining us in this important fight.
“Worst of all was the shelling; one shell burst in my Co. as we lay on our faces, and made fearful havoc in the ranks. It almost tore the thighs off Corp. Blackstone and John Tucker, wounding Skillings and Goodenow, and tearing, as it then seemed, the entire heel off Todd’s left foot. I was laying behind them, and so bad a set of wounds I have not seen together. Blackstone and Tucker cannot live, so the Doctors say. It was a hard fight and I dare say we shall never see a worse one. There was more desperate work than at Fredericksburg.”
- Lt. Charles Mattocks (17th Maine) journal, May 3, 1863, about Chancellorsville.
Photo credit: Jennifer Michael
Central Virginia Battlefields Trust Inc
PO Box 3417 Fredericksburg, VA 22402