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CVBT Newsletter, May 2024

Photo credit: Terry Rensel

CVTB Newsletter, May 2024


Preservation Updates and News

From the President's Desk

Dear CVBT Members and Supporters,


On Wednesday, May 1st, 2024, a major press conference was held at Wilderness Run Vineyards in Spotsylvania, Virginia, by the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition and joined by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


The Wilderness Battlefield has been named one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2024. The Wilderness was previously on the list in 2010 when threatened by the construction of a Walmart Superstore.


The Wilderness, a critical May 1864, battle and turning point in the Civil War, is facing a proposed 2,600-acre mixed-use development featuring millions of square feet of data centers on what is now farmland in Orange County, Virginia. The approved rezoning of more than 2,600 acres, allowing more than 5,000 residential units, 200,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial development, and 732 acres of data centers and distribution warehouses will forever impact this historically sensitive area.


CVBT agrees with our partners that the development plan fails to analyze serious impacts to the historic landscape and public utilities or to address major environmental repercussions.


Moreover, repeated procedural errors and failure to comply with the Virginia Code and Orange County’s own comprehensive development plan compel us, as neighboring landowners, to challenge this decision with our Coalition partners at the American Battlefield Trust, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, and locally impacted landowners.


Speaking at the press conference, I stated, “Those who have fought and fallen here on the ground we stand on today would have anticipated their sacrifice, and their suffering, to be recognized, honored, and respected. The best way to do this is to protect the very ground they consecrated.”


I went on to say, “Let’s be clear! We are not opposed to growth. We are opposed to ramped growth with no consideration to the historical and cultural recourse placed in our stewardship by those Americans who fought and gave their last full measure here. We seek, and will always seek, a win-win solution and welcome smart, well-thought-out options.


The designation placed upon this important battlefield today, here at the Wilderness, serves as notice to the fragility of our nation’s history, and the need to preserve it.”


Below is an edited video excerpt of the news conference by local news personality, Ted Schubel. 


Thank you,

Tom Van Winkle


Come join us for a full weekend of great tours and presentations, good food, and camaraderie with fellow history enthusiasts.


The Friday tour of Payne's Farm will be led by Ted Savas. Ted and his colleague Paul Sacra discovered the accurate location of the battlefield in the early 1990's. Join us for the rare opportunity to tour the battlefield with one of its discoverers.


Tickets are going fast!


Wilderness Crossing Update

Photo credit: Hugh Kenny, PEC

On Wednesday, May 1st, CVBT along with other members of the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition held a press conference at Wilderness Run Vineyards to announce that the Wilderness Battlefield has been placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2024 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.


This is the second time the Wilderness Battlefield has been placed on the Trust's list.  The first time was during the Wilderness Walmart battle in 2010.


You can watch the entire press conference here.


Beckham Tract Landscape Restoration

CVBT is beginning the preliminary work to tear down the modern structures on the Beckham Tract and return the land to its natural appearance. We are currently about 40% of the way toward our $35,000 goal to make this happen. You can learn more at our website.


National Park Service Overland Campaign Anniversary Events

The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park is hosting Overland Campaign 160th Anniversary events on May 11th and 18th at the Spotsylvania Battlefield.


Saturday, May 11, 2024: Bloody Angle Walking Tour 

10 am & 2 pm, "Looking Back at the Bloody Angle, 160 Years Ago"Battlefield walk, about 0.5 miles, meet at the Bloody Angle (tour stop 3 on the Spotsylvania Battlefield), 45 minutes.


Saturday, May 18, 2024: History at Sunset

6:30 pm-8 pm, "One Final Try: Grant's Last Attack at Spotsylvania" Battlefield hike, 2 miles, meet at the Bloody Angle (tour stop 3 on the Spotsylvania Battlefield), 90 minutes.


More details can be found on the National Park Service website.


CVBT Out and About

CVBT President Tom Van Winkle, and his wife Lisa, staffing the CVBT table at the Siegen Forest Conservation Celebration at Historic Germanna on Saturday, April 27th.


Although it was a rainy and cool day, it was great to be there and get to visit with attendees. We look forward to possible future collaborations with Historic Germanna.

Photo credit: Ted Schubel

Tim, Terry, and Tom were on WFVA AM-1230's Town Talk with Ted Schubel on Monday, May 6th. They talked about the Wilderness Battlefield's inclusion on the National Trust For Historic Preservation's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, our current fundraising campaign for the restoration of the Beckham Tract, the upcoming 2024 Annual Conference in September, as well as the history of our area battlefields and CVBT's ongoing work to help preserve them.


You can listen to the show here.

CVBT Board Members (R-L) Paul Scott, Eric Powell, Robert Lee Hodge, and Tom Van Winkle with Brent Feito of the Army Historical Foundation and CVBT Executive Director Terry Rensel


CVBT was thrilled to assist the Army Historical Foundation on a tour of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House that was led by Brent Feito and our own Robert Lee Hodge. Paul Scott brought items from his collection for guests to view, and Tom and Terry assisted with the tour at the Izaak Walton League and CVBT's Myer's Hill property.


Historic Quote

“The duty imposed upon the regiment was extremely severe and almost constant. Many of us passed four or five successive days and nights without an hour’s refreshing sleep or rest. Most of the time we were exposed to the enemy’s fire, and no day passed without casualties occurring. The conduct of both officers and men during this trying period was more than simply duty; it was heroism.”


-Excerpt from report by Lt. Col. Casper Tyler, 141st   Pennsylvania Infantry, following Spotsylvania. 

Photo credit: Jennifer Michael


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