In April 2012 Central Virginia Battlefields Trust (CVBT) closed on the purchase of 13 acres that were part of Stonewall Jackson's famed flank attack at Chancellorsville. The purchase price was $475,000. This property lies on the south side of the historic Orange Turnpike (modern day Plank Road/Route 3) near the intersection with the Orange Plank Road. If you have visited the Chancellorsville battlefield in the past you may be familiar with the property, which previously had been known as the "Castle" or the "Stars and Bars" tract for the medieval-ish, turreted and battlement-bedecked relic shop that long occupied the property. A significant investment was required after purchase to remediate the site, demolishing and removing the reinforced concrete shop structure, complete with a hidden underground bunker.
While the National Park Service holds a good portion of the battlefield on the north side of Route 3, very little had been saved on the south side. Although no surviving earthworks have been identified this is where the Union XI Corps would have positioned their front line, below Orange Turnpike and on high ground facing the drainage of Lewis Run.
This acquisition of four parcels is now added to over 45 acres that CVBT had already purchased in this vicinity, beginning in 1999. When combined with adjacent parcels owned by the NPS and the Civil War Trust this acquisition creates a contiguous swath of preserved battlefield totaling 100 acres on the south side of today’s Plank Road ---a significant portion of the Flank Attack on the south side of the road.
The property includes extensive frontage (450 feet) on the Orange Turnpike and extends south to the Orange Plank Road, and includes 860 feet of frontage on that equally historic corridor.
CVBT Board Member Robert K. Krick has called this acquisition: "a spectacular preservation achievement-- the most important CVBT accomplishment in many years. Permanent protection of impressive stretches of frontage on both historic roads--the Orange Turnpike and Orange Plank Road, right in the midst of Stonewall Jackson's flank attack, does much to guarantee the survival of the historic setting. Future generations will find the scene much as it looked in 1863, rather than covered with asphalt, nacho stands, and petroleum pumps."
The south side of Plank Road in the Chancellorsville battlefield continues to be a high priority target for CVBT’s preservation efforts.