December 5, 2013
Walmart Gives Battlefield Land Back!?
In 2011, Walmart purchased the land near the Wilderness Civil War battlefield in Virginia. If you've been there, there's little battlefield land left in the area. The city has grown around and through the battlefields there and there is only little battlefield "pockets" of land. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
People were afraid that the extra traffic and the loss of land would just increase the buildup in the area and the preserved parts of the battlefields there would suffer. When Walmart bought it, after a long fight with the CWPT, many people were upset that even more land would be gone and were extremely disappointed. The battle was fought on parts of the land that were also fought on during the Battle of Chancellorsville, the previous year. Yankee soldiers came across the skeletons of other soldiers who died the year before and were buried in shallow graves. This was also the first battle where Lee and Grant opposed each other.
I saw the battlefields in this area for the first time last year and was sort of confused. The city grew up around the battlefield, which is unavoidable as it was already a city during the 1860s. This was very strange to me as I am from the land of Gettysburg where the battlefield is an isolated, sacred place.
When we got into the area, we started asking around for where the battlefield was and didn't get a definitive answer. Even at the hotel where we asked, the lady at the desk said she didn't know but that she would help us search her map for it. When we finally found a good chunk of the Wilderness on the map and drove out to it, we realized why even locals didn't know where things were or if they even existed: the battlefields in this area are really just little patches of battlefield to be seen in between parking lots and neighborhoods.
I had known that the Wilderness was an "endangered" battlefield, but i didn't really know what that meant until I saw the four battlefields in this area.
I'm surprised and happy to say that Walmart didn't just put the land up for sale, but donated it to The Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
I am extremely happy that this has happened. News has been so bleak lately it's nice seeing something positive.