Wal-mart drives its chariot of predatory commerce over bones of Civil War dead

Union Soldiers fight on Brock Road 1864
WAL-MART wants to build a Virginia super-center on the edge of the memorial site of one of the most consequential battles of the Civil War. The Wilderness marked the first engagement between Generals Lee and Grant, ignited a forest fire which the soldiers fought through, and left 24,000 dead and wounded. Now 253 historians have joined in asking Wal-mart to reconsider.

Mr. Lee Scott, President and CEO
Walmart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

Dear Mr. Scott:

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to pursue alternate building locations for the Walmart Supercenter proposed in Orange County, Virginia. The site currently under consideration lies within the historic boundary of the Wilderness Battlefield and only one quarter mile from the current boundary of the Wilderness Battlefield unit of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

The Battle of the Wilderness was among the most significant engagements of the Civil War. It marked the first time legendary generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant faced off against one another on the field of battle. During two days of desperate conflict in a harsh, unforgiving landscape tangled with underbrush, 4,000 Americans lost their lives and nearly 20,000 were wounded.

The proposed location will greatly increase traffic through the area and encourage further development to encroach upon and spoil the battlefield. This, in turn, will seriously degrade the experience for the many tens of thousands of heritage tourists who visit this National Park every year. The Wilderness Battlefield is easily the biggest tourist attraction in Orange County, with visitors coming from around the world to experience its serenity and contemplate its history and significance.

As a historian, I feel strongly that the Wilderness Battlefield is a unique historic and cultural treasure deserving careful stewardship. Currently only approximately 20 percent of the battlefield is protected by the National Park Service. If built, this Walmart would seriously undermine ongoing efforts to see more of this historic land preserved and deny future generations the opportunity to wander a landscape that has, until now, remained largely unchanged since 1864.

The Wilderness is an indelible part of our history, its very ground hallowed by the American blood spilled there, and it cannot be moved. Surely Walmart can identify a site that would meet its needs without changing the very character of the battlefield.

There are many places in central Virginia to build a commercial development, but there is only one Wilderness Battlefield. Please respect our great nation’s history and move your store farther away from this historic site and National Park.

Signed,

* Terrie Aamodt, Walla Walla University
* Edward D. Abrahams, Silver Spring, Md.
* Sean P. Adams, University of Florida
* Garry Adelman, History Associates, Inc.
* Nicholas Aieta, the Marlborough School, West Springfield, Mass.
* A.J. Aiseirithe, Washington, D.C.
* James Anderson, Ashburn, Va.
* Adam Arenson, University of Texas
* Jonathan M. Atkins, Berry College
* Arthur H. Auten, University of Hartford
* David Bard, Concord College
* Alwyn Barr, Texas Tech University
* Craig A. Bauer, Metairie, La.
* Erik Bauer, West Hollywood, Calif.
* Dale Baum, Texas A&M University
* Edwin C. Bearss, Historian emeritus, National Park Service
* Caryn Cosse Bell, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
* Jeffrey R. Bennett, Waterford, N.Y.
* Shannon Bennett, Ellettsville, Ind.
* Melvyn S. Berger, Newton, Mass.
* Arthur W. Bergeron, Shippensburg, Pa.
* Edward H. Bergerstrom, Port Richey, Fla.
* Eugene H. Berwanger, Colorado State University
* Fred W. Beuttler, Deputy Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
* Darrel Bigham, University of Southern Indiana
* John Bloom, Las Cruces, N.M.
* Frederick J. Blue, Youngstown State University
* Christopher Bobal, Lees Summit, Mo.
* Thomas Bockhorn, Huntsville, Ala.
* Keith Bohannon, University of West Georgia
* Phillip S. Bolger, San Diego, Calif.
* Patrick Boyd, the Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn.
* Vernon S. Braswell, Corpus Christi, Tex.
* Roger D. Bridges, Bloomington, Ill.
* Ronald S. Brockway, Regis University
* Col. George M. Brooke, III, USMC (Ret.), Lexington, Va.
* Bruce A. Brown, Cypress, Calif.
* Norman D. Brown, University of Texas, Austen, Tex.
* David Brush, the Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn.
* Jim Burgess, Manassas National Battlefield, Va.
* Ken Burns, Walpole, N.H.
* Brian Burton, Ferndale, Wash.
* Victoria Bynum, Texas State University-San Marcos
* Peter S. Carmichael, West Virginia University
* Marius M. Carriere, Christian Brothers University
* Katherine Cassioppi, National-Louis University
* Gary Casteel, Lexington, Va.
* Jane Turner Censer, George Mason University
* William Cheek, San Diego State University
* John Cimprich, Thomas More College
* Thomas G. Clemens, Hagerstown Community College
* Leon F. Cohn, Plantation, Fla.
* Thomas B. Colbert, Marshalltown Community College
* James R. Connor, Chancellor emeritus University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
* William J. Cooper, Jr., Louisiana State University
* Janet L. Coryell, Western Michigan University
* Charles E. Coulter, Yankton, S.D.
* Robert E. Curran, Richmond, Ky.
* Thomas F. Curran, Saint Louis, Mo.
* Gordon E. Dammann, National Museum of Civil War Medicine
* Guy Stephen Davis, Atlanta, Ga.
* William C. “Jack” Davis
* Joseph G. Dawson, III, Texas A&M University
* Mary DeCredico, United States Naval Academy
* James Lyle DeMarce, Arlington, Va.
* Charles B. Dew, Williams College
* Steven Deyle, University of Houston
* Richard DiNardo, Marine Corps Command and Staff College
* Luis-Alejandro Dinnella-Borrego, Warwick, N.Y.
* Richard R. Duncan, Alexandria, Va.
* Kenneth Durr, History Associates, Inc.
* David Dykstra, Poolesville, Md.
* Mark Elliott, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
* Robert F. Engs, University of Pennsylvania
* C. Wyatt Evans, Drew University
* Daniel Feller, University of Tennessee
* Rex H. Felton, Tiffin, Ohio
* Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School
* Jeff Fioravanti, Lynn, Mass.
* Joseph C. Fitzharris, University of Saint Thomas
* J.K. Folmarm California, Minn.
* George B. Forgie, University of Texas Austin
* Lee W. Formwalt, Organization of American Historians
* Janet B. Frazer, Narberth, Pa.
* Gary W. Gallagher, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
* Jonathan Gantt, Columbia College
* Jason Gart, History Associates, Inc.
* Louis S. Gerteis, University of Missouri, St. Louis
* Kate C. Gillin, the Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn.
* Mary Giunta, Edinburg, Va.
* Martin K. Gordon, Columbia, Md.
* Cathy Gorn, University of Maryland
* Thomas M. Grace, Amherst, N.Y.
* Susan W. Gray, Severna Park, Md.
* A. Wilson Greene, Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier
* Debra F. Greene, Jefferson City, Mo.
* Jim Griffin, Frisco, Tex.
* Linda J. Guy, Clearville, Pa.
* Edward J. Hagerty, American Military University
* Alfred W. Hahn, Midlothian, Va.
* Judith Lee Hallock, South Setauket, N.Y.
* Jerry Harlow, President, Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation
* D. Scott Hartwig, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pa.
* David S. Heidler, Colorado State University
* Jeannie Heidler, United States Air Force Academy
* John S. Heiser, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pa.
* Earl J. Hess, Lincoln Memorial University
* Libra Hilde, San Jose State University
* T. John Hillmer, Jr., Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Mo.
* David Hochfelder, State University of New York – Albany
* Sylvia Hoffert, Texas A&M University
* Patrick Hotard, Philadelphia, Pa.
* Richard Houston, Harwich, Mass.
* Randal L. Hoyer, Madonna University
* Richard L. Hutchison, Fort Worth, Tex.
* Brian M. Ingrassia, Georgia State University
* Perry D. Jamieson, Crofton, Md.
* Jim Jobe, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Tenn.
* Willie Ray Johnson, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Ga.
* Vivian Lee Joyner, New Hill, N.C.
* Whitmel M. Joyner, New Hill, N.C.
* Walter D. Kamphoefner, Texas A&M University
* Amalie M. Kass, Harvard Medical School
* Philip M. Katz, Washington, D.C.
* Brad Keefer, Kent State University
* Brian J. Kenny, Denver, Co.
* Victoria A. Kin, San Antonio, Tex.
* George W. Knepper, University of Akron
* Christopher Kolakowski, National Museum of the U.S. Army Reserve
* Carl E. Kramer, Indiana University Southeast
* Arnold Krammer, Texas A&M University
* Robert K. Krick, Fredericksburg, Va.
* Michael E. Krivdo, Texas A&M University
* Benjamin Labaree, Saint Alban’s School, Washington, D.C.
* Dan Laney, Austin, Tex.
* Connie Langum, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Mo.
* William P. Leeman, Coventry, R.I.
* Kevin Levin, Charlottesville, Va.
* Richard G. Lowe, University of North Texas
* Robert W. Lowery, Jr., Newport News, Va.
* M. Philip Lucas, Cornell College
* R. Wayne Mahood, Geneseo, N.Y.
* Daniel Martin, Lancaster, Pa.
* William Marvel, South Conway, N.H.
* Matthew Mason, Brigham Young University
* Dinah M. Mayo-Bobee, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
* George T. Mazuzan, Springfield, Va.
* Nathan McAlister, Hoyt, Kan.
* David McCullough
* Dennis K. McDaniel, Washington, D.C.
* James M. McPherson, Princeton University
* Kathleen G. McKesson, Eighty Four, Pa.
* James G. Mendez, Chicago, Ill.
* Brian Craig Miller, Emporia State University
* Roger E. Miller, Eagle River, Alaska.
* Wilbur R. Miller, State University of New York – Stony Brook
* Eric J. Mink, Fredericksburg, Va.
* Robert E. Mitchell, Brookline, Mass.
* John Moody, Orange Park, Fla.
* Richard Moore, Woodbridge, Va.
* Richard Morey, Kent Place School, Summit, N.J.
* Geoffrey Morrison, Saint Louis, Mo.
* Brenda Murray, North Pole, Alaska.
* Richard J. Myers, Doylestown, Pa.
* Eric Nedergaard, Mesa, Ariz.
* Robert D. Neuleib, Normal, Ill.
* Kenneth Noe, Auburn University
* Justin Oakley, Martinsville, Ind.
* Kristen Oertel, Millsaps College
* Marvin Olson, La Crescenta, Ca.
* Beverly Palmer, Claremont, Ca.
* John T. Payne, Lone Star College
* Graham Peck, Saint Xavier University
* William D. Pederson, Louisiana State University, Shreveport
* William E. Pellerin, Santa Barbara, Ca.
* Don Pfanz, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Va.
* Michael Pierson, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
* Kermit J. Pike, Western Reserve Historical Society, Mentor, Ohio
* Ann Poe, Alexandria, Va.
* Kieth Ploakoff, Rossmoor, Ca.
* Lawrence N. Powell, Tulane University
* Adam J. Pratt. Baton Rouge, La.
* Gerald Prokopowicz, East Carolina University
* John Quist, Shippensburg University
* Steven J. Rauch, Evans, Ga.
* S. Waite Rawls, III, Museum of the Confederacy
* Carol Reardon, Pennsylvania State University
* Douglas Reasner, Durant, Iowa
* Michael Reis, History Associates, Inc.
* Robert V. Remini, Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
* James Renberg, Southern Pines, N.C.
* Gordon Rhea, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
* Jean Richardson, Buffalo State College
* Jeffrey Richman, Brooklyn, N.Y.
* Harris D. Riley, Jr., M.D., Nashville, Tenn.
* James I. Robertson, Jr., Virginia Tech
* Stephen I. Rockenbach, Virginia State University
* Sylvia Rodrigue, Baton Rouge, La.
* Rodney A. Ross, Center for Legislative Archives, Washington, D.C.
* Jennifer Ross-Nazzal, Johnson Space Center
* Jeffrey J. Safford, Montana State University
* Frank Scaturro, New Hyde Park, N.Y.
* Mark S. Schantz, Hendrix College
* Laurence D. Schiller, Deerfield, Ill.
* Christopher A. Schnell, Springfield, Ill.
* Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, Springfield, Ill.
* Frederick Schult, Jr., New York University
* Donald L. Schupp, Warrenton, Va.
* Richard D. Schwartz, Morristown, N.J.
* Cynthia Seacord, Schenectady, N.Y.
* Tomas Seaver, Woonsocket, R.I.
* Diane Shalda, Chicago Military Academy
* Peter D. Sheridan, Torrance, Ca.
* Mark Snyder, Akron, Ohio
* John Sotak, O.S.A., New Lenox, Ill.
* Clay W. Stuckey, DDS, Bedford, Ind.
* Carlyn Swaim, History Associates, Inc.
* Andrew Talkov, Virginia Historical Society
* Robert A. Taylor, Florida Institute of Technology
* Paul H. Tedesco, Northeastern University
* James Thayer, Milford, Mass.
* Emory M. Thomas, University of Georgia
* JoAnne Thomas, Peoria, Ill.
* Joseph Trent, Worcester, Mass.
* Tony R. Trimble, Plainfield, Ind.
* I. Bruce Turner, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
* Edwin C. Ulmer, Jr., Feasterville, Pa.
* Charles W. Van Adder, Forked River, N.J.
* Charles Vincent, Baker, La.
* Joseph F. von Deck, Ashburnham, Ma.
* Brent Vosburg, Elizabethtown, N.J.
* Robert Voss, Lincoln, Neb.
* George N. Vourlojianis, Lorain County Community College
* Christopher R. Waldrep, San Francisco State University
* John Weaver, Tipp City, Ohio
* Robert Welch, Ames, Iowa
* Lowell E. Wenger, Cincinnati, Ohio
* Jeffrey Wert, Centre Hall, Pa.
* Bruce E. Wilburn, Glen Allen, Va.
* Diana I. Williams, Wellesley College
* Mary Williams, Fort Davis National Historic Site, Tex.
* Terry Winschel, Vicksburg National Military Park, Miss.
* Roger Winthrop, Lansing, Mich.
* Eric J. Wittenberg, Columbus, Ohio
* Ralph A. Wooster, Lamar University
* Donald Yacovone, Harvard University
* Shirley J. Yee, University of Washington
* Mitchell Yockelson, National Archives and Records Administration
* William D. Young, Maple Woods Community College
* Mary E. Younger, Dayton, Ohio
* Jack Zevin, Queens College, City University of New York

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

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4 Responses to Wal-mart drives its chariot of predatory commerce over bones of Civil War dead

  1. Avatar jonah says:

    Amen. At a time when some on the Wrong Wing are advocating another Civil War.

    There’s empty strip malls everywhere, closed down stores, shut-down dreams, whatever.

    Property that would otherwise never be sold in the current economy, which Wally World helped to deconstruct.

    That’s almost as many American graves as were created by the Iraq war errr Invasion ummm… Occupation ummm I mean “Liberation” yeah, that’s the ticket…

    I used to place the number of the dead from the Battle of Gettysburg at 20,000, even though I’d seen the correct figure before…

    It was really 50,000 that’s a 5 followed by 4 zeros, that’s about the number of dead Americans from Viet-Nam and just a little under the number from Korea.

    All of them put in their graves by other young Americans.

    Not remembering that, not having it very rudely shoved in their faces, would make some people much more willing to repeat the experience.

    What if, and I know it would happen, when they dig the foundation, they find some undiscovered graves, or where some teenage kid far from home or maybe, right around the bend from home, you wouldn’t know, crawled off into the bushes to lay down and never got up…

    You can still buy those Magnetic Yellow Ribbons for $1.93 there…

    Guess they really DON’T mean shit…

  2. Avatar Alan Ingrassia says:

    That’s probably why they want to build there, because there are tourists. Unfortunatly only the dollar has any meaning. That is why the rest of the world hates us.

  3. Avatar jonah says:

    They worship it and even call it “The Almighty”.

  4. Avatar jerome brock says:

    Thanks for keep a vigil on excessive development. Wal-Mart is a good store, but it has damaged small business almost to the point of non-existence. There are enough mega stores and malls now. We really don’t need to feed our greed any more than it has already been fed, expecially by destroying historic sites that are becoming fewer and fewer to leave our children to enjoy.

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