Preservation issues related to battlefields likely to increase

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Preservation issues -- such as the one going on with Wal-Mart and the Wilderness battlefield -- are going to become only more contentious in coming years as suburban sprawl and economic development collide with once-rural Civil War battlefields.

It often comes down to a matter of money vs. history.

"Most of the time what drives counties is economic development," said Art Taylor, president of the Hanover County Historical Society and an active member of Friends of North Anna, a citizens group that supports North Anna Battlefield Park near Doswell. "The dollar kind of always wins out."

Often, but not always. In fact, Taylor and the Friends of North Anna worked to save more of the core battlefield area, doubling the size of the North Anna park, which commemorates a battle where more than 150,000 soldiers faced off in May 1864. The park was created in the 1980s when the property owner, a quarry company, donated 80 acres to Hanover County as part of a conditional-use permit. Two years ago, the current owner of the quarry, Martin Marietta Materials, agreed to donate an additional 90 acres as part of a plan to expand its operations....

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