Walmart Drops Plan to Build Super Store on Historic Parcel of Wilderness Battlefield

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In a development that apparently ends a long dispute over whether a key vestige of the Wilderness Battlefield near Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park would be paved over, Walmart officials have abandoned their plans for a supercenter on the parcel.

The corporate giant's decision was announced by the Civil War Trust, which long has fought Walmart's plans, and came as a trial was to begin in Virginia's Orange County Circuit Court into the legality of a special use permit given to Walmart for the project.

It was back in August 2009 that Orange County officials cleared the way for the 140,000-square-foot store on a 53-to-55-acre tract of land just north of the Wilderness Corner intersection in Orange, Virginia.

According to the National Park Service, the Battle of the Wilderness was fought on May 5-6, 1864, with troops under both Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee engaged. "It was the beginning of the Overland Campaign, the bloodiest campaign in American history and the turning point in the war in the Eastern Theatre," notes the agency.

“We are pleased with Walmart’s decision to abandon plans to build a supercenter on the Wilderness battlefield,” James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust, said in a release this morning. “We have long believed that Walmart would ultimately recognize that it is in the best interests of all concerned to move their intended store away from the battlefield. We applaud Walmart officials for putting the interests of historic preservation first. Sam Walton would be proud of this decision.”...

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