29 October 2007 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 5 comments

Here’s an article from the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star newspaper that provides another excellent example of how developers and preservationists can work together to achieve the right result. The Central Virginia Battlefield Trust has long been one of the most successful and most effective battlefield preservation groups working out there, and this article provides another lesson in how to do it right:

Civil War site saved in Orange
Silver Cos. donates more land at Wilderness battlefield site
Date published: 10/6/2007

Help in preserving important Civil War sites in the Fredericksburg area has come from many quarters, including developers.

The Silver Cos. recently completed its second donation of land at Grant’s Knoll, across from Ellwood in Orange County, according to the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust.

The land, deeded to the preservation group, is considered the gateway to the Wilderness Battlefield.

Silver, the Fredericksburg area’s largest commercial development firm, donated about 12 acres. That comes on the heels of a donation of about 6 acres near the intersection of State Routes 3 and 20 in 2001.

According to CVBT Secretary Erik Nelson, the donated ground is where Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant made his headquarters during his first confrontation with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in 1864.

Over the two-day battle, the Confederates turned both flanks of the Union army and fought to a standstill along Orange Plank Road.

Abraham Lincoln spoke of Grant’s determination late in the war, remarking, “When Grant once gets possession of a place, he holds onto it as if he had inherited it.”

In September, CVBT Executive Director Linda Wandres noted the importance of the donation in a statement to the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission.

“It is indisputable that the actions of preservation-minded people over the next five years will determine the fate of the remaining Civil War battlefields in Virginia,” she said.

“What is not bought and saved by the time of the [150th anniversary] will be lost forever.”

Preservation of important Civil War parcels outside National Park Service battlefield boundaries is an urgent focus of CVBT at a time when sprawl is gobbling up what little land remains.

CVBT President Mike Stevens said the Grant’s Knoll land will now be protected in perpetuity, and he praised the Silver Cos.

“The donation is a generous contribution at a time when so much is developing so rapidly.”

Grant’s Knoll’s historical connections go way back.

“This is also the area where Lafayette camped” before the Battle of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War, Nelson said.

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431
Email: rdennen@freelancestar.com

Given the contentious fight to try to preserve a portion of the Mullins Farm at Chancellorsville, it’s really nice to see a developer and a very successful preservation group work together to accomplish a terrific result. Kudos to both the Silver Cos. and the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust for another lesson in how to do it right.

Scridb filter


  1. Tue 30th Oct 2007 at 10:41 am

    I wouldn’t be to praiseful of Silver Cos. Yes they gave back ‘a little’ this time, but have pretty much been responsible for 90% of the urban sprawl that is suffocating Fredericksburg and spreading like a cancer through Spotsylvania. They are Public Enemy #1 in my book and this is far too little – far too late.

  2. Tue 30th Oct 2007 at 10:46 am

    However… I do have to add that if this is sincere and they are honestly trying to give something back, then I have to acknowledge that effort. (It’s hard with their history here to not be cynical at times. After all, I’d have to pass a dozen Silver strip malls on the way there.)

  3. Ann
    Tue 30th Oct 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Nice site you have in here

  4. Tue 30th Oct 2007 at 5:30 pm


    Your skepticism is undoubtedly well taken and well-deserved. At the same time, at least this time, the Silver Cos. did the right thing, as even Mike Stevens has acknowledged. Irrespective of the motives, they’ve saved two very important parcels of ground and donated them for free, thereby freeing up preservation dollars for other worthwhile pursuits. They have to get a little bit of credit for doing so.


  5. Tue 30th Oct 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I hear ya’ General. (BTW: Because of my critical writings in the papers over the last few years in regards to Silver Cos and their peers, I am no longer welcome at several Christmas parties in the community.) 🙂

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