Historians Letter to Walmart Opposing Store Adjacent to Wilderness Civil War Battlefield
December 10, 2008
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
Terrie Aamodt, Walla Walla University
Edward D. Abrahams, Silver Spring, Md.
Sean P. Adams, University of Florida
Garry Adelman, History Associates, Inc.
Nicholas Aieta, 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, NPS
Caryn Cosse Bell, UMASS 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 Univ.
Fred W. Beuttler, Deputy Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Darrel Bigham, Univ. of Southern Indiana
John Bloom, Las Cruces, N.M.
Frederick J. Blue, Youngstown State Univ.
Christopher Bobal, Lees Summit, Mo.
Thomas Bockhorn, Huntsville, Ala.
Keith Bohannon, University of West Georgia
Phillip S. Bolger, San Diego, Calif.
Patrick Boyd, 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
David Brush, Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn.
Jim Burgess, Manassas National Battlefield
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 Univ.
Katherine Cassioppi, National-Louis Univ.
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
B. Frank Cooling, National Defense Univ.
William J. Cooper, Jr., Louisiana State Univ.
Janet L. Coryell, Western Michigan Univ.
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, Virginia Tech.
Joseph G. Dawson, III, Texas A&M Univ.
Mary DeCredico, U.S. 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, Univ. 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, Univ. 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.
Garry W. Gallagher, University of Virginia
Jonathan Gantt, Columbia College
Jason Gart, History Associates, Inc.
Louis S. Gerteis, Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis
Kate Gillin, 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 Univ.
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, U.S. 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 Univ. 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 Univ.
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, UMASS Amherst
George T. Mazuzan, Springfield, Va.
Nathan McAlister, Hoyt, Kan.
David McCullough, West Tisbury, Mass.
Dennis K. McDaniel, Washington, D.C.
Kathleen G. McKesson, Eighty Four, Pa.
James M. McPherson, Princeton University
James G. Mendez, Chicago, Ill.
Brian Craig Miller, Emporia State University
Roger E. Miller, Eagle River, Alaska.
Wilbur R. Miller, State Univ. 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 Univ.
William E. Pellerin, Santa Barbara, Ca.
Don Pfanz, Fredericksburg, Va.
Michael Pierson, UMASS Lowell
Kermit J. Pike, Western Reserve Historical Society
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 Univ.
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, Richmond, Va
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.
Bruce Turner, Univ. of Louisiana, 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 Univ.
John Weaver, Tipp City, Ohio
Robert Welch, Ames, Iowa
Lowell E. Wenger, Cincinnati, Ohio
Jeffrey Wert, Centre Hall, Pa.
Kristopher White, Fredericksburg, Va.
Bruce E. Wilburn, Glen Allen, Va.
Diana I. Williams, Wellesley College
Mary Williams, Fort Davis NHS, Tex.
Terry Winschel, Vicksburg National MilitaryPark, 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 andRecords Administration
William D. Young, Maple Woods CommunityCollege
Mary E. Younger, Dayton, Ohio
Jack Zevin, City University of New York