December 5, 2013

Walmart Gives Battlefield Land Back!?

That's a crazy headline I never expected to see. After all, they petitioned for the land for so long and bought it, I really didn't think Walmart was afraid of the backlash they would have received if they built a store near a battlefield.

In 2011, Walmart purchased the land  near the Wilderness Civil War battlefield in Virginia. If you've been there, there's little battlefield land left in the area. The city has grown around and through the battlefields there and there is only little battlefield "pockets" of land.  The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

People were afraid that the extra traffic and the loss of land would just increase the buildup in the area and the preserved parts of the battlefields there would suffer. When Walmart bought it, after a long fight with the CWPT, many people were upset that even more land would be gone and were extremely disappointed. The battle was fought on parts of the land that were also fought on during the Battle of Chancellorsville, the previous year. Yankee soldiers came across the skeletons of  other soldiers who died the year before and were buried in shallow graves.  This was also the first battle where Lee and Grant opposed each other.

I saw the battlefields in this area for the first time last year and was sort of confused. The city grew up around the battlefield, which is unavoidable as it was already a city during the 1860s. This was very strange to me as I am from the land of Gettysburg where the battlefield is an isolated, sacred place.

When we got into the area, we started asking around for where the battlefield was and didn't get a definitive answer. Even at the hotel where we asked, the lady at the desk said she didn't know but that she would help us search her map for it. When we finally found a good chunk of the Wilderness on the map and drove out to it, we realized why even locals didn't know where things were or if they even existed: the battlefields in this area are really just little patches of battlefield to be seen in between parking lots and neighborhoods.  

I had known that the Wilderness was an "endangered" battlefield, but i didn't really know what that meant until I saw the four battlefields in this area.

I'm surprised and happy to say that Walmart didn't just put the land up for sale, but donated it to The Virginia Department of Historic Resources.   

I am extremely happy that this has happened. News has been so bleak lately it's nice seeing something positive.


  1. You're right: this isn't the sort of headline I'd expect to see! Still, it is good news that Walmart donated the land rather than built on it or sold it.

    It is saddening, however, that many of the battlefields have been built over now. :( They are people's graves, after all.

    1. Yes. There were a lot of people upset by it. Once it's built on, it really can't be returned to its original condition. I'm glad they built it somewhere else.

  2. Wow, I'm amazed to hear/see this! I never been to that battlefield and now I want to see it. I should see if a bus goes there.

    1. It's really far. I only got to see it because I was down at the Chancellorsville reenactment. I really wanted to see it at the time because I knew it would be doubtful that I'd get back there again.


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