Williamsburg-More than colonial history

Though Williamsburg has marketed itself since the 1930s as Virginia’s colonial captial (1699-1780), there is Civil War history there too. On May 5, 1862, a battle raged east of the city (at least in 1860) pitting almost 41,000 United States soldiers against about 32,000 Confederate troops. This battle in large part started because of information provided by local enslaved people to Federal generals. Though Federal forces may have had a more smashing defeat, the Confederates did continue their retreat up Virginia’s peninsula.

Regrettably, most of this battlefield has been lost to modern development. In fact, part of the Water Country USA theme park is ironically situated on a portion of the battlefield. However, we have a chance to not let more modern development destroy the first major engagement in the Peninsula Campaign.

A friend of mine, Drew Gruber, has been closely following the conversation regarding a 251 acre tract of battlefield land in York County where a portion of the battle took place. For my readers, I encourage you to find more here about the land: http://wydaily.com/2013/07/15/civil-war-history-abounds-on-undeveloped-tract-in-york-county-w-video/.

How can you help? Send a letter to the York County Board of Supervisors.

All you need to do is copy and paste this and the following Supervisors/Commissioners email addresses into your email and click send! Better yet have your Organization write a letter! Their names/e-mail addresses:

Walter C. Zaremba-zaremba@yorkcounty.gov

Sheila S. Noll-noll@yorkcounty.gov

Donald E. Wiggins-wiggins@yorkcounty.gov

George S. Hrichak-hrichak@yorkcounty.gov

Thomas G. Shepperd, Jr.-shepperd@yorkcounty.gov

You can copy and paste this letter form below:

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that there are plans to add or maintain “mixed use” overlay on two parcels of land making them more accessible to development than their existing zoning allows. I feel strongly that this overlay should not be allowed on the Egger or Busch tracts and that they should be added to the York County Historic Resources list. Certainly this national treasure should not be thrown away for more unsustainable development. As a prospective tourist such disregard for important cultural resources makes me less likely to visit the historic triangle. 

These two parcels fall within the “Core Battlefield Boundaries” as well as a potential area for National Register Nomination as identified by the the American Battlefield Protection Program (NPS). These parcels have also been meticulously researched by regional and nationally renowned historians and have been identified for their prehistoric, 17th, 18th and impeccable 19th century history. Resources on site includes intact earthen works, roadbeds and building foundations. This is the ground where on May 5th, 1862 General Hancock earned his title “The Superb”, where the 5th NC lost their flag and where hundreds of men were buried around the Custis barns. I stand with the Navy and National Park Service. 


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