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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Winter 2003 arrow Virginia: Development at Chancellorsville Battlefield, Fredericksburg
Virginia: Development at Chancellorsville Battlefield, Fredericksburg

Agency: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

As reported in the Fall 2002 Case Digest, landowners and developers are applying for permits to construct housing and offices on privately owned land at Chancellorsville Civil War Battlefield outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Noteworthy as the place where General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded and where he and General Robert E. Lee fought together, the 1863 battle was integral to protecting Fredericksburg—and its vital road, rail, and river connections—from the Union Army.

In the most recent case of proposed development in the area, a private landowner has requested a permit to construct a 273-acre housing development adjacent to the battlefield.

In a case similar to the 788-acre residential and commercial development reported in the Fall 2002 Case Digest, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing an application from the owner of land adjacent to the Chancellorsville Civil War Battlefield National Military Park in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, to construct a 273-acre housing development on his property.

Chancellorsville Civil War Battlefield, Fredericksburg, Virginia

 

 

 

Chancellorsville Civil War Battlefield, Fredericksburg, Virginia (staff photo)

 

 

 

In this case, the landowner plans to construct detached houses in the wooded northwest corner of his tract. The ACHP has been consulting with a number of parties, including the landowner, the Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, and the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer, on the effects of the proposed housing development on the National Register-eligible Chancellorsville Battlefield Historic District.

The area proposed for development is known as Lick Run, a contributing element to the historic district where Union and Confederate forces clashed on the first day of the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.

Such development on privately owned property—where the only Federal involvement is a permit from the Corps of Engineers—raises questions about the role of a Federal agency in a permit review activity. The case also illustrates the need to carefully consider the balance between private property rights and preserving our Nation’s historic past. In this case, the Corps of Engineers’ jurisdiction is limited to permits for six small stream crossings on the 273-acre parcel slated for housing.

Since 1999, the ACHP has consulted on the case with the Corps of Engineers, the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer, and the project’s developer. It determined that the proposed development will adversely affect the Chancellorsville Battlefield Historic District and nearby Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and has expressed concern with the Corps of Engineers’ intention to limit their area of jurisdiction to the six stream crossings.

The Corps of Engineers is gathering comments from interested parties and has planned to meet with the ACHP and the State Historic Preservation Officer to review the comments and determine how to proceed with the case.
This project has garnered much attention because of intense pressure to develop the Chancellorsville Battlefield area. The National Park Service designated the battlefield a “Priority 1 Endangered Civil War Battlefield,” and the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the site in 1998 as one of its “11 Most Endangered Historic Places.”

In addition, preservation groups formed the Coalition to Save Chancellorsville Battlefield to protect threatened parts of the battlefield. The group includes the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Spotsylvania Battlefield Education Association, the Friends of the Fredericksburg Area Battlefields, and the National Trust for Historic
Preservation.

For information on the previously reported case involving proposed development at Chancellorsville Battlefield, see the Fall 2002 Case Digest (use your browser's back button to return to this issue).

Staff contact: Tom McCulloch


Posted May 6, 2003

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