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Group will aid Stafford County; supervisors laud preservation plan
Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites briefs county supervisors on its goals, recent work

Date published: 8/3/2005



Stafford supervisors symbolically gave their blessing yesterday to a new citizens group, Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites, last night by a unanimous vote. They agreed to let it use the county seal on three historical markers that will be placed at the site of a Civil War fort and a Union Army camp near Aquia Landing.

It's the first step toward three-way cooperation between the county, builders and historians, said Glen Trimmer, a lay historian and co-founder of the group.

"The real message of the seal is that you have something that is unique to Stafford County," Trimmer said last night after making a presentation to the Board of Supervisors. "It shows that the county is committed to preserving and marking Civil War sites. And that's not a little thing."

Hartwood Supervisor Gary Snellings said at the meeting that he is descended from a Confederate soldier who crossed the Rappahannock River to fight and the soldiers wife, who stayed behind and tried to fend off the invading Union troops on the homefront.

"Both of them would look dim on me for voting today to honor those who destroyed their farm," Snellings said. "But I do think this is important. Growing up, we played in those forts. It has been disturbing to me to see a lot of this land churned up, not on purpose, but because nobody got together to try to save it."

Trimmer and D.P. Newton, who owns the White Oak Museum in southern Stafford, founded the friends group earl this year after learning that a contractor for SYG Associates Inc. of Warrenton had destroyed an earthen Civil War redoubt to make way for a new subdivision, Poplar Hills, off Brooke Road.

That event "showed that preservation of historic sites cannot be left to county officials, developers and federal and state agencies alone," Trimmer said in his presentation.

Right now, there are big holes in the county's knowledge of Civil War sites and there is quiet incentive for contractors to ignore sites that don't appear in the county's planning databases, Newton and Trimmer have said in interviews.

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Preservationists' goals

Objectives of the Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites:

Honor soldiers who served in Stafford from 1861 to 1865.

Help identify, preserve and mark remaining major Civil War sites in Stafford.

Provide timely information to county officials and developers to allow preservation of those sites.

Hold county officials and builders accountable if Civil War sites are knowingly destroyed without effort to save them.