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Civil War group, consultant request help on plan for former Mullins farm tract
By RUSTY DENNEN
Soon, visitors to a rolling farm field along State Route 3 will walk trails, peruse exhibits and imagine the blood shed when the Battle of Chancellorsville opened there in May 1863.
But first, the Civil War Preservation Trust and its consultant, National History Inc., want to hear from residents about how to tell the story about what happened along a creek called Lick Run west of Chancellor Elementary School.
The preservationists and historians will hold an information session on the Lick Run battlefield tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Chancellor Community Center, 7300 Old Plank Road.
The 140 acres on the north side of Route 3 has been at the epicenter of an ongoing effort to save remaining battlefield land threatened by sprawl.
"We see this as a great opportunity to celebrate what was accomplished in preserving" the property, once called the Mullins farm, trust spokesman Jim Campi said yesterday. "But also to get the community involved in making this a park that they can enjoy as well as tourists."
Campi added that the land could be used to establish a gateway to the Chancellorsville and Wilderness battlefields, administered by the National Park Service, along State Routes 3 and 20.
"We'd like to turn this site into the heritage-tourism destination we've talked about, with interpretive signs and trails to really tell the story of what happened there," Campi said.
The trust, based in Washington, purchased the land last fall for $3 million from Tricord Inc., a home builder, which bought the property from Spotsylvania businessman John Mullins.
The unusual deal involved county officials, preservationists and Tricord, which is building homes on 87 acres abutting the historic tract.
Donors toward the purchase including the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust will be recognized in some way on the property.
The National Park Service protects a large section of the Chancellorsville battlefield to the west and south, but portions of where fighting occurred remain in private hands.
The Battle of Chancellorsville began May 1, 1863, and lasted almost three days. It is considered Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's greatest victory.
Union and Confederate forces clashed on the property during the first day's fighting and Lee crossed Lick Run after the battle, which had 30,000 casualties.