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Residents offer their ideas for Civil War Preservation Trust's interpretation of site where the Battle of Chancellorsville began.
Visit the Photo Place
By GEORGE WHITEHURST
Within a year, visitors to Spotsylvania County may get to explore 140 acres where the Blue and the Gray clashed more than 140 years ago, soaking the ground with American blood.
Gary Adelman hopes, at a minimum, to create a series of walking trails and educational signs explaining events that took place on that land--beside westbound State Route 3--on May 1, 1863, the first day of the Battle of Chancellorsville.
A wiry, bearded historian, Adelman bounced excitedly last night while leading a brainstorming session on how to lure visitors to the site now owned by the Civil War Preservation Trust.
"I love the Civil War. I'm really into this stuff," he told the two dozen people who showed up for the meeting at the Chancellor Community Center.
Adelman works for History Associates Inc., a consulting firm hired by the trust to develop a plan to turn the newly named Lick Run Battlefield into a tourist destination. Trust spokesman Jim Campi said the group hopes to unveil a tentative plan in February.
Following a PowerPoint presentation by Adelman, a free-wheeling discussion ensued as to how to get the community, and especially young people, involved in the process.
Spotsylvania resident Nancy McNamara expressed hope the trust can do more on the site than just put up interpretive signs. She'd like to see a media center featuring films, photographs and even re-enactors explaining the fighting at Lick Run.
"I think when people go to a site they want to have as close to an actual experience as possible," she said.
Campi said the trust hopes to have re-enactors provide glimpses of Civil War life, but added that large-scale battle re-creations aren't practical because the land is so close to Route 3.
Adelman suggested the trust eventually could use technology, such as iPods and other personal data devices, to enable visitors to download information about Lick Run.
Brian Wolfe, a member of the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, especially wants the schools to get involved in the project.
"It's very important to get students interested in history at a young age, so that as they get older, they stay interested and want to help preserve the sites," he said.