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Support building for public park to preserve Civil War 'Valley Forge' sites in central Stafford
A Union blockhouse (left) like one found near Accokeek Creek defends Stafford's Potomac Creek railroad bridge.
CAPT. ANDREW J. SULLIVAN/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
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By CLINT SCHEMMER
Central Stafford County needs a public park, historians and preservationists say, but not of the usual kind.
This one, set atop ridges overlooking Accokeek Creek, would feature the most significant remaining set of unprotected Civil War forts and camps in the northern part of Virginia.
That's what they recommended yesterday to area officials meeting at the University of Mary Washington's graduate-studies center in Hartwood.
County Administrator Anthony Romanello convened the ad-hoc group, which included Stafford supervisors, archaeologists, historians, planners, private citizens, and officials from the public utility that runs the regional landfill where the historic sites are located.
To protect the sites as the landfill grows, the R-Board--or Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board--intends to preserve 14 to 20 acres of the 760-acre facility.
"The important thing is to convey this land unimpaired for our children--that's the first priority," said John Hennessy, chief historian of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. "The R-Board has done a great thing by setting this property aside."
In January, R-Board members voted unanimously to reshape an
Many participants in yesterday's meeting favored creating a park on the property so the public can see and appreciate the Civil War and 18th-century sites, which include four Union Army forts and two camps where soldiers spent the winter of 1862-63. Supervisor Paul Milde, whose Aquia District includes the tract, strongly supports the park concept.
quick action urged
The idea was first proposed two years ago by Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites, a private group that has worked with builders and county officials to protect and memorialize other Union sites in eastern Stafford.