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Save history's 'holy places' page 4
In Spotsylvania visit, best-selling author will describe how Tennessee town is restoring Civil War battlefield, healing community

 Carrie McGovack's engagement portrait at Carnton House.
BATTLE OF FRANKLIN TRUST
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Date published: 9/6/2011

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Meanwhile, in Spotsylvania County, the Civil War Trust proposes to buy the abandoned GM factory along Routes 2 and 17, raze it and create a park linked with the trust's nearby Slaughter Pen Farm portion of the Dec. 13, 1862, battlefield.

The park would interpret the ground where Gen. George Gordon Meade led the Union assault that broke through Lt. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's defenses before being repulsed, dooming the Union troops staging a diversionary attack against Marye's Heights closer to Fredericksburg.

The county Board of Supervisors, some members of which have been skeptical of the plan, is considering the trust's proposal.

MANY HANDS

In Franklin, it required intense work to achieve what has been accomplished so far, said Hicks, who is quick to credit the many other partners and participants.

"It takes a lot of people," he said. "It takes the whole community."

But battlefield preservation is changing the community for the better, Hicks said, breaking down divisions and helping people connect with their heritage--and with one another.

"The details of how it happened here are not nearly as relevant," he said, "as the fact that some passionate people, who get the bigger picture and understand why this is important for our future, can do just about anything they set their minds on.

" It's not something that people in Fredericksburg couldn't do better. You've just got to believe."

The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, a small nonprofit based in Fredericksburg, is hosting Hicks' visit.

Dr. Mike Stevens, CVBT's president, said Friday that reclaiming the GM tract would be "a resurrection of sorts" for that part of the Fredericksburg battlefield.

"This land is a national treasure, and it is our privilege and responsibility, both as individuals and through our elected representatives, to decide whether it will be reclaimed or continue as it now is," Stevens said. "We of CVBT enthusiastically and wholeheartedly support its reclamation, and we stand ready to work with the Civil War Trust and community leaders to bring this to fruition."

The public is invited to "An Evening with Robert Hicks" at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Fredericksburg Country Club on Routes 2 and 17, eight-tenths of a mile east of Shannon Airport.

ON THE NET:

franklinscharge.org

thewidowofthesouth.com

Author's website: robert-hicks.com

National Geographic cover story: bit.ly/pHYSnQ

Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029
Email: cschemmer@freelancestar.com


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