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9. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Virginia

The story: The area in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, saw four major Civil War battles: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. In all, more than 85,000 men were wounded in these battles, and 15,000 killed. Visiting the park is a true immersive experience, with a wide variety of landscapes and structures to explore.

 

What you helped to save: In 2008, Wal-Mart planned to build a large store on a privately owned portion of the Wilderness battlefield adjacent to the national park. The privately owned land had served as hospital grounds during the battle. The enormous development would have made it nearly impossible to envision this important turning point in American history, and would have damaged the battlefield’s historic character. NPCA helped form the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition, which eventually convinced Wal-Mart to move the store three miles down the road, preserving hallowed ground.

 

When to see it: With so much history protected at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, the park offers tours based on the amount of time you have to spend, whether it’s a few hours or a few days. Check the park website or visitor center to find a plan for you. If you have a Friday available over the summer, consider attending one of the park’s free “History at Sunset” programs.

 

Photo © Gator1time/iStockphoto.

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About the Author

Editor of Online Communications Jennifer Errick