Sunday, August 11, 2013

Williamsburg Battlefield

From: Drew Gruber

I received yet another letter this morning which was sent by an author to the local papers and the York County Board of Supervisors about the significance of the Egger-Busch tracts, imploring them to consider adding the sites to the county's list of historic resources as well as to defeat the mixed use overlay. Ive included the letter below. Coupled with the W.S. Hancock Society's letter which ran last week in the Virginia Gazette we are seeing an incredible response from people and organizations outside our community with a strong emphasis on the Union activities on this property. These letters are showing the Supervisors and the papers that potential tourists and the rest of the nation are watching carefully.

Should we get local groups like the SCV and the UDC to make public statements and letters to the York Board of Supervisors we could stress the local perspective as well as highlight the Confederate story. The word of locals  and surely local organizations will be taken to heart. We all know we have too much development in this especially with many of the current shopping centers failing. That is the strong local argument. With hundreds of Confederates buried in and around the Custis barns on the Egger tract- without a re-interment record- there is a huge local southern story to be told as well.

I hope each of you will consider working with your membership to write letters to the board of supervisors as well as to make public statements in the local newspapers. Telling the locals perspective and the southern story on these parcels must fall on the shoulders of the local SCV and UDC. Without your participation we risk loosing the property forever. Preservation doesn't see blue or grey and just like the veterans at Gettysburg its important to reach over the wall to help facilitate the preservation of this property. I've included the emails for the Board of Supervisors as well as the local papers below. Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing back from you.,,,,,,

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that there are plans to add or maintain a "mixed use" overlay on two parcels of land making them more accessible to development.  While I am in complete sympathy with the desire to develop useable land, this overlay should not be allowed on the Egger or Busch tracts, which represent a major portion of the Williamsburg Civil War battlefield.  They should be added to the York County Historic Resources list, as the national treasures they are.

These two parcels fall within the "Core Battlefield Boundaries" as well as a potential area for National Register nomination as identified by the American Battlefield Protection Program.  These parcels have been meticulously researched by regional and nationally renowned historians and organizations as having incredible prehistoric, 17th, 18th and impeccable 19th century history associated with them.

I am a historian for Delaware State Parks and the author of the regimental history of the 33d NY Infantry, Path of Blood.  The 33d played a major role in the action on General Hancock's front.  It is their state and national colors that Alfred Waud depicted in his famous sketch of Hancock's repulse of Confederate forces.  My wife and I have spent time in that redoubt photographing and getting the lay of the land.

As an author and historian, as well as a tourist to the Historic Triangle, I stand beside the Navy, National Park Service, and the Williamsburg Battlefield Trust in asking that the County add these parcels to their Historic Resources list.  This would clear the way for a coalition to preserve the site for perpetuity-- protecting our Nation's history, County taxpayers, and adjacent property owners.


George W Contant

Dover, DE

Most Respectfully,

Drew Gruber
Williamsburg, Va