Civil War News
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Trust Preserves Portion of White Oak Road Battlefield
By Deborah Fitts January '02 issue

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. - The White Oak Road battlefield, whose preservation was cited by the federal government as a "top priority," has come a step closer to that goal with the acquisition of 29.7 acres that include Confederate earthworks.

The Civil War Preservation Trust announced the purchase of the "Roberts Tract" at a news conference Dec. 3. The $70,000 deal was made through a two-to-one federal matching grant, with one-third ($23,700) coming from the Land & Water Conservation Fund and two-thirds ($46,700) from the Trust.

"The White Oak Road battlefield is a living monument to the courage, valor and sacrifice of our forebears," said Trust President James Lighthizer. "Few landscapes remain that so closely resemble conditions as they existed during the war."

The newly preserved land, at the intersection of White Oak and Claiborne roads, lies just east of another 30 acres that was saved in 1989 by the Association for the Preservation for Civil War Sites, a predecessor of the Trust.

The battlefield comprises 4551 acres, according to a 1998 report by the American Battlefield Protection Program, an arm of the National Park Service. Of that, the "core" area extends over 600 to 800 acres.

The battle, March 31, 1865, led to a series of clashes that would result in the collapse of the nearby Confederate capital. The surrender at Appomattox came less than two weeks later.

Bob Kirby, superintendent at Petersburg National Battlefield, called battlefields like White Oak Road "living classrooms," and said, "The opportunities for tourism are phenomenal."

The 1989 purchase preserved a portion of the Confederate earthworks on White Oak Road. The new acquisition preserves the remainder of the Confederate line.

With the Trust's purchase 60 acres at White Oak Road are now protected. The Trust also recently saved 50 acres at nearby Hatcher's Run battlefield, scene of fierce fighting in February 1865.

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