HistoryNet received the following media release from the office of U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) regarding legislation that, if successful, will create the largest military park in the nation. We present this information as a public service to our readers, many of whom are interested in battlefield preservation. Click here to read an article about the Battle of Five Forks during the Petersburg Campaign.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A longtime advocate for Civil War battlefield preservation, U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced Tuesday the “Petersburg National Boundary Modification Act,” to protect an additional 7,200 acres of historic battlefields. The expansion would make the Petersburg National Battlefield the largest military park in the United States.
The legislation would give the National Park Service (NPS) authority to acquire 12 battlefields, totaling 7,200 acres, surrounding Petersburg National Battlefield. This expansion of the park was recommended in the National Park Service’s Final General Management Plan in 2005. Much of this historic land is currently susceptible to industrial and residential development.
“Petersburg saw nearly one quarter of the Civil War fought in its surrounding area, and the preservation of these battlefields is important for future generations to understand and appreciate the significance of our nation’s history,” said Senator Webb. “Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and this legislation serves as an appropriate and timely means to commemorate this significant historical event.”“Additionally, investing in historic landmarks benefits the Commonwealth’s tourism sector,” continued Senator Webb. “154,000 visitors come to Petersburg National Battlefield each year, generating more than $9 million in local revenue. For this reason, the legislation is important to our continuing efforts to spur tourism and new jobs in Petersburg and the surrounding communities.”
Since entering the Senate in 2007, Senator Webb has been a strong voice for historical and natural preservation. In 2009, he championed the “Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act,” which renewed The America Battlefield Protection Program and continued the successful federal partnership that has saved nearly 7,000 acres at 17 battlefields sites in Virginia. Webb also cosponsored the successful “Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act,” to preserve a 175-mile area encompassing eight presidential homes or sites, 15 National Historic Landmarks, 47 historic districts and the largest collection of Revolutionary War sites and Civil War battlefields in America. Additionally, in October, Senator Webb introduced legislation to establish a Commission to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.