2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the Second Battle of Manassas, one of a series of bloody engagements in the summer of 1862 in which the fortunes of the Civil War briefly swung in the Confederates’ favor. Here, as in the first battle in 1861, the Rebels triumphed convincingly.
Now, a portion of the battlefield is threatened by a proposed Washington outerbelt. While it is clear that the traffic in the DC metro area is horrendous (as I have found out painfully many times this summer, including a 4-hour delay coming through DC after my Florida vacation in June), locating an interstate on a battlefield does not make sense if there are other alternatives on less historic ground.
Stewart Schwartz is a descendant of famed Confederate horse artillerist, John Pelham, known as the Boy Major. He fought at both battles at Manassas, and now his descendant is fighting another battle. Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, a lobbying group which is trying to spread the word of the threatened battlefield and help develop other plans. Click here to visit his website and here to sign a petition to protest the planned route.
Stewart writes, “Please see the joint press release below explaining the significant concerns of preservation groups about the proposed highway at Manassas. This is shaping up to be the biggest battle to protect Manassas since the Disney fight in 1994.
The joint comments on the draft Section 106 Historic Preservation agreement are attached along with VDOT’s letter and the draft agreement with the National Park Service that we find to be significantly flawed. Attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law Center and National Trust for Historic Preservation played a key role in drafting our response.”
Stewart Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.