Using GIS Analysis to Stop the Wilderness Wal-Mart GIS 200 May 11, 2009
Executive Summary • Wal-Mart is planning to build a 141,000 square foot store in Orange, Virginia • The proposed store will be on land near the Wilderness, a historic Civil War battlefield • This project concludes that a Wal-Mart can be built three miles north of the proposed location and not affect the view from the Wilderness battlefield site
Why Preserve Battlefields? • Provides a tangible link to the past • Provide an opportunity to attract visitors • Requires no costly infrastructure • Nonrenewable resource • Increases quality of life • Prevents urban sprawl "The Wilderness is an indelible part of our history, its very ground hallowed by the American blood spilled there, and it cannot be moved … Surely Wal-Mart can identify a site that would meet its needs without changing the very character of the battlefield.” – James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize winning historian
Battle of the Wilderness • Principal Commanders for the U.S. Federal Government (US): Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant and Major Gen. George G. Meade • Principal Commander for the Confederate States of America (CS): General Robert E. Lee • Forces Engaged: 162,920 total (US: 101,895; CS: 61,025) • Estimated Casualties: 29,800 total (US: 18,400; CS: 11,400) • Opening battle of Grant’s sustained offensive against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, known as the Overland Campaign • The Overland Campaign was the bloodiest campaign in American history and the turning point in the war in the eastern theatre • Resulted in a tactical draw • Grant did not retreat and the Federals advanced toward the crossroads of Spotsylvania Courthouse
The Future? A proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter near a hallowed Civil War site in Virginia is headed to local planners next month. A developer has submitted revised plans for the store in Orange County. The Planning Commission will consider the plans at its next meeting, on May 7, and a public airing is expected May 21. Supervisors will have the final say. Historians from New England to California have criticized Wal-Mart’s plan to build within a cannon shot of the battlefield where the troops of Gens. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant first clashed. For its part, Wal-Mart says the site is zoned for commercial use and the store would not diminish the battlefield.