Governor McDonnell Announces Preservation of over 80 Acres of Historic Battlefields in Petersburg
– Preservation made possible through Commonwealth Transportation Board Transportation in Enhancement Grants –
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia has partnered with the Civil War Trust and the City of Petersburg to preserve over 80 acres of land that played a critical role in Virginia's Civil War history. Preservation of the two sites - Cemetery Hill and the South Side Depot - is being funded by Transportation Enhancement Grants awarded by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
Speaking about today's announcement, Governor McDonnell said "Virginia is home to many sites that played a critical role in our nation's early struggles for survival. The 10 month Petersburg Campaign saw over 16 major battles, with more than 80,000 men killed, wounded or captured and was crucial to reuniting our great nation. It is imperative that we take every step to preserve as much of this hallowed ground as possible so that future generations can enjoy the rich history that these sites have to offer. I am very pleased that the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Commonwealth Transportation Board have once again partnered with the Civil War Trust and the City of Petersburg to help protect this hallowed ground for future generations."
Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded $448,000 to the Civil War Trust to help fund the acquisition of Cemetery Hill and $400,000 to the City of Petersburg to help restore the historic South Side Depot. The 81 acre Cemetery Hill property, located between Petersburg National Battlefield and Blanford Church, played a critical role in three major battles during the campaign. The South Side Depot, located in the Old Town Historic District, served the last rail line controlled by the Confederate Army and played a critical role throughout the campaign.
"Preservation of these historic sites is not only critical to protecting the rich history of Virginia but also the nation," said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. "Additionally, as noted by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, sites such as Cemetery Hill and the South Side Depot significantly contribute to the Commonwealth's tourism related economy. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Civil War Trust and the Department of Historic Resources as we look for other opportunities to protect Virginia's history.
During the McDonnell Administration, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has awarded nearly $5 million in matching Transportation Enhancement Grants for Civil War preservation projects. Aside from preservation, a portion of this funding was used to develop a new battlefield application for smart phones and tourist information kiosks at rest areas to help travelers better explore Virginia's battlefields as well celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
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