30/04/2001 - Heritage Alert Update - April 2001Fredericksburg - H L Hunley - Stephenson's Depot - Manassas - Franklin - South Mountain. (This article originally appeared in 'Crossfire' the magazine of the ACWRT(UK) No.65)
by Anne Hughes
The National Park Service (NPS) has invited the City of Fredericksburg to join with it in a project designed to close and restore the historic Sunken Road. The NPS owns the Sunken Road, but the City retains a right of passage on it. The NPS is hoping to undertake a major restoration of the road and adjacent landscape. The project includes preliminary archaeology (scheduled for this year), and then, depending on investigations, removing pavement and subsurface to the original level, relocating utilities, rebuild retaining walls, and installing a wide range of on-site exhibits.
Submarine H L Hunley
Since her recovery in August last year, the Confederate submarine H L Hunley has been undergoing stabilisation and testing. Experts have been monitoring and mapping the exterior of the craft, in addition to trying to penetrate the interior with high-powered X-ray machines and monographs, so far without luck. The silt and mud which fill the interior is opaque to the wavelengths used by the equipment and the interior shows up as 'a white blob'. The team of archaeologists, conservators and specialised technicians have now started removing the sediment, using small spoons, through an existing 3 foot gash in the stern of the craft More info: http://www.hunley.org.
Stephenson's Depot Battlefield, Virginia
A Winchester-based company wants to build an industrial and tech centre on 447 acres of land, part of which encompasses areas fought over during Second and Third Winchester. The Civil War Preservation Trust is leading the fight to save this land. Adjacent landowners have also formed a protest group, and were equally alarmed to discover the company may decide to build a spur to the property from a nearby railway line. The Frederick County Historic Resources Advisory Board (HRAB) reversed a recommendation it had made last year approving the rezoning of the land. However, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors can ignore HRAB's advice and go ahead with the rezoning, despite clear evidence of the battlefield's historic significance. The fight continues.
The Civil War Preservation Trust has purchased nearly 150 acres near the Manassas Battlefield, to protect the land from future development. The land was the scene of fighting on 29 August 1862 during the Second Battle of Manassas.
A recent archaeological dig on Roper's Knob, the highest point in Franklin, has confirmed that a signal station was built on the site during the Civil War. This was an important communications link between the Northern armies in Nashville and Murfreesboro. The signal station blockhouse is believed to have been big enough for 60 men. Archaeologists are completing an analysis of the dig, cataloguing artefacts found, and writing a report. Roper's Knob was bought in 1996 by the Heritage Foundation and this body hopes to open the 57 acre park to the public; for the moment it is open only to Foundation members. Last year the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
South Mountain, Maryland
The Friends of South Mountain is a newly formed body with the aim, eventually, of establishing visitor's centres to help interpret the importance and battles of South Mountain and the Maryland Campaign. They will concentrate on fund-raising and provide volunteers to assist visitors.
© ACWRT(UK) 2001