Virginia Battlefield Park.Fredericksburg's effort in this Direction—Concentration necessary.
The Richmond Dispatch, after alluding to the proposition that the United States Government shall establish a national military park at or near Fredericksburg and Richmond, says: ‘We should like to see the vicinity of Richmond chosen for the site of the park; but if we can't have our wish about that we shall be glad to support the next best proposition looking to practical results. Of course, we old Confederates cannot hope to have things all our own way. To get any scheme through Congress it must be backed strongly by veterans of the gray and blue both.’ The Dispatch in this matter seems to have quite naturally, as the oldest paper at the State capital, a very proper touch of State pride, and the Free Lance proposes to tell the Dispatch and through it the people of Virginia what has been done in the Fredericksburg and adjacent National Battle-Fields' Park matter, and to ask the Dispatch if it does not, as a State organ, believe that the Fredericksburg park matter is ‘backed strongly by veterans of the gray and blue both.’ The Fredericksburg Battle-Field Park matter was taken up, first, by our City Council, in February, 1896, and a committee appointed to inaugurate it. Thereafter, in April, 1896, a meeting was held in our Opera-House, at which Congressmen Jenkins (Republican), of Wisconsin; Walker (Republican), and Jones (Democrat), of Virginia, were present, and gave the matter hearty approval. I. Then provision was made for a joint commission, a voluntary unincorporated body, to consist of members from Fredericksburg, Orange, Spotsylvania, and Stafford, and gentlemen from each of the counties named and Fredericksburg we selected to push the proposition. These gentlemen at once saw, following in the footsteps of Chickamauga, that an incorporation was not only desirable, but necessary, and thereupon-  II. The Fredericksburg and Adjacent National Battlefields Memorial Association of Virginia was chartered February 12, 1898, Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and organized February 22, 1898, Washington's birthday. Among the incorporators a.. over two hundred gentlemen, ex-officers and soldiers of the war of 1861-5, from thirty-eight States of the Union and the District of Columbia. In these incorporators are many of the leaders on each side of the war of 18861-5, such as General Horatio C. King, its president, and for twenty-five years the secretary of the Army of the Potomac; General Orland Smith, the present president of the Army of the Potomac; General Daniel E. Sickles; Governor W. A. Stone, of Pennsylvania, and ex-Governor Beaver, of that State; ex-Secretary of the Navy Tracy; General Felix Agnew, of the Baltimore American; General F. D. Grant, Charles Broadway Rouss, ex-Governor Chamberlain, of Maine; Congressman Amos Cummings, ex-Senator Faulkner, of West Virginia; Judge Walter James K. Jones, of Arkansas, General M. C. Butler, of South Carolina; General James Longstreet and Congressman Livingston, of Georgia; Chief Justice Woods, of Mississippi; ex-Senator Blackburn, of Kentucky; Senator Caffery, of Louisiana; Senator Bate and Congressman Richardson, of Tennessee; Congressman Lanham, and ex-Congressman Culberson, of Texas; besides very many more equally as prominent. All of these gentlemen not only consented to become members of the association, but are warmly in favor of the Fredericksburg park. III. Virginia has, through her Legislature, taken up the Fredericksburg Park proposition as a State matter. Her Legislature has endorsed it, and Governor Tyler is of the opinion that it is the one park that should be first established, and that other propositions should stand in abeyance pending action on that by Congress. In the list of incorporators from Virginia are Colonel James D. Brady, of Petersburg, a gallant Union officer, than whom no one has a better war record, who is a member of the Executive Committee of the association, and there are over fifty Virginia incorporators, including Congressman Lamb, of Henrico, and Captain B. C. Cook, of Richmond city; Speaker Ryan, Dr. J. W. Southall, and others. IV. The Fredericksburg Park proposition is earnestly endorsed  by the Grand Army of the Republic. General Edgar Allan has brought the matter to its notice, and is chairman of the committee of the Grand Army of the Republic to secure the favorable action of Congress, and as chairman of this committee has presented to the last Congress a very strong, indeed, unanswerable, memorial in its favor. V. The United Confederate Veterans, at their Richmond meeting in 1896, warmly endorsed the Fredericksburg battlefields project, and General John B. Gordon, Grand Commander, has issued a ringing order to all the Confederate veterans, urging their help in the establishment of this park. VI. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania battlefields were most carefully gone over by a committee of the Grand Army people, of which General Allan was chairman, before the Grand Army of the Republic endorsed the project. VII. Recently the War Department has sent a detail from the Quartermaster-General's Department to these fields at the suggestion of the Military committees of the two houses of Congress to report upon the practicability of establishing this park, and it is an open fact that a favorable report will be made in favor of the establishment of this park. VIII. There is every assurance that the strong society of the Army of the Potomac at their meeting in September will memoralize Congress in favor of this park, accurate maps of which have been made by our Fredericksburg Association, and these, with slight modifications, have been accepted by the War Department officers as the proper guide for establishing the parks. IX. Senators Daniel and Martin and Congressman Hay, after full consideration, have determined to make an earnest effort to establish this park. It was in the great battle of the Wilderness that Senator Daniel received his wounds. X. Senator Daniel is quoted as saying that on these fields more men were engaged and more casualties resulted than England has lost during the present century. XI. The Fredericksburg National Cemetery and the Confederate Cemetery contain more buried dead than can be found elsewhere in any war cemeteries as near together in the land, and all were slain on this soil. Arlington and Vicksburg cemeteries  may have more, but those dead were brought from many far-off fields. XII. There clusters around Fredericksburg a wealth of memory and sentiment. It was the home of Governor Spotswood, the Tubal Cain of America; it was the playground of George Washington, and here is the ashes of his venerated mother. Not only do the memories of 1861-65 here abide, but as a Revolutionary war spot it will ever be hallowed by all Americans. The Free Lance, in view of the thirteen colonies, has no superstition about the No. 13. And so if a thirteenth reason is needed for the establishment by Congress of the Fredericksburg park, the Free Lance calls upon the Dispatch to supply it, and it does not believe that it will call in vain on the Dispatch to yield Richmond's claims for the present, at least, and give old Fredericksburg, which, during the war of 1861-65, stood as a bulwark for Richmond, its best help at this time, to the end that the Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotyslvania Courthouse battlefields may be established by Congress into one great memorial park, a credit alike to Virginia and to the nation. (The Dispatch favors a concentration of the efforts of all Virginians upon the scheme which seems most likely to succeed. Our Fredericksburg friends need not fear that we will play the part of the dog in the manger. Furthermore, we must say that Spotsylvania seems ahead in the race, and unless other competitors pick up a great deal in the course of the next few months, it will distance them all.—The Dispatch.)