Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02) and Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL) on Wednesday hailed Wal-Mart Inc.s decision to withdraw its plan to build a superstore on the site of a Civil War battleground where thousands of Vermont and Texas troops perished.
In a bipartisan effort, Poe and Welch have fought to protect Virginias Wilderness Battlefield since the company first proposed to develop within the boundaries of the battlefield.
Like Gen. Robert E. Lee said at the Battle of the Wilderness, Texans always move them, said Poe. This time we had had help from the North from my colleague Rep. Peter Welch. Todays announcement is a victory for all Americans.
Welch and Poe first wrote Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke in February 2009, urging him to take action to preserve this vital piece of history. The Congressmen took to the House floor together in March to reiterate their opposition and toured the site in May to mark the 145th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness. While there, Welch and Poe visited monuments to the Vermont and Texas troops who perished during the battle.
The Wilderness Battlefield is a sacred site for Vermonters, Texans and all Americans. The site marks the sacrifice of so many soldiers, whose memory we must cherish, Welch and Poe said in a joint statement. We appreciate Wal-Marts decision to build elsewhere and we applaud the leadership and advocacy of those who fought to preserve this important national landmark.
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought in May 1864, was among the most significant battles of the Civil War. It marked the first time that legendary generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant faced each other in battle. When fighting ended, more than 29,000 Americans had been killed, wounded or captured.
Arriving at the breaking point of the battle, Texas troops, led by Gen. James Longstreet, pushed back the Union front. From this effort, came Gen. Lees famous quote: Texans always move them. Although victorious, 60 percent of the Texans were killed in the historic battle. Nearly half of the 2,800 Vermonters who fought at that battle were killed, wounded or went missing.