Monday, March 17, 2014
Advance Look at New Section of North Anna Battlefield Park - Official Opening May 24, 2014
One of the most interesting Civil War landscapes in Virginia is, without a doubt, the North Anna Battlefield Park, in Hanover County. In the early 1990's, nearly 80 acres were set aside by a quarry company, containing most of the west face of General Lee's "Inverted V" trenchline, with its apex on a bluff overlooking Ox Ford. Here, just days after the culmination of the Spotsylvania Campaign, the Army of Northern Virginia had Grant and Meade's forces precariously straddling the North Anna, with three corps dangerously susceptible to piecemeal annihilation. Due to the ineptness of his lieutenants at the time, and suffering from a debilitating intestinal ailment, Lee was not able to take advantage of the situation and thus lost his last realistic opportunity for a southern victory in the war.
Now maintained by the Hanover County's Parks and Recreation Department, the park offers a finely interpreted trail system that follows along much of the old Ox Ford Road and sections of the Confederate trenches. With a grand opening on May 24, 2014, the new trails will cover ground north of the current park, following the advance and retreat routes of the hapless, Union General James H. Ledlie's 9th Corps Brigade, as well as an elaborate set of earthworks constructed by Samuel Crawford's Division of the 5th Corps. Your blog host took an advance look at the progress on March 11, 2014.
The new, 90 acre section, has more than doubled the total land now protected, up from 75 acres.
The trail leads to a nice view of the North Anna, looking toward the falls just north of Ox Ford.
Further upstream, on a high bluff, are the entrenched works of Crawford's Division of the 5th Corps.
Hanover County Parks and Rec. employees are busy blazing the new trail to have it ready for May.