For Immediate Release: 06/13/01
Preservation Trust Urges Tennessee DOT to Reject Interchange Plan at Stones River
CWPT argues that short-sighted Manson Pike interchange proposal could irrevocably damage historic Stones River National Battlefield
(Washington, D.C.) - In a letter to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) urged that agency to reject a proposal for an I-24 highway interchange at Stones River National Battlefield. CWPT argues that the interchange plan, coupled with the anticipated widening of Manson Pike, could irrevocably damage the historic battlefield.
"Much of Stones River battlefield has already been lost or fragmented by development," writes CWPT President James Lighthizer in his June 4 letter. "The addition of an interchange would destroy privately held battlefield land and severely compromise the small portion of this national treasure that is currently protected by the National Park Service."
Highway interchanges are among the most serious threats to America's remaining Civil War battlefields. Not only will the proposed I-24 interchange serve as a magnet for sprawl, but the construction and widening process itself will alter hundreds of acres of battlefield beyond recognition. If the interchange plan is implemented, hallowed ground will likely be replaced by strip malls and fast food restaurants.
Earlier this year, CWPT identified Stones River as one of the ten most endangered battlefields in the United States. The battlefield earned this dubious distinction because of the threat posed by the I-24 interchange plan.
Stones River was the scene of a bloody, three-day struggle that was fought outside Murfreesboro, Tenn. from Dec. 31, 1862 through Jan. 2, 1863. The battle culminated with a heroic but doomed assault by Confederate forces under Major General John C. Breckinridge. The charge is often compared with the more famous charge of Pickett's men on the third day of Gettysburg.
With 35,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism.