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Historian To Testify Against Wal-Mart Supercenter Construction

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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson has agreed to testify on behalf of residents attempting to block the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter near an endangered Civil War battlefield in northern Virginia.

McPherson will testify that the Wal-Mart site in Locust Grove was blood-soaked ground in the Battle of the Wilderness and not simply a staging area for the 1864 battle, as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., contends.

McPherson wrote in the summary that Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters and his senior leaders were encamped near the site of the proposed store, and that "among other things, thousands of wounded and dying soldiers occupied the then open fields that included the Wal-Mart site, which is where many of the Union Army hospital tents were located during the battle."

The historian cites a period account from the battle's aftermath that describes "men with mutilated bodies, with shattered limbs and broken heads, men enduring their injuries with heroic patience, and men giving way to violent grief, men stoically indifferent and men bravely rejoicing that it is only a leg."

Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment on McPherson's statements.

The court battle is scheduled to start Jan. 25 in Orange County Circuit Court.

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