It’s a pleasure to convey this morning’s news that Walmart has reconsidered its plans to build upon land adjacent to the Wilderness battlefield. The Civil War Trust issued a statement on the matter: newspaper reports shed some light on the reasons for Walmart’s decision.
Another battlefield preservation controversy seems to have reached an important point. Note that I did not say that it was over. Walmart will build in the area, along State Route 3.
Yesterday in Bull Runnings Harry Smeltzer shared some of his thoughts about the evolution of the Lowry affair and its implications. Reminding readers that he had once been a corporate internal auditor, he added that he conceived of his job as “one who wants to find out how an act can in the first place be committed and in the second go undetected” (I’m sure there’s a word or two missing here that Harry would put in upon revision, but I’m quoting, and I understand his message). He then described how he had contacted various friends who were (or had been) associated with the National Archives (NARA) in one way or another over the years. How did someone sneak a pen into the Archives? Was it because the Lowrys had gained people’s trust, and so they were not subjected to the same level of scrutiny as would someone just coming in the Archives for the first time? And why did the Archives announce the “find” in 1998 with a press release, and then highlight the document in years to come, only now to ask questions about it?
For those of you who have been following the story of Thomas P. Lowry, the National Archives, and accusations of tampering with documents, I have a little exercise for you. For the pardon of Patrick Murphy of the Second California Infantry was not the only pardon Lowry reported that Abraham Lincoln made on April 14, 1865. That same day, according to Lowry, Lincoln pardoned Bradford Hambrick of Alabama.