History buffs fought hard to buy part of the Averasboro Battlefield at an auction outside of Erwin.
The Averasboro Battlefield set the stage for the larger battle at Bentonville in 1865. On Thursday, the battle was about preserving the past and looking ahead to the future.
More than 130 years ago, Confederate soldiers grouped on the field for the third line of attack during the Battle of Averasboro.
On the Harnett/Cumberland County line, a museum showcases precious artifacts. A reminder of all Civil War casualties lies farther down the road.
On the ancient battlefield, a new struggle started over the land.
"History's got to be carried on somehow or another," Charles Rogers, a Civil War buff, said. "If you let this go to houses or apartments, you won't have anything left."
Preservationists, farmers, hunters and developers all wanted a piece of 212 acres of the battlefield up for auction.
The bidding war did not last long for members of the Averasboro Battlefield Commission. They lost their battle to protect history.
"There's a sense of disappointment in that the bid we made isn't the one that came out on top," said Walt Smith of the Averasboro Battlefield Commission.
However, the fight was not all lost. Dewayne Weeks, a resident of Dunn, bought the property.
Weeks and his family farm the land across the street. He says he will do exactly the same thing for the battlefield and work with the Commission on preservation.
"The Civil War Commission wants it to be farm and pasture, because it's not covered with asphalt or buildings," Weeks said.
The museum and cemetery are on land owned by the Averasboro Battlefield Commission, so they will not be affected by Thursday's sale.
The commission says all plans will still go forward for the 135th anniversary celebration in March 2000.