I am responding to the Dec. 31 letter by Robert M. Anderson of Centreville concerning the costs of the Manassas battlefield property acquired by the U.S. government.

It is obvious that Mr. Anderson puts a price tag on America's heritage. He suggests that Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.) try to explain again to taxpayers in Maine, Alaska, Washington, Nebraska and other states the costs involved.

I suggest Mr. Anderson try to explain to Americans who visit Manassas from those states and all the others why it is important that his "investment" be returned in dollars. Perhaps he would be proud to show a visitor interested in the Chantilly battlefield how that hallowed ground has become Fair Oaks Mall and urban sprawl.

Come to think of it, why not sell every piece of ground involving America's heritage and its past? That way Mr. Anderson's tax burden would be nil. And when his children and their children want to see Independence Hall in Philadelphia, he can proudly show them a shiny chrome and glass office building in which people make lots of money and that does not cost him a dime. ARTHUR CANDENQUIST Warrenton

As one of thousands who supported the addition of land to the Manassas National Battlefield Park, I too must echo Robert Anderson's complaint as to the astronomical costs.

The fault, however, does not lie with those who fought to preserve this hallowed ground at any cost but with the insensitivity of developers and county supervisors toward our precious cultural and historical resources. What the taxpayers get for their dollars is, one hopes, a new appreciation of the value of our national heritage and an unspoiled park where they can bring their grandchildren. Next time, let's plan ahead, take care of the problem with appropriate zoning and save everyone time and money. DAVID LOWE Washington