Category:

Battlefield preservation

brandyThe current issue of Civil War News has an article about the Civil War Trust’s efforts to raise the money to purchase Fleetwood Hill. Disregard the astonishingly pathetic, lame excuse by Useless Joe McKinney as to why the BSF did nothing about the Lake Troilo episode (nice try, Useless Joe, but it does nothing to lend any credibility to your claims to support preservation), and you’ve got a nice overview of the situation here:

CW Trust Contracts For 61 Brandy Station Acres; Must Raise $3.6 Million
By Scott C. Boyd
(February/March 2013 Civil War News)

BRANDY STATION, Va. – The Civil War Trust announced Dec. 20 it has a contract to buy 61 acres on historic Fleetwood Hill at Brandy Station for $3.6 million. The Trust has until June 7 to raise the money and close the sale, two days before the battle’s sesquicentennial.

The land at the crest of the southern end of Fleetwood Hill is the “crown jewel” of the Brandy Station battlefield, according to battle historian and Brandy Station Foundation co-founder Clark B. “Bud” Hall. It includes the site of Confederate commanding general J.E.B. Stuart’s headquarters for the battle.

“Protection of this property at the epicenter of the Brandy Station battlefield has been a goal of the preservation community for more than three decades,” said Trust President James Lighthizer in announcing the contract.

The Trust owns 878 acres of the Brandy Station Battlefield that are open to the public with signage, walking trails and a driving tour.

Unlike most Trust land purchases, this recent one became public before the Trust board had officially voted to approve the deal.

“Typically we wait until the board approves a transaction,” said Trust Director of Policy and Communications Jim Campi. “However, the news of it being under contract was leaked to the Culpeper paper, so it came out sooner than anticipated.”

Campi said the Trust’s board will make a formal decision on the purchase at its March meeting.

The Trust hopes to raise the money through $1.6 million in government grants and $2 million from private donors, according to Campi. “We need everybody involved with this deal. It’s a big number in a tight economy,” he said.

The government grants will likely be a combination of federal money from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program and funds from Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources, Campi said.

“The key is to raise $2 million in private sector money,” he said. “Bud Hall has taken the lead in helping us identify big donors to help us get to that $2 million goal.”

Campi said, “We are concerned about the big amount of money that needs to be raised in a short amount of time.”

While being confident that Trust members “are going to step up like they always have,” he said the Trust hopes a broader group will get involved as well.

“Any help we can get from the Civil War community would be appreciated,” Campi said.

“It’s a steep uphill climb to get that $3.6 million by the sesquicentennial anniversary. We’re committed to doing our best to get there.”

The Trust plans a Fleetwood Hill Appeal mass mailing in February or March to initiate the public fundraising campaign.

Background

The Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863, was the largest cavalry battle in the Civil War with 18,456 cavalry from both sides and an additional 3,000 Union infantry engaged. It was the opening phase of the Gettysburg Campaign, taking place just three weeks before the battle. In late July Confederates retreating from Gettysburg camped at Brandy Station.

“Fleetwood Hill is without question the most fought over, camped upon and marched over real estate in the entire United States,” Hall wrote in a monograph describing the Battle of Brandy Station and Fleetwood Hill’s role in the Union Army winter encampment of 1863-1864. The army left on May 4 for the Overland Campaign.

Hall said the hill was of strategic importance because artillery placed there controlled five important road junctions that converged in Brandy Station village three quarters of a mile away. And the Orange and Alexandria Railroad passed the southern base of the hill.

“Although it is most closely associated with the climactic fighting of June 9, 1863, there were, in fact, 21 separate military actions on Fleetwood Hill during the Civil War — far more than any other battle venue in this country,” Hall wrote.

Joseph Anthony “Tony” Troilo Jr., who has contracted to sell the 61 acres, said the land has been in his family for 40-45 years.

Preservationists last considered buying the property in 2002, but were unsuccessful. Hall, who participated in those negotiations with Lighthizer, said Troilo asked $4.9 million, which “far exceeded our ability to acquire it, at the time.”

In the spring of 2011, Troilo dammed the perennial stream, Flat Run, without a federal permit, to create a pond on his property (see July 2011, January 2012 CWN).

Hall notified the Army Corps of Engineers about this violation of the Clean Water Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Subsequently Troilo agreed to remove the dam and restore the land and stream to their previous condition.

The Brandy Station Foundation’s (BSF) lack of action created a backlash against the BSF by some in the preservation community.

BSF President Joseph W. McKinney recently said the foundation did not want an adversarial relationship with Troilo for strategic reasons.

“We wanted to maintain good relations. The main thing I wanted to ensure was that if they came to a decision to sell, that they would be amenable to selling to preservationists,” he said.

The current deal began when Troilo and his wife put the property up for sale in late November 2011.

The controversy earlier that year over the pond was a factor in Troilo’s decision to sell. Troilo said, “No doubt, I’m sure it had some significance.”

McKinney said he was the first person Troilo told about selling and he notified the Civil War Trust.

The 2012 negotiation of the sales contract was conducted by Trust officials and Troilo.

A new appraisal, upon which the current deal was based, set the value of the 61 acres, including two houses, a pool, tennis court and other outbuildings, at $3.55 million. The Trust offered Troilo $3.6 million, which he accepted.

“It really makes sense for the Civil War Trust and Brandy Station Foundation to own that property because of the significance of the battle,” he said.

“That would put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and they would actually own what they tried to fight for 150 years ago.”

Said Hall about the pending purchase, “I could not possibly be more excited.”

Donations to the Fleetwood Hill Appeal and information about the battlefield can be found at the Trust’s website:

www.civilwar.org/battlefields/brandystation/brandy-station-2013/

The photo shows BSF founder (but banned from membership by Useless Joe and the Board of Appeasers) Bud Hall, standing on the opposite side of what would have been Lake Troilo (Flat Run runs through the low ground at the base of Fleetwood Hill), pointing up at Tony Troilo’s McMansion, which is where Jeb Stuart’s headquarters was on June 9, 1863. Again, I give Tony Troilo a great deal of credit for doing the right thing and for agreeing to sell Fleetwood Hill to the Civil War Trust.

You can donate here.

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10 Jan 2013, by

Good riddance!

cyclorama-building-fall-2010Here’s some more good news on the “goodbye to ugly buildings on historical ground” front….

The National Park Service is finally able to tear down the hideous Cyclorama building at Gettysburg, which was constructed in a place that never should have been chosen for it, the site of Ziegler’s Grove, in the Pickett’s Charge portion of the battlefield. The family of the architect of the hideous thing protested and dragged the National Park Service through years of needless litigation while the building continued to deteriorate. It’s finally time to be done with it.

From WITF today:

National Park Service to demolish Gettysburg Cyclorama building
Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Jan 10, 2013 12:21 PM

(Gettysburg) — The National Park Service has chosen to demolish an architecturally significant building on the Gettysburg battlefield.

The Cyclorama building was designed by famed architect Richard Neutra and once housed a 360-degree painting of Pickett’s Charge.

The structure, which closed in 2005, has been the center of a struggle between the park service and modern architecture experts for more than a dozen years.

In an August interview with witf, NPS spokeswoman Katie Lawhon says tearing down the building would allow the agency to restore Cemetery Ridge to the way it would have looked during the three-day Civil War clash in July 1863.

“There were actually some monuments associated with soldiers from the Union Army that had to be moved when they built the building,” Lawhon says. “So, the first thing we would do is put the monuments back where the veterans had originally placed them.”

The park service reviewed the environmental impact of destroying the building before making its decision.

The agency says demolition could begin later this winter.

The Cyclorama painting is now on display at the Gettysburg National Military Park’s visitors’ center.

The National Park Service provided this background information on the building:

Gettysburg National Military Park – Cyclorama Building Background

In 1999, the National Park Service (NPS) approved a General Management Plan for Gettysburg National Military Park (NMP) that addressed demolition of the Cyclorama building as part of a long-term plan to rehabilitate the North Cemetery Ridge to its historic 1863 battle and 1864-1938 commemorative-era appearance.

The 1962 Cyclorama building, designed by noted architect Richard Neutra, was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The adverse effect of demolishing the building was addressed in a 1999 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the NPS, the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. All mitigation in the MOA has been completed.

In 2006, the NPS was sued by the Recent Past Preservation Network and two individuals challenging the government’s compliance with both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in making the decision to demolish the Cyclorama building. The U.S. District Court found that the NPS had complied with NHPA but not NEPA and directed the NPS to undertake a “site-specific environmental analysis on the demolition of the Cyclorama Center” and to consider “non-demolition alternatives” to its demolition before “any implementing action is taken on the Center.”

Accordingly, the NPS initiated an environmental assessment (EA).

The Environmental Assessment planning process – The park prepared the EA with assistance from the regional office and with input from the Northeast Regional Solicitor’s Office and the WASO Environmental Quality Division. The EA evaluated three alternatives: the NPS preferred alternative to demolish the building; another action alternative to allow a third-party to relocate the building outside park boundaries; and the no action alternative to mothball the building in place.

The EA was released for a 30-day public review and comment period that ended on September 21, 2012. Over 1,600 pieces of correspondence were received on the EA. The majority of commenters supported demolition of the building in order to rehabilitate the battle and commemorative landscapes. All substantive comments have been addressed in consultation with the regional office and the Northeast Regional Solicitor’s Office.

No changes to the NPS preferred alternative were warranted as a result of public comment.

Next Steps – Gettysburg Foundation has funds for the demolition of the building and for most of the rehabilitation of Ziegler’s Grove. The first steps in the project will be several weeks of asbestos remediation.

Once the building is demolished, the battle and commemorative-era landscapes will be rehabilitated according to the treatment recommendations contained in the 2004 cultural landscape report (CLR) for the North Cemetery Ridge area which include returning monuments to their historic locations, rebuilding commemorative pedestrian pathways and rebuilding historic fences.

Good riddance.

Next up, the horrendous McMansion on Fleetwood Hill……

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At the request of the Civil War Trust, I’ve written an article on the fighting for Fleetwood Hill that occurred on June 9, 1863. That article was posted today, and can be found here. I appreciate all of your help and support for our efforts to preserve THE most fought-over piece of ground on the North American continent.

You can donate here.

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The Brandy Station Foundation has finally issued a statement about the purchase contract for Fleetwood Hill:

MAJOR NEWS: CIVIL WAR TRUST TO BUY FLEETWOOD HILL

It is my pleasure to inform you that on December 19, the Civil War Trust and Mr. Joseph A. Troilo, Jr., reached agreement for the Trust to purchase Tony Troilo’s fifty-seven acre property at the southern end of Fleetwood Hill. A link to an article from the December 21 edition of the Culpeper Star-Exponent is:

http://www.dailyprogress.com/starexponent/news/local_news/article_8eb4f41c-4af0-11e2-a40e-001a4bcf6878.html.

This agreement is the culmination of more than twenty years preservation efforts in Culpeper County. However, major work remains: now the Trust must raise $3.6 million to pay for the property. We encourage you to support the Trust with your generous donations. Also, as you know, we are holding a ball at the Inn at Kelly’s Ford on the evening of March 16, 2013, to commemorate the Battle of Kelly’s Ford. We will donate one-half of the proceeds from the ball to the Trust. So, come to the ball, have a good time, and help pay for Fleetwood Hill.

Joseph McKinney

President, Brandy Station Foundation

Let’s not break our arms patting ourselves on the back, shall we?

Let’s remember that this is the same organization that stood by and did NOTHING when Troilo started digging his recreational lake, even though McKinney had advance knowledge that he was going to do so. Let’s remember that this is the same organization that issued a statement saying that it’s okay if a local landowner wants to dig up the battlefield for his or her own purposes. And most importantly, this is the same organization that sat on its hands and did NOTHING for months while this critical parcel of land was listed for sale with a realtor. It did NOTHING to arrange for the land to be appraised, and it did NOTHING to negotiate a deal with the Civil War Trust.

In short, the BSF has once again proved the truth of what I’ve been saying here all along: the current, incompetent leadership of the BSF is not interested in battlefield preservation, and its incompetent leadership has rendered the organization entirely irrelevant.

So, while I applaud Useless Joe McKinney and the Board of Appeasers for getting on the train once it had already left the station, the fact that it wasn’t the original passenger on the train is what I find terribly troubling. You should too.

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Today’s issue of the Culpeper Star-Exponent contains an article about the purchase contract to save Fleetwood Hill that I discussed here yesterday. That article contains a statement by Tony Troilo that I find really perplexing: “[Troilo] credited Brandy Station Foundation President Joe McKinney as being instrumental to the sale. ‘He kept the CWPT in the mix,’ Troilo said.”

Those of us who make up the board in exile of the Brandy Station Foundation have been in constant communication with Bud Hall about this. And Bud has been in constant communication with the Civil War Trust about this, and NOBODY has said a word about either the BSF or Useless Joe McKinney and his Board of Appeasers doing anything whatsoever about this. Indeed, this happened in spite of Useless Joe and his useless gang, not because of anything that they did. Indeed, when you do nothing, it’s hard to claim credit for doing something.

And so, I ask: What did you do, Useless Joe? What role did you play in preserving Fleetwood Hill? Pray tell. We would all like to know.

For the record, I would like nothing more than to be proved wrong, and if Useless Joe and the Board of Appeasers demonstrate to me that I am wrong, then I will gladly apologize. However, knowing what I know about this situation, I am not the least bit concerned about having to do so….

UPDATE, DECEMBER 24, 2012: As of today, there has not been even so much as a mention of the contract for the preservation of Fleetwood Hill on the Brandy Station Foundation’s website. This is, perhaps, the single most important land preservation deal yet signed, and certainly is the key acquisition of the Brandy Station battlefield. One would think that the BSF, allegedly the steward of the battlefield, would say something about such a critical transaction, but there is nary a word. This is yet more evidence of the fact that this organization is NOT interested in battlefield preservation. Either lead, follow, or step aside, Useless Joe and the Board of Appeasers.

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From the gift that keeps on giving–the incompetent board of appeasers of the Brandy Station Foundation–we have this delightful little tidbit.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

From Sunday’s edition of the Culpeper Star-Exponent:

By: Vincent Vala | Culpeper Star Exponent
Published: October 28, 2012
» 0 Comments | Post a Comment
The Halloween spirit visited Brandy Station this weekend as the Brandy Station Foundation offered up its annual “Spirits of the Graffiti House” event at the historic facility off U.S. 29 North Saturday evening.

Between 6 and 9 p.m., the former Civil War hospital facility was open to the public for tours, treats and tales of the unnatural that have been reported at the Graffiti House over the years.

Visitors could mix history, All Hallows Eve and having fun, all it the good spirit of the harvest season.

“We kind of combine a lot of different things for the evening,” said Helen Geisler, a member of the BSF board of directors. “It’s just intended as a fun evening for the children – and for the adults.”

Geisler said this is the fifth year for the event.

“Last year, we had well over 100 people turn out,” she said. “So this year we’ve prepared for at least that many.”

Throughout Saturday evening, tour guides talked to visitors about the graffiti in the upstairs rooms of the house, while Transcend Paranormal Investigators gave talks in a downstairs room.

A video produced by the R.I.P. Files about their overnight stay in the house was played in the house’s entry room and BSF President Joe McKinney offered up stories of the supernatural to those seated around a campfire in the back yard as they roasted and snacked on marshmallows.

“We’ve had at least three or four different paranormal investigative groups here,” Geisler said. “I’ve had experiences in this house myself.”

The photo is of the BSF’s intrepid leader, Joe McKinney, telling ghost stories.

Now, I enjoy fun as much as the next guy, and I don’t mean to come across as a funkiller. However, how is this an appropriate activity for a supposedly serious preservation organization? This is the stuff that McKinney and the Board of Appeasers brag about in the BSF’s annual report, not the success of their efforts to preserve and maintain the battlefield. Apparently, the board’s major accomplishment this year has been toasting marshmallows with ghosts. It most assuredly was NOT preventing the destruction of core battlefield land by a landowner.

And then there’s this gem: Geisler said. “I’ve had experiences in this house myself.”

Do tell?

The BSF has made itself entirely irrelevant by engaging in such activities that have substantially less than nothing to do with the core mission of the organization, which is the preservation and stewardship of the battlefield. Please allow me to suggest that by engaging in such frivolous and undignified activities at a place where men suffered and died for a cause that they believed in dishonors them and their sacrifices. For shame.

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While I’ve known about this for some time, it’s only just become a matter of public knowledge, and I’m excited about this preservation opportunity.

The Civil War Trust has announced a campaign to raise funds to pay for 964 acres of core battlefield land at Kelly’s Ford, near Brandy Station. This represents almost 50% of the battlefield from the important March 17, 1863 cavalry battle between William Woods Averell and Fitz Lee’s troopers. The map shows where this particular parcel may be found. The land in yellow is the land in question. It was the scene of the most severe fighting of the battle. Click on the map to see a larger version of it.

With this large acquisition, combined with the significant portion of the battlefield owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, nearly 75% of the entire battlefield will be safe. This is a rare and exciting preservation opportunity and one that I hope all of you will get behind.

It’s important to note that no river crossing saw more traffic during the Civil War than did Kelly’s Ford. Much of the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rappahannock River there on its way to Chancellorsville, there was an infantry fight there in November 1863, and two of the three divisions of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps crossed there on its way to fight the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863. This was probably the most famous and most important river crossing of the war, and the opportunity to preserve it is a rare one indeed.

It bears noting that this piece of the battlefield falls squarely within the bailiwick of the Brandy Station Foundation, which proudly touts that it’s going to hold an event to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Kelly’s Ford next March. However, the BSF did absolutely nothing whatsoever to help to arrange this deal or to help to raise awareness of it. Why? Because it’s got nothing to do with ghost hunting, relic hunting, or the Graffiti House (which are the things that the BSF bragged about in its 2011 annual report), and because President Joe McKinney and his board of appeasers have rendered the organization completely and entirely irrelevant. They’re just as irrelevant to this acquisition as they are to the ongoing efforts to acquire Fleetwood Hill–that is to say, wholly inconsequential. It is pathetic that the organization tasked with preserving the battlefield land in and around Brandy Station has been rendered so irrelevant that it probably had no idea that the Trust had made this deal before it was announced publicly on the CWT website today.

Because of that, all donations to preserve the Kelly’s Ford battlefield should be directed to the Civil War Trust and ONLY to the Civil War Trust. Send a message to McKinney and the Board of Appeasers: send them a copy of your donation check and let them know that if they were doing the job that they were sworn to do, that money would be coming to them and not to the Trust.

Thank you for your support for our efforts to save this important battlefield land.

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Chutzpah: unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall; audacity; nerve.

Or, this is how the great Jewish writer Leo Rosten put it: “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”

I have a new definition of chutzpah, which appears on the home page of the website of the Brandy Station Foundation. That website indicates that the “Brandy Station Foundation Fall Picnic” will be held on September 29, 2012, “ATOP HISTORIC FLEETWOOD HILL”.

Let’s recall, shall we? This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that stood by and did absolutely nothing when the bulldozers began destroying “historic Fleetwood Hill” to build Lake Troilo, despite the president of the organization having advance knowledge that this critical piece of battlefield land was about to be devastated. This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that, instead of acting to fulfill its obligation as the steward of the land, issued a policy that said that destroying portions of the battlefield is acceptable if it’s done by a landowner there. This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that, instead of finding a way to purchase Fleetwood Hill from its present owners, stepped aside and then had the unmitigated gall to criticize the Civil War Trust for not acting quickly enough. This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that filled its 2011 annual report with bragging about its participation in ghost hunting and paranormal activity and not in battlefield preservation. This is the same board of the Brandy Station Foundation that has taken a once-great preservation organization and made it wholly and entirely irrelevant. And this is the same board of the Brandy Station Foundation that refused to allow the founder and multiple-term past president of the organization to renew his membership, claiming that he is somehow detrimental to the aims of the organization.

But yet, these people think holding a picnic on land that the BSF neither owns nor controls somehow excuses the horrific breaches of fiduciary duty perpetrated by this board and somehow justifies their rampant malfeasance.

And that, my friends, provides me with a completely new definition of the word “chutzpah” to use going forward. It’s the very definition of unmitigated effrontery and nerve, and it’s a real slap in the face to those who really care about preserving this battlefield.

Once again, I call for the resignation of Joseph McKinney and the Board of Appeasers before they further marginalize the BSF and render it completely and totally irrelevant.

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Part of what I’ve been trying to accomplish has been to shame the useless board of the Brandy Station Foundation into doing something to try to preserve Fleetwood Hill, because it’s quite clear that without it, Joseph McKinney and the board of appeasers weren’t about to do anything.

The following statement now appears on the BSF website:

Dear Members and Friends of the Brandy Station Foundation,

If you have driven on Highway 29 north of Brandy Station recently, you may have noticed the large “FOR SALE” sign on the southern slope of Fleetwood Hill. I believe it is now appropriate for us to share with you what is going on and the role that we are playing. Up until yesterday, this was not our story to tell; it was between the landowner and the Civil War Trust. However, yesterday the landowner, Mr. Tony Troilo, urged that I inform you of events. While it is the Civil War Trust’s long-standing policy to not discuss private negotiations with landowners, we have advised the Trust’s staff that we are sharing the following information with you.

On November 29, 2011, Tony asked that I come by his house and speak with him. Tony is a long-time member of the BSF and his father, Joe Troilo, Sr., was one of our founding members. Tony and his family own the most fought-upon portion of Fleetwood Hill—a priority for preservationists everywhere. At our meeting that morning, Tony informed me that he and his wife had decided to sell their Fleetwood Hill property and build a new home on land they own elsewhere in Culpeper County. Their asking price for the entire Fleetwood Hill property—fifty-seven acres, two homes, and a Morton-type equipment building—was approximately $5 million. Tony said that he would wait thirty days before putting the property on the market to allow us time to prepare an offer.

I told Tony that his asking price was beyond the means of the BSF. For comparison purposes, our largest land purchase was in December 2005 when we bought 18.9 acres from Golden Oaks Development for $560,000—and I can tell you that it was very difficult for us to raise that amount. However, I informed Tony that I would immediately contact the Civil War Trust and relay to them the terms he was asking. I also emphasized that we, the BSF, would support the Trust in any way that we could to complete this sale. Later that morning I called my point-of-contact at the Trust and notified him of developments. I followed-up that day with an email. I also notified the BSF board of directors of what had taken place and that there was a possibility that Fleetwood might be brought under protection.

The Trust, which has been interested in Fleetwood Hill for many years, immediately began working the issue and conducting necessary due diligence. However, agreement on the terms of the sale was not reached and on January 11, 2012, the main house and fifteen acres were listed with a local real estate agent. The listing price is $2,450,000. Despite this initial inability to reach an agreement, both the Trust and BSF remain in communication with the landowner. That is where we stand today. You may find out more information about the house by going to http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/20370-Fleetwood-Heights-Rd_Brandy-Station_VA_22714_M58347-90378?ex=VA549371810&source=web. The second home on its parcel, and three unimproved parcels may be sold either with the main home and its fifteen acres, or separately after the main home sells.

Our long-term goal has always been—and remains—to bring all of Fleetwood Hill under protection. We will continue to work diligently with the Trust to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with Mr. Troilo. We at BSF are continuing to monitor events closely, and stand ready to assist the Trust in any way whatsoever. We and the Trust fully understand the historical importance of Fleetwood Hill, and that we have been presented an opportunity that may not come again. I pledge to you that we will do everything we can to ensure that this opportunity does not slip away.

Sincerely,

Joseph W. McKinney
President, Brandy Station Foundation

Talk about a wishy-washy statement filled with lies and misrepresentations….

The BSF is charged with preserving this battlefield, and it’s certainly supposed to be its steward. So far, and per the express admission of its president, its sole role has been to have coffee with Mr. Troilo and hand the matter off to the Civil War Trust. And then, McKinney, who has amply demonstrated that he’s no leader, has the unmitigated gall to criticize the Trust. No definition of leadership that I have ever seen says that it’s good leadership to shift the responsibility of stewardship, which should be held on the local level, to a national organization and then just sit back and do nothing as McKinney and the BSF have done.

The entire hill has been for sale since January 2012, and McKinney has only now deigned it important enough to tell his membership about it 7 months later, and had we not shamed him into doing so, I would guess that he would not have said a single word about it publicly. This most assuredly is NOT a new opportunity to try to preserve Fleetwood Hill, and it’s a lie to claim it is.

His release also falsely states that there was some agreement with the Trust not to discuss this. I can tell you that there was no such agreement whatsoever, and that he would have been free to say something about trying to save Fleetwood Hill the moment that the “for sale” sign went up. How could it have been a secret since, as the photo (click on the photo to see a larger version of it) from early February shows, there has been a “for sale” sign on the property since January? This is a lie by McKinney, pure and simple, intended to cover up his malfeasance. Don’t believe it for even a second.

Let’s also observe this man’s outrageous hypocrisy. He states, “Tony and his family own the most fought-upon portion of Fleetwood Hill—a priority for preservationists everywhere.” If what says is true–that preserving the fought-over portion of Fleetwood Hill should be a priority for preservationists everywhere,–then where was he when Tony and his family devastated Fleetwood Hill with bulldozers to build the illegal Lake Troilo???? The hypocrisy is absolutely staggering.

Please see this lame statement for what it is, friends: a lame attempt to justify the failure of McKinney and the board of appeasers to do anything to preserve Fleetwood Hill that implicitly criticizes the Trust for not making a deal after they passed the buck and abrogated their duty. And that’s not just wrong, it’s cowardly.

Mr. McKinney and your do-nothing board: either lead, follow, or get out of the way. This very lame statement of yours plainly admits that you are incapable of leading in your own words, and you refuse to follow. Do us all a favor and get out of the way before you render the BSF even more irrelevant and impotent than you already have. There is more to your stewardship of the battlefield than the Graffiti House, relic hunting, and the ghost hunting that you bragged about in your 2011 report.

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Reader Tim Ferry took my call to action to save Fleetwood Hill to heart, for which I am extremely grateful. Tim has left several comments on my last post, which I present in the order received. The last one’s a doozie….

Eric,
I have not posted here in a long time, but do follow your blog more than most sites. You have been a strong and consistent part of bringing this battlefield to the forefront in many preservationists and Civil War enthusiast’s minds. I am very greatful I had the opportunity to tour all parts of this battlefield with you a few years back. I am a member of the CWT and have been a member since the days of the defunct APCWS. I’m a native Virginian and value our historic sites to a high degree. Brandy Station means so much for Culpeper County, Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic, the United States and in all it pertains, educates and brings to life.

You have honored us all Eric in giving this property the good fight. “The Lake” issue was an embarassment to all Americans who value, cherish and honor our past. If this property is truly for purchase and can be reasoned to exist as a real addition to the existing Brandy Station battlefield property as a saved central part, then it should be purchased and saved! The Brandy Station Foundation should have started and lead a charge already. I will gladly be in the charge with you Eric and give out of my wallet with healthy donation.

Let’s get this right! This is “good ground”, the right ground, the centrally important ground! Let’s make this saved ground!!

I want to make it quite clear that I am not doing any of this for accolades such as those stated by Tim above. Seeing that McMansion demolished will be all of the reward I ever want or need. I appreciate Tim’s sentiment, but it’s not necessary, and it’s definitely not why I’m fighting so hard to save the sacred ground at Fleetwood Hill.

Here’s the second comment:

One other item. I have read about, listen on the radio and seen on local TV the attacks to this historic property going on more than twenty years. My grandmother lived in Culpeper for several years back in the late 80?s early 90?s, escaping the crowds of her native Arlington, VA outside the DC metro area. Everytime I visited her, I’d watch TV, pick up the local news and some corporation or yahoo was trying to build a race track or something on these wonderful historic, vistic views. For the life of me I cannot understand why the BSF has not been more envolved on this issue and made the charge to protect this central part of the battle. I have had the opportunity to walk and drive this battlefield land for over twenty years. The major parts are saved thanks to people like Bud Hall and many others. It is both wonderful and thrilling to walk this land, vision what transpired across those fields and try to identify with the tumult, acts of humanity and desperation that gave way in events that unfolded here. Goose bumps!

Brandy Station means allot to me. It needs people that care. It seems the BSF and it’s leadership doesn’t care. This is not a local heritage issue, but an American issue. Let’s save this place to the last blade of grass!

Tim had no idea just how right he was when he said that the BSF and its worthless leadership don’t care, but you’ll have to wait for that. Here’s the third comment:

I just sent an e-mail to Tom Gilmore and Jim Campi on the subject. I’m sure they already know, but I also included the realtors site.

I also sent an e-mail to the realtor and asked if she could please make a deal and sell this to the CWT for historic preservation. The listing price is almost more than 2 million.

Tim’s far from the only one to contact the Civil War Trust about this in response to my posts, and I am now advised that the CWT is working on this. Thank you to Tim and everyone else for doing what was required to get the attention of the appropriate officers of the Civil War Trust. Tim’s note to the realtor, however, provided proof positive of what we all knew: that McKinney and his do nothing board have failed to do anything to try to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save Fleetwood Hill:

I got this back in an e-mail from the realtor.

Good afternoon Tim:

Thank you for your interest in the Fleetwood Hill property at Fleetwood Heights. I agree that it would be an exceptional addition to the Civil War Trust holdings. I informed the Brandy Station chapter of its availability as soon as it was listed for sale. If you have additional contacts that you would like for me to reach please let me know and I will gladly do so right
away.

I have a beautiful full color brochure that I can send to you if you would like. Let me know.

And again thank you for contacting me.

Christiane
Christiane Lindsay

I added the emphasis to the quotation above, not Ms. Lindsay.

And there you have it. McKinney and the board of appeasers have quite predictably done absolutely NOTHING.

Thank you for all you have done, Tim. Your biggest contribution is probably the one you’re least aware of. We appreciate your efforts very much.

As another of my readers so appropriately put it, Mr. McKinney and the board of appeasers, it’s long past time for you to lead, follow or get out of the way. Since you’re incapable of leading and unwilling to follow, then do the right thing: resign and step aside before this opportunity is lost forever.

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