16 May 2011 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 21 comments

As I mentioned here last week, Bud Hall–NOT the president or board of the Brandy Station Foundation, which should be doing this sort of work–called the Army of Corps of Engineers about the destruction of critical battlefield land at Fleetwood Hill on the Brandy Station battlefield.

Here is the damage done to Fleetwood Hill:

Note the hideous McMansion in the background. To see larger images, just click on the photos.

The Corps of Engineers did an inspection and has acted. Here is the letter that was sent to the landowner, Tony Troilo:


May 13, 2011

Northern Virginia Regulatory Section (Flat Run)

Mr. Tony Troilo
[address deleted]

Dear Mr. Troilo:

On May 11, 2011, Mr. Hal Wiggins of my staff visited your 60-acre property located off Route 685 near Brandy Station in Culpeper County, Virginia. Based on this site visit there appears to be earthmoving activities by bulldozer in and adjacent to approximately 600 linear feet of a perennial stream, known as Flat Run. It is our understanding that you intend to construct a private pond. Our office was notified regarding your recent work in Flat Run. Flat Run is a perennial tributary to Rappahannock River and is a water of the United States regulated pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Please be advised that the unauthorized discharge of fill material in Flat Run is in direct violation of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), which requires a Department of the Army permit prior to initiating work in the waters of the United States.

In addition, we have been advised by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources that your unauthorized work has occurred within the Brandy Station Battlefield Historic District, a property that is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. In accordance with Corps regulations 33 CFR 320-330, no work can be authorized in waters of the United States which may affect historic properties listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places unless and until the Norfolk District has complied with the provisions of 33 CFR 325, Appendix C.

This letter constitutes formal notice to you to cease and desist any unauthorized activities in Flat Run.

To facilitate my investigation of your activities, you are requested to provide in writing your reasons for placing fill in waters of the United States, the dates that fill was placed in these waters and the contractor who performed the work, the dates the work was performed, a copy of any state or local authorizations for this work, the reasons why this work was performed without Department of the Army authorization, and a copy of any wetland and/or stream delineations prepared for this property. Your written responses to these questions must be received by this office within fifteen days of receipt of this letter. We request that you assist us in resolving this matter.

In the interim, you must install any appropriate silt fences, hay bales, and/or check dam, and take any action required by Culpeper County pursuant to State Sediment and Erosion Control standards to control sedimentation in Flat Run in order to prevent impacts to downstream water quality. Mr. Wiggins can assist you in determining appropriate interim measures.

We are sending a copy of this letter to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Culpeper County.

As soon as my investigation has been completed, you will be notified in writing as to any further action that may be required. In the interim, should you have any questions, please contact Mr. Hal Wiggins at xxx-xxx-xxxx or xxxxxxxxx@usace.army.mil.


Nicholas L. Konchuba
Chief, Northern Virginia
Regulatory Section

The emphasis is in the original of Mr. Konchuba’s letter.

And so the destruction of Flat Run has been halted, but major damage has been done that will require extensive remediation in order to restore it to its previous condition, all of which will be at Mr. Troilo’s expense. Mr. Troilo will be required to hire an approved consultant to develop a restoration plan, and that plan will have to be approved by the Corps of Engineers. There will likely also be a fine involved too.

Halting the destruction of the battlefield has been the work of the dedicated FORMER members of the board of directors of the BSF. Specifically, this was done by the people who resigned from the board in protest over the election of Joseph McKinney. There has been a complete and total abrogation by the BSF of its duty to protect the battlefield by the organization that is tasked with doing so.

Mr. McKinney, you have allowed your conflict of interest to get in the way of the preservation of the battlefield, and have permitted permanent decimation of core battlefield land. Do the honorable thing and resign, as you have no business being at the head of a battlefield preservation organization.

UPDATE, MAY 17, 2011: The press is now onto this story. An article on this appears in The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star today.

Scridb filter


  1. Wes Harrison
    Mon 16th May 2011 at 3:35 pm

    This is outstanding news, good sir! Congrats & good work to all so involved in the effort to stop such desecration and callous individuals so bent on personal selfishness that they would destroy the natural elements & significant historical features of such hallowed historical grounds as the Brandy Station Battlefield for their own personal gain.

    It is also most heartening that the US Army itself would be the instrument by which such a historical land feature will be remediationally restored.

    Kudos to you, also, for your support & efforts in preserving our history & heritage, Mr Wittenberg. It is with and by such inspiration that hope for our future is maintained, restored & enabled.


  2. Mon 16th May 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Eric, thanks for getting the word out and to Bud Hall for getting the Army Corps of Engineers involved. McKinney and Troilo both deserve to have their treachery and disdain for historic preservation trumpeted widely. While we can’t yet know, I suspect McKinney’s ascent to the leadership of the BSF was a premeditated plan with Troilo, making it all the more disreputable.

  3. Todd Berkoff
    Mon 16th May 2011 at 8:44 pm

    As one of the board members of The Brandy Station Foundation (BSF) for 2010-2011 who resigned in protest over Mr. Joseph McKinney’s elevation to president, I can tell you that I, along with my other colleagues who resigned, assessed last month–before he led the group–that Mr. McKinney was not interested in making the protection of the battlefield a priority. And the other board members were more interested in allowing ghost hunters to look for “ghost cats” in the Grafitti House than protect a battlefield where young men gave their last full measure of devotion. I’m not even kidding about the ghost cat…there is paranormal group investigating the house this month.

    The “Board in Exile” made this prediction about Mr. McKinney and his new direction for the BSF over four weeks ago — and now our fears and predictions have come true. However, I am surprised–and elated–it took as little as three weeks for him to show his true colors. I don’t want to say “We told you so,” but guess what folks, “We told you so!”

    Some of us did research on Mr. McKinney during the nomination process earlier this year and soon discovered he had a twisted view of historic preservation. See his perplexing op-ed in the Washington Post from 2009, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-opinions/2009/08/if_not_wal-mart.html and his posting on this blog last year defending the McMansion on Fleetwood Hill, http://civilwarcavalry.com/?p=1578 It is unclear to me how a man who leads one of the country’s oldest battlefield preservation groups could condone Disney’s America theme park, the Wal-Mart at the Wilderness, the McMansion on Fleetwood Hill, the widening of Route 3 in Stevensburg, and also participates in massive relic hunts on the very battlefield he was charged to protect. Yes, folks, he is a relic hunter too.

    A recurring theme in Mr. McKinney’s strange argument for his stances on preservation is that we, as good citizens, are powerless to do anything against what landowners wish to do on their own property, so why bother making a fuss. Well sir, that is where you are wrong. As Bud Hall demonstrated this week, you can require the landowner to abide by proper regulations — which the landowner had not done.

    If people took your appeasement view on preservation, then there would be a mall at Manassas, a casino at Gettysburg, and a racetrack at Brandy Station. As a result of the quick actions taken by the “Board in Exile”this week–led by the indomitable Bud Hall–the Army Corps of Engineers has compelled Mr. Troilo to cease further construction of his pond that rumor has it was intended for his jet skiing hobby. Stopped at least for now.

    How embarrassing that the current president and board FAILED MISERABLY to even issue a simple statement of protest over the last two weeks! But more alarming is that Mr. McKinney knew about this project for some time and chose to not to oppose it because Mr. Troilo is a friend and influential member of the community. This is a clear conflict of interest, as Eric has rightly pointed out. Mr. McKinney and current members of the Board should be ashamed of themselves, and if you had any integrity whatsoever, you should resign from the organization and join the local crochet group and leave battlefield preservation to those who actually care.

  4. Dennis
    Tue 17th May 2011 at 5:16 am

    Excellent news. I am very glad to see it!

  5. Vernon Trollinger
    Tue 17th May 2011 at 11:09 am

    Great to hear this! I hope the press has gotten wind of this. The whole escapade should be both financially and publicly painful to both Troilo and McKinney.

  6. Tue 17th May 2011 at 11:42 am

    The press is on it, Vernon.


  7. Mary
    Tue 17th May 2011 at 11:04 pm

    There can be no doubt the current President, Officers and Board of the Brandy Station Foundation has abrogated their responsibility to the battlefield. The recent damage inflicted upon Fleetwood Hill’s southern slopes and historic Flat Run is heartbreaking in its breadth, depth, and extent. President McKinney and his Board have defied their mission statement; they have forsaken stewardship. Now that we know President McKinney was consulted by the landowner prior to the destruction, everything written by him and his Board sounds hollow and insincere.
    To any current Board members who seek, still, to preserve Joe McKinney’s presidency instead of the battlefield, I suggest: go look at the site. Go see it after today’s intense rainfall. The disturbed Virginia red clay now runs swiftly on its way to the Rappahannock River. The soil which stains the water was the battleground you were sworn to protect.
    There is an equal stain upon your reputation.

  8. Billy
    Wed 18th May 2011 at 5:56 pm

    The cynic in me has to reinterpret Mr, Troilo’s remark in the newspaper article from, “”I must apologize,” Troilo wrote. “[H]ad I known this was in violation, I would have never proceeded on this project…” to “I must apologize,” Troilo wrote. “[H]ad I known I would be caught, I would have never proceeded on this project.”

  9. bob currier
    Wed 18th May 2011 at 6:29 pm

    permitting is required on this project, a major oversite by one of Culpeper’s most responsible citizens. To read these peanut gallery comments makes me laugh considering the background and vile nature of their source, if any of you losers had contributed as much to Culpeper as Mr Troilo, you would acknowledge this as an oversight by a very responsible citizen

  10. Billy
    Wed 18th May 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Mr. Currier, in short, if your outstanding citizen was so outstanding, he’d be doing everything possible to promote responsible tourism into his area. The Brandy Station battlefield is such a tourist destination; yes, not as profitable as a horse track or casino, but low-impact with dedicated visitors. Yet, the concerned citizen builds his private lake with no concern for the citizens of the county and the benefits from tourism dollars.

    Without getting too personal Mr. Currier, it sounds like you are a friend and fellow jet-ski enthusiast.

    Best of wishes,

    Billy Markland

  11. Mike Peters
    Wed 18th May 2011 at 7:56 pm


    I don’t care what he’s done for Culpeper.
    This influential of a person should know that a permit is required. Sounds like he was trying to get it done on the “down low.”

    And as for you calling those with differing opinions “losers,” ….


  12. Wed 18th May 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Folks, it’s critical to understand that Mr. Currier has his own axe to grind. He wants to develop a big chunk of the Rappahannock Station battlefield, which is perhaps a couple of miles from the boundaries of the Brandy Station battlefield. Anything that supports the destruction of battlefield land is a cause he will support.

    Take his comments with an ENORMOUS grain of salt.

  13. Thu 19th May 2011 at 10:14 am

    I find the reference to the “background and vile nature of their source” interesting. They made no sense at all until you revealed that Mr. Currier is looking to do the same thing at Rappahanock Station. I imagine you’ve tousled before. At least he had the decency to sign his own name to it.

  14. bob currier
    Sun 22nd May 2011 at 12:57 am

    If anybody is interested in what is going on at Rappahannock Station Foundation, give us a call @ 540 718 1336, I personally placed 187 acres in a historic easement and my former business partner Sandra Stevens has help put 3011 acres in conservation easements in Culpeper County so far…..

  15. Thu 26th May 2011 at 12:10 pm

    For those who want to the plans for Rappahanock Station, I believe the best image can be found at http://culpepercrossing.com/image5.htm though the overlay of the plans on the aerial image is more professional looking (http://culpepercrossing.com/image4.htm)

    That’s a little more visual than http://rappahannockstationfoundation.com/

    If you want to look at it on Mapquest, try Newbys Shop Road, Remington, VA

  16. Thu 26th May 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Ah, even better, check Craig Swain’s Historical Marker database and realize that Brandy Station and Rappahanock Station are within a stone’s throw of each other. http://www.hmdb.org/map.asp?markers=2525,2529,2209,4405,4415,23619,4398,4416,4418

  17. bob currier
    Sun 12th Jun 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I have put 189 acres in a Historic Conservation easement, I think we are all trying to preserve and promote our heritage, but in different ways and there will always be different opinions on the best way.

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