20 December 2012 by Published in: General News 14 comments

I am just thrilled to share with you the press release issued by the brandy-station-fleetwood-1Civil War Trust earlier today:

Civil War Trust Announces Preservation Opportunity at Fleetwood Hill on Brandy Station Battlefield

NEW OPPORTUNITY EMERGES JUST AS ORGANIZATION ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF CAMPAIGN TO PRESERVE 964 HISTORIC ACRES AT NEARBY KELLY’S FORD

(Culpeper, Va.) – The Civil War Trust, America’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation group, today announced the that it has secured a contract with a Culpeper County landowner to acquire 61 acres of core battlefield land at Fleetwood Hill on the Brandy Station Battlefield. This is the first step in what is anticipated to be a national fundraising campaign to ultimately preserve this site and open it to the public. This opportunity comes just a few months before 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle, fought on June 9, 1863.

“The Civil War Trust is pleased to confirm that we have reached an agreement with a local landowner to place under contract his 61-acre property on Fleetwood Hill,” noted Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer in a statement released earlier today. “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.”

Although pleased with the agreement, Lighthizer cautioned that “several steps remain before the transaction is completed and the property can be considered preserved — chief among them raising the $3.6 million necessary to formally purchase the land.” He noted the Civil War Trust’s intention “to launch a national fundraising campaign next year with the aim of raising the money in time for the 150th anniversary of the battle in June 2013. Further details of this exciting opportunity — including mechanisms for public involvement and donations — will be announced in the new year, once additional groundwork for the project is laid.

Brandy Station, with nearly 20,000 troopers in blue and gray engaged in the struggle, was the largest cavalry battle ever fought on American soil. More than 1,000 men became casualties as a result of the battle. Although a Confederate victory, Brandy Station is often referred to as the battle where the Union cavalry came into its own after years of being dominated by Southern horse soldiers. The epicenter of fighting at Brandy Station took place on the slopes of Fleetwood Hill, described by historian Clark B. “Bud” Hall, as “without question the most fought over, camped upon and marched over real estate in the entire United States.”

“I truly believe that this acquisition, if successful, will be the most important battlefield preservation achievement not just at Brandy Station, but in all of Virginia’s Piedmont, a region that was of immense military and strategic significance during the Civil War,” remarked Hall. “Although it 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.”

The Civil War Trust has long been committed to ensuring the protection and appreciation of the battlefields in Culpeper County, Virginia. To date, we have helped protect nearly 1,800 acres at Brandy Station — more land than at any other individual battlefield in the nation

In the 1990s, Brandy Station was also the scene of a high-profile preservation battle. At one point, 1,500 acres of the battlefield were rezoned to allow for light industrial development. Later, a 515-acre Formula One auto racetrack was proposed for the site. However, due to the persistence of preservationists throughout the country, plans to develop the battlefield were thwarted. Today, the Civil War Trust owns 878 acres of the Brandy Station Battlefield that are open to the public; interpretation of the site includes educational signage, walking trails and a driving tour.

The Civil War Trust has been also been actively involved in preserving land at other battlefields in Culpeper County. This summer, on its 150th anniversary, the Trust announced an effort to preserve an additional 10 acres on the Cedar Mountain Battlefield. More recently, the Trust completed a national fundraising campaign to place a perpetual conservation easement on 964 acres at Kelly’s Ford, site of the war’s first large-scale cavalry engagement. These transactions were made possible through the generosity of Trust members and the financial support of matching grants from the American Battlefield Protection Program, administered by the National Park Service, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Learn more about the Battle of Brandy Station at www.civilwar.org/brandystation.

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 34,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, and nearly 3,000 on important Culpeper County battlefields like Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, and Kelly’s Ford. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the sesquicentennial.

I congratulate Tony Troilo for doing the right thing. And I congratulate the good folks at the Civil War Trust for their diligence and dedication to making this happen. But most of all, I congratulate Clark B. “Bud” Hall for making this happen. This–the capstone of Bud’s preservation career–would not have happened without his zealous advocacy, leadership of the “board in exile” of the Brandy Station Foundation, and for his dogged perseverance with the Trust to ensure that this deal got done.

We’re only part of the way there, though.

The heavy lifting must now be done. We have $3.6 million to raise. Every one of you who regularly reads this blog and has asked me what you could do to help–the time is now for you to open your checkbook and help us to raise the money. This opportunity will never come around again, and we must do all we can to make this happen now. Please contribute whatever you can to help to save the single most fought over piece of ground on the North American continent. Beside being fought over in four major engagements, this parcel also housed Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s headquarters, Army of the Potomac, for the army’s winter encampment in 1863-1864. You would be hard-pressed to identify a more important parcel of unprotected ground anywhere in this great land of ours, and I encourage each and every one of you to do what you can to help.

And think how much fun it will be to see that hideous McMansion come down when the time comes! :-)

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Christ Liebegott
    Thu 20th Dec 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Really good news. Will certainly contribute as able.

  2. Alton Bunn
    Thu 20th Dec 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Great news indeed!

  3. Rob Orrison
    Thu 20th Dec 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Great news…looking forward to great things from CWT in 2013 in Virginia…we all need to get behind them on this and future purchases. Great job by the Board in Exile to work and work on preservation.

  4. Brian L.
    Thu 20th Dec 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Eric, how does this effect the Brandy Station Foundation, if at all? In any case, this is great news!

  5. Thu 20th Dec 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Brian,

    They had NOTHING whatsoever to do with this. NOTHING.

    It just shows how impotent the organization has been rendered by its current management.

    Eric

  6. Todd Berkoff
    Thu 20th Dec 2012 at 10:49 pm

    If it were left up to the BSF, Fleetwood Hill would be a recreational lake today. If you recall, the BSF issued a letter to its membership in May 2011 saying in short that landowners can do whatever they want with their property–regardless if that activity includes violating state and federal laws.

    http://www.brandystationfoundation.com/position.htm

    Isn’t it nice when you can use their own words against them??

    Now I read in an article tonight that Joe McKinney, the so-called president of the BSF, claims he was instrumental in this preservation victory. BALONEY!! He may be friendly with the landowner, but he was a bystander at best. The CWT made this happen. And it was Bud Hall–and the rest of the “Board in Exile”–who worked with CWT to make this happen.

    Joe McKinney and his board of appeasers and old biddies were 1) not concerned last year when Fleetwood Hill was threatened, 2) actively worked against preservationists who sought to highlight the illegal activity, and 3) cared not a single bit when the land initially came up for sale. Eric flagged the “For Sale” sign on this very blog earlier this year if I recall correctly. These people were more concerned with planning tea times and looking for ghost cats at the Graffiti House than trying to save the battlefield they are charged with protecting. SHAME ON YOU. This preservation win shows your complete irrelevance as an organization.

    Thank you Mr. Troilo for doing the right thing. Generations moving forward will now be able to visit this hallowed ground and gaze upon the grandeur of this hill.

    Todd
    Member of the BSF Board-in-Exile

  7. Cindy Intravartolo
    Fri 21st Dec 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Great news indeed! Best Christmas present this year. There would be no Brandy Station Battlefield without the efforts of Bud Hall.

  8. Tom Squires
    Fri 21st Dec 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I am so glad I did not bother to send in a check to the BSF for membership earlier this year !

    Instead the funds I send in will be used to preserve American History to the proper entity.

    Tom

  9. Scott Stemler
    Fri 21st Dec 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Eric,
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful news. Looking forward to making my contribution to help save this land.

    Scott

  10. Mike Block
    Fri 21st Dec 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Eric, it is indeed a great day for Civil War preservation, as well as all those who truly care about the land. Tony Troilo has made, in my opinion, the right decision in selling the land to the CWT.
    When I was on the Brandy Station Board of Directors, in 2005 or 2006, the board developed a top ten list of land desirable for acquisition and preservation. Fleetwood Hill was number one. This is a big, big victory for battlefield preservation.
    In the years I was associated with the BSF board, we fought a number of battles to preserve land associated with historical events that occurred during the Civil War in and around Culpeper County, chiefly the Battle of Brandy Station, which took place on June 9, 1863.
    I recall the fight to save what we called the Golden Oaks property, which will now link the BSF land with the Fleetwood property. That land was so important to us; the board debated swapping land the foundation owned for the Golden Oaks land, just so we could preserve the view shed of Fleetwood Hill.
    Immediately following our success in saving that land, and the acquisition of 8 acres at Kelly’s Ford, we aggressively fought along with many others, the possible development of the Willow Run property, at the intersection of Beverly Ford Road and Route 29. It was the developers dream to fill that green pastoral land with a shopping center the likes have never been seen in Central Virginia. We won that one also.
    Battlefield preservation was always a key element in the foundation’s activities.
    In 2011, after Bud Hall stepped down from the leadership of the Brandy Station Foundation, and Joe McKinney took over, there seems to be a decided shift in the priority of the strategic goals of the foundation. Their priority, it seemed to me, was no longer in actively pursuing battlefield preservation.
    And, when in May 2011, the foundation posted its policy concerning land owners and land use, it became obvious to me that the Brandy Station Foundation no longer recognized one of its core responsibilities, preservation. I could no longer remain on the Brandy Station Foundation’s board.
    It pleases me to no end that Fleetwood Hill is secured.
    It pleases me that there are those out there in the Civil War preservation community who recognize the value and significance of the land.
    It pleases me there are strong individuals of great character who focus on a goal, a passion and work tirelessly until it is successfully completed.
    There is but one person to whom the lion’s share of credit goes, Clark ‘B’ Bud Hall. Without his focus, without his passion and love of the Brandy Station Battlefield, Fleetwood Hill would not have been preserved. Thank you, Bud.

  11. Kent Dorr
    Sun 23rd Dec 2012 at 12:48 am

    This is indeed great news and coupled with the just announced land contracted at the core of the Franklin TN battlefield, a better preservation year would be hard to imagine. Thanks to everyone who continues to care out preserving our history.

  12. Thu 27th Dec 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Stunned and overjoyed that it worked out. There are some tireless workers out there, and we know who they are.

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