15 August 2013 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 12 comments

LighthizerThis is a post that I have been waiting to write for a long time to write, and I cannot tell you how pleased I am to do so. I actually have known about this for some time, but it’s been hard keeping such wonderful, exciting news to myself. But now I can share it with all of you….

Today, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia announced that the Commonwealth had conveyed a $700,000+ grant to the Civil War Trust for assistance in acquiring the 58 acres of Fleetwood Hill represented by the Troilo family’s holdings. These most-recent funds helped put us over the top. meaning that we were able to raise the entire $3.6 million, and that the closing on the property recently occurred!!!

Thanks to all of you, as of last week, the Civil War Trust owns Fleetwood Hill!!! We did it!!! We saved Fleetwood Hill!!!

Mr. Troilo is in the midst of building a new home, and until that new home is completed, he will retain tenant occupancy of the McMansion on the hill. A generous individual has already pledged the funds necessary to demolish the McMansion, meaning that once it has been vacated, the McMansion will be torn down. Expect an announcement regarding those festivities once I know the details.

This great accomplishment is the culmination of Bud Hall’s decades-long efforts to preserve the battlefield at Brandy Station, and this parcel is the crown jewel. None of this would have been possible, but for Bud’s hard work, and Bud can now proudly sit back and proudly enjoy the fruits of his labor. Bud also helped raise a great deal of the money for the acquisition.

Obviously, this also could not have happened but for the hard work of the good folks at Civil War Trust, who found the grants, engineered them, and then made all of this possible. We owe a great debt of gratitude to everyone there, but especially to the hard work done by Jim Lighthizer, Jim Campi, David Duncan, Tom Gilmore, and the others at the Trust who made this deal happen.

The biggest debt of gratitude of all is owed to the good folks who donated their hard-earned money to make this happen. $3.6m is a very large sum of money and raising that much money in a short period of time was a daunting prospect. But, as I knew you all would, people rallied to the flag and gave freely to allow us to not only meet the goal, but to close the transaction on time.

Thank you to Tony Troilo for finally doing the right thing and selling Fleetwood Hill so it could be forever preserved.

And finally, in a perverse way, we owe a debt to Useless Joe McKinney and the Board of Appeasers of the Brandy Station Foundation. But for their egregious abrogation of their duty to preserve and protect the battlefield, Lake Troilo would not have happened. And had Lake Troilo not have happened due to their horrific malfeasance, Bud Hall would not have reported the destruction of that portion of the battlefield to the Army Corps of Engineers. But for the intervention of the Army Corps of Engineers, we would still have Lake Troilo, and Mr. Troilo would not have grown so weary of fighting us that he would not have agreed to sell the property to the Civil War Trust. So, something good came out of the terrible malfeasance of Useless Joe and his Board of Appeasers, but it most assuredly does not excuse their refusal to act and their refusal to do their duty to preserve the battlefield. Shame on all of you. Nobody will soon forget your egregious failures to do your duty.

Let’s not allow BSF malfeasance to spoil this happy, momentous occasion. Instead, let’s celebrate one of the most important preservation victories to date by you and by the Civil War Trust. Well done!

Announcements regarding events to celebrate the acquisition of Fleetwood Hill will be forthcoming soon. Stand by for those.

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  1. Chris Evans
    Thu 15th Aug 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Congrats! I am so glad to see the Brandy Station battlefield saved in this manner, finally.

    I remember in the ’90s the hideous idea to put a Formula One track on the battlefield. I was relived when that was defeated.

    I’m so glad that the horrific looking house will be torn down soon.

    This is a great preservation victory!


  2. Mark R. Day
    Thu 15th Aug 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Congratulations on this incredible achievement. Brandy Station and the land around it are a priceless piece of history.

  3. Mike Peters
    Fri 16th Aug 2013 at 10:31 am

    Cool beans Dude!

  4. John Foskett
    Fri 16th Aug 2013 at 10:56 am

    Well done, sir. Your role in this has been significant.

  5. Andy Walters
    Fri 16th Aug 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Excellent news!! Thanks for sharing. Do you have any news about the house across the street that is abandoned and the property surrounding?

  6. Fri 16th Aug 2013 at 3:00 pm

    In due course, Andy. We had to tackle this first.

  7. Fri 16th Aug 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Awesome news! So glad Mr. Troilo decided to cooperate.

  8. Clark B. Hall
    Sun 18th Aug 2013 at 9:38 am

    Eric, that which has gone unsaid in your otherwise fine posting is how much much your personal leadership has meant to our efforts to secure Fleetwood Hill. All of us who are close to this threshold preservation effort at Brandy Station are well aware that you have continually led from out in front of the squadron, swinging your saber and holding high our flag.

    Cavalry troopers, Blue and Gray, owe you a huge debt of gratitude for helping to save their battlefield, in perpetuity.

    So please accept my sincere congratulations–and those of your many friends– for all you have done to SAVE BRANDY STATION!!

  9. Sun 18th Aug 2013 at 2:27 pm


    Thank you for the kind words. While it’s always gratifying to have one’s labors recognized, that’s not why I do the work that I do.

    I do what I do because I firmly believe that we have a moral RESPONSIBILITY to do this work. If we don’t act to preserve our history and heritage for future generations, then we condemn those future generations to only be able to read books and look at two-dimensional maps to learn these critical lessons of history. I firmly believe that we owe it to those future generations to be able to walk that ground and to try to experience the things that the soldiers who fought, sacrificed and died experienced, and to honor the memories of those men. That’s why I do what I do. And I know it’s why you do what you do.

    In the end, while the recognition is great, it’s the results that ultimately matter. In this case, getting to swing a sledgehammer to help to bring down the McMansion will be all of the thanks that I will ever want or need.

  10. Thu 22nd Aug 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Congratulations on this momentous achievement, and many, many thanks to you and all who worked to bring this us this happy news.

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