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Todd Berkoff, one of the board members of the Brandy Station Foundation who resigned because of the election of Joseph McKinney, left this particularly astute and insightful comment here yesterday. It explains why Mr. McKinney needs to resign as president of the BSF. The reasons are simple: he is not interested in preserving the battlefield.

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

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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:

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
NORFOLK DISTRICT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS
FOR NORFOLK, 803 FRONT STREET
NORFOLK, VIRGINIA 23510-1096

May 13, 2011

Northern Virginia Regulatory Section (Flat Run)
NAO-2011-990

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I have previously told you of the construction of a large McMansion atop the crest of Fleetwood Hill, on the very spot where thousands of Union and Confederate cavalrymen clashed in mortal combat on June 9, 1863. The owner of this obscene eyesore is a man named Tony Troilo, and he built that hideous blight to spite preservationists. The Brandy Station Foundation and Civil War Trust own property on either side of this hideous house.

Tony Troilo is now thumbing his nose at preservationists again. At the bottom of Fleetwood Hill courses Flat Run, a small, perennial stream that existed at the time of the battle. A portion of Flat Run was turned into a small pond at the foot …

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This photo, taken last Sunday on the steps of the Ohio State House at the Ohio Civil War 150 kick-off event, which featured a speech by Wes Cowan of The Antiques Roadshow, pretty much leaves me speechless. Apparently, there was another event going on downtown at the same time….

UPDATE, APRIL 18, 2011: I’ve gotten a piece of hate mail from a fellow member of the Sesquicentennial Commission, slamming me big time for posting this photo. He says it makes the re-enactors look bad and that it also makes the Commission look bad. While I am not a re-enactor and personally don’t get it, I have plenty of friends who are re-enactors who take it very seriously by trying …

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Part of the fun of doing the Forgotten Cavalrymen series is bringing forgotten heroes back into the spotlight. I take great pleasure in doing that. However, it’s also great fun to commemorate a scoundrel every now and again. I’ve done that a few times in the past, such as when I profiled Col. Sir Percy Wyndham and Col. Napoleon Bonaparte Knight. Today, we’re going to profile another.

William d'Alton MannHaving spent so much time working on the Michigan Cavalry Brigade over the years, I was of course familiar with the first colonel of the 7th Michigan Cavalry, William d’Alton Mann. When I was finishing up the revision to my 2002 book Protecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East

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Regular readers of this blog know of my great affection for the Brandy Station battlefield, and also of my affection for the great work done for decades now by the Brandy Station Foundation to preserve the battlefield. Last year, its co-founder, Clark B. “Bud” Hall, resumed the presidency and assembled an excellent board of qualified individuals and historians dedicated to battlefield preservation. Bud and his board re-focused the organization on its fundamental mission: preserving battlefield land in Culpeper County, Virginia. However, Bud is a busy guy with lots of commitments, and, having tried to re-focus the organization, he decided not to seek re-election.

Instead, the BSF has elected Joseph McKinney, a former Army officer, as president. I have a GREAT …

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3 Apr 2011, by

Upcoming events

I wanted to announce a number of upcoming events, in case anyone is interested.

First, this Saturday, April 9, 2011, I am one of the presenters at a conference being held at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. The topic is “Railroads, Raids, and Ruins–Laying the tracks of destruction in Virginia’s Civil War”, and it focuses on precisely what it sounds like. The speakers are Professor Peter Coogan (Hollins), Chris Calkins, Gordon Hamilton, a special appearance by Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson, and me. My friend Clark “Bud” Hall was also supposed to present, but some pressing personal business has forced Bud to cancel, which means that I’m going to cover his slot. My first talk–the one I was scheduled …

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I am in the midst of doing an overhaul of my 2002 book Protecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863. This is one of my favorite titles of my work, even though it’s a short book. It was the first in Ironclad’s The Discovering Civil War America Series–an idea I came up with–and it also made the most extensive use of The Batchelder Papers of any study of East Cavalry Field yet published. It has also sold steadily over the years, and I am grateful to Bernadette Atkins for bugging me into writing it. When Ted Savas offered me the opportunity to give it an overhaul and bring …

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This article from Newsweek is one of the best discussions of why we fight the good fight to preserve our Civil War battlefield heritage, as well as spelling out the reasons why we can never, ever let our guard down. The fight will go on…..

Battle Over the Battlefields
One hundred and fifty years after the start of the Civil War, we’re still fighting. This time it’s development vs. preservation—and development’s winning.

A casino could soon sit near the Gettysburg battlefield, the bloodiest encounter on American soil. A Walmart supercenter may shadow the Wilderness battlefield in Virginia where Gen. U. S. Grant kept his headquarters when he first fought Gen. Robert E. Lee. And Washington, D.C.’s suburban sprawl is slowly

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Let’s start the new year off with a profile of a forgotten cavalryman. It’s been too long since I last did one.

FergusonMilton Jameson Ferguson was born near Cassville, Wayne County, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1833. Friends and family called him by his middle name, Jameson. He was of Scots-Irish descent. His father, also named Milton J. Ferguson, owned a general store. He was described as “a studious young man, full of vim and vigor.” On September 21, 1854, he married Martha Jane Wellman.

In September 1853, at the young age of 20, he was admitted to the bar of Virginia and began practicing law in Wayne County. He had a busy and flourishing practice, handling litigation, estate, and …

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