16 July 2012 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 16 comments

As I mentioned yesterday, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase 50 acres of Fleetwood Hill (and to tear down the hideous McMansion that tops the hill), the site of four major cavalry battles in 1862-1863. If I was Joseph McKinney (and thank God that I’m not), the following things would have happened already:

1. I would have contacted the realtor for the sale of the 15-acre tract at the top of Fleetwood Hill and would have engaged in negotiations to conclude a contract for the purchase of the land.

2. I would have sent out a mass fundraising appeal to my membership, pointing out that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save the most fought-over piece of ground in the United States, and I would be doing everything humanly possible to make that happen.

3. The Brandy Station Foundation’s website would prominently feature the effort to save Fleetwood Hill and would be soliciting donations to pay for the land acquisition.

4. I would have issued press releases to all of the major publications, including, but not limited to Civil War News, emphasizing the preservation effort, and soliciting funds to pay for the land acquisition.

5. I would have investigated each and every possible opportunity to find grant money in order to defray the cost of the land acquisition, as getting this done would have been my number one priority.

Sadly, neither President Joseph McKinney nor his useless board of appeasers has done any of these things. There is not even so much as a single mention of this one-time opportunity on the BSF website. There has been no fundraising appeal. There has been nothing done to marshal the troops to do battle to find a way to make this deal happen. In short, they have done what they do best: absolutely nothing. If it doesn’t have to do with ghost hunting, relic hunting, or the Graffiti House, these people simply aren’t interested. Preserving the battlefield is the very last thing on their agenda, and their lack of action in this instance plainly demonstrates the truth of that sad, unfortunate statement, just as their complete lack of action with respect to the construction of Lake Troilo did.

These people have rendered the once-great Brandy Station Foundation irrelevant, and it’s time for them to either step aside voluntarily and let people who care do this work, or they need to be shoved aside involuntarily. This window of opportunity is only going to be open for a very short time, and if the opportunity is not exploited quickly, it will probably never present itself again.

Once again, I call for the resignation of McKinney and the board of appeasers for their complete and utter failure to advance the purposes and functions of the organization.

Scridb filter


  1. Andrew German
    Mon 16th Jul 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Amen, Eric.
    Those are all such reasonable steps to enhance the preservation (or undo the despoilation) of that site in a free-market way that I can’t understand why they wouldn’t be taken, especially with the 150th of the battle so imminent. What better impetus to getting it done?

  2. Rose McKinney
    Mon 16th Jul 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Well, Mr. Wittenberg, here is your big chance. You think you know what needs to be done…Go For It!

  3. Mon 16th Jul 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I’ve already done more than your husband and his useless board of appeasers, Mrs. McKinney. I had hoped that, if nothing else, I might shame them into doing what they swore a solemn oath to do, but your response suggests that I had better give up that particular expectation. Not that I expected them to do anything anyway, but since nothing else has worked, I hoped shame might do the trick.

    Do me a favor, please.

    Ask them to do the right, moral, and courageous thing: resign and step aside.

    I don’t expect that to happen either.

    Nice to see you’re still fighting your husband’s battles for him, by the way.

  4. BillF
    Mon 16th Jul 2012 at 7:09 pm

    You know, Eric, she’s given you an opening that is too good to pass up. Your ownership of Fleetwood Hill would be a constant reminder of their failure! You could be a real thorn in their side. I’m pledging the first $100 if you decide to do it.

  5. Todd Berkoff
    Mon 16th Jul 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Mrs. McKinney, last time I checked, Eric is not the president of the Brandy Station Foundation, your husband is.

    Great ideas, Eric. Like I stated before, this endeavor is bigger than the BSF. This project requires a massive amount of cash and national attention. The CWT needs to take the lead on this and the BSF is the logical choice to mobilize a grassroots effort in Culpeper County, especially among its membership.

    But we all know the BSF won’t do a darn thing about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…

  6. Mon 16th Jul 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Mrs. McKinney’s “go for it” comment just shows that the BSF has absolutely no intention of doing anything.

    There’s an old saying: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

    Get out of the way, McKinney and the rest of the Board of Do-Diddleys. Once again, everyone else will show you what you should be doing.

  7. Gary Dombrowski
    Mon 16th Jul 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Wow JD, Lead, follow, or get out of the way. I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading the comments that have been posted thus far. My guess is that Mr. McKinney does not intend to do any of the three. The history of Brandy station continues to this day. As for you Mr. McKinney I doubt that your part in that history will be treating you very kindly. ~Gary

  8. Jim Lamason
    Tue 17th Jul 2012 at 9:47 am

    Mrs. McKinney,
    The INACTION on this piece of land where so many of New Jerseys sons paid that last full measure borders on the criminal. I would be embarrassed if this were me.
    Here is an opportunity to set this right. From what I have seen from this board and your husband says its going to take outside help to get it done. If thats what its going to take. So be it. And as Mr Petruzzi just noted.. Lead, follow or get out of the way. Its obvious.. The BSF will not lead, nor will they follow.. Then just get out of the way.. Simple. Resign. Now. Please.

    To all… I dont have a lot of money. I am not rich. I have a few bucks.. But what I do have is anger that motivates me. Some where on this blog is a letter that I found written by Hugh Janeway which includes his description of the part the 1st New Jersey took in the battle of Brandy Station. I pull my copy out ever so often and reread it. Eric would you please re post it again? So all can read it? And let it serve as a rallying cry? Thank you.. Oh yes.. I am in for $50… Its a small token.. Just let me know where to send it. JIM

  9. Tue 17th Jul 2012 at 10:49 am


    You can find Janeway’s report here.


  10. Tim Ferry
    Tue 17th Jul 2012 at 6:39 pm

    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!!

  11. Tim Ferry
    Tue 17th Jul 2012 at 6:49 pm

    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!

  12. Tom Ego
    Tue 17th Jul 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Has anyone contacted CWT to see if they know about this. They don’t have a massive staff, so they may not know about this yet.

  13. Tim Ferry
    Tue 17th Jul 2012 at 7:27 pm

    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.

  14. Wed 18th Jul 2012 at 1:41 pm


    I’ve added your blog post to our forum, and I’m promoting it on our Facebook/Twitter accounts to help spread the word. I hope we can save this property!


  15. Tim Ferry
    Wed 18th Jul 2012 at 5:34 pm

    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

    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 Lindsay

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