15 October 2012 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 3 comments

While I’ve known about this for some time, it’s only just become a matter of public knowledge, and I’m excited about this preservation opportunity.

The Civil War Trust has announced a campaign to raise funds to pay for 964 acres of core battlefield land at Kelly’s Ford, near Brandy Station. This represents almost 50% of the battlefield from the important March 17, 1863 cavalry battle between William Woods Averell and Fitz Lee’s troopers. The map shows where this particular parcel may be found. The land in yellow is the land in question. It was the scene of the most severe fighting of the battle. Click on the map to see a larger version of it.

With this large acquisition, combined with the significant portion of the battlefield owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, nearly 75% of the entire battlefield will be safe. This is a rare and exciting preservation opportunity and one that I hope all of you will get behind.

It’s important to note that no river crossing saw more traffic during the Civil War than did Kelly’s Ford. Much of the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rappahannock River there on its way to Chancellorsville, there was an infantry fight there in November 1863, and two of the three divisions of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps crossed there on its way to fight the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863. This was probably the most famous and most important river crossing of the war, and the opportunity to preserve it is a rare one indeed.

It bears noting that this piece of the battlefield falls squarely within the bailiwick of the Brandy Station Foundation, which proudly touts that it’s going to hold an event to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Kelly’s Ford next March. However, the BSF did absolutely nothing whatsoever to help to arrange this deal or to help to raise awareness of it. Why? Because it’s got nothing to do with ghost hunting, relic hunting, or the Graffiti House (which are the things that the BSF bragged about in its 2011 annual report), and because President Joe McKinney and his board of appeasers have rendered the organization completely and entirely irrelevant. They’re just as irrelevant to this acquisition as they are to the ongoing efforts to acquire Fleetwood Hill–that is to say, wholly inconsequential. It is pathetic that the organization tasked with preserving the battlefield land in and around Brandy Station has been rendered so irrelevant that it probably had no idea that the Trust had made this deal before it was announced publicly on the CWT website today.

Because of that, all donations to preserve the Kelly’s Ford battlefield should be directed to the Civil War Trust and ONLY to the Civil War Trust. Send a message to McKinney and the Board of Appeasers: send them a copy of your donation check and let them know that if they were doing the job that they were sworn to do, that money would be coming to them and not to the Trust.

Thank you for your support for our efforts to save this important battlefield land.

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 15th Oct 2012 at 9:23 pm

    This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity – an opportunity to preserve the heart of the battlefield. Does not surprise me in the least that BSF was not involved, or as it appears – invited, to participate. This is far too important to have someone muddy the waters (as was done with Flat Run).

  2. Chuck
    Tue 16th Oct 2012 at 10:16 am

    This a great opportunity that doesn’t come around often….half of a Battlefield for a reasonable price. The BSF needs to go away…..they have become a useless organization more into running ghost tours then caring for the Battlefields surrounding them. I would encourage their membership to take their dues and send them to CWT to help out in saving Kelly’s Ford…it’s money better spent.

  3. John Pollard Hittinger
    Thu 08th Nov 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you for this post; my gg grandfather, Capt Philip Pollard, was Averell’s commissary officer and was with him at this battle. Pollard joined Averell’s staff on the 3rd Pa Cav in 1861. Ended the war at Camp Averell. Averrel you may know has unique distinction of being relieved of his command twice: once by Hooker after Chancelorsville and by Sheridan after Cedar Creek. His men were loyal to him to the end. Pollard named his son WIllard Averell Pollard. Kelly’s Ford should be preserved for the renown of Averell

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