18 June 2008 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 1 comment

In preparing for my tour this weekend, I spoke to Gerry Harlow, the founder of the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation last night, as I have invited a representative of the TSBF to speak to my tour group about the preservation effort on Saturday.

During the course of the conversation, Gerry told me some terrific news that I want to share here.

Charles Goodall Trevilian was the wealthiest man in all of Louisa County, Virginia. The stop on the Virginia Central Railroad was named for him, as the depot was located on Trevilian’s land. His house sits about 75 yards from the location of the war-time depot. The yard of the house saw heavy fighting on the afternoon of June 11, 1864, and it served as George Armstrong Custer’s headquarters that night.

One of Trevilian’s daughters married a fellow named Charles Danne, Jr., and they lived in the house after Trevilian died. For many years, the house was known to the local citizenry as the Danne house, not the Trevilian house. It’s only been in the last decade or so that its real identity was pinned down.

The house has seen hard times. It’s not in good shape, and it was about to go to sheriff’s sale last week as the consequence of a default on the mortgage. Apparently, the present owner has been tearing up floorboards to burn them for heat. It’s a horrifying thought of people living that way, but that’s apparently precisely how it has played out.

Gerry was able to make a deal with the present owners and their lender to prevent it from going to sheriff’s sale, and it’s now in contract to purchase. Our good friends at the Civil War Preservation Trust entered into the purchase contract, and it will close shortly. The present owners get to stay there for a while as a condition of the sale, but the house will be saved and it will be stabilized.

Once that happens, it will make for an absolutely perfect visitor’s center for the battlefield/headquarters for the TSBF. It’s an important and very worthwhile preservation victory, just one of many we’ve managed to score at Trevilian Station. Kudos to Gerry for his great work.

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