Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) Press Release, Wednesday,
December 14, 2005
Victory due to the
vigilance and determination of the Brandy Station Foundation
The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT)
joined with the Brandy Station Foundation in announcing the rescue
of key battlefield land on the Brandy Station Battlefield in
Culpeper County, Virginia.
18.9-acre property, formerly owned by Golden Oaks Construction
Company, is located on historic and picturesque Fleetwood Hill. The
property was at the very epicenter of the fighting on June 9, 1863.
CWPT President James Lighthizer hailed
the victory in a statement issued today. He noted: "Brandy Station
Battlefield is a monument to the courage, valor and sacrifice of our
forebears. Few landscapes so closely resemble conditions as they
existed during the Civil War. It is difficult to believe that
anyone would have wanted to destroy this pristine and hallowed
The rescue of this particular property,
which witnessed the charge of Percy Wyndham's troopers against
Fleetwood Hill, is the result of the vigilance and determination of
the Brandy Station Foundation and its leadership. Earlier this
year, it seemed almost certain that this property would be
developed. However, thanks to the perseverance of the foundation,
which used all the legal means at its disposal to prevent its
destruction, the property is now permanently protected.
The Civil War Preservation Trust is
proud to partner with the Brandy Station Foundation on this
important acquisition. Our members will be contributing $93,000
toward the $560,000 purchase price, and will be working with the
foundation to secure federal and state grants to help pay off the
remainder of that amount.
Today's announcement is the latest in a
series of hard-fought but necessary preservation battles waged on
behalf of the Brandy Station battlefield. Less than a decade ago,
developers wanted to bulldoze this rolling countryside so they could
build warehouses and a Formula One racetrack. Now, hundreds of
acres of this battleground are preserved for future generations to
learn from and enjoy.
As important as today's success is, it is
important to remember that our work at Brandy Station is not yet
completed. More hallowed ground on Fleetwood must be saved, so the
full story of the fighting at Brandy Station can be told.
Brandy Station was the largest cavalry
battle ever fought on American soil. Nearly 20,000 troopers in blue
and gray were engaged in the struggle. More than 1,000 men became
casualties as a result of the battle. Although a Confederate
victory, Brandy Station is often referred to as the battle that made
the Union cavalry an effective fighting force. After years of being
dominated by Southern horse soldiers, the Union cavalry came into
its own at Brandy Station.
In the 1990s, Brandy Station was also the
scene of a high-profile preservation battle. At one point, 1,500
acres of the battlefield were rezoned to allow for light industrial
development. Later, a 515-acre Formula One auto racetrack was
proposed for the site. However, due to the persistence of the
Brandy Station Foundation and other preservationists throughout the
country, plans to develop the battlefield were thwarted.
Preservationists eventually persuaded the
landowner to sell 944 acres of Brandy Station Battlefield for $6.8
million. CWPT and its parent organizations (the Association for the
Preservation of Civil War Sites and the Civil War Trust) contributed
$2.6 million, with the remainder coming from the Commonwealth of
Virginia and the federal Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program
(a program administered by the American Battlefield Protection
Program, an arm of the National Park Service).
With 75,000 members, CWPT is the largest
nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United
States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil
War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed
grounds through education and heritage tourism. CWPT's website is
located at www.civilwar.org.
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