Brandy Station Foundation

Officially on Friday (April 9) I became a member of the Brandy Station Foundation board of directors.  Back in February, it took less than a minute for Clark “Bud” Hall to convince me to step up.

The Foundation’s history is, in many ways, THE story of our modern day preservation movement.  If you look back at the news columns in old issues of Blue & Gray magazine, you see the Foundation mentioned time and time again.  I still have passionate pleas from the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites describing threats to the battlefield, filed in my “Brandy Station” folder.  Bud has often related how  “a small group of citizens came together over coffee….” and eventually countered threats from developers bent on creating race tracks or business complexes.  Since the late 1980s, the Foundation has been at the fore of preservation efforts.

In those days, my address had an APO zip code.  I would receive magazines and letters weeks, sometimes months, late.  And I recall many times sending a donation check with concerns my contribution might arrive after the fact.  Oh, yes, the pre-internet days when news still traveled at the pace of the mail-bag.

I first visited Brandy Station in 1993, as part of a whirlwind personal tour through several Virginia Civil War sites.  At that time, one could drive along some of the public roads, but the site lacked trails or interpretation as we see today.   A couple of state markers stood to interpret and orient the visitor at that time.  Refer to the notes of the HMDB entry for state marker F-11 with the text of the original marker along US 15.  Three markers have carried that number.  Seems like each iteration improved, offering more details of the battle.  Of course, now days twenty markers interpret the battlefield.

Even back in 1993, I appreciated the ground, and that my monetary contributions aided in the preservation of a true treasure.  In more recent visits, including tours led by very knowledgeable guides, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the battlefield.  Not just a “place” where a great battle occurred, now Brandy Station is a place I go to consider how combat took place during the Civil War.  The battlefield is not simply a tour stop, but one part classroom, and TWO PARTS archival vault.   I find it easy to get lost while contemplating the methods used to employ cavalry, artillery, and infantry along those hills south of the Rappahannock.

The ground, you see, is a irreplaceable primary source.

That’s why I’ve contributed money over the years toward preservation efforts.  And that’s why, when Bud asked, I humbly accepted the opportunity to serve on the Brandy Station Foundation.

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Brandy Station Foundation

  1. And I have every reason to believe that you will be a real asset to the organization, Craig. I told Bud that I thought you would be a real asset to the organization.

    Best of luck with it, Craig. It’s a big job but one well worth doing.

    Eric

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