I had the pleasure of attending Governor Bob McDonnell’s press conference today announcing some $2.25 million from the Virginia Civil War Sites Preservation Fund applied to battlefield acquisitions.
The grants applied to preserve some 1,265 total acres on twelve battlefields – Appomattox Court House, Ball’s Bluff, Beaver Dam Creek (Mechanicsville), Cedar Creek, Chancellorsville, Deep Bottom, Kelly’s Ford, Malvern Hill, Rappahannock Station, Second Manassas, Sailor’s Creek, and as my friend Eric Wittenberg announced earlier, Brandy Station.
An article from Leesburg Today offers details about the governor’s speech (and part of the speech is posted to YouTube). The governor cited what he called the “Three E’s of Preservation” – education, environment, and economy. We have ample examples of those here in Virginia, especially in the middle of the sesquicentennial. The 1,265 acres added this year by way of the state program raises the total to 4,587 acres all time.
But the big news, as far as I am concerned, was that one recipient of grant money under this program was Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. And that money was applied to the purchase of Fleetwood Hill at Brandy Station.
Over a year ago, I was among those calling to take advantage of the property’s listing on the market. The price seemed high, almost out of reach. But the Civil War Trust worked to secure grants, and several individuals worked behind the scenes to secure large donations. All the pieces came together. That ground, which has been called the most fought over hilltop in Virginia, if not the Civil War…
… is now on the list of lands set aside for preservation. Soon, we’ll be able to walk that high ground to appreciate what those 150 years ago contested. There’s a little work to do, not the least of which will be dealing with the modern structures, but all in time.
Brandy Station 2013 is a win!