For Immediate Release: 12/14/05
Another Preservation Victory Hailed at Brandy Station Battlefield
Victory due to the vigilance and determination of the Brandy Station Foundation, a local nonprofit battlefield preservation group.
(Culpeper County, VA) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) today joined with the Brandy Station Foundation in announcing the rescue of key battlefield land on the Brandy Station Battlefield in Culpeper County, Virginia. The 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 battleground."
"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.