Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saving Fleetwood Heights

In the front of the excellent July issue of America’s Civil War magazine that is currently in book stores is a letter from the vice president of the Brandy Station Foundation, Mr. Edwin F. Gentry. Given that this was definitely the largest cavalry battle of the war, mentioning it here seems wholly appropriate. While ACW definitely reaches more readers than this blog, I’ll summarize his letter below in case some of you may have missed it.

The Brandy Station Foundation is currently in the midst of a very urgent campaign to save significant portions of the Brandy Station battlefield. The majority of this land is on the ridge once known as Fleetwood Heights, scene of very severe fighting during the battle. It is literally in the heart of the battlefield.

I had intended to add some comments about the importance of battlefield preservation, but I think JD's post from yesterday says it better than I could.

To quote from Mr. Gentry’s letter: “A vast portion of the crest and eastern slope and the plain adjoining the eastern slope of Fleetwood Heights has just come on the market for sale to the highest bidder. Also offered at this time to the Foundation is significant acreage (2-4 acres) on the crest of Fleetwood Heights together with a brick residence. The total asking price of all of the land, with improvements, approaches $5 million (about $40,000 per acre for the approximately 100 acres of unimproved land).”

The Brandy Station Foundation, though a group of incredibly dedicated volunteers, is not a large organization. This is a wonderful group of people who have done a tremendous job of preserving the battlefield and lore of Brandy Station. Obviously, they are not going to be able to raise this kind of money locally. They’re working strategies at the state and national levels to assist with funding, but every little bit helps. Please help me spread the word.

Contact information for the Foundation:
Brandy Station Foundation, PO Box 165, Brandy Station, VA 22714


Eric Wittenberg said...

I've walked that ground with old friend Bud Hall on a number of occasions, and it really is the key position for the Brandy Station battlefield. It's the spot where Stuart had his tent fly, and it was the focus of the day's fighting. It would really be a tragedy if that parcel of land was permitted to get away.

I support these preservation efforts wholeheartedly.


Don said...

You're absolutely correct. I'm not sure how viable the entire preservation project would be if the wrong folks ended up with the land and decided to "improve" it.

Chris Swift said...

I have been to there as well. It should be preserved.

I went late in September last yera on my way to Florida, and found that there was not much there except the house and some placards.

It is an important event in Civil War history being the largest Cavalry battle and all.