Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Brandy Station: 30 Years of Preservation Success
As a friend and supporter of the Civil War Trust, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Brandy Station, site of the largest cavalry battle ever fought in North America. There’s good reason for this. Over the years, you and I have done a lot of work at Brandy Station, and I want to reflect for a moment on what we have accomplished there.
Located just 54 miles away from Washington, D.C., Brandy Station was significant to both the Union and Confederate armies. Troops operating in Culpeper County inevitably marched over or camped on the land at Brandy Station throughout the war. On June 9, 1863, more than 20,000 Americans fought against one another in the Battle of Brandy Station, the opening action of the momentous Gettysburg campaign. This combination of historical significance and proximity to the nation’s capital made Brandy Station a key battleground not just during the Civil War, but, more recently, in the struggle to preserve America’s historic sites.
Even when a critical part of the battlefield was developed, the Trust swooped in and worked to restore it to its wartime character. This occurred in 2015 with the acquisition of one of the battlefield's key pieces of terrain: Fleetwood Hill. What was once the epicenter of the Battle of Brandy Station had become the site of a multi-million dollar mansion. The Trust purchased the home, demolished it, restored the wartime viewshed and installed interpretive signs to explain the crucial fighting that took place there.
Our work continues today with a current effort to preserve an additional 244 acres at Brandy Station once again saving land where Americans fought and died for their values in a struggle that shaped the course of our nation’s history. We are also working with an alliance of state and local preservation advocates to transform Brandy Station and nearby Cedar Mountain into a state park.
The Civil War Trust has saved 2,089 acres at Brandy Station in our 30-year history. But none of our success would have happened without your support and generosity. Whether you have been a member of the Trust from the beginning, or are just learning about what we do, thank you for all you’ve done to save the important history at Brandy Station.
The Civil War Trust