River of Blood (monument)

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"The River of Blood" is a monument located on a golf course on Lowes Island, Virginia owned by US President Donald Trump. A plaque signed with Trump's name states that the monument marks the place of numerous deaths in the American Civil War, although no listed battle nor publicly disclosed event with any recorded casualties took place at the site.

Monument

The site is on one of two golf courses belonging to the Trump National Golf Club on Lowes Island. Donald Trump acquired the club (formerly known as the Lowes Island Club) in 2009 for $13 million.[1]

On the course, between the 14th hole and the 15th tee, Trump had a stone pedestal built with a flagpole on it, and had a plaque placed on the pedestal with the inscription:

Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot, "The Rapids", on the Potomac River. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as "The River of Blood".[1]

The plaque bears Trump's name and the Trump Organization's crest.[2] The accompanying text reads, "It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!"[1]

Historical accuracy

Historians say no such event ever took place at this site. One local historian, Craig Swain, cited the killing of two soldiers by citizens in 1861 as the only Civil War event that occurred on the island.[3]

Two years later, on June 27-28, 1863, General J.E.B. Stuart led 4,500 Confederate soldiers north across the Potomac at Rowser's Ford from the Lowes Island area, on the ride to Gettysburg, but no fatalities were recorded.[4]

According to the president of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, the only Civil War battle in the area was the Battle of Ball's Bluff, 11 miles upriver.[1] Other historians consulted by The New York Times for a story in 2015 agreed; one of them had written to the Trump Organization about the falsehood. Trump himself disputed the historians' statements:

"That was a prime site for river crossings. So, if people are crossing the river, and you happen to be in a civil war, I would say that people were shot — a lot of them."

"How would they know that?" Mr. Trump asked when told that local historians had called his plaque a fiction. "Were they there?"[1]

Trump said that "numerous historians" had told him the story of the River of Blood, though he later changed that to say the historians had spoken to "my people". Finally he said, “Write your story the way you want to write it. You don’t have to talk to anybody. It doesn’t make any difference. But many people were shot. It makes sense.”[1]

The story broke while the Donald Trump presidential campaign was in full swing, and journalist Rob Crilly noted that at that time he "has had more weighty facts to clarify, such as his claim that Muslims in New Jersey cheered on the day of the 9/11 attacks – an old rumour that has long been discredited[5][6] – and his latest boast, that he watched people jumping to their deaths from the Twin Towers from his Manhattan flat, four miles away".[7] According to Jack Holmes of Esquire magazine, the ahistorical marker is symptomatic of the Trump administration; Jack Holmes points at other historical blunders made by members of the Trump administration, including Kellyanne Conway's reference to the non-existent Bowling Green massacre and Sean Spicer's claim that even Hitler had not used chemical weapons, forgetting the Zyklon-B that was used in the Holocaust.[8]

Other commentators looked at Trump's plaque in the context of his admiration for President Andrew Jackson, expressed many times and especially in May 2017, when he appeared to suggest that Jackson lamented the Civil War despite having died sixteen years before its outbreak. Vocativ's Joe Lemire noted, "the president has delved into revisionist history with the Civil War before".[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Fandos, Nicholas (November 24, 2015). "In Renovation of Golf Club, Donald Trump Also Dressed Up History". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2017. 
  2. ^ "The Coat of Arms Said 'Integrity.' Now It Says 'Trump'". The New York Times. May 28, 2017. 
  3. ^ Peskin, Dale; Dellinger, Hannah (December 2, 2015). "First Donald Trump changed Loudoun's geography—now he's going after its history". Loudoun Times-Mirror. 
  4. ^ Scheel, Eugene (June 20, 2004). "Did Stuart's Tardiness Change the Course of History?". The Washington Post. p. 2. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ Mueller, Mark (December 21, 2015). "Exclusive:Some New Jersey City Muslims did celebrate 9/11, cop and residents say". New Jersey On-line. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  6. ^ Kovaleski, Serge (September 18, 2001). "Northern New Jersey Draws Probers' Eyes". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  7. ^ Crilly, Rob (November 25, 2015). "Donald Trump's 'river of blood' golf course claim is debunked by historians". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 2, 2017. 
  8. ^ Holmes, Jack (May 2, 2017). "Trump Fondly Remembers the Fake Civil War Battle That Took Place on His Golf Course". Esquire. Retrieved May 2, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Donald Trump Invented A Civil War Battle, Made A Plaque To Remember It". Vocativ. May 2, 2017. Retrieved May 3, 2017. 

Coordinates: 39°03′42″N 77°20′09″W / 39.061720°N 77.335886°W / 39.061720; -77.335886

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