The fellow who put that statue of Lee up near Sharpsburg is back in the news. In addition to his Antietam farmland, he owns and is refurbishing Francis Scott Key's home. Now we learn

A well-known Anne Arundel County family plans to purchase Tulip Hill, the 18th-century Georgian mansion considered one of the region's most historically significant homes.

It's Chaney again and he plans to live there. Whether you think Chaney is a force for good or ill, there is a great lesson to learn looking at his activity. He's a millionaire, but he holds or owns fewer millions than the Civil War Preservation Trust. He acts decisively. He gets what he wants.

Preservationsists, in their current mode of action, with their predeliction for sharing out bits and pieces of easement activity, tending to move slowly and in unison with other groups, stand no chance against any moderately wealthy individual determined to buy up any sorts of battleflield land for any weird purposes. (Not to suggest Chaney is a kook).

I had a social chat Sunday with a friend who sits high in the planning ranks of Loudon County (Mosby country, Ball's Bluff and more). I asked her if I bought land with restrictive covenants on it, restrictions placed by private contract or county planning, whether I could get those off again after buying such restricted land. She did not hesitate for a moment. "Absolutely. It happens all the time."

There is no substitute for owning "endangered land." Chaney understands this. Preservationsists do not.