President Donald Trump’s Trump National Golf Club Washington, D.C., which is actually in Sterling, Va., has a plaque near the 15th hole of the course honoring a Civil War battle that never happened.
On the base of a large flag pole next to the back tee box on the 15th hole, there is a plaque titled “The River of Blood,” and it reads:
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 then become known as “The River of Blood.”
It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River.
– Donald John Trump
There are two problems with this plaque.
The first is that there was never a Civil War battle in this location. It just never happened. Multiple reporters have consulted Civil War historians who indicate the Potomac River never turned into “The River of Blood,” and there is no corresponding battle that Trump could have even exaggerated in some way to justify this plaque.
Historian Craig Swain said two soldiers were killed by citizens in 1861 in this area, but that’s not a battle.
The golf club site is near Rowser’s Ford, which is where General Stuart led 5,000 Confederate soldiers over on June 27, 1863, although no one died. According to the Mosby Heritage Area Association, the only Civil War battle in the area was the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, which was 11 miles away from Trump National Golf Club.
Trump defended the lying plaque to the New York Times in 2015, saying he had spoken to “his people” to confirm the veracity of his claims.
“That was a prime site for river crossings,” Trump said. “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.”
The second is that Trump didn’t really preserve this section of the Potomac River. While permitted, Trump had some 465 trees chopped down along the bank of the Potomac River to give his golf club better vistas of the river.