Appomattox Court House

While driving the roads of Virginia this month we just happened to pass by this National Historic Park so we absolutely pulled over to see what this was all about. What a surprise to learn that we had happened upon the place where on April 9, 1865 Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his men to Ulysses S. Grant, the general-in-chief of all United States forces. It was Lee’s surrender that signaled the end of the Southern States attempt to create a separate nation thus ending the Civil War.

William on the back steps of the Courthouse at Appomattox Court House

The court house was the first building where we stopped to get a closer look. We both assumed that it was here that the surrender took place but we quickly learned that this was not the case. Appomattox Court House was simply the name of the town. When the town of Clover Hill became the county seat in 1845 it was renamed Appomattox Court House. So not to confuse you, William is standing on the courthouse steps in the town of Appomattox Court House.

The front of the Courthouse looks identical to the back.

We continued to tour the town and found our way to the Clover Hill Tavern. It was built in 1819 and was the oldest village structure.

Clover Hill Tavern

Inside the tavern we saw a wall to honor those who were engaged in the conflict here at Appomattox Court House. The photos displayed shows only a handful of the men who fought here. The Confederate Army under Robert E Lee had 30,000 soldiers and the Union Forces under Ulysses S. Grant had 60,000 soldiers.

Most of you know that I have worked for Xerox for over 40 years so you can easily understand why I was drawn to the room next door where these printing machines were on display.

Notice the “copies” drying on the line above the machines.

It was here that I learned the importance of these prints. After Lee’s surrender the 28,000 soldiers were given a Parole Pass which gave them proof that they were not deserting the Confederacy nor were they to be taken prisoners by the Union Forces.

One by one the Confederate Soldiers stacked their arms along the road.

The reenactment of stacking of the arms really brings this alive. It is difficult to imagine just how many rifles were placed along the road at Appomattox Court House.

This is the spot where the last shot from the artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia was fired on the morning of April 9, 1865.

McLean House – the actual surrender site

Wilmer McLean and his family left their home in Manassas, Va and moved to this home at Appomattox Court House. He was a sugar speculator and he wanted to be near the railroad. Lee used the parlor of their home when he surrendered to Grant.

McLean House Parlor where the surrender documents were drafted and signed
Lee is seated at the table on the left and Grant is seated at the table on the right

When Grant and Lee sat down in the parlor of the McLean home, Grant asked only that the Confederates pledge not to take up arms against the United States. Grant allowed the Confederate officers to keep their side arms and any man who owned a horse to take it home with him. After a long and bloody war the surrender has become known as “The Gentlemen’s Agreement” a testament to the character of these two great men.

One thing that William and I always do is STOP and take the time when we pass something of importance. We do not know when we might pass that way again so the time to stop here at Appomattox Court House was today – An afternoon well spent.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Frances Bearden says:

    Thanks for the brief history lesson. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Bright says:

    Hi Rosa, these pictures are so interesting to me and here is why, check out my website http://www.appalachianancestors.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Bright says:

    I have 354 men that were in the civil war that are related to me by blood or marriage. Some of them were at Appomattox also. Linda

    Like

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