The U.S. Civil War (1861 to 1865) did not completely end at Appomattox Courthouse. It is where General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, of 1865. It was the beginning of the end, I suppose. There were several more battles in the west after that.
The courthouse did not play a major role in the surrender, but that is the name of the place. I’ve also read “Appomattox Station” somewhere. It is a very small village, a collection of buildings really. I was amazed that the modern town is a mile or so away and this location has been preserved much like it was a hundred fifty-four years ago.
The visitor information center is in the courthouse. We looked at exhibits and watched a movie about the events leading up to the surrender. There was not so much of a battle as a rush to food supplies for Lee and the effort to cut him off from Grant.
It was interesting to me to learn of Abraham Lincoln’s instructions to General Grant before the anticipated surrender. He wanted the event to be “gentlemanly” (my term) and for the Union forces to be kind to the Confederates. They had even carried a printing press with them to print “paroles” for the Confederate soldiers to carry with them when they left for home. The common soldiers were allowed to keep their rifles and horses, essential for farming life in those days.
Our next stop was Clover Hill Tavern where some young soldiers and a newspaperman were sitting on the front porch.
The Union soldier told us about the events and deferred often to the Confederate soldier who lived in the village.
We stepped inside the tavern for a look around. Another young man was printing paroles for the freed Confederate soldiers to carry with them on their way home. I forgot to keep a copy as a souvenir.
We arrived late in the day and did not have time to look at everything, so we headed directly to the McLean House, where the actual surrender took place.
I guess this room is the parlor (left side). Only a few items in the house are original, but General Lee sat at a table similar to this one, according to drawings, paintings, and records of the meeting.
General Grant sat to the right of the fireplace at a simple wooden table. His boots were muddy. General Lee was dress splendidly.
The rest of the house was furnished with period pieces.
I think so too. I want to go back some other day and spend more time.
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