Saturday, March 7, 2009

Appomattox Court House, Virginia

First, a history lesson. The surrender of General Lee's army to General Grant in 1865 did not take place in a court house. Appomattox Court House is the name of the little town, where legal disputes were settled in Appomattox County. Appomattox itself is a few miles down the road.

The surrender itself took place in the McLean house, an easy walk from the Courthouse itself. Wilmer McLean was something of a war profiteer, and his house happened to fall in the area of the decisive spot. It was a good spot for the final negotiations, such as they were.

The place where the surrender itself was signed might be the second most important room in American history, behind only Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Pictured is the McLean House itself. The structure was rebuilt by the National Park Service on its original foundation according to original specifications. Lee and Grant would recognize the place. (It was tough to take a single picture of the room itself that worked.)

The area around it looks like a typical Civil War battlefield of the area, with plenty of grass fields and crisscrossed fences. Visiting is a surprising moving experience.

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