Appomattox, Virginia, Battle of Appomattox Court House, Battle of Blackburn’s Ford, Douglas Southall Freeman, Guerrilla Warfare, Major General Ulysses Simpson Grant III, Robert Edward Lee IV

The McLean House – The Site Where General Robert Edward Lee Officially Surrendered To General Ulysses S. Grant

Philip Andrew Hamilton at the McLean House on October 20, 2020. (Hamilton Photo).

On July 1861, William McLean owned a plantation in Manassas, Virginia, which became occupied by Confederate General Beauegard shortly after the beginning of the U.S. Civil War. Shortly after William McLean left his militarily occupied home, with his family, the fireplace in his detached kitchen was hit by a shell during the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford. Soon after, William McLean worked as an unpaid quartermaster for the Confederacy. However, after the Second Battle of Manassas, in August 1862, William McLean made the decision to move his family to another plantation in Appomattox, Virginia.

Three years after William McLean moved to his new residence, the outcome of the U.S. Civil War followed him to his new home.

Painting depicting the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse.

On April 10, 1865, the day after the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse, the first level of the McLean Home was the location where General Robert Edward Lee agreed to meet to officially surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant.

After the surrender documents were signed, General Robert Edward Lee decided to give a speech to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, after the Union successfully blocked that army from meeting Joe Johnston’s army in North Carolina. Many soldiers objected to surrendering and offered to fight in the mountains conducting guerrilla warfare. General Lee in his farewell speech to his men argued otherwise by stating:

“After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from a consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessings and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell”.

In 1866, a lithograph of General Robert Edward Lee’s farewell speech was created in Baltimore, Maryland.

After General Lee’s surrender, Ulysses S. Grant sent a telegraph to Washington, D.C. notifying President Abraham Lincoln of the fall of the Army of Northern Virginia. April 9, 1865, was General Grant’s last day on the field and he made his way to Washington, D.C. the next day.

On April 11, 1865, after Ulysses S. Grant and Robert Edward Lee had left Appomattox, the artillery surrendered the entirely of their arms to the Union Army.

After the events at Appomattox. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured, confederate gurellia warfare never William Quantrill was captured and Washington, D.C. was planning a victory parade. However, the Battle of Palmito Ranch, also known as the Battle of Palmito Hill, was faught in May 12th and 13th in 1865. The Texan Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers had not gotten word of the Army of Northern Virginia’s surrender and believed that the war was still raging on. Ironically, although the Union had technically won the war the Confederacy won the last battle of the U.S. Civil War.

Painting of the Battle of Palmito Ranch, the last battle of the U.S. Civil War.

During the fall of 1865, Timothy O’Sullivan photographed the McLean House while members of the McLean family sat on the porch. After the war, the property around the McLean House continued to operate as a farm and eventually changed ownership.

Photograph of the McLean House in autumn 1865.

On June 11, 1926, fifty one years after the end of the Civil War, a confederate soldier reunion, for the North Carolina regiment, was held at the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse.

A North Carolina Confederate solider standing at the front of the Raine Monument at the Appomattox Courthouse Battlefield on June 16, 1926.

On April 10th 1940, seventy five years after General Lee’s surrender, a majority in the U.S. Congress voted to establish the Appomattox Court House National Historical Monument. On December 7, 1941, after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, restoration plans for the McLean House were stalled. On November 25, 1947, after the end of World War II, bids for the reconstruction of the McLean House began.

Robert Edward Lee IV (left) and Major General Ulysses Simpson Grant III (right) at the dedication of the McLean House on April 16, 1950.

On April 16, 1950, after a speech by historian Douglas Southall Freeman in front of a crowd of approximately 20,000 individuals. Major General Ulysses Simpson Grant III and Robert Edward Lee IV cut the ribbon at the dedication ceremony of the McLean House. The meeting of the grandsons of Robert Edward Lee and of Ulysses S. Grant.

Appomattox Courthouse, Appomattox, Virginia

The Isbell House – The Home Of A Former Speaker Of The Confederate States Of America

The Isbell House is the former home of Thomas Salem Bocock, a former Speaker of the House of the Confederate State of America during a majority of the war.

The home is located in Appomattox, Virginia near the McLean House and the Appomattox Courthouse. The home is currently under the ownership of the National Park Service.

Andersonville Prison, Appomattox, Virginia, Henry Wirz, Robert Edward Lee, Sumter County, Georgia

The Confederate Andersonville Prison

South view of the Andersonville Prison (August 17, 1964).

The Andersonville Prison of Sumter County, Georgia was a prison camp that held 45,000 union soldiers.

A group of prisoners, called the Raiders, terrorize the camp. Six of the raiders were summarily executed.

Andersonville Prison’s second commander Henry Wirz.

Henry Wirz, who took command of the Andersonville Prison after the first commander died, was arrested a month after Robert Edward Lee surrendered his forces at Appomattox, Virginia and was executed as a war criminal shortly after.

The 1865 war crimes trial of Henry Wirz.

John Rupert and John Hines, the last individuals to die in the Civil War before the surrender of the Confederacy, were killed by friendly fire during an attempt to capture Jefferson Davis. They are both buried at the Andersonville National Cemetery.

In 1970, the Andersonville Prison was established as the Andersonville National Historic Site to honor all U.S. prisoners of war.

Presently, the former prison is the site of the National Prisoner of War Museum.

Appomattox Courthouse, Appomattox, Virginia, General Ulysses S. Grant, Robert Edward Lee

General Lee’s Surrender To General Grant At The Appomattox Courthouse

On April 9, 1865, after the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse, Confederate General Robert Edward Lee set up letter correspondences between himself and General Grant. Both generals agreed to meet at the Appomattox Courthouse where General Robert Edward Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant ordered that the soldiers of General Lee’s army could simply go home and that they would not be tried as traitors. When General Lee announced to his troops of the surrender, some objected stating that they could continue to fight in the mountains, but Lee countered stating that he would not mount gurella warfare.

Union soldiers guarding the Appomattox Courthouse.

The the site of Lee’s surrender has been designated by the U.S. Congress as the Appomattox Court House Park and is part of the U.S. National Park Service.

Author’s Note:

General Robert Edward Lee and Ulysses S. Grant were both graduates of West Point and were veterans of the Mexican-American War. Their mutual respect for one another led to a more lax set of surrender terms by General Grant.

Appomattox, Virginia, Clover Hill, Virginia

The Founding Of Appomattox, Virginia

On May 1, 1845, Buckingham, Prince Edward, Charlotte, and Campbell Counties each surrendered portions of their territory to form Appomattox County, Virginia. The name of the county is derived from the Appomattox River that flows through that region.

The village of Clover Hill, located in the center of the new county along the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road, was renamed Appomattox Court House and became the seat of government. Clover Hill was originally settled around 1815 with the construction of the Clover Hill Tavern, across from which the brick courthouse building for the new county was built.

Appomattox, Virginia, Bollingbrook Hotel, The Petersburg National Battlefield

The Siege Of Petersburg, Virginia – The Longest Battle Of The U.S. Civil War

The Union siege of Petersburg, Virginia was done to cut off the Confederate Capital from the rest of the confederacy. As the battle prolonged, both sides engaged in trench warfare.

The siege lasted from June 9, 1864 to March 25, 1865. The confederacy ran out of supplies, such as ammo, resulting in the surrender of hundreds of soldiers and the strategic loss of their position in Petersburg. The Confederate soldiers whom fled to Appomattox were ordered to destroy the south side railroad station in order to slow down the Union advance.

During the Confederate retreat, Union troops proceeded to burning down buildings in the city of Richmond.

In present day Petersburg is the site of the Petersburg National Battlefield and various historical markers show were different parts of the battle occurred.

The lands of the Petersburg Battlefield were established as a national park in the 1900s.

A marker outside of “Old Market Square” shows a map of the buildings in Petersburg during the Civil War.

Another Virginia historical marker shows the area of the former Bollingbrook Hotel where Confederate soldiers were housed during the war.

In addition, there is the Siege Musuem, which was established in the 1970s and is at the former Merchant Exchange Building, which shows the daily life of Americans living in the area during the siege.