THE SMALL TOWN of Appomattox Court House lies just outside Lynchburg, Virginia, and took its name from a nearby courthouse. (It's not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway that I'm traveling on my way to Tennessee.) This tiny village witnessed one of the last battles of the Civil War, and it was here that General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in 1865. General Lee's surrender effectively ended the war in Virginia, thus beginning a cascade of Confederate surrenders across the South and the final conclusion to America's bloodiest war.
The surrender documents were signed -- not in a courthouse -- but in the parlor of a house owned by Wilmer McLean on April 9, 1865. It is believed McLean's home was selected for the meeting between the two generals because it was the most impressive residence in the village.
Wilmer McLean's story is intriguing... He was a businessman who formerly lived in Manassas, Virginia, where in 1861 the first Battle of Bull Run erupted beginning the Civil War conflict. Soon after, McLain decided to move his family to the small village of Appomattox Court House to avoid the fighting and the subsequent army occupations during war campaigns that followed. However, four years later the conflict caught up to him again as the final battle concluded and a surrender was negotiated. Thus, as a matter of coincidence, his two residences were involved in both the first and last encounters of the Civil War.
After the war, McLean famously observed that "The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor."
Miles 3419, Week 40, Weather 68F🌧