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Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Appomattox Court House

Today we all went to Appomattox Court House.   Lon, Grandma, Grandpa Andy and I!

First we had to wake up and get going, Lon was being silly this morning. Telling me he was Darth Towel.
Grandma made us blueberry pancakes for breakfast!

Driving down the country roads of Virginia!

War memorial in a small town, just a wide spot on the road but they had two cannon!

Up close on one of  the cannon

Made it to Appomattox Court House.

Ready to learn!

History Bit: About the Surrender

On the morning of April 9, while General Robert E . Lee realized that the retreat of his beleaguered army had finally been halted, U. S. Grant was riding toward Appomattox Court House where Union Cavalry, followed by infantry from the V, XXIV, and XXV Corps had blocked the Confederate path. Lee had sent a letter to Grant requesting a meeting to discuss his army's surrender and this letter overtook Grant and his party just before noon about four miles west of Walker's Church (present-day Hixburg). Grant, who had been suffering from a severe headache, later remembered that upon reading Lee's letter the pain in his head had disappeared. He stopped to prepare his reply to Lee, writing that he would push to the front to meet him.
The location of the meeting was left to Lee's discretion. Lt. Colonel Orville E . Babcock and his orderly, Capt. Dunn, took Grant's reply and rode ahead. Babcock found Lee resting under an apple tree near the Appomattox River. After reading Grant's letter, Lee, his Aide-de-Camp Lt. Colonel Charles Marshall, and Private Joshua O. Johns rode toward Appomattox Court House accompanied by Federal Officers Lt. Col. Babcock and Capt. William McKee Dunn. Marshall and Johns rode ahead of Lee in order to find a place for the generals to confer. As Marshall passed through the village he saw Wilmer McLean in the vicinity of the courthouse. He asked McLean if he knew of a suitable location, and McLean took him to an empty structure that was without furniture. Marshall immediately rejected this offer. Then McLean offered his own home. After seeing the comfortable country abode, Marshall readily accepted and sent Private Johns back to inform General Lee that a meeting site had been found.
Lee arrived at the McLean house about one o'clock and took a seat in the parlor. A half hour later, the sound of horses on the stage road signalled the approach of General Grant. Entering the house, Grant greeted Lee in the center of the room. The generals presented a contrasting appearance; Lee in a new uniform and Grant in his mud-spattered field uniform. Grant, who remembered meeting Lee once during the Mexican War, asked the Confederate general if he recalled their meeting. Lee replied that he did, and the two conversed in a very cordial manner, for approximately 25 minutes. The subject had not yet gotten around to surrender until finally, Lee, feeling the anguish of defeat, brought Grant's attention to it. Grant, who later confessed to being embarrassed at having to ask for the surrender from Lee, said simply that the terms would be just as he had outlined them in a previous letter.
The terms would parole officers and enlisted men but required that all Confederate military equipment be relinquished. The discussion between the generals then drifted into the prospects for peace, but Lee, once again taking the lead, asked Grant to put his terms in writing. When Grant finished, he handed the terms to his former adversary, and Lee -- first donning spectacles used for reading-- quietly looked them over. When he finished reading, the bespectacled Lee looked up at Grant and remarked "This will have a very happy effect on my army." Lee asked if the terms allowed his men to keep their horses, for in the Confederate army men owned their mounts. Lee explained that his men would need these animals to farm once they returned to civilian life. Grant responded that he would not change the terms as written (which had no provisions allowing private soldiers to keep their mounts) but would order his officers to allow any Confederate claiming a horse or a mule to keep it. General Lee agreed that this concession would go a long way toward promoting healing. Grant's generosity extended further. When Lee mentioned that his men had been without rations for several days, the Union commander arranged for 25, 000 rations to be sent to the hungry Confederates. After formal copies of the surrender terms, and Lee's acceptance, had been drafted and exchanged, the meeting ended.
In a war that was marked by such divisiveness and bitter fighting, it is remarkable that it ended so simply. Grant's compassion and generosity did much to allay the emotions of the Confederate troops. As for Robert E. Lee, he realized that the best course was for his men to return home and resume their lives as American citizens.

Before he met with General Grant, one of Lee's officers (General E. Porter Alexander) had suggested fighting a guerilla war, but Lee had rejected the idea. It would only cause more pain and suffering for a cause that was lost. The character of both Lee and Grant was of such a high order that the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia has been called "The Gentlemen's Agreement."

Starting his booklet. This one was not an easy book ! and there were four extra items to do to get his parole pass. This was something special for the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War

Part of the exhibit that is only there till the end of the summer

This is Cpl Fields. He is a Corporal from the 188th Pennsylvania Infantry.  He gave a great talk on the end of the war, and the small details that make things interesting.  You had to speak to him as if it was 1865, he would not break character,  It was wonderful!!
I had to ask him if I could make a copy of his image.  FUN!

Back to work!

The wall of honor. Lon had to learn about one person in specific. He chose a man named Private Houser for his amazingly fierce beard. I am going to try to find a picture of him on line that I can post.

We looked up one of my ancestors and it looks like his regiment was at Appomattox for the surrender. IF I can find out for sure, and find a photo of him in his uniform, they will post the photo on the wall of honor. A new project!

The end of a short hike, this was to find out more about the stacking of arms.  It was nice and flat.

Another costumed interpreter. We did not have the opportunity to chat with her.

Lon posing with my walking stick

Getting the oath.

This was a fun ranger! He made Lon promise to do his homework and obey his parents and grandparents! Lon was repeating it until that part.

Lon did every bit of the book, all the activities He also go his parole passe.  We will get a little frame for that and he can hang it in his room.

Talking to Grandma and Grandpa Andy about what he learned.

I want Mark to know that I did eat at least one salad. This was part of my lunch today.

We had fun driving back to Fredericksburg.

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