8News Daytrippers: Appomattox Courthouse

Here, at the McLain House in Appomatox Courthouse, is where General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Civil War makes up a huge part of Virginia’s history, but did you know the war came to an end at a place just a short daytrip away, in Appomattox Courthouse?

It’s fitting with the 150th anniversary of the end of the war that Meteorologist Tim Pandajis, our resident history nerd, takes us there in the first installment of the new season of 8News Daytrippers.

Appomatox Courthouse, the site where General Robert E. Lee surrendered the army of northern Virginia, is where our nation reunited.

“Appomattox Courthouse is a unique historical site, many people who haven’t been here should come check it out,” says Patrick Schroeder, a Historian with Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. “This is where they say locally that the nation reunited. It is one of the most significant events in American history. It is really where the base of our country has come from since 1865.”

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General Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant shake hands inside the McLain House.

Back in early April of 1865, the American Civil War was drawing to a close after numerous union victories beat back General Robert E. Lee’s army of northern Virginia. Both sides descended upon Appomattox Courthouse.

“This is the village of Appomattox Courthouse, so many times we read in our history books that the surrender took place at Appomattox Courthouse, it did, the town of Appomattox Courthouse, not the building.  The surrender meeting actually took place in the home of Wilmer McLain which is behind me.”

It was at the McLain House on April 9, 1865, that General Lee and General Grant met to discuss terms of surrender. General Lee accepted General Grant’s terms.

Several days following the meeting of Grant and Lee, the process had begun to parole the confederate troops so they could return home. In the tavern, printing presses were brought in and parole papers were being continuously printed and distributed.

Nearly three days after Lee and Grant’s meeting at the McLain House, ten divisions of Lee’s army, nearly 23,000 men stacked their arms along the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road. For these men the war was truly over.

Just two days later, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

This year is particularly important if you’re looking to visit the national park as April 9th, 2015 will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the surrender and festivities, re-enactments and speakers are all planned during the ceremonies at the park.

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