In 1865 the village of Appomattox Court House only boasted about 100 people in a county of 4,414. The people of the small village never dreamed that the war would end in their very small town.
The Army of Northern Virginia arrived in Appomattox County on April 8th, after a long six day retreat from Petersburg, following the nine month stalemate between the Confederate and Federal Armies. Richmond had fallen, the Confederate government had fled, and it was only a matter of time. After a series of critical engagements at Five Forks, Saylers Creek, Appomattox Station, and Appomattox Court House, General Lee sent word to General Grant that he was ready to surrender.
The Civil War ended in the parlor of the McLean family and that was not the only peculiar or fascinating story that would come out of the surrender events of April 9th-12th. Appomattox Court House is possibly one of the most underrated parks in the National Park Service and yet the stories of the surrender, the people, and the history of the village itself are some of the most interesting I’ve ever heard. There is something so wonderful that even I took for granted growing up just twenty-five miles from the park.
For me, there is no place else I would rather be this summer than at Appomattox Court House. On this blog I will update about the work I am doing, the ins and outs of working for the National Park Service, and the stories that I learn about the end of the war and from visitors. I will also write about my foray into the world of living history, where I will be portraying Jennie Peers of Lynchburg City who lived in Appomattox Court House from 1855 until the time she died. The last shots of the war were fired in Jennie’s front yard and she was married to one of the most respected men in the entire county.
I hope you will enjoy what you see and read here, and hopefully if you have never been to the park, I will see you soon.