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“General, this is deeply humiliating; but I console myself with the thought that the whole country will rejoice at this day’s business.”
~ A Confederate during the Civil War surrender ceremony, 12 April 1865.
I admit to being somewhat red-faced to learn - as a West Point graduate and after all these years - that Appomattox Court House is the name of the village where Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865.
The village, not the building where the ceremony took place.
The correct terminology for the 1865 event is that Lee surrendered to Grant in the parlor of a private residence, the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean, in the village of Appomattox Court House. The town of Appomattox grew up just 3 miles away when Appomattox Court House was razed by fire in 1892. The distinction is significant. The first 5 photographs in the gallery were taken at Appomattox, the remainder at Appomattox Court House and vicinity.
A month shy of 43 years after graduation I finally walked that historic ground.
As I put this gallery together Darryl Worley’s “Shiloh” came through my JBL Boombox speaker. I stopped what I was doing for a moment and listened to the words. If you know about the slaughter-like military tactics of that time, if you know of the mass amputations for the smallest wounds, if you’re aware that casualties for single battles numbered in the tens of thousands, you become aware of the responsibilities that weighed on the shoulders of the commanders. You become acutely aware of the responsibilities that weighed on the shoulders of the commanders that met in the McLean House that day.
© Darrow Photography