156 years ago, on April 9, 1865, the village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia hosted the end of the American Civil War. The leaders of the Union and Confederate armies – General U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee – met at a simple farmhouse to work out terms. Today, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park serves as a reminder of the end of this dark part of US history.
Just a few weeks ago we talked about the siege at Petersburg, which led to the fall of Richmond and the ultimate surrender of the Confederates at Appomattox. The end of the war signaled the start of a new era and a time of healing. It was the beginning of reconstruction.
It was interesting to us to learn how respectful the two sides were of one another, and how generous the terms of the surrender were, allowing the Confederate soldiers to return to their homes and farms. Grant even provided them food, since the southerners were desperately short on rations.
Visiting Appomattox Court House
When you visit the national park unit, you will find a reconstruction of how the original village may have looked. After falling into ruin, the National Park Service restored the site beginning in the early 1930’s. You can visit the Court House, Lee’s headquarters and the reconstructed farmhouse, missing most of its furniture. After peace was signed, it was said that most of the furnishings and fixtures were taken and sold as souvenirs!
There are 8 hiking trails on the almost 1,800 acre park, taking you through the village, fields, and nearby forest. You can walk through history and visualize what it may have looked like 156 years ago. Interpretive signage and displays at the visitor center help guide you.
Appomattox is just 92 miles west of Richmond. We would recommend that you plan at least a few hours there. Like all national park units, it offers you a deeper understanding of the history of the country.
Need Help Planning Your Visits?
If you would like to explore this or other National Park Units, but need a bit help in the planning, please give us a call at (480) 609-3978. We are happy to offer customized trip planning.