Appomattox, Virginia

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

"Until this Palm Sunday of 1865, the word Appomattox had no meaning. It was a harsh name left over from Indian days, it belonged to a river and a country town, and it had no overtones. But after this day it would be one of the haunted possessions of the American people, a great and unique word that would echo in the national memory with infinite tragedy and infinite promise, recalling a moment in which sunset and sunrise came together in a streaked glow that was half twilight and half dawn."

Bruce Catton, This Hallowed Ground.
"The business might almost have been stage-managed for effect. No detail had been overlooked. There was even the case of Wilmer McLean, the Virginian who once owned a place by a stream named Bull Run and who found his farm overrun by soldiers in the first barrle of the war. He sold out and moved to southern Virginia to get away from the war, and he bought a modest house in Appomattox Court House, and the war caught up with him finally, so that Lee and Grant chose his front parlor - of all the rooms in America - as the place where they would sit down together and bring he fighting to an end."

Bruce Catton, This Hallowed Ground
West of Appomattox, the foothills of the Appalachians appear. Lee had to find a way south here to join Johnston in North Carolina or his war was over. He was blocked.

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Created 22 June 2007, Last Update 03 June 2020