General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in the parlor of the private home of Wilmer McLean in the village of Appomattox Court House in Appomattox County, Va. McLean was a merchant who offered the use of his home for the meeting between the generals.Continue Reading
The Battle of Appomattox Court House, the final battle of General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, was fought on April 9, 1865. When Lee realized his troops were overwhelmed, he surrendered. After Lee sent a message to Grant requesting a meeting to discuss terms of surrender, Grant wrote back that Lee could choose the location. Lee's assistant Lt. Colonel Charles Marshall and Private Joshua O. Johns rode ahead to scout out a suitable site. After viewing McLean's home, Marshall sent for the generals.
Lee arrived first and waited half an hour for General Grant. Lee was dressed cleanly and formally, while Grant arrived disheveled and muddy from the field. In McLean's parlor, Lee sat at a marble-topped table and Grant sat at a more simple wooden table. The two men conversed for about 25 minutes, working out details of the surrender. Grant allowed Lee's officers to keep their horses and side arms, and he ordered the hungry Confederate troops fed with Union rations. After the meeting, members of the Union army began purchasing and carrying off McLean's furniture as souvenirs, including the tables the generals had sat at during the negotiations.Learn more about US History