Although a few skirmishes would follow, it was Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865 when the Civil War officially ended. Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses Grant, who had known each other slightly during the Mexican-American War, gathered in the parlor in the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House. General Lee was accompanied by Lt. Col Charles Marshall Virginia and General Grant’s staff numbered about a dozen.
Seated at two small tables, General Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant. General Grant wrote a letter detailing the terms of surrender, which were generous even by Lee’s account. Confederate soldiers would be required to lay down their arms and then be paroled and
allowed to return home to their farms and businesses. Confederate officers would be allowed to keep their sidearms, pistols, and swords. The Confederates who had horses or other animals were allowed to keep them. These terms of surrender had emanated from a prior agreement between President Abraham Lincoln and General Grant. The President believed that the war that had cost the nation so much in lost and injured lives should end with as little animosity as possible. Those who had served in the Confederate Army should now be allowed to return home, pick up their lives, and begin the healing process.
Appomattox Courthouse remains a somewhat rural small village 24 miles east of Lynchburg and 95 miles west of Richmond. It has been preserved by the National Park Service and opened to the public on April 9th, 1949. At the dedication ceremony on April 16, 1950, before an audience of around 20,000 people, Major General U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee IV, direct descendants of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses Grant, cut the ceremonial ribbon.