Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park commemorates the battle and surrender of General Robert E Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S Grant. Wilmer McLean had an interesting life intricately associated with the Civil War. After his home was damaged in the first major battle of the war “The Battle of Bull Run” he moved his family to the sleepy village of Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.
It was in his front parlor that Lee surrendered to Grant foreshadowing the end of the war shortly after.
The history of the house at Appomattox is as interesting as McLean’s himself. After the signing Union soldiers ransacked the home for souvenirs literally tearing it apart in the process. McLean eventually defaulted on the house and it made its way into the hands of spectaculars. The house was dismantled with the hopes that it would be re-assembled and put on display either in Washington or at the a Worlds Fair exhibition. The house never made it to Washington and it was left disassembled in a pile for the next 50 years. The National Park Service established the Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Monument in 1940 and eventually re-assembled the house and furnished it with period accouterments. You can tour the house today.
The park is nicely placed in an attractive rural area, there is a 4.5 mile “History Trail” that winds through the ravines and dells surrounding the restored houses on site.
The passport to the National Parks cancellation stamp is in the bookstore/shop in the Tavern Kitchen. A beautiful park with a pleasant blend of history and nature.