Most people think the American Civil War ended in the courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia…and most people are mistaken.
Join us as we talk about where the surrender took place and the name of the city where Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee carried out this historic event.
Visiting Appomattox Courthouse and the Surrender of the Civil War
Visiting Appomattox Courthouse and the Surrender of the Civil War
Jenn: Wilber McLean can’t seem to get away from the Civil War, right? Because his home is destroyed. He lives in the city of Manassas. Uh, during the first battle of the Civil War, he wants to move away from the fighting. So he moves to the town of Clover Hill, which becomes the town of Appomattox Courthouse and.
When the surrender takes place, Marshall, who is Lee’s a second right hand man, um, aid has to find a suitable place for surrender, and he finds the Wilber McLean house in Mads Courthouse.
Scott: Welcome to Talk With History. I’m your host Scott here with my wife and historian Jen. Hello. On this podcast, we give you insights to our history inspired world travels YouTube channel journey, and examine history through deeper conversations with the curious, the explorers, and the history lovers out there.
Now, before we get into our main topic tonight, I do want to ask for reviews on Apple Podcast, Spotify, wherever you’re listening, the reviews really do help us. To help the show grow and we are still slowly plotting away at chipping away at that lead with the History channel. We’re coming after you. I’m not aware of podcasts that they put on, so maybe, maybe we’re ahead of them on the podcast, right?
Yes. I’m just, I’m just
Jenn: gonna kind of throw, we’re gonna have more subscribers in the History Channel Someday
Scott: we will. Jen, why don’t you tell us what we’re talking about today? One of our, our videos that we just
Jenn: released. Yeah. This, uh, video and this podcast is a very important place and moment in time for any history lever, any adventure, any explorer, because we go to a place that’s a, a bucket list historical
Yeah. And you lead off the video. I mean, right off with that. Hey, bucket list. Place for any history, fan or historian. Mm-hmm. So where were we? We were at
Jenn: Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.
Scott: So we, we were at Appomattox Courthouse. So if you don’t know, or if you, if you’re, if you’re just joining us for the first time, uh, we just live a couple hours away from there.
We live in Virginia and so we had to get out to Appomattox. Yes. And we actually learned a fair amount while we were there. Like you, you kind of done some research before we got out there, but, um, one of the things. That a lot of people didn’t know was kind of the whole naming convention. We kind of led off with that.
Jenn: Yes, because it’s always a confusing thing for any historian when they talk about the surrender of the Civil War, and we’ll go into some of the. Feedback we’ve gotten from people the, this is the official surrender of the Civil War. This is where Lee and Grant will meet. So you got the commander of the Confederate forces and the commander of the Union forces are going to meet and actually work out terms of surrender.
There are other people, historians who will surmise other moments and battles that were the actual. Surrendering points or when the thing when tides were turned towards surrender. But this is the actual moment where they’re gonna meet officially. And, um, write up terms of surrender. And so I wanna make that very clear.
Scott: Yeah, we, we, we did, and it’s common with, with all of our videos, um, especially the more popular ones that people always kind of jump in. And we actually, we had, we had some folks kind of teach us, you know, some, some interesting, interesting facts on different videos. Like, you know, The naming convention behind Bull Run Manasas and things like that?
Yes, yes. But for Appomattox specifically, uh, we always, we had a few folks jumping in and saying, Hey, this wasn’t the actual end. Like there was troops over here fighting like a few weeks later. And that’s
Jenn: true because I mean, things aren’t, Communication isn’t traveling quickly. Yeah. Right. It’s not like it’s a phone call.
Okay. War’s over. It doesn’t work that way. It’s
Scott: the 1860s. I mean, it takes weeks for a word to get anywhere. To do anything. Exactly.
Jenn: So yeah, there were people still fighting. Absolutely. But this is the official surrender. What was also interesting is you’re gonna, if you’re a, you know, moderate historian, you know the surrender happened in Appomattox Courthouse and it sounds like.
A location, right? A building. A building. And it is a building, but it’s also the name of the town. And the surrender doesn’t take place in the actual courthouse building of Appomattox. It takes place in them by clean house. Which is located in the town of Appomattox
Scott: Courthouse. The, the Appomattox Courthouse, the actual building, the courthouse, that’s where the visitor
Jenn: center is.
Yes. And that has a great visitor center. It’s very good. It’s very good. A lot of information. They have a, a great movie there and I think famous actors are in that movie and it sets the tone. For where you’re at and the buildup and what happened, uh, that day in April in 1865. So it’s a, it’s very good to get in there and watch that movie.
Plus they have some artifacts in there. They have the actual surrender table in there. So it it, you definitely wanna visit the actual Appomattox Courthouse in Appomattox Courthouse cuz it is the visitors
Scott: center. Yeah, so it’s not, it wasn’t the Apax, the actual building, the courthouse building where the surrender took place.
But again, that, that visitor center and some of the other things there, like, they actually probably have one of the best depictions of what it actually looked like inside of the McLean house when they were sitting down and actually, you know, signing the, signing the paperwork. Yes. Because they, they pointed out, one of the things that I liked that they pointed out, they said, Hey, this painting over here, Is very famous and a lot of people misconstrue that as what actually happened.
And it’s the painting of Grant and Lee where they’re almost like sitting right at the same table. Yeah. Right next to each other in the center of the room. And that’s actually in historically
Jenn: inaccurate. It’s inaccurate. And also you have George Custer there who, who, he wasn’t there in the room. Uh, George Custer is pinnacle to.
The whole surrender in general, cuz he’s the first person to actually get the surrender flag or dish towel they use for the surrender. But he’s not in the room when the official surrender documents are written out inside. He’s outside, uh, with his men, so, They have him there, I think is to pay some, to pay homage to him in his part in the surrender.
But he wasn’t in the room. Yeah.
Scott: So from there, we, we were in the actual courthouse itself, which was a visitor center. So we were chit-chatting and this, that and the other. And all of a sudden when we were there, we hear this announcement, you know, the the, the McLean house. If you wanna see the McLean house, it will be closing in like, It’s like 10 minutes.
10 minutes. It’s 15 minutes. Yeah. You, you have 15 minutes and it’s closing for the next 90 minutes. And we’re like, oh my gosh, what’s going on? We had just gotten there, so we ran over it kind of made our way up. Mm-hmm. And we didn’t want to ha like, have to wait to go to the one building that we actually went to go see for 90 minutes because they were, you know, the people, they were working.
They were, they had to take a lunch
Jenn: break. So we’ve talked about will. Mer McLean before, right? We’ve talked about him on two separate lo uh, occasions with Walk with History. We have visited his grave in the Alexandria Cemetery, and we had visited kind of the area where his home was in the first Battle of Bull Run, the first battle of the Civil War.
He is also a historic character of the Civil War because. Wilber McLean can’t seem to get away from the Civil War, right? Because his home is destroyed. He lives in the city of Manasas. Uh, during the first battle of the Civil War, he wants to move away from the fighting. So he moves to the town of Clover Hill, which becomes the town of Appomattox Courthouse and.
When the surrender takes place, Marshall, who is Lee’s a second right hand man, um, aid has to find a suitable place for surrender. And he finds the Wilber McLean house in Mads courthouse and the the surrender takes place in the parlor. So Wilbur McClean cannot get away from the Civil War. Yeah, it begins and ends.
Uh, where he lives. And,
Scott: and that’s, and it’s funny, I’ve mentioned it a couple times throughout this podcast and videos and things like that. I love the random little historic characters that just pop up and are well known for some one random thing. And Will McClean is one of those I. And so that just kind of made me smile because now we’ve kind of visited where, you know, where the Civil War started, where the Civil War ended, and where Wilman McClean, who was at both of those locations for both times where he’s actually buried.
Jenn: So it’s interesting that the town is called Appomattox Courthouse, and we talk a little bit about that in the video. Clover Hill, that town is about a hundred people, and it’s a farming community, so half of the people are enslaved because when you have farming in the south, your laborers are enslaved. So half of the town is enslaved.
It is along the Lynchburg Stagecoach line, and they decided to build a courthouse there for government, for governing, so people in the county can come and do their. Ju ju judicial business. When a courthouse is established, they start to call that area where the courthouse is along the stage line. They name it after the courthouse.
So even though it’s the town of Clover Hill and you Hill Clover Hill Tavern, Uh, and that is the location where they print all the pardon slips. After the surrender, it officially becomes the town of Appomattox Courthouse after the courthouse is established there. And that is why. When people say the surrender happened in Appomattox Courthouse, you’re like, yes, the town of Appomattox Courthouse.
Wilber McClean’s house, which isn’t very far from Appomattox Courthouse. So when they said you have 90 minutes, you can just go out the front door and it’s a straight shot. Yes. Maybe 30 yards and it’s right there to the left. Now what’s interesting about that home, it’s built in 1848, it, it has a tavern type.
Style to it if you’ve been to other, uh, colonial Tavern type homes. But it was in the 1890s. It was completely taken apart and they had finances who had come in, come in and wanted to move it, and they were gonna move it to Washington, DC. Uh, and make it a museum so people could go in and visit and see where the official surrender of the Civil War took place.
So they took it apart, they took plans of it all, and it, and it sat there and the financing fell through to actually move it. So it sat as bricks and wood for about 50 years and people would come and take souvenirs and take a break here, take a piece of wood here. And the, uh, national Park Service bought it, uh, in 1939 and.
Rebuilt it to the specifications that they had, but the civil, the, uh, world War II breaks out so it, they don’t have the financing right away. So it takes about 10 years to rebuild it. It opens to the public in 1949. That’s right. But it is in the same location. It is built to the specifications. They have gotten furniture in there to replicate what it looked like, because we will talk about this.
The actual furniture is in other locations. But you get the sense of what that looked like that day, what Lee felt, what grant felt as they’re walking up the steps and the people and the surrounding area. So it is still very historically relevant and they did use the same materials that were left behind.
So it is a very historic place
Scott: to visit. Yeah. And, and the house itself, I mean, even for the time, it must have been pretty big cuz it, it’s a decent sized house. Even by, by today’s standards when you think of a
Jenn: tavern. Yeah. Having to entertain and feed a. People who come to visit, it does have that kind of feel to it, so
Scott: and so it makes sense that that’s where they would pick.
Mm-hmm. Because it had the space. Right. Even the room, you know, the, as you kind of joke, the room where it happened, um, you go in there and, and it’s a decent sized room. You could see there was probably, what, 10 ish men in there? Something like that. Yes. Yeah. That’s 12 men. Mm-hmm. And. So, so it’s, it’s a decent sized house, very picturesque, right.
With the courthouse on one end. And then, you know, the, the parking lot where we drove up and parked on the other, and then there’s the McLean house and there’s other little, you know, the timing when we went, you know, what was that,
Jenn: April, early May. The end of April. So I bet it’s very busy the beginning of April since that’s the timeframe Oh sure.
Of when the surrender takes place. Uh, April 9th. 1865, but we got there the end of April, which was perfect weather. Oh it was. And not
Scott: very crowded. It was, it was gorgeous. If you’re ever gonna go visit that, the springtime is, is fantastic cuz it was, everything was green, everything was in bloom. Um, some of the bugs were out a little bit for, for us that day, but it wasn’t too bad.
Uh, not a lot of it wasn’t very crowded. And they have tons and tons of signs and historic markers. You can literally just kind of meander around. Yes. This small town, I mean now a national park. And just kind of read everything all
Jenn: along the way. There’s actually a hike you can do because Lee’s headquarters and Grant’s headquarters are pretty spaced opposite each other in the area, and you can actually hike from one to the other and it kind of goes through the town of Appomattox Courthouse and.
You see people out there hiking and walking and things like that, and we visited other locations close. Like we’ll talk about the Confederate Cemetery we saw and other kind of markers we saw. But it is a really great location if you wanna spend the day. Uh, they have picnic tables and like, if you wanna spend the day with your family, it’s a really great place to kind of walk around.
It kind of reminds me of First Battle Bull run a little bit, maybe a very, very, very smaller scale. Gettysburg. Type thing. Sure. But it’s not really a drivable trail like Yorktown or Gettysburg. It’s much more of a walking, but it is pretty much like a day trip.
Scott: And I, I loved being out on the, the front steps of the McLean house because you really could, and you do a good job of kind of describing, like imagine, you know, Being here.
Mm-hmm. And Lee, you know, comes up to the McLean house in his nice, clean uniform, pressed, you know, all this stuff. He gets there first. He’s hanging out for, for 30 minutes or so. 30 minutes, so, mm-hmm. And then up, up comes Grant, just dirty. He’d been riding mud. Mud. You can barely tell he’s a general other than buying the jacket that he’s wearing.
And you can picture both in this setting. It’s, it’s one of those locations. It’s really, really neat. And you can kind of really feel. What it was. What must have been like back then. Yeah. And I also imagine back then, because you go on to say, to talk about how there was, what’s like 90,000 troops in area?
Jenn: troops. So you think 70, about 70,000 union troops, about 30,000 confederates. And they’re. Camping out. I mean, they’re not staying in the homes there. They’re put, they’re in their makeshift tents. So when you look at all the greenery in the area, you can imagine these troops are camped out everywhere.
So it’s very much a busy. Hustle and bustle, and everyone’s kind of watching for what’s happening in this house. So what leads up to this, you’re gonna get Richmond Falls on April 3rd, and Lee is leaving Richmond. Richmond has fallen to the north and he’s trying to make it west, and he’s trying to make it west to meet up with the armies of North Carolina and Tennessee.
And so the union is trying to cut him off before he gets there. So if you think of Appomattox as kind of west to Richmond, Appomattox, as I said, is on the stage line. It’s also on the railroad line. And so Custer gets out there first on, uh, April 7th, and he’s able to stop these railroad cars that are bringing supplies to the south and he burns them.
And that’s when Lee starts to realize that. He, he’s not gonna be able to meet his men. They’re trying to cut him off. And so Grant will send him a note on the seventh saying, would you like to surrender? And Lee is like, not yet, but what would that look like? It’s like, not yet, but what, what, what do you have in mind?
Um, so they’re kind of negotiating this. Lee still thinks maybe there’s something that he can do. Maybe he can make it in time, but Custer and Sherman will actually completely. Uh, cut off the Army at Appomattox and there’s no way that they can rejoin. And so they do fight a little bit. You get some fighting on the eighth and ninth, but it’s Lee who decides, uh, even though he says he rather die a thousand deaths, it’s Lee who decides to send the word to Grant.
Uh, they bring out, you know, they, they, they have the dish towel they give to Custer cuz that’s who the actual fighting forces, uh, long Street and Custer will meet. Custer will stop fighting. He will go through the line with the towel and they’ll like, let’s negotiate, surrender. They’ll get the no to Lee.
Ask Lee to find a location. They find the McLean house grant will have to ride at like 30 miles, which is crazy to meet him. That’s why he’s so dirty. And Lee gets there at one. Grant will get there at one 30 on April 9th. Lee has been thinking about this. Of course, he looks very clean, very pressed in his uniform.
Grants has also been thinking about this, but he’s exhausted. He’s just hopping off his horse and mud covered and when they’ve meet, they’re almost like in awe of each other. They both study at West Point. They both are skilled men. Lee has been the commander of the Confederate forces for all four years, five years.
Grant has not. But Grant has proven himself as a fighter and Grant stands so in awe of Lee. He doesn’t even know what to talk about when he comes in. Yeah. He’s like trying to make
Jenn: chat, chit chats about their, both their military experience in the, in the Spanish American War. Let’s talk about in the Mexican American world, let’s talk about what we are doing then.
And Lee’s like, okay, um, let’s talk about surrender. So when they sit down to hash out terms of surrender, Like I said, Lee will have one person with him. Marshall will be with him. Grant will have an entourage. He has um, Sheridan. He has, uh, Robert Todd Lincoln is with him. He has Eli Parker, who is of the Seneca American Indian tribe is with him, and Eli Parker is the one who’s actually the scribe and the terms that Lee is asking for, I think.
Are pretty reasonable. And I think that’s why Grant grants them to him. He asks, most of his men are farmers from the south and they will be going back to their farms and a lot of them own their own horses. And the horses will be, Very valuable and important to farming. Sure. Right. To putting in seeds and all the things that you need on a farm.
And so he asks as if their men own a horse, can they take the horse with them? And Grant says that’s that’s fine. And he also says, because they’re farmers and because they’re traveling, can they keep their side arms again, a gun at the time is seen as a tool. Sure. It’s seen, you know, is. Hunting for food, all these kind of things that a gun provides.
And Grant also agrees to that. And he asks that the Confederates sign with their pardon, that they will never take up arms again against the Union against America. And they can keep their horse and they can keep this item. And that is the terms of surrender.
Scott: Yeah. And if I remember correctly, I mean it was, I mean, Lincoln was.
Pretty adamant about, you know, like the healing nature, right? Mm-hmm. And not being super harsh with these terms of surrender, right? And not saying like, Hey, no, I want these people in Prisoned. Mm-hmm. I don’t, I want execution. Like he wasn’t going for that. He wanted to kind of just finish this all off. It sounded like he didn’t want to like create martyrs.
Like he, he, but I think you even mentioned it in the video, he wanted to create that
Jenn: healing. Yeah. He. He didn’t wanna try Davis for treason. He didn’t wanna try Lee for treason there, there was not gonna be some kind of big trial and, uh, execution. Like you said, he didn’t want martyrs and he also didn’t want animosity from the south.
Yeah, he wanted the south to, I mean, people have been fighting for four years. People have been dying. Uh, You know, Lincoln had lost a child during this whole time and everyone is just very exhausted, uh, war weary, and he just wanted the south to go back and be welcomed back into the union. I, I wouldn’t say as effective citizens again, but it also is.
You can’t have this underground animosity building back up again. It has to be you’re back. You’re our countrymen. You’ve, you’ve paid your price. You’ve lost so many people. There have been entire towns where every able bodied man of 18 to 60 had been killed. Your economy is decimated. I mean, that’s what happens to McLean is all his money’s in the confederacy.
So what, after they do the surrender in his parlor and they take all his furniture, sudden he’s broke. He’s broke. Yeah. So he can’t even keep the house he leaves, goes back to Alexandria. And so in, in a day, everything that all of these PE men have had and their families is worth nothing. And so Lincoln knows it’s gonna be a big rebuilding too, as well.
So he feels like people have paid the price. Yeah.
Scott: And even I, I think that was even recognized there. And it’s immortalized in different kind of reenactments and videos that we’ve seen out there. What is it? Gods in Generals is one of
Jenn: the Yeah. Uh, Gettysburg is the big one, but Gods in Generals North and the South.
Scott: North and the South. Um, but, but even, even that, so they, one of the things that they call out both at, at the National Park and I, I, when I was making the video a couple times in videos, and they, they, they, they mentioned that, When they had finished signing the paperwork, the terms of Surrender, Lee kind of, you know, walks back outside, he gets on his horse and Grant just kind of gives him this like kind of tip of the hat, like takes his hat off.
Salute. Like not an official military salute, but you know, something to acknowledge that it’s done. Mm-hmm. Right. And to, and to show that respect and then
Jenn: remember, All the union soldiers start to celebrate. That’s right. They start frying their guns in the air and Grant gets mad. Yeah. Remember right away Stop has them, stop has them shush, has them be quiet.
Has ’em act respectful. Yeah. Because it, it really is a time of rebuilding. Yeah. G it, it is a time of exhaustion when you think about it and because again, we talk about the lines of communication and what is happening now and how people travel. We’ve talked about. Passes to travel and people carrying paperwork with them.
They go to print out these 30,000 pardons. Right. We talk about 67, almost 70,000 union soldiers. We have 30,000 federal soldiers. Well, now that they’ve all surrendered, they need these passes of Pardon? That’s right. To travel back to their homes because people are still fighting. Yeah. And so the Clover Tavern, which is close to the Appomattox Courthouse, they put in a printing press in the downstairs parlor, a big tavern, and they start printing out these 30,000 pardon passes so they can carry these passes with them.
Well, and that’s
Scott: also how they get the word out. That’s how, and you mentioned that in the video, like. Word. There’s no phones, there’s no, you know, nothing like that. And that’s the way they, they get the word out is, is these people walking home with this piece of paper saying, yes, the South has essentially surrendered and is my path to mm-hmm.
Return home, surrender home. Um, and so that’s another way that the word of the end of the civil War finally got spread was as these men were traveling home.
Jenn: Yes. And so you get very symbolic the day after. April 10th, you see, um, Granton Lee will meet one last time, uh, towards the one, the, the, I think it’s the east end of Appomattox.
And they make a very symbolic show. All the men of this confederacy will leave their rifles, right? So they’re allowed to keep the side arms, or they leave their rifles and they show this, um, surrendering of their weapons. And it’s in that moment that people are, Really separating, starting to travel back home, starting to, uh, go back to their lives.
And that’s also, people acted very respectful of both sides in that moment.
Out on the other side of Appt Courthouse as a Confederate graveyard. So on the eighth and 9th of April, there was still fighting and there were. Soldiers who died in the vicinity of Appomattox Courthouse, and they basically buried them where they fell. But a year later, in 1866, these southern women decided to dig up these graves and bury them all together.
And they had found 18 confederates in one union soldier. That’s right. Yes. And so they put them all in one graveyard. So when you, when you look at my video on Instagram, there’s 18 confederate flags and one. Union flag, one American flag in this graveyard. Uh, because they decided to bury them all side by side.
They were able to identify, I think half of them, the other half are still unknown. Not actually
Scott: in the little Village city area. It’s actually, it’s probably like half a mile. Mm-hmm. Maybe, maybe a mile down, maybe not even a mile. Um, but you know, you, you drive in, you actually see it on the way in. Mm-hmm.
And you can come swing by and stop at it on the way out. It’s actually a fairly popular Instagram reel for some reason. Yeah.
Jenn: I think because it’s interesting to see confederate flags on graves still. Yeah. I think, and there’s a marker there that we also bring attention to.
Scott: Yeah, I noticed that. Yeah. I’m, I’m the one who brought it
Jenn: to your attention.
It’s a very, again, we talk about this lost cause and this. Southern and I, I wanna talk a little bit about this cuz I think Appomattox Courthouse, um, visitor Center does a very good job of telling the story of why federal soldiers are fighting, why southern soldiers are fighting, because you’re gonna get this still today.
These two points of views states right? Uh, enslavement. What, what are we fighting? Who’s, what are people fighting for? What’s the cause of the Civil War? And this marker talks about, um, after the Southern soldiers fought bravely for four years, for their rights of their country, uh, Lee surrendered. And it, it, it really skews the numbers.
Like, oh yeah, it’s
Scott: 9,000 men. It’s definitely, you know, Old, old Southern
Jenn: leaning. Yes, for sure. So, and then it looks like they’ve taken off the whole bottom line that talks about Grant and how many men Grant had they just kind of like have stripped it. Yeah.
Scott: And it’s not like it was weather worn because this is, this is a metal sign.
These, these, this was intentional. Somebody like taken off. Yeah, taken off.
Jenn: You could still read it. It was interesting. So that’s interesting. I, I think it’s important to keep those markers up. Sure. Because I think it’s important to show how people. Even still wanted to protect the story and protect their ideals and what they were fighting for.
And I think Appomattox does a good job. They talk about why federal soldiers fought. You got a lot of recent immigrants who joined the union. They come to America for a reason. All these immigrants are coming in the 1860s because American liberty and independence and prosperity. So they think if they fight for the union, They’re gonna be able to preserve that, what they came for.
Oh, right, okay. They don’t wanna lose that. Interesting. And so the whole point of keeping America together is all of this commerce works together. All of this American trade and resources, they all work together. And immigrants who have come here to partake in that, don’t want to lose that. And then they have white Confederate soldiers fought and they talk about a crucial motivator for many soldiers was, uh, defense of their homes and their families against northern armies.
And whether or not they owned enslaved, they did believe in, uh, still a hierarchy. There was still a hierarchy in their minds, even if they’re not owning enslaved, that there was a supremacy, uh, based on race. So, but they, I think, and I think it’s true that most. Southern soldiers are not enslavers. They don’t own enslaved.
Yeah, they weren’t, not all of ’em were that rich and, and they’re fighting because their families are coming under attack. But we, we do know that enslavement is the cause of the Civil war. Because, and even though Lincoln, and they make a point to say this, he did not advocate for the abolitionist slavery.
So even though Lincoln did not advocate for that running as president, he never would’ve won if Sure. What is happening is he’s advocating for the. No spread of enslavement. So what’s going on with the Missouri Compromise in Kansas is they want to spread enslavement to other states because it’s a way to have free labor.
It’s a way for commerce to work. And uh, Lincoln wants to stop that because it does hurt the economy when you can’t pay laborers. Sure. And you get all these immigrants coming to America and they are. Laborers, right? And so that’s what Lincoln is, stopping the spread of enslavement. And then it will, and then you’re gonna have the southern states who write their constitutions putting enslavement as part of their cause.
So it does become more so the cause of the Civil War. And then Lincoln will see. The strength behind that, right. And the strength behind the Emancipation Proclamation and the strength behind enlisting, uh, uh, black soldiers. And it really gets full momentum during the Civil War. And I think the, uh, a Mads Courthouse does a very good job of telling that story because it’s.
Scott: story. Yeah. It’s not, it’s it’s not leaning one way or the other. Not leaning one way or the other. This is how it
Jenn: was. Mm-hmm. And I then people can really understand why you can still, uh, needle in those kind of beliefs that are still kind of fought against today. Right. Uh, you can still see where that comes from.
Scott: That’s interesting. Cause I had never. I had probably heard it right again, but not, not being the person that latched on a history. Mm-hmm. As I was going through my younger year education, I had never kind of considered that Lincoln was would on the economic side of the slavery debate back then was, Hey, I want these people coming to our country so that they can earn a living and help build this nation and this, that and the other.
And that wouldn’t happen if slavery continued to spread. Mm-hmm. Because that’s Essent, you know. Enslavement is, is free labor. Mm-hmm. You know, quote unquote. And so that, to your point, that is kind of counteracting, you know, being able to grow at a true workforce mm-hmm. Um, for people coming in. So I, I hadn’t really considered that, that piece of it.
And obviously that’s one. Aspect Sure. Of the entire debate. Sure. But that was probably the, the genesis of some of it from the econo economic side, all of the money. Mm-hmm. You, you follow the money. Mm-hmm. And then from there, people start digging in their heels and they’re like, well, we’re just gonna write it into ours.
State constitution. Yep. Slavery is okay. And you know, this, that and the other. Um, so it’s. That’s interesting to kind of, I’ve always heard that. Mm-hmm. But that’s, that’s an interesting way of kind of clarifying that, that
Jenn: piece of it. Yeah, and I, I think Appomattox, that’s why I really appreciate Appomattox Courthouse, is they’re really preserving, they’re not really pushing one way or the other.
They’re showing what actually happened and how those ideas. Slowly formed and got stronger throughout the Civil War and I, that is actually what did happen, and so I really appreciated that.
We talked a little bit about the furniture in the McLean house. Yeah, so we visited. Uh, the National History Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington DC and the chairs from the surrender are there. The chair that Lee sat in, the chair, that grant sat in or at the Smithsonian in DC there’s recreation of those chairs.
They look almost identical. Yep. In the in app, in the McLean House. In Appomattox Courthouse. And the table. Uh, I think there’s a table in Chicago and there’s a table in the actual Appomattox courthouse, which were the actual tables that were there. Now, when the surrender actually takes place, you get Custer is probably the worst of this union.
Soldiers buying furniture or just taking furniture from the McLean house. Sure, yeah. Soldiers being soldiers, they take the chairs. Custer will take the table and the. The truce flag. Yeah, the dish towel that he gets. And people will take the chairs. B, buy the chairs, and pretty much McLean’s house has cleaned out a furniture.
Everybody just takes stuff. That poor guy, so. So this is also another reason why he leaves, because now his house has been stripped of furniture. And his money’s worth nothing. And so he goes back to Alexandria to make a living. The house will go into foreclosure. We talked about this and then it gets taken apart.
But, uh, when Custer Custer’s killed at the Battle of the Big Horn and his wife will go on a campaign to build up his name. That’s why we know Custer so well today. Cuz his wife really did a good job of interesting building his interest. Uh, she will donate the, the flag and the table back to the Smithsonian.
Upon her death. So you can see the truth flag in the Smithsonian. Yep.
Scott: And then the, the desk is at, the
Jenn: desk is at, uh, appro Appomattox Courthouse. So if you wanna visit those things, that’s, we’re there. And we talked about Eli Parker a little bit. Yeah. He was the Seneca Soldier who was there, uh, from the American af, American Indian tribe that was there.
He had a conversation with. We, yeah.
Scott: You liked you,
Jenn: you liked that. I liked it because, uh, it kind of reminds me a little bit of what the surgeon said with Reagan. Oh, yeah. You know, today, sir, we’re all republicans a as Eli Parker and, uh, Marshall are, are working out the terms, the surrender. They’re writing it.
Yeah, they’re, they’re describing it all out. They’re describing it out. Lee asks, uh, Parker, you know, if he’s American Indian? He says, yes, I’m of the Seneca tribe. And he goes, it’s good. It’s good to have one true American here. And he responds to Lisa. We are all Americans. And I just loved that.
Scott: Yeah. And, and especially for that time period as well.
Like, it, it gives you just a little bit more insight into the mind that was, you know, general Lee, right? Like, that’s just not a comment that you would expect in, in, in that historical setting. And that’s maybe just me being un uneducated there, but I don’t think that sentiment was common
Jenn: back then. No. And I don’t think so either.
And I think, again, four years of fighting really. Of war weariness. What are we fighting for? What are we killing each other for? I think those kind of sentiments are coming through.
Scott: Yeah, it was, it was a ton of fun. It’s easy for kids too, right? If you ever wanna bring kids there. We, I mean, we just kind of cut ’em loose outside.
Um, there’s stuff you can see behind the McLean House and Slaves quarters kind of showing your classic, that kind of era, the separated kitchen, separated quarters mm-hmm. And, and things like that. Um, but other buildings to see, you know, the. The gift shop was great. Um, they had like, uh, you could go in and see like the prison, right?
You know, where they would, they mm-hmm. They held, you know, certain folks behind the courthouse. Behind the courthouse. The general store, general store and all sorts of things to just kind of walk around and do. Great afternoon. There’s not much too close to there. So we actually have another video that, that I made while we were there, kind of tips and tricks of, of visiting Appomattox Courthouse.
So be on the lookout for that. To, to come out on the Walk with History YouTube channel soon. But for those listening, thank you for listening to the Talk with History podcasts, and please reach out to us at our website, talk with history.com. But more importantly, if you know someone else that might enjoy this podcast, please share it with them, especially if you think that today’s topic with Anna is a friend.
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