Welcome to the audio-described version of Appomattox Court House National Historical Park's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts approximatly 40 minutes.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park commemorates the site where Ulysses S. Grant received the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. It was that surrender that effectively brought America's Civil War to an end. The park is one of over 400 units in the National Park Service system. Located in south central Virginia, the park is about 90 miles west of Richmond, VA, 25 miles east of Lynchburg, VA and 3 miles east of Appomattox, Virginia.
Established as a National Historical Park in 1954 the 1,700 acre park includes the restored village of Appomattox Court House which consists of about 18 historical structures dating back to 1819. Most important of these is the house of Wilmer and Virginia McLean in whose parlor the generals met. The Visitor Center offers ranger led programs, a 17 minute film and a museum of artifacts related to the surrender. Depending on the season Living Historians in period clothing share stories about the lives of soldiers and civilians. A bookstore offers gifts as well as a large selection of books. The park has about 9 miles of walking trails that lead visitors through natural areas as well as the encampment and battlefield sites.
Most of the historical buildings require stairs for access. The Visitor Center can provide wheelchairs and additional services such as tactile maps and touchable objects. For more information please visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/apco. Accessibility information can be found at https://www.nps.gov/apco/planyourvisit/accessibility or by calling the park at 434.352.8987.
The front page of the brochure describes the Park, the Village of Appomattox, and the events and some of the people that made history here. The top quarter of the page consists of a panoramic color photograph of the village. Through the remainder of the page there is several photographs of the Village, the historical buildings, and the people who made history here.
The panoramic color photograph was taken from the direction of the west toward the village. There are no leaves on the many trees and the grass is green and brown indicating that the photograph was taken in early spring. The McLean House compound is in the foreground and the right two thirds of the photo. A white picket fence surrounds the compound. At the far right are two small log buildings. From the right they are numbered 8 and 7. The logs are unpainted and appear as brown stripes against the white chinking of the buildings. The three story west side of the McLean House is numbered 6. The house is red brick with white colonnaded porches and stairs on the back and front. The white gazebo and the well house is seen in the front yard. In the distance, and partially obscured by trees is the courthouse numbered 5. Left of the courthouse and barley visible through the large tress in front are the Meeks Store numbered 4 and the Woodson law office numbered 3. The red brick Tavern numbered 2, and Tavern Guest House numbered 1. A wooden rail fence and board fence border the Stage Road running from the lower left corner and tie in to the white picket fence in front of the McLean House on the right, and a board fence running to the Meeks Store on the left.
1 Tavern Guest House
2 Clover Hill Tavern
3 Woodson Law Office
4 Meeks Store
6 McLean House
8 Slaves’ Quarters
Here on April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his men to Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all United States forces. Other Confederate armies remained in the field, but Lee’s surrender signaled the end of the Southern states’ attempt to create a separate nation. Three days later the men of the Army of Northern Virginia marched before the Union Army. They turned over their flags, stacked their weapons, and began the journey back to their homes.
Today, the National Park Service invites you to walk the country lanes where these events took place. In the park’s quiet, still places, imagine the activity of those days in April 1865.
Use the map and guide on the reverse as you tour the park. Vignettes on this side of the brochure tell some of the stories of Appomattox Court House and its place in our nation’s history.
Two black and white historical photographs show formal portraits of Grant on the left, and Lee on the right, in their uniforms. General Grant is turned slightly to his right. General Lee is turned slightly to his left so the juxtaposed pictures have the appearance of the two men looking at each other.
IMAGE 1 of 2: Ulysses S. Grant
General Grant is wearing a dark blue officers jacket with brass buttons unbuttoned. Clearly visible on his right shoulder is the 3 star epaulet indicating his rank as Lt. General. His short dark hair and beard are neatly trimmed.
CREDIT: Library of Congress
IMAGE 2 of 2: Robert E. Lee
General Lee is wearing a gray officers jacket with brass buttons unbuttoned. Barley visible on the collar of his jacket are three stars. In the Confederate Army that would indicate the rank of Colonel, even though Lee was a General. Lee's white hair and beard are neatly trimmed.
CREDIT: Library of Congress
Ulyssess S. Grant and Robert E. Lee skillfully led their troops against each other in the last year of the Civil War. Grant knew how to exploit an opponent’s weaknesses. Lee, known for an aggressive style, excelled at assessing the enemy’s capabilities.
A black and white historical village landscape. In the foreground of the image is grass and some smaller trees. There are multiple open fields in the center of the image. The far distance is a row of buildings numbers 1 through 6. From right to left the building numbers go backwards; McLean House, Courthouse, Meeks Store, Woodson Law Office, Clover Hill Tavern, and Tavern Guest House. There are three smaller buildings to the left of those six. Weaved within the buildings are larger trees.
Compare the picture village today (first image described) with the picture taken in 1889. Both show the village from the west, though the older one is farther away. The numbers are on the same buildings in both pictures. The building at the far left in the older photograph is the Union Academy Dwelling House, which no longer exists.
1. Tavern Guest House
2. Clover Hill Tavern
3. Woodson Law Office
4. Meeks Store
6. McLean House
8. Slaves’ Quarters
A photograph of the McLean house. The house is pictured left of the text. The picture shows the front of the house and west side. The brick house is three stories tall with a wide white colonnaded veranda across the front. There are no windows on the side wall. A white picket fence beyond a green lawn surrounds the house .
During the war Wilmer McLean and his family left their home in Manassas, VA, for business purposes. A sugar speculator, he bought the property at Appomattox Court House in the fall of 1862 to be near the railroad. Lee used the parlor of their home when he surrendered to Grant.
Lee’s surrender did not immediately end the Confederate States of America; other armies were still in the field. Not until the surrenders of Joseph E. Johnston’s army in North Carolina on April 26, Richard Taylor’s army in Alabama on May 4, and Edmund Kirby Smith’s army in Texas on June 2 did the Confederacy cease to exist. The terms set at Appomattox Court House by Lee and Grant governed the surrenders of all other Confederate armies.
An image of a landscape with the color of green grass dispersing throughout the picture. There is a dirt road that travels from the bottom right corner towards the center of the image and continues out of the picture to the right. In the foreground there is a shadow casted over the grass and road. There is a section of grass separated by a wooden fence into two different areas. There is another fence that spans the left side of the road starting in the foreground and ending in the back of the image. Multiple trees are dispersed throughout the image with a cluster lining the background. Between these trees there are multiple buildings ranging in colors from yellow to orange to white. The sky is a grayish blue with no clouds in the air.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is 92 miles west of Richmond and 18 miles east of Lynchburg, on VA Rt. 24. It is three miles northeast of the town of Appomattox. You'll find accommodations restaurants, and stores located there.
Begin your tour at the park visitor center in the reconstructed courthouse, which includes an information desk, a museum, and an auditorium where a film is shown. Par programs illustrate the impact of the Civil War on daily life in the village of Appomattox Court House.
A picture of John Peck, a black soldier. The black and white historic photograph shows Peck in uniform standing with his right hand resting on the back of a wooden chair. His tunic is buttoned to the bow tie at his throat and carries the sleeve stripes of a corporal. He is looking straight ahead and is wearing a forage cap tilted at a slight angle to his right. His hair and mustached are neatly clipped.
CREDIT: Ron Rittenhouse Collection
Blacks served in both armies. In Lee’s army they worked as cooks, musicians, teamsters, and personal servants. Thirty-nine received paroles. Grant’s army had seven black regiments, about 5,000 men, including Corporal John Peck, United States Colored Troops, who participated in the Battle of Appomattox Court House during the final hours.
The following language is a proposed revision to the text within the brochure: Grant’s forces at Appomattox included about 5,000 United States Colored Troops (USCT), including Corporal John Peck (pictured). The Confederate government prohibited Black people from serving in the army as combatants until February 1865. None were engaged in combat. Enslaved and free Blacks were employed (the payment for enslaved going to their enslavers) as laborers and other non-combatant functions. 39 were paroled at Appomattox.
A painting of the McLean parlor and the surrender meeting. It illustrates 16 men known to have been present at the McLean House, but not all in the parlor as surrender terms were negotiated. Grant and Lee are pictured standing in the middle of the room on a red and green patterned carpet shaking hands. On the left side are pictured Lee's aide, Lt. Colonel Charles Marshal conferring with Grant's aide Ely Parker. The two men are looking at documents meant to represent the surrender terms. 12 other federal officers are arrayed behind Lee and Grant and to the right side of the room.
CREDIT: NPS/Keith Rocco
When Grant and Lee sat down in the parlor of Wilmer MacLane's home, Grant asked only that the Confederates pledge not to take up arms against the United States. Grant allowed Confederate officers to keep their side arms and any man who owned a horse to take it home with him. The generous terms of surrender began the process of reunification. Lt. Col. Charles Marshall of Lee’s staff and Lt. Col. Ely S. Parker of Grant’s prepared the official surrender documents. Both men appear at the far left in the painting of the surrender. Capt. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln and a junior member of Grant’s military team, stands directly behind his general.
IMAGE 1of 2: Parole Pass
The image of the parole pass is a white rectangle with orange scuff marks along the bottom of the pass. There is a thin black line that creates an inner boarder. On the left side of the pass there is a pattern the mimics the opposite side. The writing on the parole pass says Appomattox Court House, Va., then smaller writing below the title that is a mix between typed lettering and handwriting in cursive.
IMAGE 2 of 2: Printing Presses
The image is of a hand cranked printing presses used to produce parole passes. The printing press is a black raised thick table with a white top. On the left side of the table there is a golden rolling pin with a hand crank on one side. There is another printing press in the background of the image. Next to the one in the back is a wooden box table with a piece of paper on top. The floor of the room is hardwood floors with a shiny finish. The wallpaper has stripes of white and green. The green in the wallpaper is leaves interlocking. On the top right side of the image is a fireplace with pieces of wood in a catchment at the bottom.
Printing presses set up in the Clover Hill Tavern quickly produced passes, or paroles, required of Confederates en route to their homes. Printers worked in relays to print 30,000 blank parole forms by April 11. Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, Army of Northern Virginia cavalry commander and nephew of Gen. Robert E. Lee, carried the parole shown above.
There is an 1865 black and white photograph of the Clover Hill Tavern at the bottom left corner of the page. The photograph shows a number of residents gathered in front of the tavern. The two story brick building and its wide veranda are visible behind large hardwood trees. To the left of the Tavern is the wood framed dining room - no longer standing. To the right is the roof peak of the stable - no longer standing. A white picket fence stands between the Tavern and the Stage Road that runs across the lower front of the photograph.
CREDIT: Library of Congress.
Appomattox Court House developed from the small settlement of Clover Hill, a stop along the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road. Clover Hill’s few houses clustered around a tavern. When the county of Appomattox formed in 1845, Clover Hill became the county seat and was renamed Appomattox Court House. Its courthouse, built in 1846, spurred the construction of homes, stores, and lawyers’ offices.
Among the many structures that survive from the 1800s are the Clover Hill Tavern (pictured, in 1865), Meeks Store, Woodson Law Office, Peers House, Mariah Wright House, and Kelley House.
The image is of a cracked tombstone of Lafayette Meeks. The image shows a white marble tombstone with a wide crack running down the middle angling right to left. The inscription is partially broken and reads "..FAYETTE W. MEEKS" in all capital letters. Below that the script inscription is barely legible and reads "Son of Francis K. and Maria Meeks. Born on May...." The remaining inscription is illegible.
(Additional information: The tombstone marks the grave of Lafayette who enlisted in the Confederate army in May, 1861. He died of Typhoid fever shortly after and likely never saw combat. His parents were able to arrange to have his body returned home for burial.)
The rural, agricultural county had 8,900 residents (54 percent black, most of them enslaved) at the time of the Civil War. Appomattox Court House, the county’s only town, boasted a population of under 150.
The few trades— blacksmith, cooper, wheelwright, miller, and sawyer—mostly served the needs of farmers and plantation owners. Yet people needed a place to conduct legal affairs, buy the few items they did not grow or make, and meet with their neighbors. Appomattox Court House filled these needs.
Some lawyers opened offices around the courthouse, and merchants opened two of the county’s dozen stores here. The Meeks Store doubled as post office. Francis Meeks’ son Lafayette served in the Confederate army, died of typhoid, and was buried here.
The village and county both prospered in the 1850s. The war changed all of this.
The color image is a photograph of the front of the Clover Hill Tavern during a Living History presentation. There is a large group of people sitting on the steps of the white colonnaded veranda of the brick building. More people are sitting in the shade of the veranda. A man in the blue uniform of a federal soldier stands in front. His dark blue blouse has two chevron stripes on his left sleeve indicating the rank of a corporal. A red patch on his left chest identifies his regiment but can not be clearly identified in the photograph. His light blue trousers have a dark blue stripe down the leg to cuffs that are rolled up. His boots look worn and dusty. He is wearing a brown wide brimmed slouch hat.
The backside of the brochure goes over how the historic site was created and information needed to understand the history of the buildings that are still standing. In the top right corner there is a small map that encompasses the entirety of the park and surrounding area. The bottom half of the page contains an animated map of the village of Appomattox. The village is displayed as a color aerial view with both current and historical buildings.
A black and white photograph of the ruins of the Appomattox Courthouse taken shortly after a fire destroyed the building in February 1892. The ruins of the courthouse are in the background. Only the brick walls remain and the door and window openings are blank spaces. There are a number of trees visible. None of the trees have leaves indicating that the photograph was taken in the winter. The old stage road is visible in the lower left corner of the photograph as it runs toward the courthouse. The three story brick jail stands on the left side of the road. A board fence runs along the road and across the front of the courthouse. Two white frame buildings stand to the right. These are part of the Rosser family's shops which are no longer standing. The presence of the jail and the Rosser buildings reveal that the photograph was taken from the east side, looking west.
CREDIT: American Civil War Museum
After the surrender ceremony the soldiers returned home, the war ended, but Appomattox Court House was changed. In many ways the village declined. Neither side rushed in to erect monuments as they did on many other Civil War battlefields. Appomattox Court House became a backwater, while Appomattox Station, just to the west, prospered as the result of its position on the railroad.
In the late 1880s Union veterans formed the Appomattox Land Company. They hoped to develop the area, but their plans never left the drawing board. In 1892 the courthouse burned and the county seat moved to Appomattox, formerly Appomattox Station.
In early 1893 a Niagara Falls, NY, company dismantled the McLean House with the hope of taking it to Washington, DC, as a war museum. They never moved the piles of bricks and lumber, which, exposed to the elements, eventually disappeared. The little village was either going up in smoke or crumbling into dust.
In 1930, Congress passed a bill that provided for building a monument at the site of the old courthouse. The monument was never built, but the idea of commemorating the events of April 1865 endured. The War Department administered the area until its transfer to the National Park Service in 1933. Congress authorized it as a national monument in 1940.
The project resumed at the end of World War II; in 1954, the area was redesignated Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. Today the village looks much as it did in April 1865.
A North arrow pointing to the top of the map. Below is a distance scale depicting 0.5 Kilometers and 0.5 Miles.
A broad overview map of the park and the surrounding area, the park and it's boundary is green differentiating from the remainder of the area. The map shows Hwy 24 as it crosses through the park, and the parking turn outs and information stations along the road. A dotted green line through the Village indicates the original route of the Stage Road, now Hwy 24. A dotted green line to the right of Highway 24 is labeled as the Appomattox History Trail. From left to right the trail connects the North Carolina Monument to the site of Lee's Headquarters.
A few spots associated with the events of the surrender lie outside the village.
Lee’s headquarters site is northeast of the village. It is a two-minute walk from a small parking lot on VA Rt. 24.
Grant’s headquarters site is southwest of the village. Nearby, a monument erected by the state of North Carolina marks the farthest advance of its troops that April day.
A small Confederate cemetery, just west of the village, holds the graves of one Federal and 18 Confederate soldiers killed on April 8 and 9.
A hiking trail south of the highway connects Lee’s headquarters site to the North Carolina Monument.
Begin at the visitor center, where you’ll find exhibits, a film, seasonal talks, maps, and restrooms. The map below depicts the historic village, much as it looked in April 1865. Existing structures have white labels; those no longer standing are pale gray with black numbers; see the key in the section labeled Map: Buildings No Longer Standing. All the sites are within easy walking distance but you must walk on gravel and grass surfaces. Most buildings are over 150 years old and require steps for entry. Wheelchairs are available at the visitor center.
The National Park Service handbook covers many aspects of Lee's retreat and surrender, and the history of the village. Find it and other publications at the park bookstore.
For firearms regulations check the park website. Firearms are prohibited in the following buildings: Visitor Center, McLean House, Clover Hill Tavern, and Bookstore.
On April 9, 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the parlor of this house. Lee’s aide Lt. Col. Charles Marshall chose this site. The house, built in 1848, survived under several owners until 1893, when speculators dismantled it in a failed money-making venture. (Reconstructed)
In the 1940s, using the speculators' plans and specifications, and archeological evidence, the National Park Service rebuilt the house on its 1848 foundation.
Constructed in 1852; at the time of the surrender Francis Meeks operated a general store and post office here. (Original)
John Woodson bought this office in 1856 an practiced law here until he joined the Confederate Army and died of disease in 1864. (Original)
Built in 1819 and the oldest village structure, this is where the Federals printed the parole passes for Confederate soldiers. Associated structures include the kitchen (now a bookstore), slave quarters, and guesthouse. In 1865 the tavern included an attached dining wing and a small detached bar. (Original)
The original county courthouse, built in 1846, burned in 1892. None of the events of the surrender took place here. (Reconstructed 1964)
Completed by 1867, this “new” county jail replaced the first jail, which burned in December 1864.
From the porch of this house the residents may have watched Lee’s Confederates lay down their arms on April 12, 1865. (Original)
This frame house, built in the mid-1820s, is one of the older buildings in the village. The stone and brick chimneys are typical of this region. Not open to the public. (Original)
Two brothers built this house in 1850. One of them, Thomas Bocock, was a US Congressman. He later served as speaker of the Confederate Congress. Not open to the public. (Original)
George Peers, clerk of Appomattox County court for 40 years, lived in this frame house, built in the early 1850s. Not open to the public. (Original)
On the morning of April 12, 1865, about 5,000 Federal troops lined the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road from just east of the Peers House to a point near the McLean House to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee’s infantry stacked their weapons, flags, and other accoutrements before the Federals in a formal ceremony that Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain dubbed “Honor answering honor.”
The north arrow points at about a 45 degree angle, right to left.
Visual approach with both buildings that are standing and those no longer standing. Existing buildings are labeled and shown in color. Buildings no longer standing are shown as faded grey and are numbered for reference in the accompanying list. The majority of the map is grass with trees scattered throughout.
Moving clockwise. The parking lot is at the bottom center of the map. The parking lot is bean shaped with grass and trees in the center. On the top right of the parking lot is a picnic area. Continuing left is a cluster of buildings surrounding the McLean House. To the left of the parking lot is McLean Stable labeled number 5. Between the two fences that separate number five and the rest of the houses surrounding the McLean House is the Back Lane. These buildings are; the Kitchen which includes the Slavery and Emancipation Exhibit, the Slave Quarters, the McLean Smokehouse numbered 4, Woodson Law Office from 1865 numbered 2, Raine Tavern empty in 1865 numbered 3, the Ice House which the view is blocked in the map, and the McLean House which is noted that it is the surrender site. A dirt road separates this cluster from the Union Academy Dwelling House numbered 1. In the same fenced area is the Lafeyette Meeks grave.
Continuing clockwise, is the Visitor Center also labeled Appomattox County Courthouse located in the center of a traffic circle. Circling around the Visitor Center starting in the southern most building is the Pryor Wright House numbered 6, Appomattox County Jail ca. 1867, the Original Jail numbered 18, Robertson & Glover Store numbered 17, the Clover Hill Tavern Stable numbered 16, the Mule Stable numbered 15, Carriage House numbered 14, Tavern Bar numbered 13, the Clover Hill Tavern, Slave Quarters (restrooms), Tavern Kitchen (bookstore), Tavern Dining Room numbered 12, Tavern Smokehouse numbered 11, Tavern Guesthouse, Meeks Stable, Offices numbered 8-10, Woodson Law Office, Storehouse, Meeks Storehouse (1865), and finishing off the circle around the Visitor Center is the Meeks Store.
Following the fence line on the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road are buildings numbered 19-23 which are W. Rosser Tenant House, W. Rosser Wheelwright Shop, W. Rosser Blacksmith Shop, W. Rosser Corn Crib, and W. Rosser Barn. Across the street is Isbell Law Office labeled 25. Leaving the park is the Peer House, Peers Stable numbered 24, the location of Grant-Lee Second Meeting on April 10, 1865, and the Chamberlain-Gordon Salute on April 12, 1865.
An off shoot from the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road is the Prince Edward Court House Road. The center top of the map is the Peers Cabin and Slave Quarters numbered 27. Across the road is the Kelley House and Inge House numbered 26. Continuing clockwise is Moffitt House numbered 28, Union Academy Hall numbered 29, and J. Rosser Blacksmith Shop numbered 30. Parallel to the Prince Edward Court House Road is the Bocock Lane. On Bocock Lane in the center of the map is the Isbell House, Stable, Kitchen, and Smokehouse. At the end of the lane is the Mariah Wright House and the Wright Stable numbered 31.
CREDIT: NPS/ Chris Casady
Listing of buildings still standing traveling from the bottom center of the map and moving clockwise.
Listing of buildings no longer standing with their coinciding labeled number.
1. Union Academy Dwelling House
2. Woodson Law Office (1865)
3. Raine Tavern (empty in 1865)
4. McLean Smokehouse
5. McLean Stable
6. Pryor Wright House
7. Meeks Storehouse (1865)
11. Tavern Smokehouse
12. Tavern Dining Room
13. Tavern Bar
14. Carriage House
15. Mule Stable
16. Clover Hill Tavern Stable
17. Robertson & Glover Store
18. Original Jail
19. W. Rosser Tenant House
20. W. Rosser Wheelwright Shop
21. W. Rosser Blacksmith Shop
22. W. Rosser Corn Crib
23. W. Rosser Barn
24. Peers Stable
25. Isbell Law Office
26. Inge House
27. Peers Cabin/Slave Quarters
28. Moffitt House
29. Union Academy Hall
30. J. Rosser Blacksmith Shop
31. Wright Stable
We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all; call or check our website at 434-352-8987 or www.nps.gov/apco.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
ADDRESS: PO Box 218 Appomattox, VA 24522
PHONE NUMBER: 434-352-8987
Appomattox Court House is one of over 400 areas in the National Park System. To learn more, visit www.nps.gov.
National Park Foundation: Join the park community. www.nationalparks.org