It is sometimes said that the Civil War began and ended in Wilmer McLean's Home. While that is not exactly correct (McLean owned a home at the battle of Bull Run and the "Surrender House" at Appomattox Court House) it makes a pretty good story. McLean decided to move from his home near Bull Run following Second Manassas because there was just too much fighting going on when he moved to peaceful Appomattox, about 3/4ths of the way between Richmond and Lynchburg, Virginia.
Appomattox was the original county seat of Appomattox County in Virginia. It was in McLean's home on April 9, 1865 that Robert E. Lee, Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia and General-in-Chief of all Confederate forces, surrendered his men to Ulysses S. Grant, General-in-Chief of all United States forces after the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse]]. The Surrender House has been completely reconstructed and represents the house which has been described in detail by various writers. The original home was torn down by a promoter who intended to rebuild it in Washington D. C. but ran out of money and left it to be looted.
While the Civil War attracts most visitors, the village is a picture of a typical Virginia Piedmont county seat frozen in time. It is an incredible window not only to Civil War history but our Nation's history as well. Walk the streets and visit the Clover Hill Tavern, "pressed" into service after the surrender, printing paroles for the Confederate soldiers so they could head home. Imagine a lawyer arguing a case against Mr. Woodson, the local attorney whose small office dots the landscape. Or walking into Plunkett-Meeks store to buy seeds for this year's crop.
Although the county seat only had 150 residents, during the week the court and the store would attract additional visitors from outlying areas (approximately 8,900 people lived in the county and slightly more than half were slaves).
In addition to a visitor's center, there are hiking trails and an auto tour, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Some lodging is available in nearby Appomattox, Virginia, most notably The Babcock House. A Hampton Inn has been added in Farmville, about 25 miles from Appomattox. The Babcock House also serves dinner (reservations recommended).
Location:East of the city of Appomattox on VA Highway 24 Directions:From Lynchburg, VA take US 460 East to VA Hwy 24E (off the Bypass). Follow signs to Appomattox Court House on the left. From Petersburg, Virginia follow US 460 West to the 460 By-Pass at Appomattox. Take 24E and follow the signs to Appomattox Court House. A small Confederate cemetery is on the left before the entrance to the park.
Addtional Information:Address: Superintendent,
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
PO Box 218
Appomattox, VA 24522