Library of Congress
Site of the Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia - The McLean home in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia was used on April 9, 1865 for the surrender meeting between General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A. and Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant, U.S.A. The house was also used on April 10th for the Surrender Commissioners meeting in which all the details of the surrender were finalized. Consisting of Union Generals John Gibbon, Charles Griffin and Wesley Merritt and Confederate Generals James Longstreet, John Gordon and William Pendleton, these six men settled any unresolved issues regarding the surrender. Over the next few days Major General John Gibbon, U.S.A. used the McLean House as his headquarters.
The McLean’s left Appomattox Court House and returned to Mrs. McLean's Prince William County, Virginia estate in the fall of 1867. When Wilmer McLean defaulted on repayment of loans, the banking house of "Harrison, Goddin, and Apperson" of Richmond, Virginia brought a judgment against him, and the "Surrender House" was sold at public auction on November 29, 1869. The house was purchased by John L. Pascoe and apparently rented to the Ragland family formerly of Richmond. In 1872 Nathaniel H. Ragland purchased the property for $1250.00.
On January 1, 1891 the property was sold by the Widow Ragland for the sum of $10,000 to Captain Myron Dunlap of Niagara Falls, New York. Myron Dunlap and fellow speculators went through two or three plans intending to capitalize on the notoriety of the property, one idea was to dismantle the home and move it to Chicago as an exhibit at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Measured drawings including elevations and materials specifications lists were produced, the house was dismantled and packed for shipping, but due to cash flow and legal problems the plan was never brought to fruition. The home sat dismantled in piles prey to vandals, collectors, and the environment for fifty years.
Did You Know?
Private William Pilcher of the Otey Battery (pictured in an early war artillery uniform)was issued this type III Richmond Depot Shell jacket less than 2 months prior to the surrender at Appomattox Court House. Donated by the Pilcher family, the original is exhibited at Appomattox Court House NHP.