• The village of Appomattox Court House from the west, the McLean House is on the right.

    Appomattox Court House

    National Historical Park Virginia

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  • The McLean House front porch is closed, but the house remains open.

    The front porch of the McLean House is being renovated requiring entry into the house through the back door.

Charles Marshall--Aide, Scribe, Agent of History

Lt. Col. Charles Marshall, the only other Confederate in the McLean parlor with General Lee on April 9, 1865.

Lt. Col. Charles Marshall, the only other Confederate in the McLean parlor with General Lee on April 9, 1865.

Tulane University Library

Lt. Col. Charles Marshall, a personal aide to General Lee during the Appomattox Campaign, was born in Warrenton, Virginia in 1831. He was the great-grand nephew John M. Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1801-1835). Charles Marshall himself studied law but resigned from his Baltimore law firm after the war began. He joined Lee's staff as an aide-de-camp in March 1862 when Lee was advisor to President Davis. Marshall's legal training proved useful in drafting military legislation for submission to the Confederate Congress.

After Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia, Marshall's duties included preparing drafts of Lee's dispatches. It was Marshall who penned Lee's first response to Grant's proposed terms for surrender. His letter requested the interview for that purpose.

Initially General Lee asked Colonels Marshall and Taylor to accompany him to the conference with Grant but Taylor declined. Consequently, with Lee for the meeting were Marshall, orderly Pvt. Joshua Johns, and members of Grant's staff Col. Babcock and his orderly Capt. William Dunn. Upon reaching the outskirts of the village, Marshall and Johns rode ahead to find a suitable place for the meeting. The first white citizen they encountered was Wilmer McLean.

At some point after the surrender meeting Lee directed Marshall to write a farewell letter to his army. Interrupted constantly, Marshall finally moved to General Lee's ambulance to complete the historic task on the morning of April 10th. General Lee only made minor edits to Marshall's eloquent text of General Order #9.

Did You Know?

W.S. Pilcher (right) Confederate Richmond Depot Shell Jacket (left)

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.