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Contact: Ernie Price, 434-352-8987 Ext. 227Appomattox Court House NHP and the Appomattox 1865 Foundation
Commemorate 153rd Anniversary
Appomattox, Va. – Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and its friends group, the Appomattox 1865 Foundation will commemorate the 153rd anniversary of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant with special anniversary related programs and activities from April 6-12. There will be many traditional activities often seen during anniversaries, but there will be numerous first-time events this year too.
New for this year is Wolfbane Production’s original play, “The Hannah Reynolds Story.” Hannah Reynolds was the only known civilian casualty of the fighting at Appomattox. She was an enslaved woman who was mortally wounded on the morning of April 9, 1865 and died three days later of her wound. The play is free to attend and will be performed on April 7th and 8th at 7:00 p.m. The play lasts 40 minutes and those interested are encouraged to arrive at the Park at least 20 minutes early to allow time to get to the play site, the Kelley House on the east side of the historic village. You are also encouraged to bring your own chairs or blankets.
Traditional highlights this year include the reenacted Stacking of Arms Ceremony on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, several new ranger led programs, and the luminary event Saturday night, April 7 (rain date April 14). Following the tradition established at the 150th, 4,600 luminaries will line the Stage Road representing each person in Appomattox County that was emancipated as a result of the surrender. Thanks to the efforts of a team led by Rev. Al Jones, more than 3,700 names of those 4,600 who were emancipated have been collected and will be read throughout the day on April 7th. Also, visitors will observe the names written on the luminary bags that will light the village corridor all night of the 7th.
“The luminaries will really take effect about 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night, just after the play “The Hannah Reynolds Story.” The luminaries are always spectacular and contemplative, but they will be particularly special this year just after the play,” said Park Superintendent Robin Snyder.
Visitors who have attended recent anniversary programs, or have seen the park film that was released in 2015 may remember the excellent portrayers of Gen. Lee (Thomas Jesse) and Gen. Grant (Curt Fields). They will both be present for the 153rd activities to engage with visitors and pose for photographs. On Sunday (April 8), at 3:00 p.m., the Generals along with other re-enactors, will recreate the scene of Gen. Lee leaving the McLean House after the surrender meeting at the exact time of day that it happened 153 years ago.
On Friday night, April 6, the Appomattox 1865 Foundation will host a Civil War ball at the Appomattox Inn & Suites from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. Refreshments will be provided, with a cash bar available in the lobby. (Civil War era or evening attire for this event is requested but not required). The cost is $15 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by visiting www.appomattox1865foundation.org.
For a detailed list of activities and individual program times for the 153rd anniversary, please visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/apco and follow the 153rd link on the home page, or call the Park at 434-352-8987 ext. 226.