While visiting the park from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, you will see 1st person living history characters in the village. Outside of those times we will continue to provide opportunities for visitors to see living history characters, as staffing permits. These characters will speak to you as if it is the same date that it is for you, for example July 8, but for them the year is always 1865. They do formal programs throughout the day that begin in the Visitor Center, but they stay in character all day. None of the people being portrayed were particularly famous, but they were all real people that lived in the village during the summer/fall of 1865. Typical portrayals are town residents (including some that fought with Gen. Lee and surrendered in their own hometown), Union soldiers that have been assigned to Appomattox as provost guards (military police), and even someone that was emancipated as a result of the surrender "back in April."
Living History Interpreters
Living history characters will be in the park according to the November, 2017 schedule. (This schedule is subject to change, especially during extreme weather conditions)
You may also find living history programs on spring weekends before Memorial Day, or on weekends after Labor Day depending on staff availability. The individual characters that are portrayed each can vary depending on available staff, but below are some profiles of the kinds of people you can expect to meet.
He enlisted in Company F of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery in 1862 and in 1864 he is promoted as the Hospital Steward of the 188th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, this unit was assigned Provost Guard duty in south-central Virginia. Herman Bomherst would provide medical care for the soldiers of Company D (60 men) who were posted to Appomattox County during the summer and fall of 1865 to provide law and order while the government was re-established.
The daughter of James Bryant, an overseer on the nearby Flood plantation. Martha “Mattie” married Confederate soldier Charles Sweeney in Jan, 1865, and resided less than a mile from the Courthouse. Charles was the nephew of Joel Sweeney who popularized the banjo. Gen. Lee’s headquarters was not far from the Sweeney home, and she witnessed many of the events that took place in Appomattox in April, 1865.
Son of Thomas Caldwell. Born 1847. Former Confederate soldier who joined the Liberty Guards of the 46th Virginia Infantry when he was 18 years old. He was wounded at Petersburg. Caldwell was one of nine men left in his company at the time of the surrender.
Corporal James Cook is a Federal soldier from Western Pennsylvania serving with Company D, 188th Pennsylvania Infantry –serving with the Federal provost guard stationed at Appomattox Court House after the war.These soldiers were also present on April 9, 1865 at the time of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.Now they want to go home, but remain on duty providing law and order until government is re-established.
John Dennett is a reporter for the New York newspaper, The Nation.He travelled the South immediately after the war to document the stories of people from all walks of life.During the summer of 1865 he visited Appomattox.
Isaiah Edwards is a soldier of the 188th PA. Isaiah has been brought back with his unit acting as Provost Guards. Their job is to provide law and order in the County.
Emma is the 20 year old daughter of Clover Hill Tavern owner Wilson Hix. She was living with her father at the time of the surrender and witnessed some of the events during the surrender. The paroles for Lee's army were printed at the tavern.
William Hubbard served in the confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Manassas. He was captured at Gettysburg and imprisoned at Point Lookout, he was part of a prisoner exchange in February 1865. Hubbard participated in Lee's retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox. After the surrender, he returned home to work on his father's farm
Sgt Norris served in Company D, 188thPennsylvania Infantry. Following General Lee's surrender his company serves as the Provost Guard for Appomattox County.
George Peers is currently serving as County Clerk and was in that position at the time of the surrender. The last Confederate artillery shots were fired from his front yard and a cannon remains there still.
Thomas Tibbs served in the Army of Northern Virginia, was involved in the stacking of arms ceremony, and received his parole pass. Since the surrender, Tibbs can often be found in the village, which is literally next door to his family's farm.