April 9th marks the 155th anniversary of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, Virginia. The anniversary reminds me of a project we undertook in 2011 directly related to that day in 1865.
Through our good buddy at the Gettysburg National Military’s Park, Curator Greg Goodell, I was introduced to his sister, Gretchen Goodell, Curator at Stratford Hall, VA, home of the Lee’s. Always looking for projects for the APG and especially for something near the site of our upcoming show in Fredericksburg, I asked Gretchen if they had anything we could help with. I really wasn’t prepared for her answer. Of course she did, and, would I be interested in helping with preserving the original surrender document from Appomattox? What??!! I almost fell over. She mentioned several other objects related to Lee that I ight want to take a look at. I made plans immediately to travel in March to Stratford Hall to view the document.
When I got there I was warmly greeted by Gretchen and co worker Judith (Judy) Hynson. After explaining what it was we do they escorted me to a room and brought several pieces for me to view.
The first was the actual document. Surprisingly, it was in excellent condition. Judith explained that the document had been on and off of exhibit to minimize the effects of light and handling. Despite their very efforts some work did need to be done. Over the years it had become frayed and a bit worn were folded and handled. These areas needed to repaired if possible and stabilized.
A little hard to read here so hear it is transcribed.
Appomattox C.H. Va.
Apl. 9th 1865
Gen R.E. Lee
In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th instant, I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms; to wit:
Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate one copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands.
The arms, artillery, and public property are to be parked and stacked and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done officers and man will be allowed to return to their homes not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.
U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.
I learned while there that this document would be going to Appomattox for exhibit during the 150th Anniversary in 2016. https://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/surrender-documents-to-return-to-appomattox-court-house/article_7d89f929-a226-5475-b475-abca855ac3b2.html
How appropriate and timely that we could get on board with this project when we did.
Tomorrow I will post the excellent article written by Judith on the history of the document
More to follow…
More to follow …