Five Things to Know: Appomattox and the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War

The 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War is fast approaching. Where better to be for this significant point in American history than where the letter of surrender was written and the war came to a close?

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Appomattox, Virginia.

Appomattox Court House and National Historical Park. Photo by“Harried mercilessly by Federal troops and continually cut off from turning south, Lee headed west, eventually arriving in Appomattox County on April 8. Heading for the South Side Railroad at Appomattox Station, where food supplies awaited, the Confederates were cut off once again and nearly surrounded by Union troops near the small village of Appomattox Court House. Despite a final desperate attempt to escape, Lee’s army was trapped. General Lee surrendered his remaining troops to General Grant at the McLean House on the afternoon of April 9.”



1.  NEARLY 90 EVENTS are occurring in a five-day span to commemorate the end of the Civil War as it occurred at Appomattox. Several of the events are scheduled to occur at the same hour and minute as 150 years ago, giving you a real-time feel for what you’ll be witnessing. Key moments occurring at the National Historical Park that you won’t want to miss:

Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park

    • April 8, 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – Battle of Appomattox – Narrated. Demonstration of the Confederate artillery versus the Federal cavalry.
    • April 9, 7:30 a.m. – Battle of Appomattox Court House – Narrated. This was the final battle in the Eastern Theater of the war, producing approximately 2,000 casualties.
    • April 9, 11 a.m. – Opening Ceremony
    • April 9, 3 p.m. – Lee Leaves the McLean House – Reenactors portraying General Lee and his staff will emerge and depart from the McLean House in an act that reflects, in real-time, a moment that occurred exactly 150 years ago.
    • April 10 – 2 p.m. – Confederate Cavalry Surrender – In a real-time event, the Confederate cavalry will surrender their equipment.
    • April 10 & 11 3 p.m. – Stacking of Arms Ceremony – The real surrendering of arms took about six hours and 30 minutes in 1865. Get an idea of what such an event looked like when Confederate reenactors come one at a time into the village to lay down their weapons and flags before the Union reenactors. You’ll be especially moved by the salute from the Union troops to the Confederate troops and the return salute that was offered.


2. THERE ARE TWO MULTI-DAY EVENTS running consecutively for the Sesquicentennial commemoration at Appomattox.


3. EXTENDED HOURS will be offered at the Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox, allowing you to visit without missing programming at adjacent sites. Extended hours will be offered April 8-12 only (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Special programming is also available at MOC this week with your paid admission:



    • Download the Battle App® for Appomattox in the App Store or Google Play. GPS-based, the app will tell you the part of the story that occurred exactly where you’re standing. Timed maps will also show you key moments, advances and retreats. Hear from historians, listen to soldier and civilian accounts, and see photos, facts, and event chronology. Want more? Try the Field Glasses®, an augmented reality viewer that allows you to hold your device horizontally and see key landmarks across the current landscape.


5. THERE’S A HASHTAG FOR THAT. Share your experiences, get a selfie with a soldier, and above all, hashtag your Appomattox adventure with #APX150th to possibly find yourself within our Storify stream!





© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2015. |

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Casey Higgins

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!