Plate 99. McLean's House, Appomattox Court-House, Where Grant and Lee signed the Capitulation

Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
On the evening of the 7th of April, 1865, General Grant first forwarded, under a flag of truce, a letter to Gen. Lee, demanding the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, in order to avoid the further effusion of blood. That army had re-crossed the Appomattox river at High Bridge and Farmville, closely pressed by Sheridan's cavalry and the Armies of the Potomac and James. On the 8th, some correspondence passed between the two Commanding Generals, the one army retreating towards Lynchburg, followed by the Second and Sixth Corps, whilst the cavalry and the Fifth and Twenty-Fourth Corps made forced marches in order to pass around and gain the front of the enemy. About noon on the 9th, the head of the Second Corps, when within three miles of Appomattox Court-House, came up with the rear guard of the enemy; and at the same time, Gen. Lee, in person, appeared with a flag of truce, and, by letter, asked for a suspension of hostilities, pending negotiations for a surrender. About four o'clock in the afternoon of that eventful Sunday, the glad tidings was announced throughout the Union Armies that the Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered. The excitement among our troops was unparalleled, officers and men uniting in the most extravagant demonstrations of joy. The photograph represents the house in which the terms of capitulation between Generals Grant and Lee were signed. The apple tree (about half a mile from the Court-House) under which they first met, has been entirely carried away in pieces, as mementoes, not even the roots remaining.
It is a singular fact that the owner of this house, Mr. McLean, was living on the first Bull Run battle-field at the time of that engagement, and afterwards removed to this place for the purpose of being secure from the visitation of an army.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 8 13/16 in; 17.145 cm x 22.43658 cm
place made
United States: Virginia, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Government, Politics, and Reform
Gardner's Sketchbook
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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