Robert E. Lee's chair from Appomattox

On April 9, 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee met in the home of Wilmer McLean at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, to negotiate the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to the United States Army. Sitting in the chair on the left, Lee discussed the fate of his troops. Grant then, leaning over an oval table, drafted and signed the final terms of surrender. While there were still Confederate troops in the field under other commanders, Lee's surrender effectively marked the end of the Civil War.
Union officers, recognizing the significance of the event, individually took pieces of furniture as souvenirs. General E. W. Whitaker grabbed Lee's chair, General Henry Capehart claimed Grant's chair, and General Philip Sheridan took the table and presented it to the wife of Major General George Amstrong Custer. In three separate donations, by 1915, these items were reunited at the Smithsonian Institution.
Object Name
Date made
before 1865
associated date
Lee, Robert Edward
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 45 1/2 in x 18 1/2 in x 20 in; 115.57 cm x 46.99 cm x 50.8 cm
United States: Virginia, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
associated place
United States: Virginia, Appomattox
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
Government, Politics, and Reform
National Treasures exhibit
Civil War
See more items in
Political History: Political History, General History Collection
National Treasures exhibit
The Price of Freedom
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Related Publication
Kendrick, Kathleen M. and Peter C. Liebhold. Smithsonian Treasures of American History
Publication title
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL

Visitor Comments

1/1/2017 3:54:23 PM
Gerald Baker
I was just surprised to see Lees chair on Tv...I have a very similar rocking chair with the cane replaced with wood... been in my family for close to a 100 years....curious now about when where it was made.
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