Picturing Union victory - early images of the surrender at Appomattox
Here’s a familiar story: On April 9, 1865, generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met in Wilmer McLean’s parlor at Appomattox Courthouse to sign the documents that would dictate the surrender of the most important national institution in the Confederacy—the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant sat at a small wooden table with spindle-turned legs and an oval top. His aide, Lt. Col. Ely S. Parker, sat at another small wooden table in order to write out copies of the surrender. Lee sat at a much grander table, with a large black wooden base and a marble top. It’s very probable that neither general made much of the seating arrangements (Grant, in fact, fails to describe them in his memoirs); but that has not prevented them from being the subject of much controversy and conversation in the fifteen decades since.