Friday, May 20, 2016

Appomattox VA

Monday (5/16) to Friday (5/20):

On Monday morning we packed up and made the 125 mile trip from Mebane NC to Appomattox VA. We are staying at the Parkview Mobile Home & RV Park which is located across the street from the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox. The front park of the park is for RV's while the back section contains a number of old single wide mobile homes.

We got set up and went into town to the Visitor's Center. We picked up a few brochures about things to do and got a few of our questions answered about the area. We walked around downtown for a few minutes (it is very small) and then drove around to look at a few "historic" houses in town. The houses are not open and the only thing historic about them seem to be they were built over 100 years ago. After picking up a few items at Walmart, we returned back to the Duchess for the evening.

Visitor Center in Appomattox - Old Train Station

New Appomattox County Courthouse with
Monument to Confederate Soldiers

Queen Anne House near downtown Appomattox
Tuesday morning we awoke to rain. The forecast was for the rain to continue all day. We ended up driving over to Lynchburg VA to make the final mortgage payment on one of the rent houses we own back in Austin. We found a Bank of America branch, stood in line for a while, and then completed the transaction. They only had one teller on duty and when I asked about a restroom was told they did not have any public facilities. Our experience with Bank of America makes us appreciate the fact we use an Austin based credit union as our "bank". We returned back to Appomattox, stopped at Kroger's to pick up some groceries and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening inside. Connie cooked a shrimp/chicken/sausage gumbo that tasted good on a cool, rainy day.

Wednesday we visited the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park which located a couple of miles east of town. The park is a collection of original structures along with others that have been recreated during the 20th century. The house, the McLean House, that was used for the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to U. S. Grant's Army of the Potomac had been torn apart to be relocated originally to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and then to another location in Virginia. The original courthouse burned in the 1890's. Both of these building have been rebuilt and furnished with period furniture of 1860's. The McLean House has replica's of the tables and chairs used by Lee and Grant to start the end of the Civil War. The originals are in the Smithsonian in Washington DC. We heard an hour talk by Graham, one of the volunteers at the park, about the armies and how they ended up here in Appomattox Court House. We also watch a short film about the park and the surrender ceremony that happened there along with seeing some of the artifacts from the events.
Cemetery where 18 Confederate and 1 Union soldiers are buried

It was a cool day with temps in the 50's.

Our tour guide - Graham

View of courthouse with general store on the left.
McLean House where the surrender took place.
I got up early Thursday morning to get one of Jeep tires replaced. A local shop, Webb Tire, had the right size tire and was able to work me in to make the change. Later in the day we visited the Museum of the Confederacy which is located across the street from the campground. This is a satellite museum with the main one being in Richmond VA. Between the two facilities they are able to display only 20% of the items in their collection. The museum does a good job of presenting the confederate side of the Civil War while also showing the Union response.
Death mask of Robert E. Lee

According to tradition, Lee only worn this coat one time
at the meeting with Grant at Appomattox Court House

One of Lee's swords. This one was made in France
and given to him by a couple from Maryland.
Thursday afternoon the sun finally came out. Tomorrow we will move about 30 miles north to the James River State Park.