The Most Peculiar Fact of the American Civil War

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You might not know this very odd fact of the Civil War. The family of Wilmer McLean watched both the beginning and the end of the Civil War from their home.

The McLean Home at Bull Run.

Shortly after they married in 1853, McLean and his wife Virginia Mason moved to Manassas, Virginia.

McLean House in Appomattox

Only a few years later, Confederate General Beauregard used their property as the headquarters ahead of the first land battle of the Civil War, the first battle of Bull Run. They were so close to the battle that one day during the battle, a cannonball soared through the kitchen and landed in the fireplace. That battle ended on July 21, 1861, for a Confederate victory. The McLeans moved south.

Restored parlor of the McLean home where Lee surrendered, ending the American Civil War.

They re-established themselves in a small village called Appomattox Courthouse in southern Virginia. On April 9, 1865, Charles Marshall, an aide to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, asked for a secure location for the General. Wilmer volunteered his home. Lee arrived at the house, followed by Union General Ulysses S Grant. It was in the McLean parlor that the formal surrender of Lee to Grant took place, ending the American Civil War.

The McLean House at Appomattox is preserved and open for visitors.

When the first skirmishes began, people came in buggies with picnic baskets to watch the fighting. It didn’t end the same way.

The American Civil War took the lives of about 620,000 soldiers; many died without any of their loved ones knowing what happened to them.


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