ISSUE NUMBER 13

HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL

AUGUST 2011

HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL ISSUE NUMBER 13

PUBLISHED BY GEORGE GRASSE

PHOTO TOUR OF APPOMATTOX COURT HOUSE AND VILLAGE 1865

By George Grasse

 

#1: This is illustration taken from the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park brochure showing the main reconstructed features of the village.  The Park's Visitor Center is located in the reconstructed Court House with the red roof.  The reconstructed McLean "Surrender House" is directly below it close to the visitor's parking lot.  Most of the buildings in this view are no longer standing and are shown in faded gray colors.  The main road running through the village loops around the courthouse.  This is the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road with Richmond (east) off to the top center and Lynchburg (west) to the lower left.  North runs roughly parallel to the Prince Edward Court House Road at the top. 

 

#2: Appomattox County Court House east side from the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road looking west.  My photo tour begins here and just off to the right where the fence sign is posted is the site of the remains of building 19, the W. Rosser Tenant House.   The Court House straight ahead was the "raison d'etre" for the Appomattox Village site.  It is a reconstructed building approved for construction in the newly designated Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  Off to the right partially hidden by a large oak tree is the Clover Hill Tavern.  To its right is the Tavern's kitchen and the white-washed Slave Quarters.

 

#3: Close up of the east entrance off the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road.  The reconstructed court house serves as the Park's Visitor Center.  There are guided tours every so often plus you might run into an American Civil War interpreter in costume.

 

#4: Turning right at the Court House and following the loop, all of the buildings on the right are the Clover Hill Tavern complex.  The Tavern is the prominent brick building.  To its left is the Tavern's Guest House.  To the rear of the Tavern are the Kitchen (left rear mostly obscured in this photo and the Slave Quarters.  Between the Tavern and the Guest House stood the Dining Room marked building 12 on the map.

 

#5: This is a close up of the Clover Hill Tavern Guest House with rooms on two levels.  In the background far left is the Plunkett-Meeks Store, the "orange" Woodson Law Office, and the Plunkett-Meeks Storehouse.  

 

#6: Behind the Clover Hill Tavern is the Kitchen (left) and the Slave Quarters (right).  The kitchen serves as the Park's Bookstore.  Because of the great potential for open fires, kitchens in large workplaces and homes were detached, in this case about 100 feet away from the Tavern proper.  Food was brought to the Dining Room (no longer standing) and placed in a "warming" kitchen" until served to guests.

 

#7: This photo was taken in front of the Clover Hill Tavern Guest House looking west.  At the far left along the white picket fence runs the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road after completing its loop around the Appomattox Court House.  On the left stands the Plunkett-Meeks Store.  On the far right stands the "orange" Woodson Law Office.  In between and set back about 40 feet is the Plunkett-Meeks Storehouse.

 

#8:  Stepping between the Store and the Law Office and just beyond the Storehouse is this photo of the Meeks Stable.  In the vacant field beyond the fence line and to the right of the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road once stood the Union Academy Dwelling House, marked building 1 on the map.  We are now west of the Appomattox Court House.

 

#9:  Walking back between the Store and the Law Office and moving to the road, this is a view west on the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road out of the village with the edge of the store on the right and the McLean House with outbuildings on the left.

 

#10:  Walking across the road a a little towards the McLean House, more outbuildings can be seen.  All of them including the house were reconstructed from photographs and the dismantled remains of the original buildings.  The detached kitchen is on the left.  The smaller structure to its right is the ice house.  From the nearby Appomattox River, ice formed during winter being the southern-most locale for ice-forming.  Residents would saw chunks of ice from the river, transport them back to their home, and, in this case, store the ice in a large pit covered by the structure you see.  The depth and width of the pit was calculated to hold enough ice to last until the next season.  The small building on the right appears to have been used to cover the well or as a front garden gazebo or both.  On the front of the McLean property abutting the road and just off to the right, once stood the non-disappeared Raine Tavern was remained empty since 1865 and withered away some time after that.

 

#11:  Walking west along the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road and just past the entrance to the McLean House is the spot where this photo was taken.  The building in the right rear is a reproduction of the Slave Quarters.

 

#12: This is a view of the McLean House from the west side along the Park's parking lot lane.  The Court House would be slightly behind but well to the right and off camera.  From left to right can be seen the Slave Quarters, Kitchen, main house, and the roof of the Ice House.

 

#13: Turning around on the Park's parking lane and looking east is the Appomattox County Jail House on the left and the Bocock-Isbell House on the right.  The jail was known as the "new" jail having replaced the "old" jail that stood opposite across the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road off to the left.

 

#14: This is the front of the "new" Appomattox County Jail House with the Bocock-Isbell House just off to the left.  The fence on the right marks the circular loop that encloses the Court House.  The Clover Hill Tavern complex is directly behind the camera so we have completed the loop and will he heading east, to the left on the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road.  

 

#15: The interior of the Jail House has two reconstructed rooms.  This one shows the probable contents of one of the jail rooms.  More than likely, the beds were possibly "bunked" so that four prisoners could be housed per room if need be. #16: This room shows the construction of the iron cross-member lattice that was built between the outer brick wall and the inner plaster wall.  Obviously, the iron prevented escape.

 

#17: Continuing east along the Stage Road, which bends to the left, is a short lane shown here which intersects the Prince Edward Court House Road at the fence line.  That road intersects the Richmond-Lynchburg State Road off to the right where we will be in a moment.  The small building is the Jones Law Office with a covered well.

 

#18: This photo was taken looking east at the spot were the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road veers off to the left, the Jones Law Office lane to the right, the Prince Edward Court House Road merges with the Stage Road just to the left of the Peers House, and Bocock Lane joins the Stage Road/Jones lane crossroad just off camera to the right.

 

#19: This is the Peers House at the intersection of the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road and the Prince Edward Court House Road.  The house was occupied by George Peers, clerk of the Appomattox Court House for 40 years.  The house was built in the early 1850's but is not open to the public.

 

#20: This close up of the Peers House front lawn shows an artillery limber and Napoleon 12-pounder.

 

#21: Just beyond the Peers House east along the Stage Road looking east is this spot where Lee and Grant met on 10 April 1865 and from which all the way back into the village both sides of the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road were lined with about 5000 Union troops through which Lee's Army of Northern Virginia marched to stack arms, a typical surrender ceremony event.

 

#22: Heading back to the Park's parking lot is this marker with a period photograph showing what the village looked like in April 1865 compared to today's landscape.  Back Lane is the roadway lined with fencing. 

 

#23: During the regular season, volunteers who are usually active re-enactor participants are available for a group talk and are almost always "in character".  Our particular interpreter represented a Union infantry unit that remained behind after the surrender to care for wounded brought in from the battles preceding 9 April 1865.

 

I TOOK THESE PHOTOS IN MAY 2010

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REFERENCE

Appomattox Court House, National Historical Park, Virginia, National Park Service, U. S. Deportment of the Interior.  Contact information is: P. O. Box 218, Appomattox, VA 24522, (434) 352-8987, website: www.nps.gov/apco

 

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