‘Where our nation reunited’: Appomattox’s rich history in the Civil War

The history is what’s drawing a lot of tourism to the area

For this week's In Your Town, we take you to Appomattox County, best known for its role in the Civil War.

APPOMATTOX, Va. – Our seventh stop on the 10 News In Your Town series is in Appomattox.

Some residents consider Appomattox a small community including restaurants and outdoor recreation, but what’s driving a lot of tourism is what the area’s most known for — its role in the Civil War.

A sign in town says it all, “Where Our Nation Reunited.”

“I look at it as a place where this country began to heal. You know, the four years of the Civil War were a climatic or disastrous time,” said Don Jones, historian and chairman of the Appomattox Tourism Committee.

You’ll find the site of the Battle of Appomattox Station, where on April 8th 1865, General George Custer captured and used General Robert E. Lee’s wagon trains against the cavalry.

“[It’s] what was left of Lee’s reserve artillery, sealing Lee’s fate,” said Jones.

That leads us to the Court House National Historic Park.

Step inside the McLean house and into the parlor, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9th, 1865.

“About 3 p.m., it was all said and done. Everybody went home and shook hands. It was not the end of the war; it was the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia,” said Jones.

You can learn more about the surrender during an audio tour on a nearby nature walk. Appomattox County offers eight hiking trails and three state parks within a twenty-minute drive.

You’ll also find the American Civil War Museum housing a large collection of artifacts.

But neighbors say the area has more to offer.

“Most people know about the history, and I’d say we’re more than just the history,” said Phillip Jamerson, treasurer of the Appomattox Courtland Foundation.

“Everyone knows everyone, and it’s just a very loving community,” said Laura Dawson, a board member of the Appomattox Courtland Festival Park.

“It’s a very quaint, small town, safe, and everyone is extremely friendly in Appomattox and willing to help,” said Anne Dixon, director of Appomattox County Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

Later this week, we’ll have more including the symbolism of the area’s “LOVE” sign and Courtland Festival Park, as well as a “secret” cabin and a new museum focused on continuing a legacy.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.