Appomattox Table and Chairs
1865, American History Museum
Two warriors reached a momentous peace in a civilian’s parlor
Ulysses S. Grant was poised to destroy Robert E. Lee’s army when the generals convened at Wilmer McLean’s house in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. But Grant (in the leather-backed chair, writing at the table) asked only that Lee (in the other chair) have his men surrender their arms and go home—not to prison. Rather than disperse his army for guerrilla action, Lee accepted. The Civil War wasn’t quite over, but their restraint shaped the peace.