Thursday, May 3, 2018

Immersed in History Book Research Appomattox Court House

This is an artist's rendering of what the Virginia town of Appomattox Court House looked like when General Lee of the Confederate Army surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union Army. The final Confederate attempt to slip through the growing stranglehold of the Union forces was thwarted in part by a brigade of black soldiers called "United States Colored Troops". How justified that a black regiment was critically instrumental in the final battle of April 9, 1865... And that as a result, General Lee offered up his surrender to Grant.

Docents at the Visitors' Center were absolutely wonderful! We were on a short time frame and they gave us advice about what to see (the short film) explore (the very small town buildings) and they even offered to tuck us in with a scheduled church tour group, but we were due in Durham NC by noon... so we had to decline.

I was so impressed by what I learned... how Lincoln met with influential army officers offshore and when asked what to do with the prisoners when Lee surrendered.... which they figured was going to happen soon... he said "There will be no prisoners. People have suffered enough."

They set up printing presses in the living room of the McClean farmhouse in Appomattox  Court House, a small town not far from Lynchburg, Virginia. They printed over 26,000 pardons.  They strung clotheslines across the living room and hung the pardon sheets over them to dry... then cut them to size, a few pardons to each sheet. The soldiers laid down their arms, accepted their pardon papers, and went home. With their horses, no less. Lincoln's proclamation that there had been enough grief and sorrow began the long healing process.

This is a selfie with a regular camera, LOL! That's Dave back there by the farmhouse, but I know my kids were doing selfies long before there were cell phones, so I tried it and you know what I discovered?

I have a lot of cheeks!!! :)

The staff was being flown at half-mast to honor Barbara Bush, a lovely woman I really liked.... she was confident in herself, and she reminded me of my Aunt Isabelle, a grand woman in her own right.

Look at those wide-planked floors! We have these in our kitchen.... and stuff gathers in those gaps between each board. And I still love them!

A reproduction of the slave quarters behind the farm house. It was set on blocks of stones at each corner and mid-line, so any form of creature could skulk below... and I can't imagine how cold it got mid-winter.

Dave photobombing one of the re-enactors!

The general store, filled with potions.... and dry goods. Candles, oils, some dishes and cookware, spices, herbs.... and barrels and buckets of salable goods.

I felt like I'd just walked into Olson's Mercantile in Little House on the Prairie! Or Ike Godsey's store on Walton's Mountain.

For a quick visit/tour, I was able to glean some interesting facts about that period, and I also studied the set up of the homes, village, etc. 1865 to 1900 is a time that interests me.... and I've set several novellas there. Next year I'm hoping to indie publish a three-book series set in the pioneer west....because this walk into the past really shows us how to be strong for our future!

What historical places have you visited? What did you love? And... what surprised you most?

Multi-published award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne loves writing stories, old and new. She loves to cook, bake and create, so old kitchens and stores draw her like a moth to a flame! Follow her on Twitter, friend her on facebook or swing by her website to see what's going on with her books... and with her pumpkin farm in Western New York.


  1. The whole time I was reading this I kept thinking Ruthy needs to come and we will take a trip yo Desmit to see Ms. Wilders home and then you mentioned her!!! Ruthy it is just another sign! I love seeing the real and remake of old houses and buildings!

    1. Katie, I would love that so much. I love walking back in time and respecting what went on to pave the way for our amazing lives. Like... WHAT????

  2. I loved visiting Williamsburg and Boston (the history tours). And also South Union Shaker Village near where I grew up in Bowling Green, KY. I love exploring the history just about anywhere I go!

    1. Me, too. It's such a wake up call for us, Missy!!!