tv American Artifacts CSPAN August 24, 2016 11:20pm-11:56pm EDT
general grant calls forward theodore bower of the staff to write out these terms in ink. bowers is nervous. he botches the job and turns it over to eli parker. eli parker is a seneca indian. they say he had the best penmanship in the army and general grant's staff and he actually writes out the formal terms for general grant. general lee's staff officer is lieutenant colonel charles marshall. he writes the acceptance letter. they exchange those letters. that's how the surrender is effected, the exchange of the letters. they both do not sign one document. over the course of the meeting, general grant introduces officers of his staff to general lee. some of them general lee knows very well, such as seth williams who was lee's adjutant when lee was a commandant at united states military academy at west point. another interesting aspect of
general grant's staff, there was a young captain named robert lincoln on his staff, and he, of course, was the son of president abraham lincoln, and he was here in the room. another interesting participant in this ceremony was -- at least, maybe not participant, but a witness to this ceremony was this rag doll of lula mclean, youngest daughter of wilmer mclean. it was sitting on the couch when the officers came in, and they moved it to the mantel during the meeting. after the meeting, some of the officers took the doll off the mantel and began tossing it around. captain thomas moore of general phillip sheridan's staff took the doll home with him as a war souvenir. in the 1990s, the family wanted the doll to come back to appomattox court house, and it is now on display in the park
visitors center. the meeting lasted about an hour and a half. it was said to be a gentleman's agreement. general grant was very generous with the terms. in the end when general lee said he had nothing to feed his men, general grant ordered rations to be sent to feed lee's army. the men shake hands, general lee departs, goes out into the yard, calls for his horse traveler and rides back to the confederate army, bearing the news of his surrender. the gentleman that owned the house at the time of the surrender, wilmer mclean, was originally from alexandria. he had married a wealthy widow from manassas, and that's where he lived at the time of the first major engagement there. after the second battle of manassas, he decided to move south. he could not conduct business up in northern virginia. he got into sugar speculation. he was not a farmer, as many people will put out. he got into sugar speculation,
and this area was convenient because he could access the south side railroad and make trips through the south to deal in that sugar. he owned the house here at the time of the surrender, and then in 1867, they are not able to keep up with the payments on the house, and the house is sold and the family moves back to northern virginia. after the house is sold, the raglan family owns it for a time, but in the early 1890s, a group of union veterans have a plan. they're going to start a retirement community for union soldiers here at appomattox courthouse, and they buy up land west of the village. they are unsuccessful in selling off these lots to union veterans, and they decide they're going to dismantle the house in 1893 and move it to washington, d.c. and create a civil war museum out of it. the house is dismantled. parts of the house are stacked
out in the yard. unfortunately, there is a financial panic in 1893 and the firm goes bankrupt. and all the supplies outside the house, all the materials, either start to rot away or are taken as souvenirs. the park service, when it is -- takes over the facility in 1940, determines the one thing they're going to do is rebuild the mclean house. fortunately, the same company that took the house apart got the bid to rebuild the house, and they still had the plan. so it's been rebuilt on the exact location using the original plans. there are a few bricks to the hearth and the basement. 5,500 original bricks are used on the front of the house. so when you're walking up to the house, you will pass through bricks that were here in 1865. we're back in front of the
clover hill tavern which was owned in 1865 by wilson hicks. i'm going to take you inside and tell you what important events took place in the tavern with the printing of parole passes for the confederate soldiers so they could return home. we're now inside the clover hill tavern where parole passes were printed for the confederate soldiers to return home. part of the agreement was that general lee's army would be paroled rather than sent to prison camp. general lee and general grant met a second time here at appomattox on horseback on the morning of april 10, and general lee requested some safeguard for his men that were going home. general lee surrendered only one army, the army of north virginia. there was still joseph johnston in north carolina and richard taylor with troops in louisiana and alabama, kirby submit out in texas. his soldiers will be passing through these areas where armies could still be fighting. they don't want these soldiers to be picked up and sent off to
prison camp. they don't want to be pressed back into the confederate army because they've given their word not to serve anymore until exchange. and in the extreme, these soldiers, if they're traveling home, passing through confederate lines, could be considered deserters and executed. so general grant thinks it's a good idea to have something for these confederate soldiers to go home. that's what the idea of the parole pass comes about. yo john gibson, a corps commander of the army of the james said he had a printing press with him. he calls out for them to come work these presses around the clock until they struck off 28,231 parole passes for the confederate soldiers. that's how we know how many confederate soldiers actually surrendered here at appomattox. general george sharp was put in charge of this process, and the men printing those passes worked on printers similar to this, and
they kept those passes going. they would have to ink the printers and strike off paroles that would look like this. they would actually have to be hung and dried, and then they were cut into individual parole passes. these were sent over to the confederate army where the officer and their command would fill in the soldier's name and sign the parole. and that was giving -- made into a master list of paroles that was turned over to the united states forces and that's how we know what confederate soldiers were paroled here. each soldier would take this pass and on the way home, grant entitled them to receive rations from the united states forces should they encounter. they could use them for transportation on ships and railways. we've seen cases where soldiers are being issued solution and clothing on their way home. so it was a very valuable piece of paper to have. and it was one that was
treasured by the confederate soldiers because it was physical proof that that soldier had made it to the end here at appomattox with general lee. he did not desert the army. next i want to take you to the place where general lee and general grant met on horseback on april 10. it is also the area where the confederate army came up to stack their arms on april 12th in the formal surrender ceremony. behind me is the appomattox river valley where the confederate army encamped april 8 through april 12th or 13th, whenever the individual soldier happened to leave, and at the top of the ridge is where general lee's headquarters is located, was located in april 1865. there was a second meeting between general lee and general grant here at appomattox. they met four times during their life. once at the mexican war, at the mclean house on april 9, here where we're standing on april 10th and the last time when
general grant had become president, lee pays a courtesy call on him at the white house. but the area we are now is where they were on horseback on april 10. grant said he wished to meet with general lee one more time before he headed for washington, and he asked general lee to surrender all the confederate armies in the field because over at the mclean house lee surrendered the armies of northern virginia. there were some not surrendered. lee declines to surrender them saying he couldn't communicate with general gordon to find out his wishes. once lee's army surrenders, those other armies follow suit. two weeks after lee's surrender here at a mat tox, the general surrendered to general william sherman.
lee surrendered his troops on may 4, and actually, andrew johnson declared the war over on may 10, 1865 just a month after the surrender here at appomattox. however, there was still kirby smith with the army down in texas, and his official surrender is not until june 2nd, 1865. the surrender here at appomattox was actually a multiday process. after lee and grant met, they appointed commissioners to work out the details of how the surrender will take place. that is done by those commissioners on april 10, and the confederate cavalry is set to surrender their sabres on april 10, the artillery on april 11 and the bulk of general lee's army, the infantry, surrenders on april 12. over 22,000 men would
infiltrate, and i'm going to take you to the road where they surrendered now. we are once again standing on the richmond-lynchburg stage road. in front of me is confederate artillery piece that signifies where the last artillery shots were fired on the morning of april 9th. also in front of me is the home of george pierce. he was the county clerk. and on the evening of april 11, 1865, he had a special guest for dinner, general joshua chamberlain, who had set up his headquarters tent in his yard. at this dinner, chamberlain broughtwoman him coffee, s&l real coffee that pierce hadn't had over the course of a year. and over the course of their dinner conversation, pierce undoubtedly learned that chamberlain was in charge of the actual surrender ceremony for the confederate infantry on the morning of april 12th.
chamberlain has his men lining this road from the lee grant meeting site all the way up to the mclean house on the morning of april 12th at about 5:00. his men are out here for several hours before the confederates approach, and they start leaning on their rifles, talking amongst themselves. but as the confederate troops approach, general chamberlain calls his men to attention. they straighten up, and then he calls out shoulder arms. they lift their rifles from the ground to this position here. he's got about 4,500 men lining the road, both on the north and south side, and they're presenting a salute to the confederate soldiers. general gordon at the head of the confederate column coming up, returns a salute and calls to his men to shoulder arms as well. they return that salute. the confederates come up a division at a time. they face front. they stack their arms, take off their equipment and turn over their flags. and that's probably the hardest thing for those confederate
soldiers because those flags meant everything to them, and giving them up symbolized the end of the war. the confederates would counter-march, go back to the appomattox river valley. in the meantime the federals would clear off the road, put everything in piled behind the line and reform. these ceremonies went on all morning and into the afternoon. very emotional and touching ceremonies, but very respectful on both sides. as the last confederate troop stacked their arms out here on the road and returned to their camps, from the camps they were allowed to start their journey home. the war was over for those soldiers. now we're going to go to the park visitors center where we have our museum, and i'll show you some of our special objects in our collection. we're now in the park visitors center museum where i'll show you a few of the most compelling
items that are on display, including this original painting down by louis giuyome of the surrender scene at the mclean house. it's the most iconic painting of the surrender, but it does have inaccuracies in it. lee and grant never sat at the same table and grant at the time of the surrender was a three-star general, not a four-star as in the painting. guiyome was born in france. he emigrated to virginia and was living there prior to the war. grant sat for him twice and lee three times in the course of the production of the painting. the parks service acquired this painting in 1954 for $1,250. that money was collected from locals and schoolkids here in appomattox county to purchase the painting. what i'd like to show you next is what's left of the first truce flag that was sent out to
the federal forces that was carried by captain robert sims. he bought this towel in richmond prior to leaving on the campaign. he said he spent $20 to $40 confederate money for it. he was given this flag to stop the advance of custer's cavalry that were preparing to make an assault on the confederate left flank. throughout the events of the day, it ended up coming into the possession of a staff officer of custer named whitaker and whitaker presented it to custer. over the years, libby custer would cut off pieces of the truce flag to give out to souvenirs to people who were favorable to her husband, especially after his death at the little big horn. this piece is general john gibbons' camp table that was used at the commissioners meeting on april 10th. they appointed three commissioners each.
grant appointed gibbon, charles griffin and wesley merritt. lee appointed williams nelson pennedalton, james longstreet and john gordon, and they went to the tavern to have their meeting, but they said it was a bare, cheerless place, so they repaired to the mclean house where givens had set up his headquarters. there was no furniture left in the room because the tables had been taken as souvenirs after the meeting on april 9. so gibbon used his camp table and had it inscribed after the commissioners' meeting. this is our display on the apple tree. what is the apple tree? well, it's one of those myths about appomattox, about lee's surrender. why is it a myth? because the event that supposedly took place there wasn't what it seemed. lee and grant had been corresponding for several days, since april 7, about the possibility of lee surrendering
his army. and on the morning of april 9, when lee is finally ready to surrender his army, he sends a message to general grant. but general grant is moving his headquarters. he's on about a 20-mile ride, so lee's message catch us with him say maybe about 11:00 that morning, and he has to dispatch men to ride ahead to make the arrangements to meet with general lee. he dispatches lieutenant colonel orville babcock and william mckee dunn to ride ahead hand meet lee. they find lee resting under an apple tree at the appomattox river. the confederate forces under general gordon, mahone and e.p. alexander's artillery are on the hills behind this apple tree, and they see this federal officer talking with general lee under it. lee dispatches lieutenant colonel marshall and his orderly to come into the village and find a place to meet and then eventually lee, babcock and dunn
ride into the village to the mclean house. the next time the confederate soldiers see general lee, they learn they've been surrendered. they mistakenly assume that the federal officer talking to lee under the apple tree was general grant. so they went over and started to cut the tree down for souvenirs. before long, federal troops came over and asked the confederate soldiers why they were cutting down the tree, and the confederate soldiers say this was the tree where general lee surrendered to general grant. the federal soldiers said, i want part of that apple tree, too. they went to work getting souvenirs off that tree. that night all the roots had been dug up and there was nothing but a hole in the ground where the apple tree stood. and many visitors will come through bringing pieces of the apple tree that their ancestors brought home to them. some of which have been donated to the park are on display here. the apple tree myth was believed by many of the soldiers at the time. it was really dispelled when
general grant wrote his memoirs. i think one of the most moving pieces in the collection is a letter is written by lieutenant charles minnegurrode. he was 19 years old. he was a staff officer. he had joined the army, i think, maybe a little bit against his parents' wishes, and during the waning fight here at appomattox courthouse on the morning of april 1, as the federal infantry closed down the richmond-lynchburg stage road sealing off lee's line of retreat, fitz hugh lee decided he would escape with whatever cavalry he could. he didn't know his men would be allowed to keep their horses. as he turned to right away a bullet struck young minnegurrode and knocked him off his horse. a surgeon looked at him and said he was a dedmon. so they pinned a note to his jacket to let his father in
richmond know of his death. as he's left dying on the battlefield, he pulls out a piece of paper and writes a rather moving death letter to his mother. he says, my darling mother. i am dying, but i've fallen where i expected to fall. our cause is defeated, but i do not live to see the end of it. i suffer agonies. wish to god i could die calmly, but in all things i must see hill will be done. my greatest regret in leaving this world is to leave you and the rest of the dear ones. the younger children will be more comforting to you than i have been, but none of them will love you more. that is his death letter to his mother. but a federal surgeon named norris with the new york regiment actually finds him on the battle field and operates on him, removes the bullet and saves his life so in the end he doesn't die on the battle field
here at appomattox. what we've covered today are just some of the high points at the park. there are many more stories, buildings and exhibits to see if you come out and visit for yourself. appomattox is often for then by the american public or overlooked but it's one of the most significant events in american history. this is a place where the killing of americans by americans to the tune of over 700,000 ended. it's also the place where we decided we would be one nation instead of two. the events at the mclean house on april 9, general grant's generosity to general lee and his men and the events on the richmond-lynchburg stage road during the stacking of arms set a positive course for the nation and allowed for a stronger country to emerge.
please pay us a visit or even make a special pilgrimage to visit our site. >> you can watch this or other american artifacts programs at any time by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. >> 100 years ago president woodrow wilson signed the bill regarding park service. and we look back on the caretakers of these national and historic treasures. beginning at 10:00 eastern we take you to sites throughout the country as recorded by c-span. at 7:00 p.m. eastern, we're live from the most visited historic home, arlington house, the
robert e. lee memorial. join us with your phone calls as we talk with robert stanton, former national park service director and brandon buys, the former site manager who will oversee the quarters. thursday, the 100th anniversary of the national park service live from arlington house at 7:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3. each week american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. you're looking at petersen house here in washington, d.c. where president abraham lincoln passed away at 7:22 a.m. on april 15th of 1865. up next, a tour of the former boarding house located across the street from ford theater. where abraham lincoln was shot 150 years ago.
this house built in the early 1850s by a german immigrant to america, william petersen. he used it as boarding house, 10 to 12 lived here at a time. this is a relic of 19th civil war boarding house culture. once upon a time, everybody lived in boarding houses, congressmen, senators, vice presidents of the united states lived in group homes. so this house aside from its history of being the place where abraham lincoln died is an important part of the antebellum civil war washington, d.c. history. aside from this being the lincoln death house, this house is also a great museum of immigrant culture in washington and boarding house life in washington, d.c. i have been coming here years, making pilgrimages here. i started coming here in 1986 when i joined the reagan administration, and i have been coming here for years. i am very excited that this year for the 150th anniversary there will be a big commemoration for abraham lincoln.
in past years, i am usually here alone. no one comes here on the night of the assassination. no one comes to honor lincoln. i might find one or two here on the steps of the petersen house and contemplate what happened. it's interesting, a couple years ago the park service almost arrested me sitting on the steps because the guard across the street accused me of being a homeless loiterer, and i tried to tell her i wrote a book on this. tonight is the anniversary of the assassination and i serve on the ford theater society council of advisers and ten minutes later two squad cars came and the national park service police questioned me and they said how do we know you're not a homeless man who is going to damage this house? one of them came to his senses and rolled his eyes and asked me to enjoy the evening. i've had quite a time over the last 25 years coming to this house. sadly, it's been abandoned by the public for a long time and this year the 150th anniversary is going to be different. lincoln arrived at ford's theater, 8:30 p.m. april 14, 1865. the play was under way, he was
late. no one at the petersen house noticed lincoln arrived. the street was quiet then. people were going to bars and taverns to celebrate the great union victory in the war and surrender of robert e. lee on april 9th. it was a quiet night on the street. everyone was inside of the theater, the play was under way. lincoln's carriage pulled and up stopped in front of that big gas lamp and lincoln went inside. and then around 10:15 or 10:20 p.m. the doors of ford's theater burst open. first dozens then hundreds then over a thousand people came rushing out those doors screaming. at first some people thought the theater was on fire. then they heard the shouts, "lincoln's been shot, the president's been killed, burn the theater, find the assassin." that got the attention of the residents of this boardinghouse. the first person who noticed what was happening was a guy named george francis who lived on the first floor of the two front rooms. he came outside and walked into the street, and he could only get halfway across. people were screaming the president was dead. he walked right up to the
president's body as it was being carried across the street. another boarder on the second floor, henry savard, heard the noise, too, went outside and he saw the commotion, too. he heard the shouts that lincoln had been shot. safford couldn't get to ford's theater there were so many people outside in the street. he retreated, came back to his house, and went up these stairs and stood at the top of the staircase. he was up there watching as the soldiers pounded on the door of the house next door and they couldn't get in. and he saw there was lincoln in the middle of the street being carried by soldiers, and they didn't know where to take the president. safford went outside, got a candle, stood at the top of the staircase and shouted, bring him in here, bring him in here. dr. leo heard that and shouted to the officers and soldiers, take the president to that house. they crossed the street and came up these stairs. and so as lincoln was being carried up the staircase he was still alive. unconscious.
and the sight of abraham lincoln here at the top of the staircase was the last time the american people saw him alive. so dr. leo came in this door. and he told safford, take us to your best room. now, the hallway's narrow. it was already filled with the lincoln entourage, with the doctors, with the soldiers. and there was a narrow staircase on the right. safford knew the best room was the front parlor, occupied by george and hilda francis. he reached for the door, it was locked. he went down to the second door here. this door was locked. hilda francis was inside frantically getting dressed. she was already dressed for bed so she wanted to put on clothes. so she didn't unlock this door either. and all that was left was this little room at the back of the
hallway, which was occupied by a civil war soldier but he was out for the evening. and so safford led them to this back room here. you can see how narrow the hallway is. there's barely enough room for soldiers to stand on each side of lincoln and carry him down this hallway. and so they took him into this room. they took him into this room and laid him on a spindle bed in the corner. lincoln didn't even fit on the bed. he was too tall. dr. leo ordered soldiers to break off the foot of the bed. but it wouldn't come off because it's integral to the construction of the bed. the bed would have collapsed. so they had no choice but to lay abraham lincoln diagonally across the bed. at that point, too many people were in the room. it was hot. and dr. leo ordered people out. he needed to examine the president. he knew he had been shot in the head. but he didn't know if he had other wounds. so once the doctors were alone, they stripped lincoln naked and examined him on this bed.
as the doctors began their examination of lincoln, they observed that he had no other wounds. they thought he might have been stabbed. because almost everyone in ford's theater had seen john wilkes booth flash that dagger onstage after he leaped from the president's box. lincoln was unwounded but for the shot of a single bullet behind the left ear. as lincoln was lying here on the bed, mary lincoln and her entourage came through the front door of the petersen house and went to the that front parlor. so we'll go that way and see what mary lincoln did. when lincoln was first brought in this house, he had no bodyguards. the army wasn't here yet. so strangers actually came into this house and observed lincoln in that bed. they lingered in these hallways. it was not until 15 or 20 minutes later that lincoln was under the full protection of the u.s. army. they then entered the house and soldiers and officers cleared everyone out who was unknown to
them and didn't belong here. mary lincoln was frantic by then. she came through that front door screaming, where's my husband, where's my husband? why didn't he shoot me? then mary lincoln entered this front parlor. and she sat on a horse hair sofa in this room. this was the front parlor of the boarders george and hilda francis, who quickly vacated the premises when the first lady was brought in. mary lincoln would spend much of the night of april 14 and the early morning hours of april 15th in this room. she didn't spend the night at her husband's side. she spent most of the night here with some close friends. she was very upset. she really couldn't stand to see her husband wounded and unconscious. so much of her time was here. crying, sobbing. when clara harris, one of her theater guests that night, came in and mary lincoln saw harris' dress covered with blood, mary began screaming, my husband's blood, my husband's blood!
it was actually the blood of major rathbone, miss harris' fiance. he had been stabbed by booth, he bled heavily, and much of the blood was on his fiance's dress. mary lincoln was wrong, it was not her husband's blood, it was major rathbone's blood. major rathbone came here, he leaned against the wall in the hallway, and soon he sat down and collapsed and fainted. he was taken from that floor and taken home. so here's where mary lincoln spent much of the night. secretary of war stanton and secretary of the navy wells arrived at the petersen house shortly after lincoln was taken here. they were first at the home of secretary of state seward. they had heard the secretary of state had been stabbed to death in his bed, and he almost was killed. he survived the wounds. when they got to seward's ,they heard that lincoln had been shot here at ford's theater so they rushed over here in a carriage. by the time they got here, thousands of people had gathered at the corner of 10th and f streets and the carriage
couldn't push through the crowd. so there they were, the two most powerful members of the cabinet commanding the entire united states army and the navy, had to disembark from their carriage and disappear into the mob and push their way through and come into this house. so stanton came through this door into this room, and he saw mary lincoln here. and he decided he couldn't operate from here in front of the first lady. so stanton came through this room and into the back parlor here. which was the francis' bedroom. and it was here at a table in the center of this room that the secretary of war began the manhunt for john wilkes booth. witnesses from ford's theater were brought here. stanton questioned them. a union army soldier who knew a kind of shorthand sat at this table with stanton. and took the first testimony of witnesses who saw john wilkes booth murder the president. and so stanton spent most of the night here at a table in this
room sending telegrams to army commanders in new york and throughout the northeast to organize the manhunt for john wilkes booth. throughout the night he sent messengers from this room to the war department telegraph office. and from that office messages were brought back here. so this room really became the command post for the entire army of the united states under the secretary of war while lincoln was dying in the back bedroom. stanton was one of lincoln's favorites. he had an iron will. lincoln called him his mars, god of war. even though they didn't get along well before the election, stanton once humiliated lincoln at a trial they staffed together, lincoln knew he was his right hand. he once said stanton really was the rocky shore upon which the waves of rebellion crash and are broken. and they were very close. stanton was devastated, but he threw himself into the work. so here tonight he was imperious. fearsome. barking commands, sending orders all over the country to hunt for john wilkes booth.
on trains, on boats. the orders went out everywhere. catch the assassin, find him. and so the manhunt, which took 12 days, began in this room before lincoln even died. once word got out to official washington that lincoln was here, this really became the magnetic center of attraction for all important people in washington. over 100 people made pilgrimages here during the night. some came because they wanted to help. they knew stanton would need them or the secretary of navy would need them. some were friends of mary lincoln, and they wanted to comfort her. others were journalists who were not allowed to enter the house. and while all this was happening, thousands of people in the street gathered right in front of this house. some tried to stand on tippy toe and peek through the windows or hoist others up so they could look in. but the blinds were closed then and they couldn't see. and so throughout the night, with regularity, official visitors came to the front door of the petersen house and were admitted to see the dying president.