The Regional Review

Volume IV - Nos. 4 & 5

April-May, 1940

Manassas and Appomattox Become National Areas

house site and inn
At the top is seen the site of the historic McLean House in which Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia, virtually ending the War Between the States. Among the pre-war structures still standing at Appomattox is the old inn shown immediately above.

Manassas and Appomattox, two areas which symbolize vital chapters of the record of the War Between the States, have been added to the national park and monument system.

Appomattox Court House National Historical Monument, a 900-acre acquisition embracing the site of the surrender on April 9, 1865, of the Confederate forces of Robert E. Lee to the Federal army of Ulysses S. Grant, brings under Service jurisdiction the first area of a new classification, There are no other national historical monuments.

Plans provide for possible reconstruction of the McLean House, the residence where Lee and Grant met for their historic interview on the fateful April afternoon 75 years ago. The house was dismantled by promoters in the 1890's for reassembly and display else where, but finances failed and the materials presumably never left the local railroad station. Photographs, drawings and other documents provide basic reconstructural data.

It is expected that the Service will undertake other measures designed to recreate the atmosphere of the Sixties at Appomattox. Recent research has revealed the existence of a copy of a complete town plat on which roads are located and lots numbered. Establishment of ownership of lands and buildings will be possible by reference to the county land tax books which, because they were absent at a bindery, escaped the fire that destroyed the old court house in 1892.

Designation of Manassas National Battlefield Park broadens the narrative sequence in the historical interpretation of the American Civil War. It was First Manassas, called also First Bull Run, which brought a first major test July 21, 1861, of Confederate and Union strength. Second Manassas came on August 29-30 of the next year. The new area, which comprises 1,605 acres in Prince William County, Virginia, includes the Henry House Hill where Federal troops, returning homeward in 1865, built what generally is regarded as the first monument erected on a battlefield of the War Between the States. Development plans are in progress.


The 76th anniversary of the fierce struggle of the "Bloody Angle" was marked this month by the dedication of a 162-acre addition to the battlefields embraced by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Memorial National Military Park, Virginia.

Approximately 300 members of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, donor of the new tract, attended dedicatory exercises held in the park May 11 with Colonel William Innes Forbes, Legion Commander-in-Chief, as master of ceremonies. A deed to the famous ground, presented by Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, Philadelphia minister, was conveyed to Branch Spalding, park superintendent, by Governor James H. Price, of Virginia, who had been introduced by M. R. Tillotson, Service Director of Region One. There was an address by C. O'Conner Goolrick, of Fredericksburg, former state senator.


A total of 113 cannon barrels of the period of the War Between the States has been assembled at Petersburg National Military Park, Virginia, for use as part of an artillery display which is expected eventually to be representative of every type of piece in use at the time. Most of the guns were obtained by transfer from War Department arsenals and the West Point Ordnance Museum.

At least 27 of the pieces are known to be of northern manufacture and bear such names as Revere and Ames, while 19 are identified as of Confederate origin. There are four English, four Austrian, and three French guns. The collection ranges in size from the Coehorn mortar, which resembles a flower pot, to Spanish siege ordnance of 4,500 pounds. Included also is a London-made volley gun that encloses several .50 caliber tubes in a single casing to operate on the machine-gun principle. Altogether, the collection constitutes an important cross-section of the types of guns employed in the Petersburg campaign.

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Date: 04-Jul-2002