A Place Called Appomattox

A Place Called Appomattox

A Place Called Appomattox

A Place Called Appomattox


Appomattox, Virginia, was an ordinary tobacco-growing village both before and after an accident of fate brought the armies of Lee and Grant together there. It is that Appomattox -- the typical small Confederate town -- that Marvel portrays in this deeply researched, compelling book. Includes notes, Bibliography and Index. 59 illustrations, 7 maps.


For the majority of Americans, including the preponderance of those who witnessed the historic events there, the name “Appomattoxwr” has signified only the place where our Civil War came to an end. It consisted, so far as most moderns know, of nothing more than a brick home and a courthouse that some manage to confuse with each other, all labeled with a name few can spell correctly on the first attempt. the greater part of the American people live and die without ever having seen this spot, although it represents the coupling between the two great halves of American history. Until recently the average adult citizen had been at least marginally familiar with the nature of Appomattox as a watershed in the flow of national affairs, and might have been able to locate it some where in central Virginia, but lately the mention of the name seems to produce more puzzlement than recognition.

Representative as it was of the average Confederate community, Appomattox assumed the typical postwar reputation of having sacrificed everything in a valiant effort to preserve an innocent and idyllic past. While the village certainly did typify the slaveholding South, that Lost Cause image did not apply in any of its details: for all the recollections of a South stripped of men to fill the army, rich and influential residents usually managed to avoid the front if they preferred, remaining at home or nearby while their poorer, older, and sometimes disabled neighbors bore the battle for those who had begun it. Among the lower classes total sacrifice had been common; among the gentry it was far more rare.

Appomattox also formed the scene of its own particular myth. Thanks to the romantic imaginations of men like Joshua Chamberlain and John B. Gordon, it became the place where enemies who had battled each other for four years suddenly laid down their weapons and welcomed each other as brothers, setting aside political and philosophical differences that had fermented into hatred. Neither was that image especially accurate.

This book will examine the lesser-known aspects of Appomattox Court . . .

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