[Lee’s Retreat to Appomattox in One Day]
Petersburg to Appomattox: Lee’s Retreat,
April 2-9, 1865
(Friday and Saturday)
Historian: A. Wilson Greene
Description: (Limited/Less Walking) The Appomattox Campaign is steeped in myth and legend, writ large by practitioners of the Lost Cause and Reconciliationist versions of Civil War history and repeated by many modern writers. The real story possesses a full measure of drama and human pathos irrespective of these embellishments and our tour will address both the conventional accounts and the verifiable ones.
We will follow the Confederate army to Amelia Court House where General Robert E. Lee squandered the advantage of his flawless escape from Petersburg and Richmond and explore the reasons why he did so. Then we will journey to Jetersville, where the campaign took a critical turn that led to Sailor’s Creek. We will study the three simultaneous fights at Sailor’s Creek, site of a recently expanded state battlefield park, before heading for lunch in Farmville. From there, where Lee made a crucial error, we will head directly to Appomattox Court House to discuss the closing engagement of the war in Virginia and the remarkable series of events that led to Lee’s surrender. After visiting key buildings at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, including the reconstructed Wilmer McLean House, we will conclude our tour by strolling along the very roadbed that, on April 12, 1865, was lined with Union troops—including Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain—that carried Lee’s veterans into the pages of history.
This tour involves relatively little walking and will cover some 180 miles round trip on the motorcoach. Lunch will be provided.
Tour Stops: Amelia Court House, Jetersville, Holt’s Corner, Sailor’s Creek Battlefield, Marshall’s Cross Roads, Appomattox Court House