“The War Started In My Front Yard And Ended In My Parlour.”

by Daniel Russ on November 24, 2015

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Wilmer McLean was a successful wholesale grocer who live din Virginia during the American Civil War. He was born on May 3, 1814 and died on June 5, 1882. It is said that the American Civil War “started in his front yard and ended in his front parlor”.


In 1854 he had retired to Bull Run, a lovely estate in Prince William County. The house was once known as “Yorkshire,” named by its previous owner, a British nobleman who built it as a reproduction of his English Estate in eponymous English County. Then it was purchased by Wilmer Mclean and it became the McLean estate. By July 18th, 1861, the war had begun and the Federals approached Robert E Lee’s lines and their lines converged near the McLean estate. As Federal General Daniel Tyler’s division smashed into formations of Confederate General James Longstreet a cannon ball smashed through the kitchen of the Mclean Estate. It didn’t take but three months before he sold his estate and moved to small town and purchased a house near the Courthouse in… Appomattox, Virginia.


At noon, on April 9th, 1865, a Federal office knocked on McLean’s door and asked if there was a place near the courthouse where General Lee could officially sign a surrender to General Ulysses S Grant.


The surrender was signed in McLean’s parlour.


The table the surrender was signed upon was purchased by General Sheridan. Other pieces of the house were becoming currency although McLean s did not wish to sell his home. The house eventually was dismantled and the timber never sold. The US government had it rebuilt in the late 1940s.






source: The Civil War Strange & Fascinating Facts, Burke Davis




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