Friday, May 25, 2012

Guru Byte - Wilmer McLean Civil War Celebrity

On July 18, 1861 the first skirmish of the Civil War began on Wilmer McLean’s Farm in Virginia.  
The Confederate commander General P.T. Beauregard was about to have dinner at McLean’s house when a cannonball came through their chimney... 
... and exploded in the cooking pot... 
...sending stew all over the kitchen.

Needless to say the meal was ruined.
Soon McLean had had enough and moved his family 120 miles south to the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.  Here, despite a raging war, he and his family had three years of peace.  Of course that didn’t last.

One day a group of Confederate soldiers showed up and asked for a place for their Commander General Robert E. Lee to meet with the Union Commander General Ulysses S. Grant.  McLean was a bit anxious. The last time a general came to his home a war started and he ended up with a stew explosion all over his kitchen.  What would two generals bring?

It turned out they were there to end the Civil War. On April 9, 1865 General Lee surrendered his forces to General Grant in the front parlor of McLean’s house. 
But even this great event left a bad taste in McLean’s mouth. As the generals left, their soldiers took anything "not nailed down" as souvenirs. 

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