Yale remembers the Civil War
On the afternoon of April 9, 1865, in the small town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia, General Robert E. Lee met his rival, General Ulysses S. Grant, in the parlor of Wilmer McClean’s home to sign the documents surrendering his Confederate troops.
While the fight would go on for another few weeks, Appomattox in effect ended four years of carnage and destruction on a scale the country had never before seen. At least 620,000 died in battle or from starvation and disease. Thousands were left limbless and suffering from the atrocities of war. Cities and families were leveled as a nation tore itself apart.
Only five days after Appomattox, noted actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth fatally shot Abraham Lincoln during a play at Ford’s Theater. The president died the following morning on April 15, forever changing the course of Reconstruction and direction of the country.
As we look back 150 years after the end of the Civil War, YaleNews will highlight aspects of the conflict through conversations with Yale faculty and a dive into the unparalleled collections of Civil War materials housed in Yale’s museums and libraries.