Talk:Battle of Appomattox Court House

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This article has some serious run-on sentences. We need commas, STAT! I don't have time to do it now; hopefully, someone else can get to it first.

Grant's Headache[edit]

"Grant who's headache had suddenly disappeared when he received Lee's note arrived in a dirty private's uniform with only his shoulder straps showing his rank."

It's not mentioned previously that Grant had a headache. Does anyone know more about this? -- Arekku

Grant noted at several points in his memoirs that he was suffering "very severely" with a "sick headache". He used what was probably the traditional remedy for that in the mid 19th Century, which included bathing his feet in hot water and mustard as well as putting mustard plasters on his wrists and back part of his neck.
Grant noted that as soon as he read Lee’s note suggesting they meet to formalize the surrender of the Confederate army, his headache disappeared.
  • I suggest something more be added earlier in the article about Grant's headache. For now, I'll revise the existing line. --Nick 17:01, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)

Confederate casualties[edit]

I noticed that the "Casualties" column for the Confederate side lists 28,000. I assume that the intention here is to indicate that Lee's army surrendered, and so the entire army was a "casualty." However, I'm not sure that this is appropriate. I've always known casualties to mean soldiers killed and injured in action, and while I could see this being extended to missing and captured soldiers I don't think it applies well to an army that surrenders and is allowed to return home. Does anyone else have an opinion? Perhaps the best solution might be to give a figure for soldiers injured and killed, and then note that the army surrendered and was dispersed. TomTheHand 19:19, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)

Something weird is happening to the edit button[edit]

In both the Firefox and Opera internet browsers, the edit buttons for the first three paragraphs are in the wrong spot. In Firefox, they're overlapping the last battle section, and in Opera, all three are at the bottom of "The last battle" section. I checked in Internet Explorer, and it's working, so I don't know what's going on. Could someone please look at it?


I find that Campaignboxes following the Infoboxes make many articles rather fragile in this regard. Oddly enough, although I have been Wikipedia-ing for a couple of years, I have no idea where to report bugs like this. Perhaps someone can enlighten us. In the meantime, can you reconsider your edits that put these comparatively large flag images into battle articles? Either reduce them to a manageable size (50px?) or forget about it, pls. (I see that Internet Explorer, which I rarely use, displays them quite clumsily in comparison to Firefox.) Hal Jespersen 02:33, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Surrender Importance[edit]

I've included the actual text written by Grant to Lee in the McLean House, which was needed. The surrender was just too important to be stated as a minor entry. Could a separate article on the surrender be written, if not already? Carajou 05:14, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I think this is the appropriate place for the information you have added. The problem with having a second article is that I cannot imagine a name that people would immediately think of: Surrender of Robert E. Lee? Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia? Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse? In any event, since the detail you have added is not overly long, I see no problem with leaving it here. Hal Jespersen 16:56, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

True, and I thought of that after I included some of Grant's and Chamberlain's details. If I may suggest, since what happened at Appomattox is one of the most important days in this country's history, we go into detail by including as much as possible from those people who were there at the time, not just Grant and Chamberlain, but Lee, Longstreet, Gordon, etc. It should provide the reader with something that could be really used (like a kid doing homework). I think this should also clear up the grammar problem as well. Carajou 19:40, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

You need to balance human interest material with the content and formatting requirements of an encyclopedia. If the material about the other generals is primarily personal in nature, such as their thoughts and reactions, I think it would be better placed into their biography articles than here. Hal Jespersen 20:00, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

The Last Battle[edit]

Minor edit of quotations from Gordon and Lee. I checked against what was written in Freeman's book on Lee as well as more current books for accuracy. Carajou 07:05, 24 November 2006 (UTC)


I have removed the following unencyclopedic editorial comment from the main article:

The reference to the V Corps saluting the Confederates (Gordon) was a myth perpetuated by Chamberlain (his Union peers came to despise the man as the man to boast his political goals blew the Gettysburg incidents out of portion). This was a common thing for the age Mrs. Jackson did the same for Thomas as did Mrs. Pickett and later Mrs. Custer. It just was not acceptable and considered in bad taste when done by the indiviual. In reality the salute was nothing more then relieving the men who standing in one position became very tired; they were ordered to change positions every few minutes. (Diaries show that the men rather then being friendly had to be relived of the ammunition to ensure shots were not taken).

Before this paragraph is restored to the article, we will need to have some citations from secondary sources to back up this claim. We also can do without the POV opinions on the characters of Chamberlain and the other Civil War generals mentioned. Hal Jespersen 21:05, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

ever-expanding article[edit]

I just took an editing pass over some of the recent additions to the article. In my opinion, we are adding too much detail about activities that are not directly related to the battle that occurred on April 9. I think it would be more appropriate to move most of the voluminous material (actually, a lot of detail has been omitted even from this lengthy description) about prior battles, surrender negotiations, and the following surrender ceremonies to the currently brief Appomattox Campaign article. It is on my to-do list to expand the campaign article and, unless someone beats me to it, I think this particular battle article should be focused much more sharply on the battle itself. Hal Jespersen (talk) 00:13, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

It was my intent to just add more information, and worry about trimming later; it's a lot easier than having to go back. I don't have access to the sources I need to expand the rest of it at this time. I don't think it makes much sense to redirect the surrender info to the Appomattox Campaign article, because I doubt even once it's been expanded it will be that large. It makes much more sense to just discuss the natural outgrowth of the day's fighting here, because it's more directly relevant than the campaign in general. Also, I would like to know why you are reverting formatting changes. Martin Raybourne (talk) 18:30, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

The reason it makes more sense in the campaign article is that the prelude to surrender--all of the notes and responses and preparations to meet between the lines at various times--coincided with the results of three or four individual battles. Therefore, putting it all into the article about the minor battle that preceded the surrender, relying on a very long Background section to cover all of that information seems less than optimal. On a procedural note, I think you will find over time that writing articles and then going back later to add citation is actually more work. The first few hundred articles I wrote were in the early days of Wikipedia, when citations were not emphasized as being very important, and going back to improve those with reasonable citations has been a lot of work, which is not nearly complete after over five years.

I modified the formatting to match the formatting used by the original author of the work and of other comparable articles in the campaign and the American Civil War space. One of the tenets of Wikipedia editing is that if multiple formats are allowable, when you make incremental edits to an article you do not arbitrarily change them to another format, you conform to the format already in place. Hal Jespersen (talk) 22:45, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

You misunderstand me. I'm saying it's best to add more information and cut it down; the only unsourced information that's been added has been added by you. There's no sort of article precedent about formatting. You are trying to own this article and control its changes, preventing good-faith additions to this article. I would like to see this reach GA, and that can't happen if any sort of background information is removed. Not everyone is a Civil War buff, and articles must be accessible. Martin Raybourne (talk) 17:35, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

From WP:MOS:

Stability of articles
The Arbitration Committee has ruled that editors should not change an article from one guideline-defined style to another without a substantial reason unrelated to mere choice of style, and that revert-warring over optional styles is unacceptable.[1] Where there is disagreement over which style to use in an article, defer to the style used by the first major contributor.

If by "the only unsourced information that's been added has been added by you" you mean in the old days before citations were common in Wikipedia, you're right. If you mean in the last few days, I don't know what you're referring to and we should correct it, if so. I have no objection to good-faith content additions to this article or any article. I am merely suggesting that there are better places for such info, given the structure of the articles we currently have. Hal Jespersen (talk) 22:14, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

The surrender was a result of this battle, not the campaign. To place it anywhere else would be disingenuous and misleading. Martin Raybourne (talk) 21:09, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

That is really a very narrow view of the events of the campaign. After the debacles of Sayler's Creek and High Bridge, Lee was in active communication with Grant about the possibility of surrendering. This process coincided with at least three battles, each of which has a separate article. The military events of April 9 were a high-risk, last-gasp effort to break out of the Union army's grip, a possibility that Lee thought had very little chance of success. The battle lasted only briefly until Lee saw what he was up against and then he gave up. Hal Jespersen (talk) 23:35, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Well I'm trying to improve this article, with all the available sources that I have. I would prefer if you didn't stand in the way of that. Martin Raybourne (talk) 20:17, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

commanders in information box[edit]

The general guideline we used for information boxes is to list the uppermost commander on each side. We sometimes list key subordinate commanders if they have some particularly noted role, such as command in an isolated part of the battle, or if a famous one is killed, such as Jackson at Chancellorsville. In the case of this minor battle, George Meade played almost no personal role. (He is not even mentioned in the main text of the article, other than an unlinked reference to his last name in the aftermath section.) Hal Jespersen (talk) 23:25, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Still, he was the commander of the Army of the Potomac, therefore it wouldn't matter what little he did.Red Wiki 18:00, 13 December 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Valkyrie Red (talkcontribs)

One could make that claim for any of the subordinate commanders, but as I said above, our guideline to list only the uppermost commander on each side unless a subordinate had some unique contribution (and we don't do that very often, either). Hal Jespersen (talk) 22:16, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Traditional end to the Civil War?[edit]

Am I the only American who remembers thinking of this as the end of the Civil War all through school - even in high school? If this is commonly taught, should it be noted, even if wrong, since it is a common point to this battle? I suppose that - even if it would be mentioned - we would also need sources which called it that, as well as reasons. I have none of the former, but of the latter, I think that it would be fair to say that: 1. Lee's army was the most important, and any extra was just mopping up. Sort of like the soldiers who kept fighting after V-J Day, though that, of course, is an extreme example; 2. Lee's Army was seen as even more significant because he was the head of all Confederate Armies - it was unlikely that anyone would keep fighting for many more weeks once he surrendered; 3. The main goal all along had been Richmond (though it fell on April 3, the ANV were the official defenders); and, though not quite as important, 4. Lincoln didn't live to see the others - if others are like me, that could be a reason. It's a little less sad to read about Lincoln's death if I consider that he lived to see the end - even if it wasn't officially "the end." (talk) 09:42, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

If you have some citations from reputable secondary sources that say the Civil War ended on this day, you are welcome to work them into the current Aftermath section, which is more oriented toward the reality than stories remembered from school. I (and many historians outside of Virginia) would take issue with your third point about Richmond being the main goal. Many modern historians believe that the war was substantially won in the Western theater. Even in just the Eastern theater, the main goal of Lincoln and Grant was Lee's army, not the city of Richmond. Your fourth reason is rather sentimental and not encyclopedic. Certainly your second reason is correct, although, once again, you should present secondary source citations to make that case. Hal Jespersen (talk) 16:54, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
April 12, 1865: Surrender of city of Mobile, AL and forces therein. April 14, 1865: U.S. Flag raised over Fort Sumter. April 18, 1865: Sherman-Johnston memorandum signed. April 26, 1865: Surrender of forces under command of General Joseph E. Johnston. May 4, 1865: Surrender of Confederate forces in Alabama and Mississippi under General Richard Taylor. May 10, 1865: Capture of CSA President Jefferson Davis; US President Andrew Johnson declares armed resistance at an end. May 11, 1865: Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson surrenders remnants of his forces in Arkansas. May 12, 1865: Battle of Palmito Ranch; last battle of any size but minor skirmishes continued for at least a few more weeks in isolated locations. May 23-24, 1865: Grand Reviews of Union Armies - except for VI Corps a few weeks later. May 26, 1865: Surrender of Army of Trans-Mississippi Army - though not formally accepted by E. Kirby Smith until June 2. May 29, 1865: President Johnson's amnesty proclamation. June 3, 1865: CSA naval forces on the Red River surrender. June 23, 1865: Last surrender by a Confederate General, Stand Watie, in Indian Territory. June 28, 1865: Last day of operations by Confederate raider, C.S.S. Alabama. April 2, 1866: President Johnson declares the insurrection at an end - except in Texas which did not get its government organized until later and President Johnson issued a separate proclamation for it on August 20, 1866. All can be verified in Long, E.B. The Civil War Day by Day and undoubtedly in a variety of other sources.
The end was certainly in sight on April 9, 1865, and most people probably felt both then and now that little more fighting should or would take place and it was only a matter of a short time before the war was wrapped up and the states were fully restored to the union. I do not think of the 1866 dates as the end, although an argument could be made for them as the true dates for the end of the war, so I include them in the interest of giving a full list of end dates (except for the minor fights and skirmishes). I think some date in June (May at the earliest), 1865 is technically more accurate for the end of the war and the Appomattox surrender date could only be used as an end date with some small qualification. Consider that even if Lee kept his forces from turning into guerillas, as he did, he might not have been able to stop the other forces in the field from carrying on in some fashion that would have kept many fighters and a considerable number of small groups fighting unconventionally for months or years. Previous actions by Mosby and Morgan and even (perhaps even more so) by bandits like Anderson and Quantrill certainly show that it would not have been a novel concept to carry on in that fashion - and some CSA leaders at least had considered this as an option. I think it better to have cleared these sizable groups off the fields before considering the war to have been at an end. Even if only a minimal amount of skirmishing and a minor battle or two was fought after Appomattox it could not be the end with the number of men in the field still under arms and the number of small actions that still took place - in my opinion. The Eichers put forth a date in 1869 but I can't buy that one at all no matter what their publications and reputations are and the overall value and diligence of their work. I did not go back to look it up but I think their rationale is based on the last of the U.S. Volunteers being mustered out of the army or the last of the brevets being handed out or some such rationale. Donner60 (talk) 08:46, 15 October 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone know where this is? I keep looking it up but all I get is history on this place. I need it for my English paper. thanks!Mira (talk) 05:15, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Well, let's see. There's a link to the coordinates at the top of the article, a link to the coordinates in the infobox, and the intro says "Lee's final stand was at Appomattox Court House, where he launched an attack to break through the Union force to his front…" What part of the location isn't clear with that? —C.Fred (talk) 05:18, 30 October 2010 (UTC)


A map of the battle would be a helpful addition. Dan653 (talk) 12:31, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Confederate Casualties, Salmon citation[edit]

An IP editor has been changing the Confederate casualty figures (killed and wounded) in the infobox from about 500 to 195 while leaving the source for the original figures, Salmon, Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide p. 492 as the citation. Here is the URL/link for the source which clearly states "about 500." If this is in error and there is a better, reliable source that justifies a change, it should be cited. If the change is meant to refer only to the number killed, it would still need a different citation because that number (195) is not given in Salmon on page 492. Note, too, that Salmon refers to "casualties" with respect to the figures for both armies, so presumably that is the figure he believes is correct for killed and wounded for both sides, not killed for one and killed and wounded for the other. Donner60 (talk) 12:08, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Oct. 2013 Vandalism (?)[edit]

The word "fias" appeared in the first paragraph, and I can find no meaning for it. It does not look like a misspelling to me. In addition there was a sentence fragment in the first paragraph of the "Background" section, which read "Confederate GeneralRobert E. Lee waited for an opportunity to leave the Petry turned Lee's flank at the Battle of Five Forks." I removed this. I hope some historian who knows this battle can correct these changes. Nick Beeson (talk) 13:56, 18 October 2013 (UTC)