Old Appomattox Court House

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Old Appomattox Court House
Appomattox courthouse.jpg
Federal soldiers at old "court house" in April 1865
Old Appomattox Court House is located in Virginia
Old Appomattox Court House
Location in Virginia
Old Appomattox Court House is located in the United States
Old Appomattox Court House
Old Appomattox Court House (the United States)
LocationAppomattox County, Virginia
Nearest cityAppomattox, Virginia
Coordinates37°22′39″N 78°47′46″W / 37.3775°N 78.7960°W / 37.3775; -78.7960Coordinates: 37°22′39″N 78°47′46″W / 37.3775°N 78.7960°W / 37.3775; -78.7960
Visitation185,443[1] (2009)
Part ofAppomattox Court House National Historical Park (#66000827[2])
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966

The Old Appomattox Court House is a structure within the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.[3] In the 1800s, this structure gave the surrounding village the name, Appomattox Court House. The 1865 surrender at the nearby McLean House was significant in ending the American Civil War. The court house was registered in the National Park Service's database of Official Structures on June 26, 1989.[4] It is located on Virginia State Route 24, three miles (5 km) northeast of the town of Appomattox in Appomattox County, Virginia, where the "new" Appomattox Court House is located.[5]


Reconstructed Old Appomattox County "Court House"

The original "old" Appomattox Court House was the first county seat of Appomattox County, Virginia. It was built in 1846, one year after Appomattox County was established, at what was known then as Clover Hill, Virginia. It was the second government public structure built after Appomattox County became official. It was in the center of the village on a large green lot surrounded by the Richmond-Lynchburg stage road.[5] The first building constructed after the county became official was the original wooden county jail built in 1845. The original courthouse was built across the street from the Clover Hill Tavern in 1846. This original courthouse building burned down in 1892. A second courthouse was constructed in 1892, which is near the location of the Appomattox Station in the town of Appomattox, Virginia.[6]

The reconstructed "old" Appomattox Court House is now the visitor center for the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. On the first floor is the information desk. On the second floor is a museum and the auditorium. An interpretive video presents the events of General Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's surrender to Lieutenant General Grant. Civil War weapons are on display, as are many photographs relating to the event.[7] The "old" Appomattox Court House was reconstructed in 1963 and 1964 as the park's visitor center and information desk for the National Park Service.[8]

Historical significance[edit]

Civil War museum pieces on second floor

The original county "court house" played no role in the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant, as it was Palm Sunday and the court was closed for the day. The actual surrender took place at the McLean House. The National Park Service states that the Old Appomattox Court House is of paramount importance by virtue of its association with the site. It is vital under certain criteria of the National Park Service and by virtue of its creation of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park by federal law. It represents the participation of the federal government in the preservation and commemoration of historically significant events.[9]

Description of old "court house"[edit]

The reconstructed Old Appomattox Court House is a two-story structure of running bond brick with a raised second floor main entry. There is a second story east and west entry porch. The building has newel posts and balusters. The four-panel entry doors on the main level are flanked by 12/12 double hanging sash windows. The size of the structure is fifty feet wide by forty feet deep. It has three bays with a hipped flat-seam roof with wood trusses.[8]

The rebuilt edifice has a brick paved first floor beneath the second floor hipped-roof porch with brick cast stone steps and cast iron railings. The lower level has a similar layout with a smaller four-panel door flanked by 8/8 double hanging sash windows. The end elevations have two internal chimneys flanked by 8/8 double hanging sash windows on the first floor with three 8/8 double hanging sash windows on the second level. There is a third sash window located in the center. All the windows of the "court house" have shutters.[10]


  1. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
  3. ^ Marvel, A place called Appomattox, has an extensive bibliography (pp. 369-383) which lists manuscript collections, private papers and letters that were consulted, as well as, newspapers, government documents, and other published monographs that were used in his research of Appomattox.
  4. ^ "Old Appomattox Court House". Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  5. ^ a b "1961 Nation Park Service brochure". Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  6. ^ "Clover Hill Tavern". Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  7. ^ Gutek, p. 299
  8. ^ a b "Appomattox Court House - Visitor Centor / Museum". Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  9. ^ "Appomattox Court House". Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  10. ^ Jon B. Montgomery; Reed Engle & Clifford Tobias (May 8, 1989). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Appomattox Court House / Appomattox Court House National Historical Park (version from Virginia Department of Historic Resources, including maps)" (PDF). National Park Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 15, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 12 photos, undated (version from Federal website) (32 KB) and one photo, undated, at Virginia DHR


  • Bradford, Ned, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Plume, 1989
  • Catton, Bruce, A Stillness at Appomattox, Doubleday 1953, Library of Congress # 53-9982, ISBN 0-385-04451-8
  • Catton, Bruce, This Hallowed Ground, Doubleday 1953, Library of Congress # 56-5960
  • Chaffin, Tom, 2006. Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah, Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux,.
  • Davis, Burke, The Civil War: Strange & Fascinating Facts, Wings Books, 1960 & 1982, ISBN 0-517-37151-0
  • Davis, Burke, To Appomattox - Nine April Days, 1865, Eastern Acorn Press, 1992, ISBN 0-915992-17-5
  • Gutek, Patricia, Plantations and Outdoor Museums in America's Historic South, University of South Carolina Press, 1996, ISBN 1-57003-071-5
  • Hosmer, Charles Bridgham, Preservation Comes of Age: From Williamsburg to the National Trust, 1926-1949, Preservation Press, National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States by the University Press of Virginia, 1981
  • Kaiser, Harvey H., The National Park Architecture Sourcebook, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008, ISBN 1-56898-742-0
  • Kennedy, Frances H., The Civil War Battlefield Guide, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990, ISBN 0-395-52282-X
  • Korn, Jerry et al., The Civil War, Pursuit to Appomattox, The Last Battles, Time-Life Books, 1987, ISBN 0-8094-4788-6
  • Marvel, William, A Place Called Appomattox, UNC Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8078-2568-9
  • Marvel, William, Lee's Last Retreat, UNC Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8078-5703-3
  • McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom, Oxford University Press, 1988,
  • National Park Service, Appomattox Court House: Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 2002, ISBN 0-912627-70-0
  • Tidwell, William A., April '65: Confederate Covert Action in the American Civil War, Kent State University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-87338-515-2
  • Weigley, Russel F., A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861-1865, Indiana University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-253-33738-0