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NaJoPoMo #8 The US Civil War, from Start to Finish

Post 1

Florida Sailor All is well with the world

No, this is only a journal entry. This is about one individual who had the honour, or misfortune, to witness both events - through no effort of his own.

Let me tell you a bit about the strange adventures of Wilmer McLean.

In 1853 he married a widow with 2 small children, and a 1,200 acre plantation near Bull Run Creek and the town of Manassas, Virginia (near the site of what is now Dullas Airport). Having risen to the rank of Major as a supply officer in the Virginia Militia, he continued his work as a wholesale grocer. There were slaves and over-seers to tend to the day to day work of the plantation.

After the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 the Southern States began proclaiming their independence. After South Carolina troops fired on Fort Sumter on 12 April, 1861 war seemed certain. Large armies began to form in both the US Capital, Washington, DC and the new Confederate Capital city, Richmond Virginia. McLean's plantation was between them, at a strategic point.

When the Confederate General asked to use his house as a temporary headquarters, McLean felt obligated to help in any way he could. This also made the farmhouse a major military target. When one of the cannon shells of the opening salvoes landed in the kitchen fireplace the General was amused, McLean only saw his home being damaged. When the 1st Battle of Bull Run (Manassas in the South) A87805939 was followed by a second battle on the same ground a year later, McLean had had enough, he decided to move his family to a quiet town some 200 miles to the south of the battles - Appomattox Court House (the name of the town, because it was a county seat).

For a year, or more, his plan worked perfectly, and McLean made a nice living supplying the Confederate armies with food. Then Sherman marched his troops to the sea and turned north, Grant mounted a major push and captured Richmond. The Confederate Army under General Robert E Lee were forced to flee to the south. Guess whose house stood at the vital point where the forces were about to meet.

Lee was desperate, he had almost resolved himself to take his men into the nearby mountains and fight a guerilla campaign to extend the conflict as long as possible. He then looked at his men, starving and dressed in tatters, he realized that the cause was indeed lost. He sent one of his staff into the nearby town to find a suitable place for his surrender to take place.

The comfortable, two-storey McLean home was the obvious choice. Wilmer sighed, but agreed to let the Generals once more use his home. After the treaty had been signed all the Union officers decided that they must have a souvenir of this momentous occasion. The parlour was soon stripped of anything that could be carried, although in all fairness, most offered to pay the owner far more than the items were actually worth.

After the war the fortune that McLean had made was mostly in worthless Confederate bills. The house fell into foreclosure and eventual ruin, although it has been restored as a National Monument.

It has been reported that in later years McLean claimed that the Civil War had started in his front garden, and ended in his front parlour. He certainly had a right to that claim.


F smiley - dolphin S


NaJoPoMo #8 The US Civil War, from Start to Finish

Post 2

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

Nice. I love stories like this.


NaJoPoMo #8 The US Civil War, from Start to Finish

Post 3

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

This is a fantastic post! smiley - ok


NaJoPoMo #8 The US Civil War, from Start to Finish

Post 4

bobstafford

Excellent FS smiley - cheers


NaJoPoMo #8 The US Civil War, from Start to Finish

Post 5

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

[Amy P]


NaJoPoMo #8 The US Civil War, from Start to Finish

Post 6

Superfrenchie

smiley - biro


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