Robert E. Lee’s sword to go on display at Appomattox

Robert E. Lee, Civil WarOn 9 April 1865, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met at Appomattox, Virginia, so that Lee could surrender his Army of Northern Virginia.

This momentous event effectively ended the American Civil War. With Lee and his army gone, the Confederate cause lost hope. General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the Army of Tennessee on April 26, and in Louisiana General Kirby Smith surrendered his Trans-Mississippi Confederate forces on May 26. The last Confederate general to surrender was the Cherokee Brigadier General Stand Watie in the Indian Territory on June 23.

Now a new museum will open at Appomattox dedicated to the war and its conclusion. A centerpiece of the display will be Robert E. Lee’s golden ceremonial sword. Owned by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, the sword will grace a branch museum it’s building at Appomattox. The museum is also building branches at the important Civil War sites of Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads. The Appomattox museum will open next spring.

The sword was the same worn by Lee during the surrender. Lee famously showed up in full dress uniform with his French-made golden sword at his side. Grant showed up unkempt and wearing a muddy uniform.

The sword has recently been restored with a new layer of gilt that has restored its original luster.

[Image of Robert E. Lee courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Ohio’s got you covered when it comes to presidents’ houses

Ohio has the nickname “Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. presidents were elected from here. Seven of the eight were born in this state.

Although the site of Rutherford B. Hayes’ birthplace in Delaware (about 30 minutes from Columbus) is no longer there (I think there’s a gas station on the site), there are other presidents’ houses and landmarks still standing. A tour of all of them covers a lot of ground.

Ulysses S. Grant’s birthplace in Mt. Pleasant is now a museum run by the Ohio Historical Society. Although it’s open only certain times of the year, this is a lovely place on the Ohio River west of Cincinnati. You can also see the school house where Grant attended in a nearby town.

James A. Garfield’s house in Mentor in the northern part of Ohio is a National Historic Site. Although it is open year-round, there are seasonal hours.

Benjamin Harrison was born on a farm near Cincinnati, although, there is not a landmark. To visit his house, head to Indianapolis. He may of been born in Ohio, but Indiana became home.

William McKinley has a mega tribute in Niles, his birthplace. Along with the site where he was born there is a memorial, a museum, a research center and a library. McKinley’s honor comes partly because he was a respected governor of the state as well.

William H. Taft’s elegant home is in Cincinnati. This house, now an National Historic Site, also has an education research center.

Warren G. Harding’s former home in Marion is part of the Ohio Historical Society. Most of the furnishings belonged to Harding and his wife. The hours are seasonal. Harding is also buried in Marion about one hour from Columbus heading north.

William Henry Harrison wasn’t born in Ohio. Even though he was born in Virginia, he moved to Ohio and was elected president from his home in North Bend not far from Cincinnati. The house isn’t there, but Harrison is buried in North Bend. His tomb is part of the Ohio Historical Society’s properties.

(see Ohio Presidents)