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]

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Thailand Part 6: Swordfights and Elephants

Travel Talk Thailand - Swordfights and Elephants

Gadling TV’s Travel Talk, episode 36 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Travel Talk is back! After our fall hiatus we are excited to bring you our greatest adventure yet: Thailand.

From the vibrant heart of Bangkok to the remote countryside, we traveled by foot, car, boat, motorbike, ox cart and elephant to savor the the splendor of ancient temples, the energy of the muay thai ring, the serenity of rural life, and every single spicy bite of Thai cuisine. We’ll be bringing it all to you in the coming weeks as part of our special 12-part feature: Travel Talk Thailand.

As we venture further from the bustle of Bangkok, we get a chance to be the first westerners to visit a Thai martial art and dance school, taking swordfighting lessons from the Thai National Champion. Then we learn how to tame, wash and ride giants.

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

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Hosts: Stephen Greenwood & Aaron Murphy-Crews
Special guest: Joom!
Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood & Aaron Murphy-Crews
Special thanks: Tourism Authority of Thailand, Trikaya Tours

Travel Talk took Thailand by storm on invitation from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. No editorial content was guaranteed and Aaron & Stephen were free to openly share all adventures that they embarked upon.

SkyMall Monday: Cane Sword

The reason we love SkyMall as much as we do is because they keep it simple. Whether it’s the Garden Yeti, Cat Toilet Training System or Baseball Bat Pepper Grinder, the products sold in SkyMall never try to out-think anyone. They simply address problems that we never knew we had until SkyMall solved them. If there’s one thing I hate when it comes to gadgets, it’s when they are made complicated purely to show off bells and whistles. Who needs extraneous buttons, lights, levers, switches, wheels, cords and doodads? At the end of the day, I need a product to do what it is designed to do. So, when it comes to both supporting my body weight and defending myself against charlatans and men of ill-repute, I need a device that will do those two things and do them well. I can’t be burdened with two separate tools that will weigh me down, occupy both of my hands and slow my reaction times. That’s why I was thrilled to see that SkyMall was prepared for me to be limping and under attack. This week, SkyMall Monday wields an accessory that is functional, handsome and deadly. We’re brandishing the Cane Sword.What’s a Cane Sword? It’s a cane with a sword inside. Wasn’t that obvious? If it was a Sword Cane, it would be a sword with a cane inside. But what the hell purpose would that serve? SkyMall isn’t in the business of making baffling, useless products. That’s why the Sword Cane doesn’t exist. But Cane Sword? Yeah, that’s just the kind of logical, practical and soon-to-be ubiquitous product that every American with mobility issues and an arch-nemesis will soon own.

Think that canes should just be canes and that swords have no place in public? I bet you think that umbrellas don’t need flashlights and collar stays don’t need hidden messages. Are you carrying around a cane, sword, umbrella, flashlight, collar stays and a note pad everywhere you go? You must have a huge bag, an assistant or be Vishnu. Since you don’t believe in simplicity, let the official SkyMall product description break it down for you:

39 inches in length. Die cast handle. Stainless steel blade.

Need that broken down any further? It’s more than three-feet-long, has a solid handle and a blade that does the job when the shit hits the…well…blade. It doesn’t taken a rocket scientist to figure out what we’re talking about here. It’s a Cane Sword. And that’s what we want it to be.

Forget about wheelchairs with cannons and walkers with lasers. They’re impractical, expensive and fictional. The Cane Sword exists, does what it’s meant to do and does it well. It’s simple, really.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Museum Junkie: The Art of the Samurai at the Met

From the 12th to the 19th centuries, Japanese society was dominated by the samurai, elite warriors with a fierce code of honor. While wars were almost constant on the islands during this period, it was also a time of great artistic achievement, one that extended to the weapons and equipment of the samurai.

Starting on October 21, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City will host the largest collection of samurai artifacts ever assembled in the United States.

Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor 1156-1868 brings together more than 200 masterpieces of traditional Japanese art, including swords, bows, armor, banners, and other equipment selected from public and private Japanese collections. Many of the items are not only beautiful but unusual, such as the rare example of 18th century woman’s armor pictured here. Also included are a series of Japanese sword blades that, despite the name of the exhibition, date as far back as the 5th century. An accompanying exhibition displays some related objects from the Met’s permanent collection that have been recently restored in Japan.

The exhibition includes 34 National Treasures, 64 Important Cultural Properties, and 6 Important Art Objects. The Japanese government has a hierarchy of designations for important objects. The most precious are labeled National Treasures, and this exhibition has three times the number of National Treasures of any previous exhibition outside of Japan. National Treasures can include buildings, objects, even artists. That so many of these one-of-a-kind objects have made it to New York is a major coup for the Met. You’d have to go to Japan to see a finer collection of samurai arms and armor.

The show runs to January 10.