It’s probably safe to assume that a recreation of the meeting between Grant and Lee in Wilmer McLean’s home at Appomattox Court House will be part of the sesquicentennial anniversary next April. Unlike the video below, the performance will likely stick to a well vetted script that adheres close to the available historical record. There is something about this meeting that strikes a chord with our Civil War memory. Of course, the two commanders didn’t have to meet to agree to terms of surrender. That they did presents us with a dramatic conclusion to and a sharp contrast with the previous year’s bloodletting. We want to know what these two men thought of one another.
The two actors below have some fun with the meeting by stretching it to include all sorts of topics. First, try to forget that both men look like neither army suffered from a lack of supplies. They touch on the standard narrative, but also talk about the controversy surrounding the recruitment of slaves into the Confederate army. Lee seems to forget that his Confederate Congress did indeed pass the measure in March 1865. Grant dutifully plays the role of “butcher” and is never without a drink in hand. They also find the time to discuss Sherman’s strategy in Georgia and the development of new weapons and a host of other topics.