As the fighting started in Manassas, Virginia, farmer Wilmer McLean was in the wrong place with the Civil War home to roost.
Fortunately for Wilmer he was too old at 47 to sign up for the Confederate Army.
But the war came to him with his house in Virginia used as Brigadier General PGT Beauregard’s headquarters.
And a cannonball dropping into Wilmer’s kitchen fireplace.
The beginning and end
With all that death and destruction on his land he can be forgiven for moving on after battle.
And heading 120 miles to the hamlet of Appomattox Court House.
Yes, that Appomattox Court House where 157 years ago today General Robert E Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S Grant.
And you can visit the museum there today and learn more about a war that changed America and the world.
And perhaps Wilmer McLean (Scottish surely).
Wilmer’s stuff and Custer
If you’re looking for Wilmer’s original furniture I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.
As the Army of the Potomac made off with them as souvenirs giving Wilmer a paltry financial recompense.
The table on which Lee signed the surrender documents came into General Custer’s possession.
With an authentic recreation of McLean’s second home is now part of the Appommattox Court House National Historic Park.
Civil War sites
Now where Wilmer led I have still to follow.
Visiting, yes, Manassas, but still to make Appomattox.
Which I will, and as much of the pristine American Civil War sites that I studied way back in my University days.
And remember that all major airlines fly into Dulles Airport, the feeder airport for Washington DC.
Which Virginians never tire of reminding you is in their Commmwealth.
And not state as former governor, and Bill Clinton’s best buddy, Terry McAuliffe was at pains to tell us all.
Over a pint of stout in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
But that’s another story.
And today is about marking the date with the Civil War home to roost for Wilmer McLean.