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Civil War at 150: War began on his farm and ended in his home

POSTED: August 7, 2011 12:30 a.m.

History is full of quirks, ironies and coincidences. The battle of First Bull Run is no exception.

Shortly after the battle, Wilmer McLean, a local grocer who lived at Manassas, surveyed the damage done to his farm and outbuildings during the battle. Beauregard had commandeered the McLean home and turned it his headquarters. Accordingly, he decided to move his family far away from the scene of conflict to a more peaceful location.

In 1863, McLean built a fine home at Appomattox Courthouse, not far from Richmond. His efforts to get away from the war were all in vain, however, when his new home was once again overrun by Union and Confederate armies in April 1865. In fact, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union Gen. U. S. Grant inside of McLean's home.

Thus, the war's first battle began in McLean's front yard and it ended in his front parlor.


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