Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is located in South Central Virginia. The park interprets the final events of the Civil War.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
In early April 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee was desperately trying to lead his Confederate Army forces to safety and find supplies.
On the morning of April 9, 1865, General Lee realized his troops were surrounded and concluded that surrendering was their best option.
He sent word to Lieutenant General Ulysses S Grant of his intention to surrender. The surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia in the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia signaled the end of the nation's largest war.
The two men met in the parlor of a private house in the town of Appomattox Court House. The meeting ended the American Civil War which had lasted four years and resulted in more than 630,000 killed.
Appomattox Court House Date - April 9, 1865
About Appomattox Court House NHP
Appomattox Court House NHP includes a dozen buildings, a museum, theater, hiking trails, driving pull-offs, and a park store.
Original structures from the 1800s include houses, cabins, offices, stores, and the 1819 Clover Hill Tavern.
This is a park that you can do as little or as much as you want during your visit. The heart of the park is pretty close together between the Visitor Center and the McLean House.
There are trails that lead through the entire park if you want to enjoy a great walk or explore more.
Is Appomattox Court House NHP worth visiting?
We found the park really fascinating to visit. The National Park Service has done an amazing job preserving and protecting the historic buildings.
This is a park we would happily return to in the future. It would be great to have more time to explore the outer reaches of the park.
History of Appomattox Court House NHP
The events in and around the village of Appomattox Court House National Park signaled the end of the American Civil War. Here, Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, the head of the Union Army, after a desperate last stand.
The surrender of General Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant not only put a stop to the fighting in Virginia, but it marked the beginning of the end of the Civil War.
Sixteen months after General Lee surrendered, the war was officially over. One of the last battles of the Civil War took place in and around the Appomattox Court House National Park on the 9th of April 1865.
To understand why the Appomattox Campaign was a pivotal moment for the Confederate Army, we need to take a look at what happened right before the battle that would make General Lee surrender at the McLean House in the Appomattox Court House National Park.
The End of The Siege Of Petersburg
On the 2nd of April 1865, the longest campaign of the Civil War, the Siege of Petersburg, came to an end. General Lee and General Grant had been engaged in brutal trench warfare for nine and a half months.
By the 2nd of April, Lee knew he could no longer hold Petersburg and Richmond, so he evacuated them that evening.
By this time, General Lee’s army was exhausted and hungry. The Confederate's morale was low. Sickness was rife throughout the trenches and desertion occurred frequently. Lee’s first objective after evacuating Petersburg was to find supplies at Amelia Court House.
At this point, Lee was not ready to surrender. Lee planned to reach Amelia Court House, obtain rations, and then meet with the Confederate Army of Tennessee. However, Lee found no rations upon reaching Amelia Court House on the 4th of April.
The Confederate army was starving and could not continue without food. Rather than leave Amelia Court House empty-handed, Lee sent his men into the surrounding areas to find supplies. This proved to be the gap the Union Army needed to catch up to the retreating Confederate forces.
On the 5th of April, the Confederates marched West, to Appomattox Station, hoping to find supplies there. However, the stop at Amelia Court House allowed the Union Army to catch up to Lee. Not long after leaving Amelia, the Confederates encountered the Union Army.
The Union Army, headed by Gen. Sheridan, engaged the Confederates at Sailor Creek and separated a considerable amount of Lee’s forces. One-fourth of the Confederate army was killed, captured, or surrendered in the fierce battle at Sailor Creek.
Every move Lee made, Grant seemed to have anticipated. Lee planned to cross the Appomattox River to distance his army from the advancing Union army. However, the Federals were advancing parallel to the Confederate forces, attempting to block the crossing.
Grant offered Lee the chance to surrender his army on the 7th of April after the battle at Sailor Creek. Lee refused and continued marching towards Appomattox station.
The fighting at Sailor Creek delayed Lee once more from reaching much-needed supplies at Appomattox Station. Sheridan reached the station first and destroyed the Confederate supplies before Lee arrived on the 8th of April.
The Battle of Appomattox Court House
After the blow at Appomattox station, Lee decided to march what was left of the Army of Northern Virginia to Lynchburg to get much-needed rations.
Lee knew he did not have much time to act; he knew that the Army of the James and the Army of the Potomac were both headed to Appomattox. Lee knew it would be near impossible to break through the Union defensive line when the two armies arrived.
In the early morning hours of the 9th of April, the Confederates made their move. They attacked Sheridan's Cavalry and pushed them back over the ridge. The second line, however, held. As the Confederate army reached the crest of the ridge, two Union Corps came into view. That of the XXIV and the V.
Lee's cavalry immediately retreated rather than engaging with the thousands of gathered Union troops.
The Union army was encircling the Confederates, trapping them in and around the village of Appomattox Court House. Lee could continue his advance, knowing that he would be sending his remaining forces to their deaths. Or he could surrender to General Grant.
Lee knew there was no way he could fight his way out of Appomattox Court House. The Union Cavalry was advancing on all fronts. Finding no other option, Lee raised the white flag to signal a ceasefire to discuss the terms of the Confederate surrender to General Grant.
Discussions on the terms of the Confederate surrender took place in the parlor at the McLean house. The Confederates had to surrender their weapons and military property, including flags. But Grant allowed the paroled officers to keep their sidearms and horses.
The Confederates were granted parole and given a pass that identified them as having surrendered and not deserters. The events at Appomattox Court House set the tone for the surrender of the South.
Things to know before your visit to Appomattox Court House
$0.00, There is no entrance fee to visit the park.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Find the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
EST - Eastern Standard Time
Please be aware that due to their historic nature, many buildings in the park have limited accessibility or are inaccessible
Restrooms are available at the Clover Hill Tavern and the Visitor Center.
Pets must be on a leash at all times. They are not allowed in any park buildings.
There is water available from a water fountain near the visitor center.
We had fairly good service while visiting the park with T-Mobile.
The park is open daily from 9-5, with the exception of certain holidays: Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1.
The park may have reduced hours (9-2) on December 24 and 31.
Public Wi-Fi is not available in the park.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
There is a large parking lot near the main entrance to the park.
There are no restaurants or food services within the park.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted to be flown within the National Park Service site.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center. Make sure to bring your National Park Passport Book with you.
Appomattox Court House NHP was featured in the 1990 Passport Stamp Set and as the National Stamp in the 2015 Passport Stamp Set.
We like to bring these 1.5 inch circle stickers with us to the park so we do not have to carry our entire Passport Book
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are 18 electric vehicle charging stations within a 30 mile radius of Appomattox, VA
Details about Appomattox Court House NHP
Size - 1,774 acres
Check out how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
Legislation was signed in 1935 that created the park as a national historical monument.
World War II stopped the development of the park temporarily but it was resumed in 1947.
The area was re-designated as a National Historical Park in 1954.
In 2021, Appomattox Court House NHP had 92,650 park visitors.
In 2020, Appomattox Court House NHP had 57,513 park visitors.
In 2019, Appomattox Court House NHP had 102,397 park visitors.
Learn more about the most visited and least visited National Parks in the US
National Park Address
111 National Park Drive, Appomattox, VA 24522, United States
Appomattox Court House NHP Map
Where is Appomattox Court House NHP?
Appomattox Court House NHP is located 3 miles east of U.S. Highway 460, and 3 miles east of the modern town of Appomattox, Virginia along Rt. 24.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Durham, NC - 94 miles
Raleigh, NC - 109 miles
Norfolk, VA - 144 miles
Washington DC - 145 miles
Baltimore, MD - 181 miles
Charlotte, NC - 184 miles
Pittsburg, PA - 223 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Shenandoah National Park - 73 miles
Congaree National Park - 323 miles
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 471 miles
Mammoth Cave National Park - 521 miles
Indiana Dunes National Park - 704 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The visitor center is located inside the reconstructed Appomattox Courthouse. Visitors can see the original pencil used by General Lee to amend the terms of Surrender.
Getting to Appomattox Court House NHP
Lynchburg Regional Airport (LYH) - 25 miles
Richmond International Airport (RIC) - 97 miles
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) - 128 miles
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) - 170 miles
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) - 193 miles
Roanoke Regional Airport (ROA) - 75 miles
Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) - 76 miles
Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) - 91 miles
Greenbriar Valley Airport (LWB) - 139 miles
From the North - Charlottesville:
Take Hwy 29 South toward Lynchburg, Near Amherst, stay on 29 By-Pass (not business into Lynchburg)
The 29 By-pass will end at US 460 take 460 East (toward Appomattox), Take the second exit at Appomattox (Highway 24 East).
There is a brown sign for the park at this exit. Turn left at the top of the ramp, the park is straight ahead. The main entrance of the park will be approximately 2.5 miles on the left.
From the East – Farmville, Petersburg (Route 460)
Take Route 460 West toward Appomattox. There is a brown sign for the park just before the exit for Highway 24 East.
Turn right off the exit ramp, the park is straight ahead. The main entrance of the park will be approximately 2.5 miles on the left.
Take US 360 West (toward Amelia). After Amelia take 307 West (toward Sailors Creek). 307 will end at US 460, turn right (West toward Farmville/Appomattox).
Stay on 460 West for about 40 miles and take the exit for Hwy. 24 East. There is a brown sign for the park at this exit.
Turn right at the top of the ramp, the park is straight ahead. The main entrance of the park will be approximately 2.5 miles on the left.
From the West - Roanoke, Lynchburg (Route 460)
Take Route 460 East toward Appomattox. Take the second exit at Appomattox (Highway 24 East). There is a brown sign for the park at this exit.
Turn left at the top of the ramp, the park is straight ahead. The main entrance of the park will be approximately 2.5 miles on the left.
Note- Don’t rely on GPS to reach the park.
The park does not have a street address and visitors who use them regularly wind up in downtown Appomattox, three miles from the park.
Best time to visit Appomattox Court House NHP
Fall and Spring are great times to visit the park. The weather is cooler than the heat of the summer and it is not as crowded.
During the summer there are more guided tours and activities planned within the park.
National Park Weather and Seasons
Summers in Appomattox, Virginia are warm and muggy. The winters are really cold and snowy.
The highest temperatures are from May 29 to September 15th when the daily average is above 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
The hottest month is July when the temperature reaches an average high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit.
The coolest weather lasts from November 29 to March 1st with the average temperature below 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
The coldest month is January with an average low of 29 degrees. The snowiest time of year is from November 20 to March 25th with at least an inch of snow a month. February has the highest average snowfall of 6 inches.
Best Things to do in Appomattox Court House NHP
When planning the things you want to see at Appomattox Courthouse NHP make sure to plan time to walk around the grounds.
A couple of hours is needed minimum to explore the visitor center, watch the park movie, and check out the historic buildings.
"Appomattox, With Malice Toward None" Park Movie
You can view the park's new video which was released in April 2015 in the 70 seat theater located at the visitor center. The first showing of the day is at 9:00 a.m. and the last show of the day is at 4:30 pm.
The park film is shown on the hour and half-hour.
You can Watch the park's 17-minute video before you visit to learn more about the park. The theater is on the 2nd floor. If you have mobility restrictions I would suggest watching the movie before visiting the park.
The reconstructed home of Wilmer McLean and his wife Virginia Mclean, where the generals met is one of the most important places to visit in the park.
The home includes original and reproduction items that would have been in the house. The original house was dismantled when the former owners had the idea to move it to Washington DC and create a Civil War museum.
There was a fantastic volunteer at the house during our visit who led us through the rooms and explained what occurred in the house.
There is a doll on display that belonged to Wilmer and Virginia McLean's daughter Lulu. The doll was in the parlor when General Lee surrendered. The doll was originally taken by a Union officer but was returned to the park in 1992.
The McLean home is a must visit while visiting the park.
Ranger talks are scheduled on most days from April through September.
The park also offers programs with living history guides. These programs are presented by actors who portray people who were here in 1865, and who speak as though it is still 1865.
There are over 90 species of birds that have been found in the park. The variety of forest and grassland habitat is great for birding.
The best forest birding opportunities are along the Southside Connector Trail, Grant’s Approach Trail and Tobacco Prizery Nature Trail.
Common birds seen in the park include the Mourning dove, Northern mockingbird, Eastern meadowlark, Indigo Bunting, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Carolina wren, Turkey vulture, House finch, and European Starling.
Junior Ranger Program
The Junior Ranger badge can be picked up at the visitor center. You can print the on-site Junior Ranger Book before visiting the park.
The Appomattox Junior Ranger Badge can be earned by visiting here.
Appomattox Court House Driving Tour
The Appomattox Court House story includes sites outside of the area around the visitor center.
On the driving tour, you can visit the Rear Guard, General Lee's final headquarters, The Appomattox River, the Confederate Cemetery and Lord's Battery, North Carolina Monument and Raine Family Cemetery, Grant's Headquarters and the Final Battle Site.
You can download the Appomattox Battle App® from the App Store or the Play Store to enhance your experience with text, audio clips, and videos.
Print a brochure with maps and descriptions of the driving tour.
Hiking in Appomattox Court House NHP
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
The park offers hiking trails ranging from .9 miles to 4.8 miles. A map of the trails and descriptions of the trails are available online or can be picked up at the visitor center.
Stage Road Trail
Distance - .9 mile one way
Difficulty - Easy
Grant's Approach Trail
Distance - 1.4 mile loop
Difficulty - Easy
Southside Connector Trail
Distance - 2.4 mile
Difficulty - Moderate
Tobacco Prizery Nature Trail
Distance - 1.2 mile loop
Difficulty - Easy
Lee's Headquarters Trail
Distance - .3 mile loop
Difficulty - Easy
Distance - 1 mile one way
Difficulty - Easy
Ferguson Wildlife Trail
Distance - .9 mile loop
Difficulty - Easy
Conner-Sweeney Cabin Trail
Distance - .5 mile one way
Difficulty - Easy
Distance - 1.3 mile one way
Difficulty - Easy
How to beat the crowds in Appomattox Court House NHP?
We did not experience any crowds while visiting the park.
For most parks if you visit during the week there are a lot less people.
Where to stay when visiting Appomattox Court House NHP?
There are no designated National Park Lodges for the park.
Super 8 by Wyndham Appomattox VA - Free to-go breakfast and more. Stay connected with free in-room WiFi.
The Babcock House - Free full breakfast, a terrace, and a garden are just a few of the amenities provided at The Babcock House. Treat yourself to a massage at the onsite spa. The onsite southern cuisine restaurant, The Babcock House, features brunch and light fare. In addition to a library and a bar, guests can connect to free in-room WiFi.
Maysville Manor Bed & Breakfast - Maysville Manor Bed & Breakfast provides everything you need. Stay connected with free in-room WiFi.
Red Roof Inn Madison Heights, VA - Laundry facilities, a business center, and a snack bar/deli are just a few of the amenities provided at Red Roof Inn Madison Heights, VA. Stay connected with free in-room WiFi.
Click on the map below to see current rates for hotels and vacation rentals near Appomattox, Virginia
National Park Camping
There is no camping within the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Escape Campervans has offices in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Orlando
Parks near Appomattox Court House NHP
Booker T Washington National Monument
Richmond National Battlefield Park
Blue Ridge Parkway
Petersburg National Battlefield
Colonial National Historical Park
Check out all of the National Parks in Virginia along with neighboring National Parks in Washington DC , National Parks in North Carolina, National Parks in Kentucky, Tennessee National Parks, National Parks in West Virginia, and National Parks in Maryland
National Park Service Website
Leave a Reply