This Thursday, April 9, marks the 150th anniversary of what occasion?

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This Thursday, April 9, marks the 150th anniversary of what occasion?

2015-04-06 14:35
Answer: General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant in the village of Appomattox Courthouse. 

John Gibbon was a life-long Army officer who was born on April 20, 1827, in Holmesburg, Pennsylvania. Soon after, his family moved to North Carolina, where he graduated from the United States Military Academy and entered his career in the Army. When the Civil War broke out, several of Gibbon's family members were slaveholders and fought in the Confederate infantry. He decided to remain loyal to the Union. Soon Gibbon was promoted through the ranks, and eventually became a Brigadier General. In addition to serving during this war, Gibbon also served in the Mexican American War and in the Indian Wars against the Sioux.

Gibbon was one of the officers who was present during Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865. Two days after the event, he wrote a letter to his mother in which he described its immediate aftermath, in part:

"Genls. Griffin, Merritt, and myself were appointed to carry into effect the terms of the surrender.  The 5th Corps and mine are left to take charge of the captured property whilst the balance of the army returns to Burk’s station. Early in the morning I rode down to the C.H. where Genl. Grant was awaiting an interview with Genl. Lee. Soon after our arrival Genl. Lee came riding up attended only by two orderlies.  He looks pretty much the same as usual, but older, and his face has a very sad expression. I did not see him smile once during the interview. He has the same quiet, subdued, gentlemanly manner, for which he was always noted."

The John Gibbon collection (#2031) is just one of many Civil War-related collections in HSP's holdings. In the Gibbon papers researchers will find mainly correspondence and memoirs from John Gibbon that cover his career in the military. There are also some miscellaneous materials, including account books from Gibbon's military schooling, scrapbooks, pamphlets, photographs, and a testimonial to Gibbon written by President Ulysses S. Grant.

An expanded version of this article appeared in the Currents section of the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer.

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