|(Left) McLean's house in the city of Manassas, VA, where the Civil War began.|
(Right) McLean's house in the city of Appomattox Court House, VA, where the Civil War ended.
On July 21, 1861, the first major land battle of the Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run, was fought on a farm owned by McLean, a retired major in the Virginia militia too old to return to active duty. As the battle raged nearby, he sat down to dinner with his family. The meal ended abruptly when a cannonball dropped through the kitchen fireplace.
The First Battle of Bull Run was one of many skirmishes on or close to his farm, and the presence of the Union Army made it difficult to run his business as a sugar broker. In an effort to protect his loved ones and his business, he moved his family 120 miles south to Appomattox County, Virginia, in the spring of 1863,
On April 9, 1865, the war came back to McLean's property once again when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant in the parlor of McLean's house near Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War.
Isn't that ironic?
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