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Furniture used by Grant and Lee at Appomattox

General Lee sat in the caned armchair at left when he signed the terms of surrender. General E. W. Whitaker acquired it, and it remained in his possession until November 3, 1871. He then presented the chair to the relief fund of the Nathaniel Lyon Post, Grand Army of the Republic, to be awarded to the person selling the most tickets for a benefit performance. Captain Patrick O’Farrell sold ninety-six tickets and became the new owner of the chair. His widow, Bridget E. O’Farrell, donated the chair to the national collections in 1915.

General Grant used this small spool-turned table to sign the document setting forth the surrender terms. After the signing, Lieutenant General Philip H. Sheridan presented the table to Elizabeth B. Custer, the wife of Major General George A. Custer. In 1912 Mrs. Custer lent the table to the National Museum. In 1936, according to the terms of her will, the loan became a bequest, and the table has remained in the national collections ever since.

The inscription on the chair at right reads: “This is the chair in which Genl. U. S. Grant sat when he signed the Articles of Capitulation resulting in the surrender of the Confederate Army by Genl. R. E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9th, 1865.”

General Henry Capehart of the U.S. Volunteers acquired this chair. In 1893 he gave it to General Wilmon W. Blackmar, who left it in his will to the national collections.

Division of Social History, Political History
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Behring Center
Gifts of Mrs. B. O'Farrell (Lee armchair); General Wilmon W. Blackmar (Grant chair); Mrs. Elizabeth B. Custer (table)


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