Separate Tables, Please

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For generations, Americans basically had one prominent painting/lithograph of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. The work of Louis Mathieu Guillaume, which was sold at National Park Service bookstores, it showed General Lee sitting amicably at the same table with General Grant.

It was a fiction intended to help reunite the country. It didn’t work very well.

Finally, back in the mid-1980s, the old print was replaced with the one excerpted above by artist Thomas Lovell. It was made from participant descriptions of the actual scene and it is now sold in park service bookstores along with the fictional one. You can take your pick.

This one has the advantage, not only of being accurate, but of helping to explain why North-South political and social animosity endured for more than a hundred years after the war. And in some, mostly minor ways, still does.

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About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
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