Appomattox (ăpəmătˈəks) [key], town (1990 pop. 1,707), seat of Appomattox co., central Va.; inc. 1925. Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at nearby Appomattox Courthouse on Apr. 9, 1865. After Gen. Philip Sheridan's victory over the Confederates at Five Forks on Apr. 1, Lee abandoned Petersburg and Richmond and retreated westward. Grant pursued, pressing Lee's flank and rear, while Sheridan cut off further retreat at Appomattox Courthouse. Severed from supplies and surrounded by Union forces, Lee was forced to surrender. This marked the virtual end of the war, as the remaining Confederate armies, on hearing of Lee's act, followed suit. The site has been made a national historical park (see National Parks and Monuments, table).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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