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Appomattox2wmcAppomattox Court House National Historical Park
From a Cirrus SR20 at ~ 1,800′ AGL

Nearly all of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency was consumed by the Civil War: from April 12, 1861 (when Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter) until Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Virginia on May 9, 1865.

Union General Ulysses S. Grant met with Lee at Wilmer McClean’s house (partially visible at the top-left of the photograph above, and fully visible in the left-center of the photograph below) to formalize the Confederate surrender.

Lincoln never visited Appomattox, and he was assassinated just days after Lee’s surrender to Grant. But if he had taken the trip from Washington D.C. to Appomattox, the nearly 200 mile journey would have taken him a few days.

Today, the drive from the White House to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park can be accomplished in about 3 hours (without traffic, that is).

The flight from my local airport (just south of D.C.) was about 100 miles and took 45 minutes. Ironically, it seems I’ve flown past Appomattox Court House at least a dozen times without realizing the significance of what I was flying over.

Lincoln also never had the opportunity to enjoy aviation (…or even old age). But if he had, he would have appreciated the view of this historic site from the air – it’s fantastic. I have never visited the site on foot…but the next time my kids mention being bored during this summer vacation, you can be sure we’ll be taking a road trip!