Appomattox is very quiet now. When Ritchey and I visited a couple of years ago we were the only ones there. We walked the quiet roads of the village, deep in thought about what went on there almost 200 years ago. As you can see in the above picture, I stood on the steps where the famous generals, Lee and Grant, mounted with their officers to bring an end to the horrible war. The South surrendered, but there was no true winner. A scar was left upon this country that would take decades to heal.
The day was overcast. Dark, gloomy clouds hung on the horizon, but quickly moved in our direction. Thankfully the rain held off until we were leaving. What was the day like when the two sides met in this small town?
Now those of you who have read this blog before know I never pass up an opportunity to visit a cemetery – no matter how large – or how small! How desolate out in the field on its own – one gravestone surrounded by a plank fence – a single tree for cover.
Lafayette W. Meeks was the son of Francis and Maria Meeks. Francis owned the general store in Appomattox – he was a merchant. In the 1860 census, just before the Civil War began, Francis, 57, is listed with wife Maria, 54, and son Layfayette. Could he have been the youngest son? The only son? Soon to go off to war – and never come back. He was 18 when he went to war – 18 when he died. Stories like this just break my heart.
This grave is just a short way down the road from his father’s store, and across from the McLean house where the war ended. There is only one stone – did Lafayette’s parents move away from the area after the war?
Lafayette W. Meeks, son of Francis and Maria Meeks, born March 2, 1843; and died in the defense of his country, October 4, 1861, at Fairfax Court House in Virginia. He was a member of the Appomattox Rangers, in which Company he served faithfully in the battles Bull Run and Manassas. J. B. Gaddess, Lynchburg. (Private Meeks died in camp of a fever.)