Toward Appomatttox

In the footsteps of Grant and Lee

Five days after the surrender, on Good Friday, several hundred miles to the south of Appomattox, a ceremony was held at Fort Sumter to mark the fourth anniversary of its surrender by Union forces under Major Robert Anderson. Lincoln was invited, but he chose to stay in Washington instead - he and Mrs. Lincoln planned to go to the theater. Several thousand people, including many notables, did come to Charleston Harbor for the ceremony, and at the strike of noon they gasped as a sergeant handed Anderson, looking much older than his sixty years, the shot - ripped flag that had flown over Sumter throughout the bombardment that had set off the great war. A young woman from Philadelphia left this picture of the scene as Anderson prepared to run the old flag up over Sumter:

General Anderson stood up, bareheaded, took the halyards in his hands, and began to speak. At first I could not hear him, for his voice came thickly, but in a moment he said clearly, "I thank God I have lived to see this day," and after a few more words he began to hoist the flag. It went up slowly and hung limp against the staff, a weatherbeaten, frayed, and shel-ltorn old flag, not fit for much more work, but when it had crept clear of the shelter of the walls a sudden breath of wind caught it, and it shook its folds and flew straight out above us, while every soldier and sailor instinctively saluted.

THE PRESENT DAY isn't just an encroachment on history; since the days of the inn whose limitations gave Cold Harbor its name, accommodations and eating places have no doubt greatly improved. In the WildernéssSpotsylvania area a historically resonant place to stay is the Richard Johnston Inn, at 711 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg. Built in 1788, the inn offers period rooms at moderate prices ($50 for a single to $100 for a suite), which include a light but savory breakfast. Ask to stay in the "summer kitchen," off the patio: it has a private entrance, a huge fireplace, and a private bath. Just up Caroline Street is Chimney's Tavern, which, like most of the buildings in Fredericksburg, was built in the Colonial era. It serves a mixture of hearty fare, like roast rack of lamb, and the usual contemporary excrescences (did George Washington eat quiche?). In warm weather, lunch is served on the patio, to the pleasing accompaniment of live guitar music.

In Richmond the Jefferson Sheraton Hotel, at the corner of Franklin and Adams, is not another anonymous chain hostelry; though it is in a shabby district, it is a grand hotel, built in 1895 and run as The Jefferson until 1980, when it closed. The Sheraton Corporation took over the hotel, spent five years and $46 million on its restoration, and reopened it in 1986. Singles go for $95 $100, doubles $109$114. A Sunday brunch is served in the Rotunda, a huge marble-columned room. For $16.95 you can eat a whopping meal, drink enough champagne to make you rue that day, and listen to a swing band one-two its way through the great songs of yesteryear. Reservations are a good idea; so is proper dress.

The best meal I had in Richmond was at the Jade Elephant, an unpretentious eatery on Grace Street, near Virginia Commonwealth University. My lunch consisted of Cajun chicken, a fresh salad, good beer, and fine coffee. I spent three hours there, eating, drinking, reading General Grant's Memoirs, and listening to Cole Porter and Gershwin tunes on the sound system.

Any visitor to Petersburg should stay at Mayfield, an elegant eighteenth-century inn just south of the city, on Route 1. Rooms go for $55$80; the rates include a memorably ample and delicious breakfast, served in a lovingly restored dining room with rich painted paneling and an ornate chandelier.

The Radisson Hotel in Lynch burg - which is just west of Appomattox and has more places to stay - is centrally located in Virginia's "Hill City," near historic walks and places (our room overlooked a plaque commemorating the birthplace of Douglas Southall Freeman, the great Lee biographer). Coming back from dinner, my wife, son, and I met Jerry Falwell, whose ministry is located in Lynchburg, crossing the parking lot. He greeted us with a genuinely warm "Good evening!" which booming salutation helped to make it so.

Jack Beatty is an Atlantic senior editor.
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Jack Beatty is a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly and the editor of Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America, which was named one of the top ten books of 2001 by Business Week. His previous books are The World According to Peter Drucker (1998) and The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley (1992). More

Jack Beatty"The Atlantic Monthly is an American tradition; since 1857 it has helped to shape the American mind and conscience," senior editor Jack Beatty explains. "We are proud of that tradition. It is the tradition of excellence for which we were awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. It is the tie that binds us to our past. It is a standard we won't betray."

Beatty joined The Atlantic Monthly as a senior editor in September of 1983, having previously worked as a book reviewer at Newsweek and as the literary editor of The New Republic.

Born, raised, and educated in Boston, Beatty wrote a best-selling biography of James Michael Curley, the Massachusetts congressman and governor and Boston mayor, which Addison-Wesley published in 1992 to enthusiastic reviews. The Washington Post said, "The Rascal King is an exemplary political biography. It is thorough, balanced, reflective, and gracefully written." The Chicago Sun-Times called it a ". . . beautifully written, richly detailed, vibrant biography." The book was nominated for a National Book Critics' Circle award.

His 1993 contribution to The Atlantic Monthly's Travel pages, "The Bounteous Berkshires," earned these words of praise from The Washington Post: "The best travel writers make you want to travel with them. I, for instance, would like to travel somewhere with Jack Beatty, having read his superb account of a cultural journey to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts." Beatty is also the author of The World According to Peter Drucker, published in 1998 by The Free Press and called "a fine intellectual portrait" by Michael Lewis in the New York Times Book Review.

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