A short distance inside these woods stood Robert E. Lee's last headquarters. Here on April 8, 1865, he held his final council of war. Here on April 10 he issued his farewell order to his army. And from here, on April 12, he departed for home - across a devastated landscape to war-ravaged Richmond.
Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon described Lee's last council, the night of April 8:
"There was no tent there, no chairs, and no camp stools. On blankets spread upon the ground or on saddles?we sat around the great commander?No tongue or pen will ever be able to describe the unutterable anguish of Lee's commanders as they looked into the clouded face of their beloved leader and sought to draw from it some hope."
Lee and his commanders decided to make one last effort to break past the approaching Union columns. That effort would come the next morning, April 9, on the fields and ridges west of the village. With its failure would pass the last hope to save Lee's army.