The four-year effort to vanquish the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia came to its climax in the fields before you.
"Legs will win the battle men ?. They can't escape, if you will keep up to it."
Maj. Gen. E.O.C.Ord, Commander, Union Army of the James, to his men on April 8, 1865
Since the fall of Petersburg the week before, Grant and his armies had pursued Lee relentlessly. One Union column slashed at Lee's rear guard. Another moved along Lee's left flank, trying to cut the Confederates off. On the evening of April 8, Union cavalry reached Appomattox Station and captured trainloads of rations - food for a Confederate army that had not been fully fed in days.
On the morning of April 9, 1865, Union troops at last put themselves across Lee's path. Union cavalry battled Lee's men on the distant ridge. Lee attempted to break through, but soon Union infantry joined the fight too. Any hope that the Confederates could move westward on the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road (present Route 24) vanished. Lee now had but one rational choice: surrendered.
More than 60,000 Union troops - most of three armies - pursued Lee to Appomattox Court House. On April 8 they mounted a final effort, and on April 9, they finally blocked Lee's way west. They deployed just in front of you - in the fields on either side of the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road.
"It was a steeple chase, hurdle race and go-as-you please contest combined? So short were the stops made, that there was no time to unsling knapsacks and each man as the halt was called threw himself down at full length for rest? A steady and rapid march for fourteen hours... "
George W. Linn, 10th Pennsylvania, describing the Union march on April 8, 1865