The sword Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee wore when he surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is returning to a new museum about a mile of where the surrender occurred in Appomattox, Virginia, according to reports.
Slated to be the centerpiece of the new museum outlining the post-Civil War struggle to heal the nation, Lee’s French-made ceremonial sword is leaving a Richmond museum where it had been for nearly a century.
The sword is seen at Lee’s side in many paintings of the scene when he met with Grant to sign the document of surrender on April 9, 1865.
According to reports, it is a myth that Lee offered the sword to Grant as part of the surrender and that Grant subsequently refused the traditional surrender gesture.
The sword has been “conserved” after years of polishing had erased much of the golden luster from the brass. The nearly 3.5-foot sword now “sparkles,” from the lion-head pommel to the blade’s gilded-relief blade. The hilt is ivory.
The sword was intended for ceremonial use and there is no evidence Lee used it in battle.
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