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Out of Many, One
E Pluribus Unum - The Appomattox Inkwell
The deadliest conflict in American history ended in 1865, but the Civil War remains forever in our midst. Protests against racial inequality and debates over the federal government’s role in American life, for example, are part of its modern legacy. Consider today’s political flashpoints from a new and powerful perspective as you view this tiny and treasured relic that helped begin the Civil War’s conclusion, with a single stroke of a pen, following the loss of more than 600,000 American lives.
On April 9, 1865, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia to negotiate the terms of surrender for Lee’s Confederate Army. They used this inkwell to write an end to four years of brutal fighting. Donated to the State of Colorado in 1897, the inkwell belonged to Union General Philip Sheridan, who identified it as the one used at Appomattox during a visit to Denver. Sheridan knew the object by its blister, which was the result of setting the inkwell too close to a candle while writing a late-night letter.