Earlier this week, in conjunction with the 151st anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, the Civil War Trust announced a $5.5 million fund-raising effort to acquire Lee’s Headquarters, located on the July 1 battlefield. Visitors today know the property as the Quality Inn at General Lee’s Headquarters, and perhaps they’ve visited the small museum there.
But on July 1, 1863, the building was the home of 69-year-old widow Mary Thompson. U.S. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens co-owned the structure.
After fighting swirled around the house during the day, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee arrived on the field that evening and established his headquarters on the Thompson property. From there, says the Trust, “he dispatched and received couriers relaying the unfolding events at Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill.” It was there, too, where the errant cavalryman Jeb Stuart finally reported back to the army following an extended—and unintended—absence.
“On this land,” the Trust added, “Lee discussed with his lieutenants the attack that would come to be known as Pickett’s Charge, setting in motion a chain of events that determined the outcome of the battle.”
For more about the Trust’s initiative to save Lee’s Headquarters, visit www.civilwar.org.