GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Civil War Trust held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to formally unveil restorations to the house that served as Gen. Robert E. Lee’s headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg.
The trust has been working to restore the building, formally Mary Thompson’s home, for more than a year. They said if Lee were here today, he’d recognize it immediately because it looks exactly as it did in 1863.
“Tens of millions of people who came to this place, when they came to visit here, the vast majority had no idea this was Robert Lee’s headquarters,” said Jim Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust.
On the afternoon of July 1, 1863, Lee rode his horse Traveler along Buford Avenue and decided to make the building his headquarters.
“Even I can imagine Traveler, his famous horse, standing next to the door, waiting for the general to mount, to survey his troops,” said Bob Kinsley, chairman of the Gettysburg Foundation Board.
The four-acre property and Lee’s headquarters underwent a $6 million restoration to look exactly as it did on July 4, 1863, when Lee and the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia rode away for the last time.
“It became, at the time and for 150 years thereafter, the most important, unprotected historical building in the United States of America,” Lighthizer said.
More than 11,000 people from around the world contributed money to make the ribbon-cutting happen.
“This was a turning point in the Civil War. From here, our country got brought back together. It was no longer a North-South divide,” said Timothy Quigley, a distant relative of Mary Thompson.
You can visit Lee’s headquarters during park hours.