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Re-enactors recreate surrender to end Civil War on 150th anniversary

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers
MEDINA – The Civil War, after four brutal years of fighting, came to an end today in downtown Medina.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee (re-enactor Thomas Schobert of West Seneca) and Union General Ulysses Grant (Ed Brodbeck of Cheektowaga) shook hands on Main Street in a recreation of the surrender ceremony at the Appomattox Court House in south central Virginia.

The war was over on April 9, 1865. Genesee Community College has organized Civil War Encampments on the 150th anniversary of the war since 2012, with the first encampment at the Lima campus. Medina has hosted the event the past three years. The encampment continues Sunday at the GCC campus on Route 31A. This is the final time the college will be organizing the event.

The following photos are in chronological order and show the re-enactors at first moving from State Street Park and walking on East Center Street to the downtown for the surrender ceremony.

Confederate soldiers, after losing a battle at State Street Park, walk on Route 31 to downtown Medina.

The Union Army makes its way to Main Street, walking past Rotary Park.

Derek Maxfield, Civil War Encampment coordinator for Genesee Community College, also served as narrator for the surrender ceremony. He is standing at a podium by the Bent’s Opera Hall, which was built during the Civil War.

The two sides stand across from each other on Main Street.

Robert E. Lee hands the terms of surrender to General Grant.

Thomas Schobert, the Lee impersonator, has participated in other surrender ceremonies near the 150th anniversary of the war’s ending.

Today was the first time the Grant impersonator, Ed Brodbeck, participated in a surrender ceremony. Brodbeck said it was emotional, and he felt great respect for Lee and the Confederacy.

Grant demanded the Union soldiers not celebrate their victory.

“There was no shouting or taunting,” Brodbeck said.

The onlookers along the street in Medina also observed “a respectful silence,” which Schobert said he appreciated.

Union and Confederate soldiers shake hands after the surrender.

The fighting over, soldiers pause on Main Street in Medina.

The Confederate soldiers walk down main Street to a flag-raising at Rotary Park.

Confederate and Union soldiers join together to raise the American flag at Rotary Park.

These Union soldiers remove their hats during the flag-raising.

A Union soldier salutes the flag.

General Grant (Ed Brodbeck), Abraham Lincoln (David Kreutz of Lancaster) and General Robert E. Lee (Thomas Schobert) watch the events.

After the surrender ceremony, the soldiers head down Main Street to return to the Civil War Encampment at GCC in Medina.