With the news that the Southern troops had fired upon the flag at Fort Sumter, Grant's patriotism was aroused. Without delay he rejoined the army and at once took an active part in the preparations for war. First as colonel and then as brigadier-general, he led his troops. At last he had found a field of action in which he quickly developed his powers as a leader.
While suffering from a severe sick headache, General Grant received a note from Lee saying that the latter was now willing to consider terms of surrender. It was a remarkable occasion when the two eminent generals met on that Sunday morning, in what is known as the McLean house, standing in the little village of Appomattox Court House. Grant writes in his "Personal Memoirs": "I was without a sword, as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and wore a soldier's blouse for a coat, with the shoulder-straps of my `rank` to indicate to the army who I was.... General Lee was dressed in a full uniform which was entirely new, and was wearing a sword of considerable value—very likely the sword which had been presented by the State of Virginia.... In my rough travelling suit, the uniform of a private with the straps of a lieutenant-general, I must have contrasted very strangely with a man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form.
The McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia is within the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. Then owned by Wilmer McLean and his wife Virginia, the house near the end of the American Civil War served as the location of the surrender of the Confederate army of Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865, after a nearby battle. [Wikipedia]