Submitted by Nicky Hughes for Capital City Museum
The news of the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, signaled the effective end of the American Civil War. The 150th anniversary of this historic event will be observed across the United States on April 9, 2015 much as the original event was in pro-Union communities in 1865 – with the ringing of bells.
The National Parks Service is sponsoring this observance, called Bells Across The Land. The bell-ringing will begin at Appomattox, Virginia, where Lee surrendered to General U.S. Grant, at 3:00PM. Fifteen minutes later, bells in other communities will join in. The bells will ring for four minutes – one minute for each year of the Civil War.
Frankfort will be part of this commemorative event. The bells of First Presbyterian Church, the old Good Shepherd Church, the Church of the Ascension, and the Franklin County Judicial Center will peal beginning at 3:15PM, Thursday. Other downtown churches may join in too.
In 1865 in Frankfort, the news of Lee’s surrender was greeted with a noisy artillery salute. Cannons on Fort Hill and at the State Arsenal fired 300 blank rounds. This salute will be re-created on a much smaller scale as part of Bells Across The Land. A reproduction Civil War cannon will begin the Frankfort observance by firing a blank round from Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill at 3:15PM. Asked how many shots will be fired this time around, a member of the cannon crew replied, “Fewer than 300.”