Wilmer McLean had the Civil War begin and end in his yard. The initial engagement of the Civil War which would become known as the First Battle of Bull Run took place on July 18, 1861 on McLean's farm, the Yorkshire Plantation, in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia.
On April 9, 1865, the war revisited Wilmer McLean who had since moved to Appomattox, Virginia. Confederate General Robert E. Lee was about to surrender to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. He sent a messenger to Appomattox Courthouse to find a place to meet. On April 8, 1865, the messenger knocked on McLean's door and requested the use of his home. Lee surrendered to Grant in the parlor of McLean's house, effectively ending the Civil War.