(The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas, took place on July 21, 1861 at the farm of Wilmer McLean of Bull Run, Virginia. Soon after that battle the upper middle class family moved to the village of Clover Hill, Virginia - the name of which was changed to "Appomattox Court House.")
Wilmer and Virginia McLean had four daughters and a son. Sometime before Lee and Grant met that Palm Sunday afternoon, 7-year-old Lula McLean had left her favorite doll in the parlor.
The rag doll remained in the room where Lula had left it while the generals met. When the meeting ended, Union officers - anxious to obtain souvenirs of the event - plundered the McLeans' parlor appropriating items ... including Lula's rag doll.
Colonel Horace Porter of General Grant's staff, wrote: "A child's doll was found in the room, which the younger officers tossed from one to the other, and called 'The Silent Witness.'"
One of the cavorting Federal staff officers was Captain Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the President of the United States. The doll was taken from the home by Capt. Thomas W.C. Moore, of Major General Sheridan's staff. For well over a century, the Moore family kept the doll as a "war trophy" of sorts. Poor Lula never saw her beloved rag doll again.
Lula's descendants remembered the doll as "...lovingly handmade by a doting mother."
The body of the doll was made of coarse unbleached cotton and stuffed. Inked on the simple, round face were eyes and nothing more. Printed cotton fabric was stitched together to fashion a bodice, skirt and leggings.
Lula's doll was donated to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in December 1992, and is now on permanent exhibit at the park.