Exquisite jewelry carved in the shape of acorns presented to Julia Dent Grant

On April 9, 1865, during the final hours of the Appomattox Campaign, General Robert E. Lee sent Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant a message requesting a meeting to discuss the surrender of his army. Union staff officers Colonel Orville Babcock and Captain William M. Dunn located Lee resting under an apple tree northeast of the village of Appomattox Court House and told him Grant was willing to talk. Soldiers soon cut down the apple tree for souvenirs. A branch was saved for General Grant, and from it a splendid suite of jewelry was carved by Browne, Spaulding & Company of New York for Julia Dent Grant. The pieces, made in the Victorian Romantic Period style, were carved in the shape of acorns, a symbol of life and immortality. A hair comb, a brooch, and a pair of earrings with black enamel accents set in 18-karat gold rest in a purple velvet box engraved with the words: “Presented to Mrs. General U.S. Grant by Browne & Spaulding, 570 Broadway, N.Y. The wood used in this set was cut from the apple tree under which Gen’l Grant’s officers met Gen’l Lee on the morning of the surrender, April 9, 1865, Appomattox C.H., Va.” Julia Grant bequeathed the jewelry to “my dear Grandson, Ulysses S. Grant 3rd, Fred’s son, J.D.G., May 14, 1901.” The jewelry remained in the Grant family for generations. (Photo copyright 2019 Leslie Hindman Auctions)