Robert E. Lee,
Farewell to The Army of Northern Virginia
Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia
Appomattox Courthuse, April 10, 1865
(General Orders No. 9)
After four years' arduous service, marked by unsurpassed
courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled
to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the survivors of so many hard
fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented
to this result from no distrust of them, but feeling that valor and devotion
could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss which would
have attended the continuation of the contest, I have determined to avoid
the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to
their countrymen. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds
from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray
that a merciful God may extend to you His blessing and protection.
With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country,
and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself,
I bid you an affectionate farewell.
Robert E. Lee
SOURCE: Reprinted in Richard N. Current,
editor-in-chief, The Encyclopedia of the Confederacy, vol. 4
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 1792.
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