America's Civil War
History 393
 Documents
 Professor John C. Willis
 

Robert E. Lee
to
Winfield Scott

Arlington, Washington City P.O. 
April 20, 1861 
General: 

Since my interview with you on the 18th instant I have felt that I ought not longer to retain my commission in the Army.   I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for acceptance.  

It would have been presented at once, but for the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted all the best years of my life & all the ability I possessed.  

During the whole of that time, more than 30 years, I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors, & the most cordial friendship from my companions.   To no one Genl have I been as much indebted as to yourself for uniform kindness & consideration, & it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation.  

I shall carry with me to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration, & your name & fame will always be dear to me.   Save in the defence of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword.  

Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of your happiness & prosperity & believe me most truly yours 

R. E. Lee 



SOURCE:   Reprinted in Clifford Dowdey, editor, The Wartime Papers of R. E. Lee (New York: Bramhall House, 1961), pages 8-9.  

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