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LEE'S FAREWELL
To His ARMY

April 10, 1865
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General Robert E. Lee
The surrender had been signed at Appomattox the day before.

In a war that had had its share of both heroes and fickle leadership, in which the toll of death and suffering exceeded anything endured by Americans before or since, Confederate General Robert E. Lee stands out for his ability to consistently persevere against heavy odds, for his unshakeable faith in God and in the Southern cause, and for the undying loyalty of his troops in the face of terrible losses.

In his short farewell address to his hard-fought Army, one can sense Lee's reputation as the ultimate southern gentleman, as well as to begin to understand why his men would so willingly follow him into the teeth of hell.





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LEE'S FAREWELL
To His ARMY
April 10, 1865

April 10, 1865

After four years of 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 valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that 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.

By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain there until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will 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.

R. E. Lee, General

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