Farewell to his Army Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia

Author: General Robert E. Lee

General Robert E. Lee's Farewell to his Army Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia Appomattox Court House, Virginia 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 this contest. I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past service has 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.

Robert E. Lee