Civil War and Reconstruction
Robert E Lee, Last Order (1865)
About This Text
Author: Robert E. Lee
Composed: 1865 CE
Confederate commander of the Army of Northern Virginia Robert E. Lee delivered General Order No. 9, his “farewell address” to his soldiers on April 10th, 1865, a day after his surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia. Drafted by his secretary Colonel Charles Marshall and finalized by Lee himself, Lee praised his men for their courage and expressed gratitude for their “constancy and devotion.” An unfortunate byproduct of this address came in the form of later Confederate apologists who used Lee’s words to buttress the myth of the “Lost Cause,” i.e., arguing that the Confederacy fought for noble aims and lost only due to superior Union manpower and resources.