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You may 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… Robert E. Lee

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 valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I 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 until exchanged.

You may 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 unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.

Lee’s Farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia

Duty faithfully performed : Robert E. Lee and his critics Dulles, Va. : Brassey’s, c 1999 John M. Taylor ; with a foreword by Rod Paschall Generals Confederate States of America Biography, Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870 Book. xv, 268 p. : ill., 1 map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [245]-259) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG  

Aimed at defining a man’s character, this book has much more to say about America’s most tragic event. It is an important and worthy book because the only redemptive features of the American character were pretty well determined and summed up by Robert E Lee.

General Robert E. Lee has not received favorable press in recent years. Beginning with Thomas Connelly’s The Marble Man in 1977, a number of his­torians have written books designed to topple Lee from his lofty pedestal. In Duty Faithfully Performed, noted biographer John M. Taylor ably counters these revisionist criticisms with a forceful defense of General Lee’s character and military accom­plishments.

Focusing on Lee’s personal life and values, on his generalship, and on showing the real man and neither the caricuture of the Confederacy’s “Lee cult” nor the slander of the yankee pillory, Duty Faithfully Performed is a gracefully written counter-revisionist biography of one of the most complex and controversial men in American history.

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