Robert Edward Lee was born on this date in 1807. I do not need to tell you of his strength of character, his strong Christian beliefs, his devotion to duty, his love for his family and the South, nor his military accomplishments. You know them as well as any other good Southerner who appreciates the Confederacy and the South. However I do recommend his biography by Douglas Southall Freeman, simply entitled “LEE”, which is in 4 volumes but there is an abridged version in 1 volume that is available (follow this link http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/932370.Lee ).
One of his outstanding quotes, made to one of his sons, is, "Duty is the sublimest word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You can never do more; you should never wish to do less.” A good guide for our young men of today.
After meeting General Grant at Appomattox (which he said he would rather die a thousand deaths than do), he returned to his men and with his staff wrote General Order # 9. Read these words as if you were a soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia, gentlemen, and notice that he said “compelled to yield”. He did not say “surrender”.
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.
God Bless the South and thank you God for Robert Edward Lee.