Head-Quarters, Army of Northern 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 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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