Gen. Robert E. Lee Farewell Address

General Order No. 9
A sketch of Robert E. Lee surrounded by soldiers

On April 9, 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lt. Gen Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Appomattox, VA. The next day, on April 10, 1865, Lee issued his Farewell Address, also known as General Order No. 9, to the Army of Northern Virginia. The address was written and drafted by Col. Charles Marshall and edited by finalized by Lee.

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.

General Order
No. 9

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 the result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance 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 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 unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

— R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9

Related Battles

Appomattox County, VA | April 9, 1865
Result: Union Victory
Estimated Casualties