This 1866 lithograph by a Baltimore lithographer
commemorated the occasion of Robert E. Lees
farewell address to the soldiers of the Army of
Northern Virginia, following its formal surrender
April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House.
Text---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 brave 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 must 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 will take with you the satisfaction
that proceeds from a consciousness of duty faithfully
performed; and I earnestly pray that a Merciful
God will extend to you His blessings 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 all an affectionate farewell.