General Robert E. Lee's Farewell Address General Orders #9 - Inventory Number: PRI 095
Very rare, original hand-colored lithograph by McAvoy and Wheeler Co. 1883, printed by Schmidt and Trowe, Baltimore.
Excellent condition example, housed in its original frame with period "bubble glass".
Frame measures 18 inches x 13 inches.
Drafted by an aide on the night of April 9-10, 1865, a few
hours after Lee had surrendered, General Order No. 9 is among the best-known
documents of the War Between the States.
“No other words, spoken or written, had a more heartening
effect on the veterans of the proud but weary Army of Northern Virginia,”
according to author Joseph E. Fields.
In the hours following the surrender, Lee and his
aide-de-camp, Lt. Col. Charles Marshall, discussed what the Confederate leader
wished to say in his farewell message to his men.
Marshall produced a draft the following morning and Lee
edited it, making a few minor changes and striking out a paragraph that he felt
Marshall then gave it to one of the clerks in the
adjutant-general’s office to rewrite in ink. Afterward, Marshall took the copy
to Lee, who signed it.
Lee’s General Order No. 9 was distributed the day after he
and Grant met at a private residence in Appomattox Court House, where Lee
signed the final surrender documents after his depleted and haggard troops
failed to break through overwhelming Federal forces.
General Order No. 9 reads as follows:
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 would (must have) attend(ed) 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 the consciousness of duty faithfully performed
and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and
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 General Order No.9 quickly became one of the most
memorable documents of the entire four-year conflict, according to Christie’s.
Manuscript copies of the order were prepared by Lee’s aides and signed by Lee for presentation to ranking corps commanders and chiefs of departments of the staff in the Army of Northern Virginia. Some individual officers evidently made copies and brought them to Lee to be signed.
Inventory Number: PRI 095