Favorite Robert E. Lee Quotes


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#84
My favorite REL quote I found when reading "The Perfect Gentleman" (the life and letters of General G.W. Custis Lee). His son loved to quote what his father taught him: "For every evil under the sun, There is a remedy, or there is none. If there be one, try to find it: If there be none, try not to mind it."
 
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#88
As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and her institutions, and would defend any State if her rights were invaded. But I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than the dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution.

The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it were intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It is intended for perpetual union, so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government (not a compact) which can only be dissolved by revolution, or by the consent of all the people in convention assembled.

Robert E Lee in a letter to his son January 23 1861.

To me this shows he clearly knew that succession was revolution and therefore treason. If he would have been tried this letter could have been used to get a conviction and then he should have been hung by the neck until dead. That's why I like this quote.
 
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dlavin

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#89
Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.

Haha but it looks like it was Post #1 also
 
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#90
"If I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no, sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand."

According to Robert Lewis Dabney, this was said by Lee to Fletcher Stockdale, former Governor of Texas, at White Sulpher Springs in August of 1870. Dabney claimed to have heard Stockdale personally repeat the story to him. Though many Lee scholars and biographers choose to doubt whether or not Lee said this because there is no way to prove that he said it, I find no reason to believe that Reverend Dabney would lie about Stockdale telling him this, and also cannot think of a reason to doubt Stockdale. If you choose to doubt the authenticity of that it, then here's my favorite Lee quote for you...

"... a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me."
- R.E. Lee, in a letter to his son, G. W. Custis Lee (23 January 1861).
 
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#95
"If I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no, sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand."
A quote that does not fit Lee's character, especially after the war. I'm no fan of R.E. Lee, but I will never believe he said this!
This was posted on this BB some time back:

From R. E. Lee: A Biography
by Douglas Southall Freeman
published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

Footnote 7 in Chapter XXI

T. C. Johnson: Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, 498 ff. Doctor Dabney was not present and received his account of the meeting from Governor Stockdale. The latter told Dabney that he was the last to leave the room, and that as he was saying good-bye, Lee closed the door, thanked him for what he had said and added: "Governor, if I had foreseen the use these people desired to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox, no, sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand." This, of course, is second-hand testimony. There is nothing in Lee's own writings and nothing in direct quotation by first-hand witness that accords with such an expression on his part. The nearest approach to it is the claim by H. Gerald Smythe that "Major Talcott" — presumably Colonel T. M. R. Talcott — told him Lee stated he would never have surrendered the army if he had known how the South would have been treated. Mr. Smythe stated that Colonel Talcott replied, "Well, General, you have only to blow the bugle," whereupon Lee is alleged to have answered, "It is too late now" (29 Confederate Veteran, 7). Here again the evidence is not direct. The writer of this biography, talking often with Colonel Talcott, never heard him narrate this incident or suggest in any way that Lee accepted the results of the radical policy otherwise than with indignation, yet in the belief that the extremists would not always remain in office. For these reasons the writer is unwilling to quote this doubtful testimony in the text.

Kevin Dally
 

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#96
I find it hard to believe that he actually said this.
In checking I saw it was to Eliza Mackay instead of Markie Williams, and he used "torpedo cracker" instead of "fire cracker."

". . . And how did you disport yourself My child? Did you go off well, like a torpedo cracker on Christmas morning. . . . Oh Mercy Are you really married Mrs. Stiles. The idea of it is as great a damper to a man's spirit as that of the cholera. But it must feel mighty funny to you. And I suppose you are so busy that you will not have time to read this scrawl so I must think about bringing it to an end. . . ."

Quoted in Douglas Southall Freeman, R. E. Lee: A Biography, Vol. I, pp. 113-114]

Here's what Lee wrote to Markie Williams:

"Oh Markie, Markie, when will you ripen?" [an 1844 letter from Lee to Markie Williams, quoted in Thomas L. Connelly, The Marble Man: Robert E. Lee and His Image in American Society, p. 174]

He wrote this in 1851: "On paper Markie, I mean, on paper. But oh, what lengthy epistles have I indited to you in my mind! Had I any means to send them, you would see how constantly I think of you. I have followed you in your pleasures and your duties, in the house an din the streets, and accompanied you in your walks to Arlington, and in your search after flowers. Did you not feel your cheeks pale when I was so near you? You may feel pale; but I am happy to say you never write as if you were pale; and to my mind you always appear bright and rosy." [Ibid., pp. 174-175]
 

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#97
A quote that does not fit Lee's character, especially after the war. I'm no fan of R.E. Lee, but I will never believe he said this!
This was posted on this BB some time back:

From R. E. Lee: A Biography
by Douglas Southall Freeman
published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

Footnote 7 in Chapter XXI

T. C. Johnson: Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, 498 ff. Doctor Dabney was not present and received his account of the meeting from Governor Stockdale. The latter told Dabney that he was the last to leave the room, and that as he was saying good-bye, Lee closed the door, thanked him for what he had said and added: "Governor, if I had foreseen the use these people desired to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox, no, sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand." This, of course, is second-hand testimony. There is nothing in Lee's own writings and nothing in direct quotation by first-hand witness that accords with such an expression on his part. The nearest approach to it is the claim by H. Gerald Smythe that "Major Talcott" — presumably Colonel T. M. R. Talcott — told him Lee stated he would never have surrendered the army if he had known how the South would have been treated. Mr. Smythe stated that Colonel Talcott replied, "Well, General, you have only to blow the bugle," whereupon Lee is alleged to have answered, "It is too late now" (29 Confederate Veteran, 7). Here again the evidence is not direct. The writer of this biography, talking often with Colonel Talcott, never heard him narrate this incident or suggest in any way that Lee accepted the results of the radical policy otherwise than with indignation, yet in the belief that the extremists would not always remain in office. For these reasons the writer is unwilling to quote this doubtful testimony in the text.

Kevin Dally
Yes, it's a fabricated quotation.
Here's one place I addressed it: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/what-is-your-favorite-civil-war-quote.109792/page-7#post-1054384
 

gem

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#98
"So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained."
 
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#99
I have said things in private conversation that I would never say in public or write to be found later. Once I am dead, some of these things may be repeated among my friends, and some may be surprised to hear that x or y came out of my mouth, or even question whether it was actually said by me.

I have no problem w/ Freeman not trusting the quote for the purpose of publishing, or you (whoever you are) for that matter. I was asked to give my favorite Lee quote. I did so. I also provided a secondary one for those of you who doubt the testimony of Rev. Dabney or Gov. Stockdale. Till next time...

I find no reason to believe that Reverend Dabney would lie about Stockdale telling him this, and also cannot think of a reason to doubt Stockdale. If you choose to doubt the authenticity of that (quote), then here's my favorite Lee quote for you...

"... a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me."
- R.E. Lee, in a letter to his son, G. W. Custis Lee (23 January 1861).
 



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