What is your favorite Civil War quote?

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diane

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I'm reminded of a quote by... I think Eisenhower? about the "fury of an aroused democracy." I'll have to look that up.

ETA Yup, as quoted by Stephen Ambrose: "...Dwight Eisenhower would write his brother Milton on the day Germany invaded Poland and began World War II. ‘Hitler should beware the fury of an aroused democracy.’ And they were determined to demonstrate the truth of something he wrote in 1947, as the Cold War was beginning. ‘It would be a grievous error to forget for one second the strength and might of this great Republic.’" http://www.nationalww2museum.org/ambrose-essay/
That reminded me of an interesting exchange between Eisenhower and his vice president, Richard Nixon. Nixon remarked that he believed Stonewall Jackson was the best general of the war. Eisenhower replied he didn't think so - Grant had captured three intact armies, used tactics that defied logic, and accomplished his objective within one year of taking command. Pretty remarkable!
 

rebel brit

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"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"

Lee to former Texas governor Fletcher S. Stockdale, August 1870.

That's a fabricated quote. Lee never said it.
Quote was taken from ' The Wit and Wisdom of Robert E. Lee' edited by Devereaux D. Cannon Jr, published by Pelican.
Considering the editor is an attorney I assumed he would have checked his facts.
Any idea's how it was proved he didn't say it, just curious.
 

cash

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"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"

Lee to former Texas governor Fletcher S. Stockdale, August 1870.



Quote was taken from ' The Wit and Wisdom of Robert E. Lee' edited by Devereaux D. Cannon Jr, published by Pelican.
Considering the editor is an attorney I assumed he would have checked his facts.
Any idea's how it was proved he didn't say it, just curious.
See Douglas S. Freeman, R. E. Lee: A Biography, Vol 4, p. 374. Freeman discusses the alleged quotation in a footnote and discounts it.

Dabney and Stockdale claim the meeting where Lee is alleged to have said this took place at White Sulphur Springs in the summer of 1870, the year Lee died. Lee went to Staunton on August 29 to attend a meeting of the stockholders of the Valley Railroad. The stockholders met in Staunton on the morning of August 30. “Upon the conclusion of the stockholders’ meeting, General Lee returned to Lexington. It was his last journey.” [Douglas Southall Freeman, R. E. Lee: A Biography, Vol 4, p. 480] Also, this particular fairy tale does not appear in Charles Bracelen Flood’s Lee: The Last
Years.
 
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Chattahooch33

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I'd ask which battle it's referring to, but that would imply there's only one it could apply to. Wofford doesn't quite make the list of 'Wow this guy was so amazing I'm going to gush for at least ten minutes about him because wow" generals, but he was definitely worthy of the praise.
It was in reference to his flank attack from the railroad cut at the Wilderness.
 
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The President is nothing more than a well-meaning baboon.... I went to the White house ... where I found "the original Gorilla" about as intelligent as ever. George McClellan.
 

Tin cup

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Mine...is a diary entry from a Confederate Captain:

April 30th 1865

"It seems curious that men’s minds can change so sudden, from opinions of life long, to new ones a week old.
I mean that men who have not only been taught from their infancy that the institution of slavery was right; but men who actually owned and held slaves up to this time, --have now changed in their opinions regarding slavery, so as to be able to see the other side of the question, --to see that for man to have property in man was wrong, and that the “Declaration of Independence meant more than they had ever been able to see before. That all men are, and of right ought to be free” has a meaning different from the definition they had been taught from their infancy up, --and to see that the institution (though perhaps wise) had been abused, and perhaps for that abuse this terrible war with its results, was brought upon us as a punishment.
These ideas come not from the Yanks or northern people, but come from reflection, and reasoning among ourselves."


Capt. Samuel T. Foster 24th Texas Cavalry, (Dismounted) Granbury’s Brigade

Kevin Dally
 
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Elennsar

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This from the "and from common soldiers" folder:

http://www.vmi.edu/archives.aspx?id=11549

Dear Lissa I must close for this time as I am tired and paper is scarce. I want you to let me know where Nannie Balsley is and what she is doing. I seen D. Kennedy this morning, he is well. I have not seen [-ash] and Dr. D for some time, but they are well. Nothng more but remain your most affectionate husband until death separates us from this world.
 
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1950lemans

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"..if Lee is a soldier of genius, he will seek to transfer his army from Richmond to Raleigh or Columbia; if he is a man of detail, he will remain where he is, and his speedy defeat is sure."
-Gen. William T. Sherman commenting on whether Lee will head south and join up with Johnston or stay put in Petersburg.
 
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damYankee

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" Country be d***ed! There is no country! There has been no country, General for over a year or more. You are the country to these men. They have fought for you. They have shivered through a long winter for you! Without pay or clothes, or care of any sort, their devotion to and faith in you have been the thing which has held this army together. If you demand the sacrifice, there are still thousands of us who will die for you. You know the game is desperate beyond redemption, and that, if you announce, no man or government or people will gainsay your decision. That is why I repeat that the blood of any man killed hereafter is upon your head."
Gen. Wise speaking to Gen. Lee
 

Pat Young

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My favorite comes from Peter Welsh, New York carpenter turned Irish Brigade soldier. He was killed at Spottsylvania serving as color sergeant of the Irish 28th Mass. This was what he wrote in a letter to his wife explaining why he as an immigrant fought:

This is my country as much as the man that was born on the soil and so it is to every man who comes to this country and becomes a citizen…I have as much interest in the maintenance of the government and laws and integrity of the nation as any other man… This war, with all its evils, with all its errors and mismanagement is a war in which the people of all nations have a vital interest. This is the first test of a modern free government in the act of sustaining itself against internal enemies and matured rebellion. All men who love free government and equal laws are watching the crisis to see if a republic can sustain itself in such a case. If it fail then the hope of millions fail and the designs and wishes of all tyrants will succeed…There is yet something in this land worth fighting for.
 
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