Robert Edward Lee was a 19th century American soldier who served as the General of the Confederate Army of North Virginia at the time of the American Civil War. Lee was born in an illustrious family and his father served as the Governor General of Virginia in addition to being an officer in the Revolutionary War. Lee followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the United States Military Academy, from where he graduated as the topper of his class. Subsequently, he went on to serve the United States Army in the capacity of an engineer and performed his job with distinction for 32 years. From 1862 till 1865, he served as the General of the Confederate Army in his state. He had to surrender in the end but during his time as the General, he was particularly well-known for his aggressive military tactics. Lee is best remembered for advocating the northern and southern states to reunite following the end of the war and is regarded as the foremost hero of the Civil War from among the Southern states. Here is a collection of some of his most memorable quotations and sayings which have been scanned from his life and work. Go through the inspiring quotes and thoughts by Robert E. Lee.
While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is onward, & we give it the aid of our prayers & all justifiable means in our power, we must leave the progress as well as the result in his hands who sees the end; who chooses to work by slow influences; & with whom two thousand years are but as a single day.
I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and I have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.
A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets has no charm for me. If the Union is dissolved and government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people, and save in defense will draw my sword on none.
There is a terrible war coming, and these young men who have never seen war cannot wait for it to happen, but I tell you, I wish that I owned every slave in the South, for I would free them all to avoid this war.
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 interest of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this that I would have cheerfully lost all that I have lost by the war, and have suffered all that I have suffered to have this object attained.
Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word “concern” out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice.
With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relative, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the Army...
My experiences of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them nor be indisposed to serve them: nor, in spite of failures which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge, or the present aspect of affairs, do I despair of the future. The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.
All that the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved, and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth.
Robert E. Lee
Abandon your animosities and make your sons Americans!
Robert E. Lee
A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.
Robert E. Lee
I am of the opinion that all who can should vote for the most intelligent, honest, and conscientious men eligible to office, irrespective of former party opinions, who will endeavour to make the new constitutions and the laws passed under them as beneficial as possible to the true interests, prosperity, and liberty of all classes and conditions of the people.
They do not know what they say. If it came to a conflict of arms, the war will last at least four years. Northern politicians will not appreciate the determination and pluck of the South, and Southern politicians do not appreciate the numbers, resources, and patient perseverance of the North. Both sides forget that we are all Americans. I foresee that our country will pass through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation, perhaps, for our national sins.
It's the loneliest feeling in the world-to find yourself standing up when everybody else is sitting down. To have everybody look at you and say, 'What's the matter with him?' I know. I know what it feels like. Walking down an empty street, listening to the sound of your own footsteps. Shutters closed, blinds drawn, doors locked against you. And you aren't sure whether you're walking toward something, or if you're just walking away.
What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.
My trust is in the mercy and wisdom of a kind Providence, who ordereth all things for our good.
Robert E. Lee
There is a true glory and a true honor: the glory of duty done--the honor of the integrity of principle.
Robert E. Lee
Shake off those gloomy feelings. Drive them away. Fix your mind and pleasures upon what is before you.All is bright if you will think it so. All is happy if you will make it so. Do not dream. It is too ideal, too imaginary. Dreaming by day, I mean. Live in the world you inhabit. Look upon things as they are. Take them as you find them. Make the best of them. Turn them to your advantage.
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.
Postal officials say that before Christmas they receive tons of letters written to Santa Claus, but after Christmas how few letters of thanks are sent to him! From childhood onward, human beings seem to be characterized by thanklessness.
Robert E. Lee
Cadets can neither be treated as schoolboys or soldiers.
Robert E. Lee
Alabama soldiers, all I ask of you is to keep up with the Texans!
We poor sinners need to come back from our wanderings to seek pardon through the all-sufficient merits of our Redeemer. And we need to pray earnestly for the power of the Holy Spirit to give us a precious revival in our hearts and among the unconverted.
A land without memories is a people without liberty.
Robert E. Lee
If you have any fault to find with anyone, tell him, not others, of what you complain; there is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back.
Everyone should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope that it may find a place in history and descend to posterity. History is not the relation of campaigns and battles and generals or other individuals, but that which shows the principles for which the South contended and which justified her struggle for those principles.
I have thought from the time of the cessation of the hostilities, that silence and patience on the part of the South was the true course; and I think so still. Controversy of all kinds will, in my opinion, only serve to continue excitement and passion, and will prevent the public mind from the acknowledgement and acceptance of the truth.
Life Insurance trusts I consider sacred. To hazard the property of the dead & to lose the scanty earnings of fathers & husbands, who have toiled & saved that they may leave something to their families deprived of their care & the support of their labour, is to my mind the worst of crimes.
Why, it appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all of our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all of the defects plainly from the start but didn't tell me until it was too late. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals and I'll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper.
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.