Robert E. Lee’s Signed Farewell Address to His Army of Northern Virginia to be Auctioned

A signed order by Robert E. Lee in which he eloquently bid farewell to his Army of Northern Virginia at the end of the Civil War, will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on June 22, 2017.

Lee signed General Order No. 9 at Appomattox on April 10, 1865.  After surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, Lee drafted the order to be read to his troops. Copies were made for corps commanders and other members of his army staff. The copy being auctioned is one of the few signed at Appomattox as indicated by the prefix “Genl” in Lee’s name as he was still an officer in the Confederate army. Following the Civil War, Lee omitted the word “Genl” from souvenir editions he signed.

The document reads in full, ”Head Qtr Army N Va, / April 10th 1865 / General Order No 9 [flourish] / 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 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 would compensate the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifices 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 protection. With 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. [signed] R.E. Lee / Genl.”

Bidding for the document begins at $80,000 and comes with a certificate of authenticity from University Archives.

Go to Nate D. Sanders Auctions to find out additional information on the document.