After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Norther Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the brave survivors of some 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 must have attended 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 a consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessings and protection. With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a g
Robert E Lee
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