Robert E. Lee

(Robert Edward Lee)

Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
  • Born: January 19, 1807
  • Died: October 12, 1870
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Soldier









Robert Edward Lee was an American and Confederate soldier, best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army. He commanded the Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. A son of Revolutionary War officer Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, Lee was a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and an exceptional officer and military engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican–American War, and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

Quote Topics Cited
A union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets … has no charm for me. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
Abstinence from spirituous liquors is the best safeguard of morals and health. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
All men are equal at the foot of the Cross. Religion & God
All military history records the triumphs of discipline and courage far more frequently than numbers and resources War & Peace
At least eighty thousand of our sons are dead or mangled. A million more will die of poverty and disease. Every issue could have been settled and better settled without the loss of a drop of blood War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Considering the relation of master and slave, controlled by humane laws and influenced by Christianity and an enlightened public sentiment, as the best that can exist between the white and black races while intermingled as at present in this country, I would deprecate any sudden disturbance of that relation unless it be necessary to avert a greater calamity to both….we must decide whether slavery- shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves be used against us, or use them ourselves at the risk of the effects which may be produced upon our social institutions…. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never do less. Slogans & Mottoes
How easily I could get rid of this and be at rest. I have only to ride along the lines and all will be over. But, it is our duty to live, for what will become of the women and children of the South if we are not here to support and protect them?' War & Peace
I am glad to see one real American here Miscellaneous
I can anticipate no greater calamity for the nation than the dissolution of the Union. States. Nations & Nationhood
I cannot consent to receive pay for services I do not render. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
I cannot receive pay for services I do not render. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
I differ in my ideas from most of our people on the subject of retaliation. Sometimes I know it to be necessary, but it should not be resorted to at all times, and in our case policy dictates that it should be avoided whenever possible. War & Peace
I have been up to see the [Confederate] Congress, and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I have strong hopes that the conservative portion of that people (the North), unless dead to the feelings of liberty, will rise and depose the party now in power. Voters, Voting & Elections
I know how prone we are to censure and how ready to blame others for the non-fulfillment of our expectations. This is unbecoming in a generous people, and I grieve to see its expression. The general remedy for the want of success in a military commander is his removal. I have been prompted by these reflections more than once since my return from Pennsylvania to propose to Your Excellency the propriety of selecting another commander for this army. Leaders & Leadership
I should be trading on the blood of my men. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
I surrendered as much to Lincoln’s goodness as I did to Grant’s armies. Miscellaneous
I think the measure not only expedient but necessary. The enemy will certainly use them against us if he can get possession of them …. I think those who are employed should be freed. It would be neither just nor wise, in my opinion, to require them to serve as slaves. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I told them at the beginning of this war, that they would repent it….And now they will repent it. War & Peace
I was not . . As regards myself, I never had any control over the prisoners except those that were captured on the field of battle. Those it was my business to send to Richmond to the provost marshal. In regard to their disposition afterwards I had no control. I never gave an order about it. War & Peace
In this enlightened age there are few, I believe, but what will acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil in any country.... I think it, however, a greater evil to the white than to the black race, and while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. Minorities & Women ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom of opinion have always proved themselves intolerable of the spiritual liberty of others? Freedom & Liberty
It is well that war is so terrible—we should grow too fond of it. War & Peace
It takes extraordinary times to make an ordinary man brilliant. Leaders & Leadership
It's worth two divisions to me. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
My heart bled for the inhabitants. War & Peace
Richmond must not be given up; it shall not be given up. War & Peace
The greatest mistake of my life was obtaining a military education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The Negro is not disposed to work. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The only reason why I have allowed myself to own a slave for a moment is the insoluble problem of what to do with him when freed. The one excuse for slavery which the South can plead without fear before the Judgment bar of God is the blacker problem which their emancipation will create. We've played our parts, gentlemen, in a hopeless tragedy, pitiful, terrible. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The slaves are freed by an accident. An accident of war's necessity - not on principle. The manner of their sudden emancipation, unless they are removed, will bring a calamity more appalling than the war itself. It must create a race problem destined to grow each day more threatening and insoluble.... Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
We cannot afford to be idle, and though weaker than our opponents in men and military equipments, must endeavor to harass if we cannot destroy them. War & Peace
You must bear constantly in mind not to hazard unnecessarily your command ... but be content to accomplish all the good you can, without feeling it necessary to obtain all that might be desired. Military & Veterans
A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.
Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. Life
I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself. Trust
I have been up to see the Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving. Government
I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it.
I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity.
I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God. Hope ;Religion & God ;Citizenship & Patriotism
In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.
It is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it. War & Peace
It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it. War & Peace
My chief concern is to try to be an humble, earnest Christian.
Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one. Friendship
Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The devil's name is dullness.
The education of a man is never completed until he dies. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.
The war... was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forebearance and wisdom had been practiced on both sides. War & Peace
We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing. Religion & God ;Failure
We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we know how. We have been defeated. For us as a Christian people, there is now but one course to pursue. We must accept the situation.
We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters.
What a cruel thing war is... to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;War & Peace