"Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people
designed to make of their victory,
there would have been no surrender at
Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me.
Had I foreseen these results of subjugation,
I would have preferred to die at Appomattox
with my brave men, my sword in my right hand."
by:
Robert E. Lee
(1807-1870) General-in-Chief of the Confederate States army
Source:
To Governor Fletcher S. Stockdale (September 1870), as quoted in The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, pp. 497-500
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Brock Townsend, Tarboro      
Who was more honorable than Lee?
 -- Adam, Memphis     
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     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    Also if he had seen the power that the federal government would attain as a result of the Union victory.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
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    Well, it's said that hindsight is 20/20.
     -- Anonymous     
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    Lincoln, the great subjugator?
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    Not specific as to the subjugation to which he refers.
     -- EGL, LA     
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    Well, EGL, the subjugation of the southern states comes to mind. Their property seized and/or destroyed, their state governments seized and senators appointed by the north in order to pass unnecessary 'reconstruction' amendments when all they had to do was apply the rights enumerated to ALL people rather than create federal citizens. It was the end of state sovereignty and of the sovereign individual. It was the end of the voluntary and unanimous association of We the People, and it was the subjugation of ALL the states under the federal government (instead of the other way around.) The entire context of government changed from servant to master. The Republic was indeed finished, and the victors imposed their new form of 'democracy' and shortly thereafter the right to tax people individually for whatever reason desired. Adams warned his fellows of the dangers ahead because the slaves were not freed in the Declaration of Independence, and America paid dearly for it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- Randy Jarreau, Erwinville. LA      
     -- Bob, Eugene, OR      
     -- P.M.      
    Amen! Robert E. Lee was our greatenst General. But remember, just becasue we lost in 1865, doesn't mean it is over. We are still a people with a heritage of freedom, even though we are under a foreign invader, Like the Israelites in Egypt, we are slaves to an empire. However, we shall rise again. Truth crushed to the ground is still truth, and like a seed it will rise again!". The South Shall Rise Again, bretheren, we shall throw off our bonmds, and be established once again in the nations of the earth. May God Bless Our Southland! Deo Vindice. R.G. Miller Alturas [Occupied] Florida, C.S.A. Federal Occupation Code - 33820 www.leagueofthesouth.net www.freeflorida.org
     -- Anonymous     
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    Deo Vindice!!
     -- B     
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    This doesn't sound like R.E. Lee in parts of the phrasing. I doubt the veracity of the governor (politician) who claimed Lee said this. There were no witnesses, and it is counter to Lee's own writings. Just more fantasy material for Lost Cause types.
     -- SDC, Albany, GA     
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    SDC, you are the lost cause. The orginal constitution gave us limited government. It's time to stand up and fight back, get out of the way if you are afraid.
     -- Winston Smith, Lookout Mtn. TN.     
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     -- Steve Shea, Triangle, Virginia      
     -- Chris Smith, El Dorado, AR      
     -- Anonymous      
    He never said it.
     -- Anonymous, St. Louis, MO     
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     -- Anonymous      
    When General Lee invaded Pennsylvania he ordered his troops not to loot, burn peoples houses and pillage. General Sherman did the opposite. Then carpetbaggers came and stole and raped the south for years destroying everything that he fought for. If I or you were in that situation would you drop your sword and surrender to that, could you live with yourself.
     -- General Jim, CSA, Davenport, FL     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Even more relevant in the political environment today.
     -- Matt, Chester S.C.     
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    The phony limp-wristed politicians today despise the South because they are so jealous that they haven' t a fraction of the mahnhood in their whole as Lee had in one toenail, which is why they try to elimintate these great men from our so-called schools' so-called hostory. And that goes for both phony parties.
     -- Bob, Tampa, FL     
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    Another two-faced example from Lee. "Slavery immoral and Evil"; and, yet he had them whipped and put to hard labor at a time when their real owner wanted them freed. "Traitorous to join the Confederacy"; and, then he chose to lead its' military. And this, "I surrender"; then, this "not really". Obviously the man was a two-faced liar.
     -- Anonymous, Terril Granger     
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    Robert E. Lee was the most honorable of men that ever lived. To Terril Granger: Lee did not own slaves and was not a beliver in the institution of slavery...you Sir, are in dire need of a history lesson.
     -- JoAnn, Grandview, Mo     
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    that's how it should be you should die for your country and what you are fighting for robert e lee was alsome and i love the confederate states south is way better than the north
     -- brandon wetzel, grenville oh     
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    Lee was a very Honorable and Humble man. If you say that slavery was the cause if the war you are a fool...There is a little thing called import tariffs that the South was paying... that paid 75% of the Federal Revenue. The North still had slaves throughout the entire war. Many blacks were hung and burnt in the streets of NY when Lincoln emancipated the slaves. And if some people will educate themselves...they would know that 50,000 plus blacks served in the Confederate Army...Many were paid more than officers pay if they had a technical skill. Fredrick Douglas got the idea of using blacks to fight from the Confederate Army...An 1862 letter from Frederick Douglass to President Abraham Lincoln in which Douglass writes that many blacks serve in the Confederate Army as "real soldiers having muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government." So people think before you speak, dont believe what your school books teach you...find out for yourself
     -- Jack Martin, Myrtle Beach, SC     
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    Lee was fighting against the enemy of humanity. The same historic enemy that we have been burdened with for thousands of years now. The same parasitic and destructive force that has haunted us and destroyed us from within throughout history. He was fighting the "international bankers", the "Illuminati", the "Zionists", or whatever else these parasitic JEWS have called themselves throughout history. And his defeat equaled OUR defeat. Along with the other 109 instances of BRAVE and HONORABLE men standing up against the BEAST, his ultimate defeat cost us all more than most will ever come to realize. And now we have no rights. We have no freedom. Blood has been spilled by the tens of MILLIONS of Gentile lives. We are being lied to, robbed, poisoned, and murdered... but of course history itself has been rewritten. The victors of this war now have a complete monopoly in the media, they print the money, they make all of the rules, and they control your mind.
     -- Scott Roberts, Miami     
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    R.E is what we need today,Maybe by the grace of GOD this will be delivered
     -- Yankeechaser, Manassas Va.     
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    Would that we had MEN like Gen. Robert E. Lee today.
     -- Robert Chandler, Metairie, LA     
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    Lee, as a US Army officer, had sworn allegiance to the United States so was a traitor and probably should have been hung.
     -- CHN, Wilson     
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    Then explain why he was saluted instead after surrender by union soldiers CHN, Wilson
     -- Yankeechaser, Manassas, Va.     
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    The truth of the meat grinder , the sacrifice of so many, the meaning of the word honor. Has been passed down, from generation to generation. The grand old south, was grand. With men of honor. Hey, the truth is the truth. Some happen to KNOW the war was over taxes....then, well, the politicians did what they do......
     -- Kimo, USA     
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    Can not anyone see the truth. The Unioin victory was the beginning of DC gaining all power from the states and the growing of big-brother centralized federal power over us all.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    CHN, it was the rascal Sherman who should have been hanged. The "Great Emancipator" only freed the slaves in the states that wanted to secede. Lincoln didbn't care a whit about slavery, this was added later to give this horrible war some degree of morality and get Lincoln reelected.
     -- jim k, Austin, TX     
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    I think there's not a chance in hell Lee made this statement. It is completely unlike his writing style and totally foreign to everything he wrote after his surrender.
     -- dick, fort worth     
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    Powerful! Wonderfully and bravely said. I cannot believe how many people are decieved by making Lincoln god. He was no such thing. He even said himself, "If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves I would do it" and also, "my paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, not to either save or destroy slavery." Grant also said something along the lines of, "if I would have known that we would free the slaves, I would never have fought with the Union." With quotes so plain, how are we decieved?
     -- Cassandra, St. Louis     
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    The South has been shafted by the mainstream media before there even was a mainstream media. It's taken decades of self-education to un-learn the propaganda I was taught in school. Lincoln had slaves. The only slaves freed were in the South. Northerners were allowed to keep their slaves.
     -- Byron, Fort Collins     
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    Lee also said, "If this war were truly fought over slavery I would be wearing a blue uniform." He knew Lincoln's dirty war wasn't about slavery; it was about forcing the Confederacy back into the Union as that's where 70+% of the money came from to support Washington DC. It was also about Federal control over the state's sovereignty, ending state's rights. Please see: "The Real Lincoln", Dr. Thomas DeLorenzo.
     -- toemoss71, Corvallis, OR     
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    Terril Granger...Come down to Sumter County, Florida talking like that and I'll KICK YOUR ASS. Lee hated slavery. In fact, he freed all of his slaves years before the war ever started and Grant's wife owned slaves until she was forced to free them by the thirteenth amendment. And even Grant, that yankee hero, bought a slave from his wife's father, making himself a slavemaster. And succession is by no means treason. Governments rule by the consent of the governed, so if the federal government no longer has such consent, it can no longer lawfully govern; making succession the only justifiable course. And Lee is not doing a 'take back' of his surrender in this quote, as you imply. He is simply saying that if he had known then what he knows at this time, he WOULDN'T have surrendered. Study history before you try to teach it to others. YOU DUMBASS.
     -- Gray, Great State of Florida     
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    Thank you Gray
     -- Yankeechaser, Manhassas, Va.     
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    I am reminded of a quote by a former slave who knew Lee well during the slave era: "Lee was the meanest man I ever knew". Lee drove his men mercilessly long after he should have surrendered to superior numbers and armaments. They marched, shoeless, covered with vermin, and starving in the final months of the war. Was he blind? No. Just mean, and so caught up in making his own legend that he chose not to see the suffering all around him.
     -- Anonymous, Cleveland, Tennessee     
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    Anonymous, Cleveland, Tennessee...You know nothing of war. The Confederate Army didn't fight just because Lee told them to and they didn't surrender just because he told them too. They fought for their country, they fought for something they believed in. When Lee surrendered it was a mutual decision among all of them. If they had wished to keep fighting, they would have without Lee. If they wished to surrender earlier, they would have; not a single man, including Lee, could've stopped them. If George Washington and the rest of the founding fathers had the same mentality as you, we would still be British. Many times his Continental Army was in much worse conditions against more overwhelming odds than the Confederacy ever was. And please, site the source of this slave's quote; I doubt there is any truth in it.
     -- Publius     
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    i think this is so true
     -- Danny Syfrett, Orangeburg SC     
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    I also think Lee was a great man with a lot of wisdom and a deeply religious man Long live the Confederacy
     -- Danny Syfrett, Orangeburg SC     
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    I would ask Terril Granger a question. Terrill has repeated an allegation that has been repeated since 1859 that Robert E. Lee had someone whipped. As far as I know this "allegation" has never been proven even though it has been repeated often in the last few years. So, could you please produce specific, nonbias, corroboration for this accusation that Lee had anyone whipped? If you cannot, please do not repeat such allegations. Also, feel free to e-mail this information to me at taftj@juno.com concerning your evidence. I'd like to read it. Thanks, Tom Forehand, Jr. taftj@juno.com
     -- Anonymous, Clarksville, TN     
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    In an address before the Southern Historical Society in Atlanta, Georgia in 1874, Benjamin Harvey Hill described Lee as:

    .a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbour without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick, without his tyranny; Napoleon, without his selfishness, and Washington, without his reward.

    Robert E. Lee was the epitome of integrity, honor, loyalty, compassion and grace. He is one of if not the finest examples of a true humanitarian and as a born Yankee that learned nothing but lies growing up, I am proud to follow his example and truly grateful to have learned the truth in my lifetime. ~Drew Bulecza of WWW.TWSSH.COM
     -- Drew Bulecza, Daytona Beach Florida     
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    Why do we bother discussing these things with yankees anyway? They are too obstinate and set in their erroneous ways to even be able to consider any alternative such as the truth. They hang and to and defend their great lie and have no capacity for anything else, like facts. Add to that their typical rudeness and you have just participated in a total waste of time. They are doomed to have to repeat their great myths over and over, in order to cover their sanctimonious butts for the illegal and immoral war they waged and the shameful way they conducted themselves.
     -- Captain Dave, Abbeville     
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    The truest words ever spoken by anyone.
     -- Billy Price, Ashville Alabama     
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     -- Noelle      
    I have visited Stratford Hall, Lee's ancestral home, many times.
    You will find a chair in one of the displays, donated by the son of a former slave, Richard M Lee of New York City.
    It was written in 1943 and sent to Mrs. Charles Lanier-head of the Robert E. Lee Foundation which was founded to restore Stratford Hall. The letter describes how it came into his possession and how he wanted to donate "because of the kindness shown by Lee to his colored people and how the Lee family carried out the Generals wishes and took care of his people until they died."
     -- Charles Byrd, Little River, SC     
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