Of Gods and Generals

Robert E. Lee to Mr. Blair:

“And I regret to say the president’s hasty calling up of volunteers to subdue the rebellion in the cotton states has done nothing to ameliorate the crisis. It has only deepened it.”

“I never thought I’d see the day the president of the United States would raise an army to invade his own country.”

“Please be clear. I have never taken my duties lightly but I have no greater duty than to my home, to Virginia.”

 

Fredricksburg Mother to her two sons, off to war:

“We must not fear the final result of this war, but many a loved one will fall and many a heart throb with anguish before we can breathe the exhilarating atmosphere of freedom and feel the sweet assurance of safety and peace once more.”

 

Conversation between Mr. Jenkins and Thomas Jackson at Harper’s Ferry:

“Slavery will eventually die of natural causes.”

“As a Christian man, my first allegiance is to God. Then to my state, the state of Virginia. Every state has a primal claim to the fealty of her citizens and they justly control their allegiance. If Virginia adheres to the United States, I adhere. Her determination must control mine. This is my understanding of patriotism. And though I love the Union, I love Virginia more.”

 

Jackson to his men:

“Just as we would not send any of our soldiers to march in other states and tyrannize other people so will we never allow the armies of others to march into our states and tyrannize our people.”

 

Reverend Pendleton and Thomas Jackson:

“The men have decided to name the howitzers: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.” “I’m sure your men will spread the gospel wherever they encounter the enemy.”

 

Thomas Jackson to Professor White:

“The bayonet must be for a Virginian what the sarissa was for a Macedonian. If the Yankees dare set foot in Virginia, we must show them the bayonet. Train with the bayonet and we shall keep our freedom.”

 

Jackson to Colonel Jeb Stuart:

“The Apache were defending their homes, as we will be defending ours. If we fight as well as the Apache, I pity the Yankee invader. Colonel Stuart, if I had my way we would show no quarter to the enemy. No more than the redskins showed your troopers. The black flag, sir. If the North triumphs, it is not alone the destruction of our property. It is the prelude to anarchy, infidelity the loss of free and responsible government. It is the triumph of commerce. The banks, factories. We should meet the invader on the verge of just defense and raise the black flag. No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides.”

 

Jackson in prayer:

“Dear Lord: This is your day. And you have admonished us to keep it holy. If it is your will that we fight this day, then your will be done. I ask your protection over Anna, your faithful servant, my loving wife. I ask you to shine your face down upon her, Lord, on her 30th birthday and fill her heart with the conviction of how much she is loved and missed by her husband. Dear Lord: You have called me to this place, in this hour far from my home and my loved ones but I know it is your will that leads me here. If it is your will that we fight today, I am ready, Lord. Thy will be done. It is your sword I will wield into battle. Your banner I will raise against those who would desecrate our land. And if it is my time to be with you, Lord then I come to you with all the joy in my heart. Amen.”

 

General Bee of Jackson at Bull Run:

“There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here today and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians! Fix bayonets.”

 

Jackson to Pendleton at Bull Run:

“Good to have your dander up, but discipline wins the day.”

 

Jackson to Captain Smith after Bull Run:

“Captain Smith, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death, I do not concern myself with that but to be always ready, whenever it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live. Then all men would be equally brave.”

 

Jackson to Pendleton after Bull Run:

“I will never forget these men. We must never forget them.”

 

Mr. Lewis to Jackson:

“Lexington is my home, general. Same as yours. If I could do my share in defending my home I’d be doing the same as you.”

 

Jackson’s Farewell Address to the Stonewall Brigade:

“Throughout the broad extent of the country through which you have marched by your respect for the rights and property of others you have always shown you are soldiers, not only to defend but able and willing both to defend and protect. You’ve already won a brilliant reputation throughout the Army of the whole Confederacy. And I trust in the future by your deeds in the field and by the assistance of the same kind providence who has favored our cause you will win more victories and add luster to the reputation you now enjoy. You already gained a proud position in the future history of this, our second war of independence. I shall look with anxiety to your future movements and I trust whenever I shall hear of the 1st Brigade on the field of battle it will be of still nobler deeds achieved and higher reputation won. In the Army of the Shenandoah, you were the 1 st Brigade. In the Army of the Potomac, you were the 1st Brigade. In the 2 nd Corps of this Army, you are the 1st Brigade. You are the 1st Brigade in the affections of your general. And I hope by your future deeds and bearing you will be handed down to posterity as the 1st Brigade in this, our second war of independence. Godspeed!”

 

Robert E. Lee and Mr. Taylor, outside Fredricksburg:

“Did you know George Washington spent his boyhood not far from here? And across that river, he’s supposed to have thrown that silver dollar and cut down that cherry tree.”

“That may be so, Mr. Taylor, but it has an even greater significance for me. It’s where I met my wife. That’s something these Yankees do not understand, will never understand. You see these rivers and valleys and streams and fields, even towns? They’re just markings on a map to those people in the war office in Washington. But to us, my goodness, they’re birthplaces and burial grounds. They’re battlefields where our ancestors fought places where you and I learned to walk, to talk and to pray. Places where we made friendships and, oh, yes, fell in love. And they’re the incarnation of all our memories, Mr. Taylor and all that we are. All that we are.”

 

Jackson to Hood:

“I do not expect to live to see the end of this war. Nor can I say that without victory I would desire to do so.”

 

Robert E. Lee at Fredricksburg:

“We must never ignore the unknown or the unpredictable.”

 

General Jackson to General Gregg at Fredricksburg:

“The doctor tells me you have not long to live. I ask you to dismiss this matter from your mind and turn your thoughts to God and the world to which you go.”

 

General Jackson and the Doctor:

“How horrible is war. Horrible, yes, but we have been invaded.”

“Lord, what can we do?”

“Kill them, sir. Kill every last man of them.”

 

“Gentlemen, let us lift our glasses to our Southern women without whose bravery and fortitude without whose love, without whose endurance and sacrifice not a man among us can stay the course or defend the cause.”

 

General Jackson to Pendleton, upon the capture of the deserters:

“If the Republicans lose their little war, they are voted out in the next election and they return to their homes in New York or Massachusetts or Illinois fat with their war profits. If we lose, we lose our country. We lose our independence. We lose it all. Our soldiers are brave. They have endured hardships none of them could ever have imagined. Desertion is not a solitary crime. It’s a crime against the tens of thousands of veterans who are huddled together in the harsh cold of this winter. Against all those who have sacrificed. Against all those who have fallen. Against all the women and the children we have left alone to fend for themselves. I regard the crime of desertion as a sin against the Army of the Lord.”

 

Confederate officer over a glass of cool lemonade:

“Here is to the sultry, balmy, South.”

 

General Jackson to General Lee:

“General Lee, I hope as soon as practicable to attack. I trust that an ever kind providence will bless us with great success.”

 

General Lee, of Jackson:

“No, major. It does not seem right at all. But it is the will of God. He’s lost his left arm. I’ve lost my right.”

 

General Jackson, sick in bed, to his wife:

“But in your prayers, never forget to use the petition, “Thy will be done.””

 

“You are the 1st Brigade. Advance, my brave boys. Press on. Press on. Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”

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