Lee’s General Order Number Nine
Norman Bell of Norfolk, Virginia was a clerk at the General Headquarters at the time of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. Mr. Bell was assigned the duty of transcribing this order; twelve copies were made, and Mr. Bell made an extra copy (No. 13) for himself, which was signed by General Lee. This copy was presented by Norman Bell shortly after the Civil War to his sister, Margaret Soutter.
Copy No. 13 was given to the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association by Mrs. Lewis L. Strauss in 1985.
Transcription of General Order No. 9
Hd Qurs Army Northern Virginia
10th April 1865
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 brave 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 could compensate for the loss that would 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 the consciousness of duty faithfully performed and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection.
With an 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.
R E Lee