Headquarters Army No Va
August 13th 1863
General Orders No 83,
The President of the Confederate States has, in the name of the people, appointed the 21st day of August as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer. A strict
observance of the day is enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this Army. All Military duties, except such as are absolutely necessary, will be suspended.
The Commanding Officers of Brigades and Regiments are requested to cause divine services suitable to the occasion to be performed in their respective commands.
Soldiers! We have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies and have cultivated a vengeful, haughty and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes; that our lives are in His hand and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence.
God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him. Let us confess our many sins and beseech Him to give us a higher Courage, a purer patriotism and more determined will. That He will convert the hearts of our enemies; that He will hasten the time when war with its sorrows and sufferings shall cease, and that He will give us a name and peace among the Nations of the earth.
R E Lee
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M2009.304, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall. Copy of original order, signed by Robert E. Lee.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 September 17