• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



General Orders No. 54


Hdqrs. Army of Northern Virginia,

August 10, 1864


All persons connected with this army who are absent without proper authority are enjoined to return to their respective commands without delay. This order is intended to embrace those who have remained absent beyond the time limited for their return, or after the cause of their absence has ceased. All such persons are admonished that every day they remain from their post adds to the dangers and labors of their comrades, while it increases their own responsibility to the laws they are violating. The commanding general deems it only necessary to remind those who have erred through thoughtlessness or negligence of the shame and disgrace they will bring upon themselves and their families if they shrink from the manful discharge of duty in the hour of their country's need, and leave their homes to be defended and their independence to be secured by the unaided courage of others. To those whose absence has been prolonged until they have incurred the guilt of desertion, he can only say that a prompt and voluntary return to duty alone can palliate their offense and entitle them to expect any clemency. If arrested and brought back, justice to the faithful and true as well as the interests and safety of the country, requires that they shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.


R E Lee



Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Vol. 42, Part 2, p. 1169

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 August 10

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