GENERAL ORDERS, No. 76.
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
July 11, 1863.
After long and trying marches, endured with the fortitude that has ever characterized the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, you have penetrated the country of our enemies, and recalled to the defense of their own soil those who were engaged in the invasion of ours.
You have fought a fierce and sanguinary battle, which, if not attended with the success that has hitherto crowned your efforts, was marked by the same heroic spirit that has commanded the respect of your enemies, the gratitude of your country, and the admiration of mankind.
Once more you are called upon to meet the army from which you have won on so many fields a name that will never die.
Once more the eyes of your countrymen are turned upon you, and again do wives and sisters, fathers, mothers, and helpless children lean for defense on your strong arms and brave hearts.
Let every soldier remember that on his courage and fidelity depends all that makes life worth having – the freedom of his country, the honor of his people, and the security of his home. Let each heart grow strong in the remembrance of our glorious past, and in the thought of the inestimable blessings for which we contend, and, invoking the assistance of that Divine Power which has so signally blessed our former efforts, let us go forth in confidence to secure the peace and safety of our country.
Soldiers! your old enemy is before you! Win from him honors worthy of your righteous cause – worthy of your comrades dead on so many illustrious fields.
R. E. LEE,
SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 27, Part 2 (Serial No. 44), p. 301; John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 253.