This Week in the Civil War - 631

Aug 8, 2013

On August 8, 1863 Confederate General Robert E. Lee sent a letter to President Jefferson Davis in which Lee offered to resign as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

Reminding Davis of his generally declining health, Lee also noted the level of distress in the public press as a result of his failure to prevail at Gettysburg.  Noting that his troops had been “too generous to exhibit it” and his “brother officers too kind to report it,” Lee nevertheless feared that discontentment was present in his army. 

So he wrote, “I therefore, in all sincerity, request your excellency to take measures to supply my place” with a younger, worthier leader. One has to believe this was not what Davis wanted to hear from his best field commander.