LEE, ROBERT E. General, C.S.A. Manuscript signed ("R E Lee"), "Headquarters, ANVa," 23 March 1863. 1 pages, 4to, text with three manuscript corrections in Lee's hand, slight browning at folds, otherwise fine.
LEE ORDERS "A DAY OF FASTING AND PRAYER" FOR THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA
With the repulse of McClellan, victory at Fredericksburg in late 1862, and the apparent success of Bragg's campaign, the Confederate cause seemed secure in the first few months of '63. But President Davis, under the pressure of severe economic difficulties and rampant inflation, had proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer for March 27. In an unusual draft General Order, Lee, "in obedience to the proclamation of the President of the Confederate States" proclaims the observance for the Army: "... All duties will be suspended...in the Army of Northern Virginia except such as are necessary for its safety and subsistence...Soldiers! no portion of our people have greater causes to be thankful to Almighty God than yourselves. He has preserved your lives amidst countless dangers. He has been with you in all your trials. He has given you fortitude under hardships and courage in the shock of battle. He has cheered you by the example and by the deeds of your martyred Comrades. He has enabled you to defend your Country successfully against the assault of a powerful Oppressor. Devoutly thankful for his signal mercies let us bow before the Lord of Hosts, and join our hearts with millions in our Land in prayer 'That He will continue his merciful protection over our cause, that he will scatter our enemies and set at naught their evil designs and that he will graciously restore to our beloved Country the blessings of peace and security."
See Lee's letter, enclosing a copy of his order to his wife, 27 March, in Wartime Papers, ed. Dowdey and Manarin, pp.419-420.