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Army of Northern Virginia
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Army of Northern Virginia

The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America during the United States Civil War in the eastern theater. The Army of Northern Virginia was most often arrayed against the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.

At the Battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg, (September 17, 1862) it was led by General Robert E. Lee. The right wing was under the command of Major General James Longstreet and the left wing under Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The Cavalry was led by Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart and the Reserve Artillery by Brigadier General W. N. Pendleton.

The Army fought in a number of battles, including:

On April 9 1865, the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to the Army of the Potomac at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War, with General Lee signing the papers of surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant.

Of note is "Robert E. Lee's Farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia":

"After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged.

You may take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell."

See also: Steven Vincent Benet's poem "Army of Northern Virginia"

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