How General Lee shared his meager rations with his prisoners

January 19, 2017

That General Lee was a “square” fighter was evidenced time and again during the great conflict for the Union. When his army invaded the North in the campaign that culminated at Gettysburg he gave strict orders that no harm should be done to private property, and General Lee was once seen to get down from his horse to mend a rail fence that his men had torn down.

Prisoners from the Front, painted by Winslow Homer.

When, during the Wilderness campaign, General Lee’s army was in danger of starvation through Sheridan’s capture of supplies sent from Richmond, one of Lee’s commanders proposed that word be sent to Grant that he must send rations for the prisoners in the hands of the Confederates if they were to be saved from starvation. General Lee angrily resented the suggestion, “The prisoners we have here,” he said, “are my prisoners; they are not General Grant’s prisoners, and as long as I have any rations at all I shall certainly share them with my prisoners.”


The Pensacola Journal., January 15, 1907

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 560


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