Notable Quotes of the Civil
The following were said by famous (and not so famous) people...
Robert E. Lee’s reference to the Union Army during the war.
“Evacuating Lee, Granny Lee,
King of Spades”
Robert E. Lee’s nicknames early in the war.
“We may be annihilated, but
we cannot be conquered.”
General Albert Sidney Johnston, CSA, in accepting his command rank, August, 1861.
“You ask me if I have
confidence in the success of the Southern Confederacy? I pray for success but I
do not expect success.”
Senator Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia, prominent member of the Confederate Congress
“The Lord spared the fitten
and the rest he seen fitten to die.”
Lincoln’s reference to growing up in Hardin County, Kentucky (now Larue County)
“Sir, Mister, Be’ent you
“Sir, that is my name.”
“I thought so, you look so much like a Confederate postage stamp.”
A North Carolina soldier to Jefferson Davis on the street in Richmond.
“Butler is branded a felon,
an outlaw, an enemy of Mankind, and so ordered that in the event of his capture,
the officer in command of the capturing force do cause him to be immediately
executed by hanging.”
Jefferson Davis on hearing of Butler’s General Order against the women of New Orleans.
“Press on, press on,
Stonewall Jackson on the march.
Jackson inquired sharply about
a missing courier and was told that the boy had just been killed while
delivering a message under fire.
“Very commendable, very commendable,” was Jackson’s reply.
“Boys, he isn’t much for
looks, but if we’d had him we wouldn’t have been caught in this trap.”
A captive Federal to his fellows at Harpers Ferry in reference to Stonewall Jackson
“Headquarters in the Saddle,” John Pope’s heading of his dispatches. His troops prompted an old army jibe that “He had his headquarters where his hindquarters ought to be.”
“God damn McDowell, He’s
never where I want him.
General Pope at 2nd Manassas on learning that McDowell was lost behind Federal lines.
“By God, I ask nothing better
than to have the rebels come out and attack us! We can whip them all to Hell.”
Brigadier General C. F. Smith to Grant at Pittsburg Landing. (Shiloh)
“There’s General Grant,” One Illinois soldier to another. “I guess not,” was the reply. “That fellow don’t look like he has the ability to command a regiment, much less an army.”
“What are you fighting for
“I’m fighting because you are down here.”
Confederate prisoner to Union soldier.
“I have from the commencement
of our acquaintance up to the present moment been General McClellan’s warmest
friend. I feel so kind toward him that I would get down on my knees to him if it
would serve him. Yes Sir, if it would do him any service I would be willing to
lay down naked in the gutter and allow him to stand upon my body for hours.”
Stanton to General Marcy, McClellan’s father-in-law.
“Before this war is over, I
intend to be a Major General or a corpse.”
Brigadier General Isaac Trimble to Stonewall Jackson.
“I have just read your
dispatch about sore-tongued and fatigued horses, Will you pardon me for asking
what the horses of your army have done since the Battle of Antietam that
Lincoln to McClellan, October 25, 1862
“He has got the slows, Mr.
Lincoln to Francis Blair concerning McClellan’s removal.
“Hatch, Hatch, what is all of
“Why, Mr. Lincoln, this is the Army of the Potomac.”
“No, Hatch, no. This is General McClellan’s bodyguard!”
Lincoln to O. M. Hatch on a hillside at Antietam overlooking the Union Army’s camps.
Asked then who was the ablest Federal general he had opposed throughout the war, Robert E. Lee replied without hesitation: “McClellan, by all odds.”
“Where is your division?”
Hood was asked at Antietam.
“Dead on the field!” was his reply.
“A restitution of the Union
has been rendered forever impossible.”
Jefferson Davis in reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation.
“That living specimen of gall
and hatred, that individual.”
General Beauregard speaking about Jefferson Davis after being relieved with Bragg put in command.
“Thank you for your
compliments. If you wish to avoid further bloodshed, keep out of the range of my
Colonel J. T. Wilder, 17th Indiana Volunteers to Brigadier General James R. Chalmers, CSA at Munfordville when asked to surrender.
“CSA stands for corn, salt
and apples, the staple of the Confederate soldier.”
A rebel soldier to some civilians.
“What was the matter with your battery Tuesday night?”
“You made it too hot, your shots drove the cannoneers away, and they ain’t stopped running yet. We infantry had to come out and withdraw the guns.”
“You infantry men will run, too, one of these fine mornings.”
“When are you coming over, bluecoat?”
“When we get ready, butternut.”
“What do you want?”
“Don’t you wish that you may get it!”
Overheard between two pickets on opposite banks of the Rappahannock before Fredericksburg.
“It is glorious to see such
courage in one so young.”
Lee, speaking of Major Pelham’s action at Fredericksburg.
“It is well that war is so
terrible, we should grow too fond of it.”
Lee to Longstreet at Fredericksburg.
“War is hell.”
General William T. Sherman, USA
“Any word of Stuart?”
Lee at Gettysburg.
“Here come them damn black
Rebel soldiers at Gettysburg.
“I can’t spare this man, he
Lincoln to Grant’s critics.