The Civil War Quotes
They Said It
| "[T]he Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.... It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances."
- – President Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861.5
| "[W]e can not dedicate—we can not consecrate-we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
- President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 19 November 1863.6
| "Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?"
- Brigadier General Joshua Chamberlain, recounting the surrender of Lee's Army, 10 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia7
| "It is well that war is so terrible—we should grow too fond of it."
- Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Fredericksburg, 13 December 1862.8