The Civil War brought us numerous memorable quotes. They range from comical to inspiring to downright disturbing. It is only logical that the crucible of American history provided us with such great stories and great statements. I could type at length detailing the verbal legacy left us by our Civil War veterans. And it is a temptation, believe me. Instead I will simply detail some of the better (in my opinion) ones and then ask you to contribute yours.
For inspiration, see Winfield Scott Hancock's famous quote at Gettysburg. When urged to remove himself from the line of fire as his troops held firm against Pickett's Charge, he said "There are times when a Corps Commander's life doesn't count." That is the kind of leader I'd follow to hell and back.
For a comical quote, we can turn to General William Tecumseh Sherman. If the reports are accurate, Sherman had very little use for newspaper reporters. He is quoted as saying "If I killed them all there would be news from hell before breakfast." I wonder what old Uncle Billy would say about bloggers!
And for the disturbing, let us look to Confederate Major Orton Williams. After shooting and killing a soldier who failed to salute him on multiple occasions, he had this to say, "For his ignorance I pitied him; for his insolence, I forgave him, for his insubordination, I slew him." Any volunteers to serve in his unit? Since this is a lesser known quote, here is a source. I have seen this quote in other sources as well, so there is independent confirmation of it.
But I saved my favorite quote for last. Let us now chat with Earl Van Dorn. Following the Confederate defeat at Pea Ridge (aka: Elkhorn Tavern), our erstwhile cavalryman had this to say. "I was not defeated, but only foiled in my intentions." (source) Sure, Earl. I'll buy that bridge you have for sale too!
So those are my favorite quotes. What are yours? And to answer my previous blog question about which Civil War character that you would most like to have supper with, my answer is Judah P. Benjamin. And for the record, my wife would NOT be allowed to eat supper with Earl Van Dorn!
My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Civil War Addict. I had the honor to be interviewed by the Vision and Verse blog today as well. Please visit the link and read my short interview about writing.