"The name of Lee is beloved and respected throughout the world. . . . [H]is very enemies love the man. His private character is the origin of this sentiment."
— John Esten Cooke, Lee, 1871
"Lee was of a slow, conservative, cautious nature, without imagination or humor, always the same, with grave dignity. I never could see in his achievements what justifies his reputation."
— Ulysses S. Grant, Memoirs, 1885
"Who looks at Lee must think of Washington;
In pain must think, and hide the thought,
So deep with grievous meaning it is fraught."
— Herman Melville, "Lee in the Capitol," 1866
"If it really be so, and if it were generally known, that Gen. Lee is, and always has been opposed to slavery, how soon would his great popularity vanish like the mist of the morning!"
— J. B. Jones, Clerk in the Confederate War Department, Diary, January 1865
"Either [Lee] knew what slavery meant when he helped maim and murder thousands in its defense, or he did not."
— W. E. B. Du Bois, 1928
"[Lee was] a leader of men in war and peace, a champion of principles, a humanitarian, a man who devoted his entire life to the benefit of others without regard to himself."
— Woodrow Wilson
"General Lee's character has been an example to succeeding generations, making the restoration of his citizenship an event in which every American can take pride."
— President Gerald R. Ford, 1975
"–And so [in Lee] we get the marble man again, . . .
Worshipped, uncomprehended and aloof,
A figure lost to flesh and blood and bones,
Frozen into a legend out of life,
A blank-verse statue–"
— Stephen Vincent Benét, John Brown's Body, 1928
"[Grant] eclipsed us all."
— General James Longstreet
"Sir, if you ever again presume to speak disrespectfully of General Grant in my presence, either you or I will sever his connection with this university."
— Robert E. Lee at Washington College, late 1865
"[Grant] saved us as a people, a government, a solidified nation. . . . [A]n admiring, loving and grateful people will say: 'First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.'"
— James P. Boyd, Grant, 1885
"Wasn't Grant supposed to be drunk a good part of the time during the Civil War? Certainly he was."
— Robert Jordan, in Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1940
"[Grant] is a hard worker, writes his own dispatches and orders, and does his own thinking. He is modest, quiet, never swears, and seldom drinks. . . . He listens quietly to the opinions of others and then judges promptly for himself, and is very prompt to avail himself in the field of all the errors of the enemy."
— General David Hunter, Chattanooga, 1863
"What a man [Grant] is! What a history! What an illustration—his life—of the capacities of that American individuality common to us all."
— Walt Whitman, The Silent General, 1892
"In the Pantheon of War [Grant] has remained uncanonized. . . . Yet what did he do? He won the Civil War for the North, and so re-established the Union. . . . He fought some of the greatest campaigns in history; was never defeated, and after the war was twice chosen by his countrymen as their President."
— General J. F. C. Fuller, Grant & Lee, 1933
"I knew [Grant] as a cadet at West Point, as a lieutenant of the Fourth Infantry, as a citizen of St Louis, and as a growing general all through the bloody Civil War. Yet to me he is a mystery, and I believe he is a mystery to himself."
— General William T. Sherman