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Sculpted by Gary Casteel


1863 Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Monument Replicas


The General’s countenance showed that he had despaired and was ready to die rather than see the defeat of his army.

Isaac G. Bradwell
3rd Georgia Infantry


On the morning of May 12, 1864, during the Battle of the Wilderness, soldiers dissuaded General Robert E. Lee from leading the charge across Widow Tapp's Field.  General Lee was spurring on his horse, Traveller, when members of the Texas brigade around him noticed the general’s intention.  Alarmed for his safety, the soldiers began to shout along the line, "Lee to the rear!" and some of the men pleaded with him directly, saying, "Go back, General Lee, go back."  A sergeant took hold of the horse's reins, and after conferring with another officer, Lee thought better of his spontaneous urge to attack with the men.  Lee turned back and rode off through cheering Confederate troops.  "I thought him at that moment the grandest specimen of manhood I ever beheld," one soldier who witnessed the event later recounted, "He looked as though he ought to have been, and was, the monarch of the world."


As Pvt. William W. Smith of the 49th Virginia Infantry recounted the incident:

It was an hour of destiny. The thin line stood confronting the massing enemy in our trenches only some two thousand yards away; obscured they were, it is true, by the underbrush and in some cases by the contour of the land, but ready to push forward to capture of the parked reserve artillery ammunition just behind us. General Lee's headquarters were but a short distance away. . . . A moment later I noticed a quiet officer ride in front of our line. He was a large man on an iron gray horse, and had come up without retinue, even, I think, without a single staff officer or orderly. It was when he turned face towards us and with a silent gesture of extended arm pointed towards the enemy we recognized our idolized Lee….

Just then from the right General J. B. Gordon came dashing down the line. At the sight of Lee he reined up his handsome bay so sharply as to throw him on his haunches. It was a picture never to be forgotten. "General Lee, this is no place for you. Go back, General; we will drive them back. These men are Virginians and they never failed me; they will not fail me; will you boys?" Then rose the oft-quoted shout: "General Lee to the rear! Lee to the rear!" " Go back, General, we can't charge until you go back." "We will drive them back, General." Some one got hold of his bridle and back through the line of the 49th Regiment Lee was led. The whole scene was not fifty paces from where I stood, and stand out like a glorious picture to-day.

According to Lt. Col. Richard J. Harding, 1st Texas Infantry:


At the unveiling of the Lee monument in Richmond, Va., I met a son of General Lee, and we talked about the incident. His father had spoken to him about it. General Lee said it brought tears to his eyes when he saw men willing to face death if he would go to a place of safety.


This monument was dedicated in 1903 and is located on Orange Plank Road (Virginia Route 621), on the right when traveling west.

Lee to the Rear! Monument (The Wilderness)

SKU: 1127
  • Size:  2” x 2” x 3 ½”

    Weight:  .4lbs

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