Robert Lee Bullard

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Bullard on 28 October 1918

Lieutenant General Robert Lee Bullard (January 5, 1861 – September 11, 1947) was a senior officer of the United States Army. He was involved in conflicts in the American Western Frontier, the Philippines, and World War I, where he commanded the 1st Infantry Division (nicknamed "The Big Red One") during the Battle of Cantigny while serving on the Western Front. He later was an administrator in Cuba.


  • None of our soldiers would understand not being asked to do whatever is necessary to reestablish a situation which is humiliating to us and unacceptable to our country's honor.—We are going to counter-attack.
    • Credited to Major-Gen. Robert Lee Bullard, also to Major-Gen. Omar Bundy, in reply to the French command to retire in the second battle of the Marne, 1918.
  • The American flag has been forced to retire. This is intolerable.
    • On leaving the Conference of French Generals, July 15, 1918. Expressing regret that he could not obey orders. He is called "The General of No Retreat." See N. Y. Herald, Nov. 3, 1919. (Editorial).
  • You are there, stay there.
    • Citation to American unit which captured Fay's Wood. See N. Y. Herald, Nov. 3, 1919. (Editorial).

New York Camp of Confederate Veterans speech (1921)

  • The birthday of General Lee is not, I take it, for us an occasion of mourning or of sadness, but rather of pride and glorifying. His career ended in defeat, but it was not failure. His life is not a subject of sadness, but of inspiration. Before it I feel myself utterly unable to do justice to this occasion. I can add nothing to what has been said, but may touch a few points that to me loom as the highest in General Lee and the cause for which he stood.
    First, as a man. Above all who took part in that great struggle, Lee best represented his cause. In the field and in battle his soldiers were content, loved simply to look at him in silent admiration and reverence. His own people and the whole world, even his late enemies, now do the same. I say late enemies, for he has no more. They look, I say, largely in silence, because no man has yet been found equal to the expression of this man's character. All who have tried it have come away feeling that they have fallen far short and that silence would almost have been better. The man has found no interpreter; all that has been interpreted he has interpreted in himself, his own figure. This, it seems to me, is his wonderful characteristic as a man in history.
    Again, as a soldier and a leader. To him alone of all the leaders that the war produced on both sides the word 'matchless' has applied. That is true, but he is matchless among more than the leaders of his time; he is matchless, unique among the military leaders of all time. Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick the Great, Von Moltke- all had their systems of warfare that have been expounded and followed by succeeding generations of soldiers. Lee had his system; military men see and study it in his campaigns, but he alone has practiced it, he alone has dared to practice it. He stands thus in the annals of great soldier leaders, as Colonel Swift says, 'without apostles and with imitators,' matchless, unique.
    Third, as an American. Of an old, distinguished, aristocratic family, he was yet a democrat, the outstanding characteristic of an American. The proof is that he went with his people, he was guided by his people, and to the very best of his ability he executed the will of the people. An aristocrat, and yet a democrat; a paradox, but a fact. At the battle of the Wilderness, as leader of a trained, and, for its size, perhaps the most effective army ever created, he tries to fight in person beside his soldiers. I have seen the spot, marked by a little stone which wisely repeats only the words of his soldiers: 'Lee to the rear.'
    In all his capacities- as man, as leader, as American- he is to be regarded as you soldiers regard him, in reverent and mainly silent admiration.
    • Robert Lee Bullard in a 1921 speech to the New York Camp of Confederate Veterans at their annual event honoring Robert E. Lee's birthday at the Hotel Astor in New York City, on 19 January 1921. As quoted by Greg Eanes, Heritage of Honor: Our Confederate Military Legacy (2015), p. 83-85
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