A National Park Service ranger (Keith Alexander is his name) at the Wilderness battlefield, in an informal lecture to a group of tourists a few years ago at which I was present, said Robert E. Lee used the phrase. I’m not sure anymore whether it was at the Battle of the Wilderness or Chancellorsville that it was spoken, and there is a chance it may have been Gettysburg. Mr. Alexander wasn’t making any claim Lee was the originator or popularizer of the phrase, he just mentioned Lee said it.
The context was, loosely: some tight fix the Army of Northern Virginia was in, in one of the above-mentioned battles, in which Lee was having trouble keeping his troops from falling back. Suddenly a Texas contingent of reinforcements appeared and a delighted Lee said something like, “Texas men never fail to advance,” and at around the same time exclaimed, “God bless Texas.”
What is the story on “God bless Texas”? Did Lee originate it? Make it famous? None of the above? How did it come to be?