Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
I was reminded of this letter recently when I read the post by Tracey from her blog in England when she researched the story behind seeing the same surnames on a World War I Memorial and finding that so many had died from the same family. (Tracey's blog name is Breathing English Air. You may read her post here.)
The speech that Abraham Lincoln gave at Gettysburg is very famous and rightfully so. I so much love someone who speaks in a very clear, direct manner and gets his or her point across in the fewest possible words. This speech was so brief that the photographers of the time were still setting up by the time Lincoln finished speaking.
In March of 1865, Lincoln gave his second inaugural speech. In just over a month, he would be gone.