Few men in the country could so appreciate the motherly sacrifice, which was being made all over the land as did President Lincoln. His letter to a pious widow living in Boston deserves a place in history, along with his speech at Gettysburg and his second inaugural address:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 1864.
DEAR MADAM: 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 words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming; but I cannot refrain from tendering to 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 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,
Note to Mrs. BIXBY, Boston, Massachusetts found in original book:
To receive such a letter, written by him who, within a few months, was to realize the sacrifice about which he here writes, seems almost a compensation for the loss.
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