In the autumn of 1864, Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew wrote to President Lincoln, asking him to express condolences to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, a widow believed to have lost five sons during the Civil War. Lincoln’s letter to her was printed by the Boston Evening Transcript.
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,
To Do Today: Take a moment to read this article in The New York Times.
Letters From the Children of Fallen Service Members to the Parents They Lost