Contact Us - Visit The Civil-War.Net

The Last Full Measure

Selected Works of Abraham Lincoln


 

Home

Gettysburg Address

First Inaugural Address

Second Inaugural Address

House Divided Speech

Lyceum Address

Emancipation Proclamation

Letter to Mrs. Bixby

Letter to General Hooker

 

Lincoln Photo - 1846/47

Lincoln Photo - 2/1860

Lincoln Photo - 1/1864

Lincoln Photo - 2/1864

Lincoln Photo - 4/1865

 

 

 

 

Abraham Lincoln 1809 - 1865

 

Mrs. Bixby Letter


Executive Mansion

Washington, D.C.

November 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 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,

Abraham Lincoln


Note: 

President Lincoln wrote this letter expressing condolences to Mrs. Bixby, a widow who it was believed had lost five sons in the Civil War.  After Lincoln wrote this letter it was later learned that only two of Mrs. Bixby's five sons had actually died in battle.  In fact, one of her sons had deserted the army, one was honorably discharged and it is unclear what happened to the other son.  Mrs. Bixby was believed to be a Confederate sympathizer and destroyed the original letter.

 

A reprint of the letter appeared in an eastern newspaper.  The authorship of this letter is much debated and many scholars believe it was actually written John Hay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries.

 

 

 

 

www.thelastfullmeasure.com

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

 All Rights Reserved