Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Abraham Lincoln (180965)
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.
President ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, November 21, 1864.The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler, vol. 8, pp. 11617 (1953).
The records were later corrected: only two sons died. For information concerning the text, the sons of Mrs. Bixby, and additional sources concerning this letter, see the editors note on p. 117.