I never knew my Mother's oldest brother, he died at 21 in the battle of Saipan in WWII. While working on a family scrapbook and searching for different prose and poems that I might incorporate into the pages that would provide the tone I was looking for, I found this incredible letter in one of my favorite books of poetry, "101 Famous Poems". It hangs in the library at Oxford as an example of the purest English grammar ever composed. It is truly that. As compassionately as it expresses President Lincoln's thoughts, I doubt it was really much comfort to Mrs. Bixby.

 

Executive Mansion
Washington, DC
November 21, 1864

 

To Mrs. Bixby, Boston Massachusetts

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 in 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 alter of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,

Abraham Lincoln