President Lincoln supposedly despatched his sincerest condolences to a grieving mom within the historic Bixby Letter on today in historical past, Nov. 21, 1864.
Within the fall of 1864, Gov. John A. Andrew of Massachusetts despatched a request to then-President Lincoln asking him to ship his regards to Mrs. Lydia Bixby.
Bixby of Boston was believed to have misplaced her 5 sons in the course of the Civil Warfare, in line with Abraham Lincoln On-line.
Lincoln accepted the request.
Because the story goes, he penned a letter to the grieving mom.
I’ve been proven within the recordsdata of the Warfare Division a press release of the Adjutant Normal of Massachusetts that you’re the mom of 5 sons who’ve died gloriously on the sphere of battle.
I really feel how weak and fruitless should be any phrase of mine which ought to try to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. However I can’t chorus from tendering to you the comfort that could be discovered within the thanks of the Republic they died to avoid wasting.
I pray that our Heavenly Father might assuage the anguish of your bereavement and go away you solely the cherished reminiscence of the beloved and misplaced, and the solemn satisfaction that should be yours to have laid so pricey a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
The letter was printed and distributed by the Boston Night Transcript.
It was quickly cherished as “among the best letters written within the historical past of the English language,” in line with a Time report.
Among the many praises it obtained: American poet and biographer Carl Sandburg known as it “a bit of the American Bible” that “extra darkly than the Gettysburg speech … wove its terrible implication that human freedom so typically was paid for with agony.”
However the letter shouldn’t be with out controversy.
The unique copy was allegedly destroyed by both the newspaper’s editor or by Mrs. Bixby herself, who — as a sympathizer of the Confederacy — might have disliked Lincoln.
Bixby’s great-grandchildren recalled this as Bixby’s political stance, in line with the New England Historic Society.
“I used to be suggested by my father that my great-grandmother was an ardent southern sympathizer,” Bixby’s great-grandson stated, in line with the society.
“And when she obtained the letter, she destroyed it in anger … shortly after receipt with out realizing its worth.”
It was later revealed that Bixby misplaced not 5 however two of her sons, Charles and Oliver, in battle, in line with the New England Historic Society.
Of the three others, the third son, Edward, reportedly abandoned the Military; the fourth son, George, both abandoned the Military or died as a prisoner of conflict; and the fifth son, Henry, was honorably discharged.
Whether or not Lincoln himself wrote the letter or not has additionally been debated.
Many students consider that one in every of Lincoln’s White Home secretaries, John Hay, was the one who put pen to paper.
The letter’s reputation, nevertheless, was revived by the 1998 Steven Spielberg movie “Saving Non-public Ryan,” which the letter reportedly impressed.
Actor Harve Presnell, who performed Gen. Marshall within the movie, recites the letter in an emotional cinematic second.
The letter has continued for use to honor those that have sacrificed their lives for America.
A passage from the letter — “the solemn satisfaction that should be yours to have laid so pricey a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom” — is etched into stone on the base of the Nationwide Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.
On the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist assaults, former President George W. Bush learn the Bixby Letter throughout a memorial service at Floor Zero.
In 2017, a crew of forensic linguistics researchers used a tracing methodology that exposed 90% of the letter was recognized as Hay’s writing, in line with Time.