President Lincoln supposedly despatched his sincerest condolences to a grieving mom within the historic Bixby Letter on this present day in historical past, Nov. 21, 1864.
In the autumn 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 through the Civil War, based on Abraham Lincoln Online.
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Lincoln accepted the request.
As the story goes, he penned a letter to the grieving mom.
I’ve been proven within the information of the War Department an announcement of the Adjutant General 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 have to be any phrase of mine which ought to try and beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I can’t chorus from tendering to you the comfort that could be discovered within the thanks of the Republic they died to save lots of.
I pray that our Heavenly Father might assuage the anguish of your bereavement and depart you solely the cherished reminiscence of the beloved and misplaced, and the solemn satisfaction that have to be yours to have laid so expensive a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
The letter was printed and distributed by the Boston Evening Transcript.
It was quickly cherished as “one of the best letters written in the history of the English language,” based on a Time report.
Among the praises it obtained: American poet and biographer Carl Sandburg referred to as it “a piece of the American Bible” that “more darkly than the Gettysburg speech … wove its awful implication that human freedom so often was paid for with agony.”
But the letter isn’t with out controversy.
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The authentic 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, based on the New England Historical Society.
“I was advised by my father that my great-grandmother was an ardent southern sympathizer,” Bixby’s great-grandson mentioned, based on the society.
“And when she received the letter, she destroyed it in anger … shortly after receipt without realizing its value.”
It was later revealed that Bixby misplaced not 5 however two of her sons, Charles and Oliver, in battle, based on the New England Historical Society.
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Of the three others, the third son, Edward, reportedly abandoned the Army; the fourth son, George, both abandoned the Army or died as a prisoner of struggle; and the fifth son, Henry, was honorably discharged.
Whether Lincoln himself wrote the letter or not has additionally been debated.
Many students consider that one in all Lincoln’s White House secretaries, John Hay, was the one who put pen to paper.
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The letter’s reputation, nonetheless, was revived by the 1998 Steven Spielberg movie “Saving Private 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 pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom” — is etched into stone on the base of the National 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 Ground Zero.
In 2017, a workforce of forensic linguistics researchers used a tracing technique that exposed 90% of the letter was recognized as Hay’s writing, based on Time.
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