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,
November 21, 1864
The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln
edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VIII, "Letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby" (November
21, 1864), pp. 116-117.