|Here is Abraham Lincolnís Letter To Mrs. Bixby
offered as further evidence that Lincoln was the one of the greatest
writers of the American language. Even amid "War
Department" and "Adjutant General of Massachusetts," the solemn rhythm
evokes a funeral dirge, which ends with the biblical image of laying one's
children down at an alter of sacrifice.
I believe that this is the letter read in the movie Saving Private Ryan.
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 that they died to save. I pray that the 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,