This letter became very well known in 1998 after its use in the film Saving
Executive Mansion, Washington, November 21, 1864.
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 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
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
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