My Very Dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong
that we shall move in a few days--perhaps
tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall
under your eye when I shall be no more.
I have no misgivings about, or lack of
confidence in the cause in which
I am engaged, and my courage does not halt, or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization
now leans on the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went on before us
through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution, And I am willing-- perfectly willing-- to lay down my joys in this life,
to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.
Sarah my love for you is deathless, it
seems to bind me with mighty cables
that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a
strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all these chains to the battle field.
The memories of the blissful moments
I have spent with you come creeping
over me, and I feel most gratified to God and you that I have enjoyed them so long. And how hard it
is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived
and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us.
I have, I know, but few small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me--perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little
Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you,
and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many
faults, and the pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have
often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every
little spot upon your happiness...
But, O Sarah, if the dead can come
back to this earth and flit unseen
around those they loved, I shall always be near you: in the gladdest days and the darkest nights...always,
always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing
temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I
am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.
Major Sullivan Ballou's
letter to his wife Sarah seven days before being killed at the first battle of
Bull Run, the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Virginia, near the
Manassas, Virginia railway junction on July 21, 1861. The Federals lost about 3,000
casualties (killed, wounded, and captured or missing), and the
Confederates suffered about 2,000.
Background set by:
War Flags by:
is Civil War era song Aura Lee which
you may know by the title of Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley