The Love Letter from Sullivan Ballou
Letter from Sullivan Ballou
The following is an abridged letter written
by Sullivan Ballou to his wife, Sarah, shortly before his death. You can
read more of Mr.Ballou's letters here: http://www.sullivanballou.com/
July 14, 1861 Camp Clark, Washington
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 before us through
the blood and sufferings of the Revolution.
And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay
down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this government, and to pay that
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 urresistibly on
with all these chains to the battlefield.
The memories of the blissful moments I have
spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to
you that I have enjoyed them so long.
And it is hard 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 and 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 many pains I
have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly
I would 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 love, I shall always be near you, in the
gladdest days and in 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 ...