Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sullivan Ballou Letter

Love Letter

The following is a letter which was part of the documentary - 
"The Civil War a film by Ken Burns" which ran on PBS many years ago. 
For years a hard copy of this letter was stuck to the front of my refrigerator. 
In case you have not read it before I wanted to share here on this day before Valentine's.
Never was a love expressed more deeply or eloquently.

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 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 unresistibly on 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 to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And 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 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 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 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 . . .



Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the first Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. His widow who was only 24 never remarried.

Now, how about a few pretty pictures?

Yes....more pink....


sharing at


24 comments:

"Create Beauty" said...

A most beautiful letter.

And lovely inspiring photos,
so much beauty in words and images.

Happy HEART week,
Violet

Dawn said...

Nita, this letter is written by such a courageous man and so so heart wrenching. It really moved me...thank you for posting it. I have never read it before. The pink series that you have been posting is like sweet candy...so yummy...Dawn Suitcase Vignettes.

Nancy said...

I've read this letter several times before. We've even read it together as a family. It's one of the most beautiful love letters ever. Thanks for sharing it with your readers.
Nancy

An Urban Cottage said...

It also highlights what different times we live in. Today, Sarah would get a tweet: LUV U.

Oh, to have the backyard with those rose arbors!

Ashley said...

What a beautiful, beautiful letter. And, I am loving all of the pink :) Happy Valentine's my friend Xoxoxo

Victoria said...

That is such a beautiful letter! There's nothing more special than a handwritten note:) Of course, they had no choice back then but these days it's a rare thing. I love Ken Burns, I just bought my husband his 10 volume baseball PBS special. It is soooo good!

Olive Cooper said...

Letters are such a window to the past. I love to read collections of letters. Love that third pink image♥

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Wow. What a man to write a letter like that to his wife. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

The picture with the pink flowers and cobbled street is so pretty.

We needed some pretty pink pictures after the heart-wrenching letter!

Thanks for yet another lovely post.

xoxoxo,
Ricki Jill

Dawn said...

I bought the Ken Burns CD set, just for that letter - and listened to it often. Very nice choice, Nita!

Comeca Jones said...

Sweet photos they mad me sigh.

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Lovely love letter. I love the garden pics, incredible walled garden, I would love to walk down that path.

cyndi said...

wow. I don't think they make men like that anymore. I am crying now! Happy V Day!

Lacey from Weekends at Home said...

Those last two photos are gorgeous.
I want to go to there.

Ruby’s Upcycle Designs™ said...

I remember that PBS special and loved it. What a sweet and lovely letter coupled with the beautiful images...perfection! Happy Valentines! xoxo Beth

Brenda Kula said...

I cannot fathom such gorgeous and fine handwriting! Simply beautiful!
Brenda

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

The men of yesteryear really had a way with words. Beautiful history lesson.
I'd love to stroll down that brick paved path with my beloved on Valentine's Day!

The enchanted home said...

I have seen A LOT of pink and red pictures this week but these have got to be the prettiest yet! Oh my those flowers are just too pretty! Glad I found your blog its been fun poking around.....please visit me and my new blog, about the building of our new home and my love for decor/design..plus doing a great giveaway, a french chair!
www.theenchantedhome.blogspot.com

Happy Valentines day!

oldblackcatboo said...

Oh my...that letter just breaks my heart. So lovely but so sad. It's letters like that have always kept me from settling for anything less than true love. Sigh....
Thanks for the beautiful photos!
It makes me want SPRING to be here so badly! :)
XOXO - Cindi

Pamela said...

Soo beautiful and wonderful pictures!!

Traci said...

Nita, thanks for posting such a beautiful letter. It brought tears to my eyes.
Traci

Sally Lee by the Sea said...

What a beautiful letter filled with heartfelt sentiment. Your rose photos are stunning - love them all!
Happy PINK Saturday...hope you're having a lovely weekend :O)

Terri Morse said...

Thank you for sharing the letter. It was heart-rending and bittersweet. Your photos are beautiful-especially the one of the winding cobblestone street lined in wonderful pink blossoms! Have a wonderful weekend. Terri

pinkkandy said...

Happy Pink Saturday.....so fun to join in all the Pinkness...I pray for God to bless each one of you...giving you peace and strength...enjoy the day!
Kandy
that letter is so beautiful..oh to be loved that way

Snowbrush said...

I loved the letter--and the photos.

 
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