Whisper Air

By · Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Whisper Air

This is a letter so deep and beautiful! I am a history buff, and years ago I met Ballou moving letter to his wife. I have read, reread and read again earlier this precious immortal soul left for us. The letter was never mailed. It was found among Sullivan Ballou's effects after he was killed in combat.

On July 14, 1861
Washington DC

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong, which will move within a few days – Maybe tomorrow. Lest I should be able to write again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I no longer exist.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure – and can be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will but thine 0 God, done. If you must fall on the battlefield for my country, I'm ready. I have no doubt about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am committed, and my value does not stop or hesitate. I know how American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe those who went before us through blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing – perfectly willing – all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down almost all their own, and replace them in this life, with penalties and concerns – when, after long years have eaten the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I offer as their only sustenance to my dear children – is weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my dear wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?

I can not describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before the death – and I suspect that is progressive death behind me with his fatal dart, I am in communion with God, my country, and thee.

I have tried more closely and diligently, and often in my breast for a wrong reason as risk the happiness of those she loved and could not find one. A pure love of my country and the principles have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I like more than I fear death "have called me, and I obeyed.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems that you bind me with mighty cables that only Omnipotence could break, and yet my love of country comes to me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of happy times I spent with you come creeping over me, and I am very pleased with God and I have enjoyed so long. And hard it is for me ashes and give them hopes for the coming years when God willing, that we could still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow into men honored that surrounds us. I have, I know, but few and small claims in Divine Providence but something whispers to me – Perhaps it is the prayer of my little Edgar floated – I will return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, they whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How good wins I wash with my tears every little spot on your happiness, and battle with all the ills of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I can not. I to look at from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with very little load, and wait with sad patience till we meet a part no more.

But Sarah! If the dead can return to this earth and flit unseen around their loved ones will always be near you in the gaudy days in the darkest night – amidst the happiest scenes and gloomiest hours – always, always, and if a gentle breeze on the cheek, to be my breath or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it goes through my mind.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead, I think I am gone and wait for you so that we meet again.

As for my children, will grow as I have, and do not know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sara, I have unlimited confidence in caring of his mother and developing their characters. I tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing on them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and take my children there.


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