Leaving your family and loved ones home while you go fight for your country must be harder than I can ever imagine but somehow the soldiers of the United States have been doing it for centuries and made it look easy. But of course the letters that they write home to their families are heartbreaking and emotional, and knowing you may never see them again is a horrible feeling. On July 14th, 1861, Major Sullivan Ballou wrote a beautiful letter to his wife Sarah, and then died in battle a week later at Bull Run. “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 you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more. ” When I read this part of the letter, I felt sympathy knowing they never saw each other again after he wrote this, but he probably knew that he didn’t have a good chance of surviving and that’s why he wrote her one last letter, but he mentions other interesting things in his letter also, “I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering 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. ” When Sullivan Ballou writes this to his wife, I think he is just trying to remind her that what he is doing is for a good cause and she shouldn’t be upset because he wants to be fighting for his country and he feels he is giving back to America for what they have done for us in the past.
It’s clear most soldiers feel they need to be out on the battle field because that’s where they feel most at home but there is no doubt that it was very hard decision to choose the battle field over their families, as Major Sullivan feels, “Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you 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 on with all these chains to the battlefield. I don’t know how his wife read these letters without going insane, knowing that my husband left me to go fight the other half of his country, then died after he wrote his last letter to her saying that he loves her but fighting for his country is more important. Though, 100 years ago, this was how most of the men were, they took pride in their country and knew that fighting for it was their number one task, no matter how much you love your family.
Veith, Gene "A Civil War Soldier’s Letter to His Wife. Cranach The Blog of Veith. 25 July 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <http://www. geneveith. com/2011/07/25/a-civil-war-soldier%E2%80%99s-letter-to-his-wife/>. Ruane, Michael E. "Civil War Soldier’s Heartbreaking Farewell Letter Was Written before Death at Bull Run. " Washington Post. The Washington Post, 21 July 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <http://www. washingtonpost. com/lifestyle/style/civil-war-soldiers-heartbreaking-farewell-letter-was-written-before-death-at-bull-run/2011/07/11/gIQAFe3MQI_story. html>.