Posts Tagged ‘Sullivan Ballou’

Letters, Letter-writing and Other Intimate Discourse by Wendy Russ at Wendy.com includes links to Jane Austen’s letters, Brabourne edition, on the Republic of Pemberley, and Austen on Epistolary letters, also from The Republic of Pemberley. The reason I am pointing you to Wendy’s site is the number of links she provides to letter writing in general.

One of the most moving and memorable letters I have ever read, which she also includes, is by Sullivan Ballou. He is the Civil War soldier who wrote  the memorable letter to his wife before he died. If you have not read it, I recommend that you do, for his words echo what is in a soldier’s heart when he is poised for battle and thinks of his beloved. Here is a portion of that letter, which is so appropriate for Memorial Day:

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 garish day and in the darkest night — amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours – always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.”

I cry every time I read this letter, and when I think of a true hero (pardon me, Mr. Darcy), I think of Mr. Ballou. Here is a 3 minute YouTube link if you would like to listen to his beautiful words instead.

Image of Fanny Knight by Cassandra Austen.

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