Saturday, October 29, 2005

Sullivan Ballou

I was in a discussion tonight about the lost voices I mentioned in my earlier posting.
Both of us in the discussion remembered the letter of Sullivan Ballou to his wife, featured in Ken Burns' Civil War series.

Ballou says much what was said by the soldier I quoted in the other post:
I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.

Could I see things this way? I am not sure but I certainly wish I could.

And our hearts break as we read (and watching the show hear it read):
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.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.
I'll wipe away some tears. I do not know what more to say.


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