Condolence, Then and Now

Submitted without comment are the following two expressions of comfort and consolation, to survivors upon the deaths of loved ones.  Both are to parents newly bereft of children in wartime; both were delivered by high American government officials in the executive branch; and both are exemplary of the best of their respective authors' inner lights. The first: "Executive Mansion, Washington, Nov. 21, 1864. Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the...(Read Full Post)