As darkness began to set in, Governor Sprague suggested they continue with the original aim of the expedition and search for the body of Captain Levi Tower, another 2nd Rhode Island officer mortally wounded at the battle. To probe for a solid object, Greeley suggested running a saber blade deeper into the ground. The letter next appeared in print in 1888 in An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballous in America by Adin Ballou, a distant relative—published in the same form as had appeared in the Brown University book. A horse soldier waded into the stream and recovered two shirts, one a silk and the other a striped calico, both buttoned at the collar and unbuttoned at the sleeves. . At that point, a 6-pounder solid shot, probably fired by a gun of the Lynchburg Artillery, tore off his right leg, killing his horse. In the side yard of the bullet-scarred Matthews house Clark located the mass grave in which Tower was buried.
Near its ruins the group examined a skeleton leaning against a tree, before they rode north and forded Bull Run and Catharpin Run. The place where he was initially buried by U. The gunners moved to the summit of Matthews Hill and began blasting away while Burnside went in search of more help. Thousands of people viewed his flag-draped coffin at the Armory of the First Light Infantry. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Yes, he loves his wife very much and he knows about the risks he faces.
It seems to bind me with mighty cables, that nothing but Omnipotence can break; and yet, my love of country comes over me like a strong wind, and bears me irresistibly on with all those chains, to the battlefield. Soldiers from the 21st Georgia Regiment had dug up the grave of Kernel Slocum and Major Sullivan Ballou. How gladly would I wash out with my tears, every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortunes of this world to shield you, and my children from harm. 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. To add to an already confused, strange situation, Sprague insisted that he recognized both shirts as having belonged to Major Ballou — not to Slocum. Sarah, do not mourn me dear; think I am gone, and wait for me, for we shall meet again.
How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness … But, O Sarah! Transcriptions were freely circulated, but no one was able to track down the original. Ballou immediately entered the military in 1861 after the war broke out. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. But I cannot, I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.
There are no known living descendants. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write a few lines, that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more. Sullivan Ballou was born on March 28, 1829, to a prominent Huguenot family in His father died when he was four years old, and his mother subsequently struggled to support Sullivan and his two sisters. Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. She died at age 80 in 1917. With the identity of the beheaded body now in question, the anxious group rushed back to the gravesite. Come to me, and lead thither my children.
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. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. 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. I must watch you from the Spirit-land and hover near you, while you buffit the storm, with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience, till we meet to part no more. They discovered the enemy had dug up the remains of Sullivan Ballou. O Sarah, I wait for you there! They have no known living descendants. I have sought most closely and diligently and often in my heart for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I love, and I could find none.
Led to the defiled body, the party examined the remains and a tattered remnant of uniform insignia and discovered that the Confederates had mistakenly uncovered the body of Major Sullivan Ballou, not his commanding officer. Ballou's letter was never mailed but was found among his belongings after his death. Known as a Radical Republican, he supported Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election. Come to me, and lead thither my children. Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
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. In an attempt to better direct his men, Ballou took a horse mounted position in front of his regiment, when a 6-pounder solid shot from Confederate artillery tore off his right leg and simultaneously killed his horse. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again … Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the First Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. He was a staunch Republican who campaigned forin 1860. He is determined to return home.
The letter was found in his trunk and delivered to his wife by Governor William Sprague, who had traveled to Virginia to retrieve the remains of the fallen Rhode Island soldiers. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again. No one can doubt but that it would have been her most cherished possession. Meanwhile back at the house, the exhumation of Levi Tower was underway. He married Sarah Hart Shumway on October 15, 1855, and the following year saw the birth of their first child, Edgar. They apply equally to hundreds of thousands of young men who left the women they loved, and who loved them, with a lifetime of sadness and the cherished hope of eventual reunion in a better world.