I have been shown in the flies 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 words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to 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 loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
Time went on. The war was drawing to its close. On the day of the receipt of the news of Lee's surrender the President held a meeting of the Cabinet. Neither Lincoln nor any member was able for a time to speak. Finally, at the suggestion of the President, all dropped on their knees and thanked God in silence and in tears for the victory that he had granted to the Union. It is doubtful whether there is any other recorded instance where the meeting of the Cabinet of a great country ended in prayer.
The victories of the Union arms re-elected Lincoln as President. In his Second Inaugural Address he reached heights not achieved before, when looking back over four years of war, hatred, and calumny he was yet able to say: