My very dear Sarah

I met my husband on the internet. One of the ways he impressed me was his ability to convey his thoughts and feelings in the e-mails that we exchanged before we began talking on the phone. His letters were funny, articulate, and heart-felt. I could tell from his writing that he had a sense of humor as well as being educated, ambitious, and interesting.

Our relationship continued through writing as he was recalled into the Army from 2002 to 2009. We exchanged e-mails every day.  I was taken to places across the world and able to see them though his eyes.

Recently, I had the pleasure of studying another great letter writer, Sullivan Ballou. His very famous letter written to his wife prior to going into battle brought tears to my eyes. I could feel his love for his family and for his country. I could understand his desire to fight for a cause in which he believed. I could see his fear, not of death, but of leaving his wife a widow and his children orphans. Through this letter, I came to know this man.  I encourage you to read  his letter to his wife, a copy can be found at National Park Service.

Sullivan Ballou

Today, the art of writing a letter seems no longer fashionable.  As a genealogist, this saddens me because many family experiences are found in letters as well as other vital information. The letters of ancestors often fill in blanks that other records would not.  I hate to see this resource lost to future genealogists.

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