"July the fourteenth, Eighteen Sixty-one, Washington, D.C.
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days, perhaps tomorrow, & 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 am no more.
"I have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, & my courage does not halt or falter. I know how American civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, & how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood & suffering of the Revolution, & I am willing, perfectly willing, to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this Government & to pay that debt.
"Sarah, my love for you is deathless. 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 & bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield. The memory of all the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me & feel most deeply grateful to God, & you, that I have enjoyed them for so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up & burn to ashes the hopes, future years when God willing we might have lived & loved together & see our boys grown up to honorably manhood around us!
"If I do not return, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I loved you, nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults & the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, you foolish I have sometimes been! But, O Sarah, if the dead can come back to this earth & flit unseen around those they love, I shall always be with you in the brightest day & the darkest night, always, always. And when the soft breeze fans your cheek it shall be my breath, or the cool air on your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. O Sarah, do not mourn me dead! Think I am gone & wait for me, for we shall meet again."