Ironically, Sullivan Ballou’s letter was never mailed. Although Sarah would receive other, decidedly more upbeat letters, dated after the now-famous letter from the battlefield, the letter in question would be found among Sullivan Ballou’s effects when Gov. William Sprague of Rhode Island traveled to Virginia to retrieve the remains of his state’s sons who had fallen in battle.
Interestingly, however, the letter was never mailed, but was instead supposedly discovered in Ballou's trunk. Also perplexing is that of the five copies of the missive known to exist, none is in handwriting that matches Ballou's penmanship. Both factors call into question the document's authenticity.
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