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DALLAS (AP)

Copy of famed Lincoln letter turns up in Dallas

The Bixby letter (photocopy). The Bixby letter (photocopy).

A Dallas museum hopes a document found in its archives turns out to be an authentic government copy of a famous letter from Abraham Lincoln.

The Bixby Letter was an eloquent letter in which the president consoled a mother thought to have lost five sons in the Civil War.

The Dallas Historical Society is having the document appraised and prays for a potential windfall.

The famed Bixby Letter has a fascinating history.

The original has never been found, and historians debate whether Lincoln actually wrote it. Its recipient, Lydia Bixby, was no fan of the president, and not all her sons died in the war.

Society curator Alan Olson hopes he has an official government copy of the Bixby Letter and not something one relative sent to another. He says that in an era before photocopiers or carbon paper, secretaries hand-copied documents to be retained for their files.

The full text of President Abraham Lincoln's letter is below.

Executive Mansion, Washington, Nov 21, 1864.

To Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Mass.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of 5 (5) sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering 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,

A Lincoln.

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