Monday, November 21, 2005

Today In History...

If you've seen Steven Spielberg's film, Saving Private Ryan, you probably remember the scene early on where letters of condolence are being typed to families of the fallen soldiers. General Marshall (played by Harve Presnell, pictured here--->) reads a letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote to a mother of five sons, all of whom were killed in the Civil War.

Well, in the movie, that emotional reading compels the powers that be to dispatch an entire platoon of troops to save Private Ryan, the one remaining son whose three brothers have all been killed in the U.S. war effort.

That letter by Abraham Lincoln, now known as The Bixby Letter, was written on today's date, November 21, in 1864. But there's more to that story than what I knew previously.

First, as it turns out all five of Lydia Bixby's sons were not killed in the Civil War. Though still tragic, only two of her sons were killed in combat. Of the other three, two deserted the Union Army, and the other was captured by Confederate forces and was later honorably discharged from the Army.

Furthermore, it appears that the letter may not have even been written by Abraham Lincoln at all. Though admittedly, there is no absolute proof either way, some speculate for various reasons that the letter was a forgery.

Anyway, it was news to me, so I thought it might be news to you, too.

Everybody have a safe and happy Thanksgiving (and Black Friday, too!)

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