Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Annotation

[1]   Boston Transcript, November 25, 1864. The purported facsimiles of this letter have long been adjudged to be forgeries, but there is no reason to question the authenticity of the text of the letter which appeared in the Transcript and other contemporary sources. Controversy over the claim that John Hay composed this letter has somewhat abated, with the claim remaining unproved. Lincoln was in error as to Mrs. Bixby's five sons because her case had been inaccurately presented to him by the Adjutant General's Office. Later investigations have revealed that only two sons were killed: Sergeant Charles N. Bixby, Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry, killed May 3, 1863, and Private Oliver C. Bixby, Fifty-eighth Massachusetts Infantry, killed July 30, 1864. Private George W. (A.?) Way (Bixby), Fifty-sixth Massachusetts Infantry, who had enlisted under an assumed name, was captured July 30, 1864. Imprisoned first at Richmond and later at Salisbury, North Carolina, George Way was reported (1) to have deserted to the enemy and (2) to have died in prison at Salisbury. Neither of these reports has been established beyond doubt. Corporal Henry C. Bixby, Thirty-second Massachusetts Infantry, was honorably discharged at Boston on December 17, 1864. Private Edward (Arthur Edward) Bixby, First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, deserted May 28 or 29, 1862. The most complete single source of information among the several books and pamphlets, as well as the numerous articles on the subject, is F. Lauriston Bullard, Abraham Lincoln and the Widow Bixby (1946).