Crossed Letters

Posted: August 13, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , , , ,

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright - Jan Wayne Fields

My Dearest Husband,
How I wish this letter could be carried on the wings of a dove
for it is that symbol of peace I wish to convey.
Our last words were fraught with anger
drowning in tears, weighted with terror.
Please know, beyond all doubt,
my heart, soul and body will always
and forever be yours.
Your loving wife, Louisa

Dear Mrs. Longsfield,
With sorrow I must inform you that
your husband was wounded in the battle at Gettysburg.
Although he received the best surgical care
he succumbed to pyaemia July 29 of 1863.
Your friend in common affliction,
A. Lincoln

(Pyemia was spelled pyaemia in a Civil War letter I found written by Abraham Lincoln. The definition follows – Septicemia caused by pyogenic microorganisms in the blood, often resulting in the formation of multiple abscesses.)


  1. It’s heartbreaking when that last letter of forgiveness and solace never reached him.. so sad…


    • Thanks for reading, Bjorn. I often wonder how often this sort of thing happens. And always regret the Dear John letter I sent to my boyfriend when he was in Vietnam – how frivolous and thoughtless we can be at 16.


  2. Dear Alicia,

    Two beautifully crafted letters to create a novel in one hundred words. Well done. Brava!




  3. Sandra says:

    Beautifully done. A tale within a tale.


  4. That’s quite sad, but not really uncommon back then, except perhaps getting a letter from the president. Very nice story.


    • While researching letters written to inform people about the death of loved ones during the Civil War, I found that Lincoln did occasionally write them. Wouldn’t it be fun to find one in the old chest in the attic? Thanks for reading. Alicia


  5. Elizabeth says:

    Letters can bring happiness but sadness as well, now the virtual world is doing the letters work.


  6. draliman says:

    That’s so sad but beautifully written. The poor wife knowing that her letter of reconciliation didn’t arrive in time.


  7. Lynda says:

    What a poignant tale, Alicia, and one of the better crafted stories this week. I loved it!


  8. Sarah says:

    Sad story, but wonderfully written.


  9. Wonderful story this week, Alicia! You and Rochelle both took such historically interesting directions. I wonder if the desk itself evokes a woman sitting writing versus a man? Both of your stories went that way, and I can’t help but wonder what it is about the photo that does that. Painful, and poignant.


    • Interesting thought, Dawn. I believe it was the picture of the man on the upper shelf, but it could have gone the opposite way by looking at the hunting scene (although I know women hunt, too) Thanks for commenting. Alicia


  10. rgayer55 says:

    Bravo! The emotion really came through. Great job, Alicia. I love historical fiction.
    I remember a story about a Dear John letter. The girl had asked for her photo back. The guy’s buddies rounded up a bunch of photos (about 12 girls) for him to send back with a note that read, “I’m having a hard time remembering you. Please remove your photo and return the rest.”


  11. Alicia, Sad but well written story. That woman probably would spend the rest of her life wearing her wedding ring and dressed in black. So many women did in those days. They just took all their clothes and dyed them black. People often had a hard time moving on. Good story and well done. 🙂 —Susan


  12. Sad tale. Poor husband, poor Louisa.
    Wars still happening.


  13. K.Z. says:

    how tragic. a beautifully written piece of historical fiction.


  14. Pratik Kirve says:

    Ohh.. No!! So tragic.. 😦


  15. This is the most complete story I have ever read in only 100 words! Wow! beautiful!


  16. Amy Reese says:

    Dear Alicia, oh so sad the husband could not receive this eloquent letter from his wife. They’re both beautifully written. Well done and great take!


  17. MythRider says:

    So sad they will never reconcile. Nicely done.


  18. I’m interested to read that this story came out of your research. I hope you will keep us apprised of future works.


  19. dianathrelfo says:

    Such a beautifully written and touching piece. I like to think of this couple reuniting in the spiritual realms.


  20. Anita says:

    Beautifully written, Alica.
    Abraham Lincoln is an idol & my role-model.
    Wish there was no war…


  21. Ouch! A sad story..words spoken in haste can leave much deeper wounds. More than anything else, she would regret the memory of the last moments spent with her beloved.


  22. subroto says:

    I really like how you have weaved in emotions and history and left us with a sense of watching a historical drama unfold before our eyes.


  23. Grace says:

    Oh! You know, of all of the bits I’ve read for this particular photo, yours somehow captures the vague mist of “sorrow” I feel when looking at it the best. Very well done in capturing so much, with so few words!


  24. Sarah Ann says:

    Why is it these letters are always the ones to cross? He knew she loved him, but that will be no solace to her now. Well written, and thanks too for the history.


  25. Lucy says:

    How sad for that woman. I can’t imagine last words being angry and then losing that person. One just has to hope the loved one understood his wife and knew her anger was a passing thing. I don’t mean to sound condescending about the “wife”. Sad story. Well told. Lucy


  26. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Alicia, Both letters are excellent! Great take on the prompt and I love the letter from A. Lincoln. You did good research on this! Nan 🙂


  27. Sun says:

    wonderfully written letters, your words chosen kindle all the emotions felt by both writers, especially Louisa. well researched historical story, Alicia.


  28. Sadly, this scene happened so many times, over and over — you’ve made it come alive again. So beautifully painted — so heartbreaking.


  29. kirizar says:

    I liked the idea of letters crossing in the mail. Did you research letters of that era to craft your words?

    Liked by 1 person

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