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How to Write Letters (Formerly The Book of Letters

Yours very sincerely and respectfully

Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.

This is the letter[5] that Robert E. Lee, when he was president of Washington College, wrote to the father of a student who was drowned:

Washington College, Lexington, Virginia, March 19, 1868.

My dear Sir:

Before this you have learned of the affecting death of your son. I can say nothing to mitigate your grief or to relieve your sorrow: but if the sincere sympathy of his comrades and friends and of the entire community can bring you any consolation, I can assure you that you possess it in its fullest extent. When one, in the pureness and freshness of youth, before having been contaminated by sin or afflicted by misery, is called to the presence of his Merciful Creator, it must be solely for his good. As difficult as this may be for you now to recognize, I hope you will keep it constantly in your memory and take it to your comfort; pray that He who in His wise Providence has permitted this crushing sorrow may sanctify it to the happiness of all. Your son and his friend, Mr. Birely, often passed their leisure hours in rowing on the

river, and, on last Saturday afternoon, the 4th inst., attempted what they had more than once been cautioned against--to approach the foot of the dam, at the public bridge. Unfortunately, their boat was caught by the return-current, struck by the falling water, and was immediately upset. Their perilous position was at once seen from the shore, and aid was hurried to their relief, but before it could reach them both had perished. Efforts to restore your son's life, though long continued, were unavailing. Mr. Birely's body was not found until next morning. Their remains were, yesterday, Sunday, conveyed to the Episcopal church in this city, where the sacred ceremonies for the dead were performed by the Reverend Dr. Pendleton, who nineteen years ago, at the far-off home of their infancy, placed upon them their baptismal vows. After the service a long procession of the professors and students of the college, the officers and cadets of the Virginia Military Academy, and the citizens of Lexington accompanied their bodies to the packetboat for Lynchburg, where they were placed in charge of Messrs. Wheeler & Baker to convey them to Frederick City.

With great regard and sincere sympathy, I am,

Most respectfully, R. E. Lee.

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