Too easy, seeing these photos in LoC " Union Infantry and wife ". The thing is, these photographs were generally taken, a trip purposefully made to a photographer's studio for a reason. Can you imagine? He was going to war. We hear a lot of post mortum photos. These were a kind of pre-mortum, really. What if he could not come home. LoC image, idealizing what lived in tormented women's minds as they read of off battlefields That they had to go, in time of national crisis was clear. If women had had the comfort of support groups, as they do today, would Sullivan Ballou's word's resound throughout households across the country? And as we watched husbands and fathers march with regiments out of town limits, down to ships or on to trains, would we agree? " I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt " Their little fingers are interlocked. She looks haunted. Sullivan, we know did not come home. These moments of goodbye are haunting. That they were long we also know. A man would have enlisted or been drafted. From there the process took time. For the purposes of this thread I decided not to get into those. It is the wrenching away, yes, repeated through history but this is this war, the topic. Sullivan's letter gets to us, I think because we imagine his words repeated through image after image Brady and others gave us through those awful years. The Confederate soldier lying in the Sunken Road- his wife's last wave before turning to go back into her house. Envelopes documented leave takings, making letters tougher It's hard looking at wives expressions, isn't it? In an era a little famous for expressionless photographs, these are an exception Frank Leslie's Illustrated paper caught how massive an undertaking each family was swept into. Gosh. In my head, all these nameless couples reunited. And maybe they did. What a uncertain, terrifying future, at each one's doorway. Smitten by this couple. I'm sorry to make such shameless use of the Ballou's marriage. So many of them went into the war it is difficult not imagining Sullivan's words hovering over all the great battles, into prison camps, isolated pickets, ships and tents and down the long years, finally buried or hopefully, home. " Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. "