I just found out, reading the comments(on a different copy of this clip), that no original copy of the letter had ever been found. There is a confirmed letter by Ballou, to his wife at same time period, and it’s much more mundane. And I thought that was one of the best moments of that Burn’s doc. Now I’m disappointed to learn that, as I was proud that he was from RI….
I see the earliest copy appears in 1868. The NPS, on its Manassas National Battlefield site, still maintains a full page devoted to Ballou’s “last letter”. I guess not disproven to be written by Sullivan Ballou, but seems unlikely.