Bixby coveys not only a sense of sympathy and compassion towards the anguished mother, but also a sense of gratitude and thankfulness for letting her sacrifice her sons for a greater cause. The deaths of a mother's sons prompt the president to write a personal and passionate letter to console and comfort her loss. The reader sympathizes with the mother and understands her lost, yet feels proud for the family who sacrificed five sons for freedom. .
Abraham Lincoln's detail heightens the sympathy and compassion presented to console Mrs. Bixby's loss. While reviewing the files of the War Department, Lincoln comes across a statement detailing Bixby as the "mother of five sons" that have "died gloriously on the field of battle", rousing and the president to write the consolation letter. Lincoln realizes that such a great loss must have crushed the household, especially since most American's had not seen War prior to the Civil War and were not used to the death of soldiers in battle. The reader realizes Lincoln's motivations and approves of his decision to personally address the distressed mother instead of sending an impersonal note. Realizing that his words must be weak and fruitless, Lincoln continues to console the mother, addressing the pride she must have over laying such a costly "sacrifice" upon the "altar of freedom", praying that God may alleviate her suffering. Lincoln euphemizes the death of her sons, metaphorically comparing it to the biblical sacrifice of Abraham and Ishmael, a sacrifice that was made for freedom to pursue onward. The reader understands the Lincoln's gesture to the grief stricken mother and prays that God may ease her pain. The sympathy and compassion Lincoln presents to console Mrs. Bixby is heightened by the detail selected.