Ballou, Sullivan – Civil War


This Sullivan Ballou mug is part of our collection of Civil War biographical mugs.  An image of Sullivan Ballou and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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Sullivan Ballou was a lawyer and politician from Rhode Island.  He was a staunch Republican and supporter of Lincoln.  After the bombing of Fort Sumter in April of 1861, he volunteered for the Union Army and was commissioned a major in the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry.  His regiment took part in the First Battle of Bull Run, where he was hit in the leg by a cannonball.  His leg was amputated and he died a week later.  The letter he wrote to his wife two weeks before his death was featured prominently in the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War.  On the rear panel is an excerpted version of the letter he wrote on July 14, 1861, Ballou died on July 29th.

Sullivan’s Ballou, excerpts of letter to his wife  July 14, 1861

“Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you 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 irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.”

“Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you.  The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long.  And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together.”

“But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing  temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.”

This Sullivan Ballou mug is part of our Civil War series profiling participants in the War Between the States.  Thousands of Confederate and Union soldiers fought in battles such as Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.  We honor their sacrifices by telling their stories.

The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history.  The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton.  He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone.  The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.

  • Mugs are food and microwave safe.
  • To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
  • Mugs are usually shipped within 3-5 days.
  • Shipping charges are lower when buying multiple mugs.


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