I am using the letter as part of the article, but there is more to the story of that particular letter. A few weeks after receiving the letter from the White House, Mr. Ellsworth replied to Lincoln.
I think the text of that short letter is worth printing here, small grammar errors and all:
It would be useless for us to describe our feelings upon the receipt of the sad news of Elmers death. Although the blow was severe, how severe God only knows, yet through his goodness and mercy we are enabled to say 'thy will not ours be done' The sympathy of all true Christians, and lovers of that country in whose defense he perished has done much to assuage the intensity of our grief We sincerely believe that God has removed him from a life of strife to one of eternal peace.
He was indeed toward us all you represented him, kind loving and dutiful. Our present comfort and future happiness always seemed uppermost in his mind. But he is gone and the recollections of his goodness alone is left us. We trust he did not die in vain, but that his death will advance the cause in which he was engaged.
With these few words accept our most grateful thanks for your kindness to and interest you have shown in our beloved son May it never repent you.
We would always be pleased to hear from you.
Gracious, as always.