May 29th  Executive Mansion.
My Dear Mrs. Sprigg:
Your very welcome letter was received two weeks since, and my sadness & ill health have alone prevented my replying to it. We have met with so overwhelming an affliction in the death of our beloved Willie a being too precious for earth, that I am so completely unnerved, that I can scarcely command myself to write.
What would I give to see you, & talk to you in our crushing bereavement, if any one's presence could afford comfort, it would be yours. You were always a good friend & dearly have I loved you. All that human skill could do was done for our sainted boy, I fully believe the severe illness, he passed through, now, almost two years since, was but a warning to us that one so pure, was not to remain long here and at the same time, he was lent us a little longer, to try us & wean us from a world, whose chains were fastening around us & when the blow came, it found us so unprepared to meet it. Our home is very beautiful, the grounds around us are enchanting, the world still smiles & pays homage, yet the charm is dispelled, everything appears a mockery, the idolized one is not with us, he has fulfilled his mission and we are left desolate. When I think over his short but happy childhood, how much comfort he always was to me, and how fearfully I always found my hopes concentrating on so good a boy as he was, when I can bring myself to realize that he has indeed passed away my question to myself is "can life be endured?"
[ . . . ]
[Time] time how many sad changes it brings. The 1st of July we go out to the "Soldier's Home," a very charming place 2½ miles from the city, several hundred feet above our present situation, to pass the summer. I dread that it will be a greater resort than here, if possible, when we are in sorrow, quiet is very necessary to us.