. . . Since coming here I have often thought of what you told me when I said to you I am certain I will come back to Washington. you said to me then that a gret many of the boys had said the same but none had returned. I am sorry it is so but after I had thought it over I concluded it would be better for me to go into some business that would be a periminent thing.
The text presented here is derived from Charley Shively, ed., Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers (San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989). For a detailed description of discrepancies between this electronic edition and the print source, see our statement of editorial policy.
The manuscript of this letter, dated December 9, 1863, is held in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
1. Elijah Douglass Fox was a Union soldier in the Third Infantry Wisconsin. At the time of his enlistment in May 1861, he resided in Buena Vista, Wisconsin. According to the "Notebook: September–October, 1863" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection), Fox was brought to Armory Square Hospital on September 26, 1863; it was here where he met Walt Whitman. He was discharged from the Union army on November 10, 1863, due to disability. (Back)