Portland av near Myrtle | Brooklyn
Oct 8 '64
Your letters from Washington have all reached me, with the others enclosed. The last from you was dated Sept 27. You did not mention William in it—I should always like to hear about him & from him. Is Nelly in Boston? If so say I sent my best love, not forgetting little Jennie. The last letter I received from Nelly was from Little Compton Aug 18—I have written subsequently & directed there, which I suppose she received—I have not heard from her since—
I am pretty well, perhaps not so unconsciously hearty as before my sickness—We are deprest in spirits home here about my brother George, (2d div 9th Corps)—if not killed, he is a prisoner—he was in the engagement of Sept 30 on the extreme left.31
My book is not yet being printed. I still wish to stereotype it myself. I could easily still put it in the hands of a proper publisher then, & make better terms with him.
If you write to William I wish you to enclose him this letter—I wish him to receive again my faithful friendship—while breath & sense remain I cannot forget what he has been to me—I love him dearly—
The weather here is fine of late—to-day a little blowy—The political meetings in New York & Brooklyn are immense—I go to them as to shows, fireworks, cannon, clusters of gaslights, countless torches, banners & mottos, 15, 20, 50,000 people—Per contra I occasionally go riding off in the country, in quiet lanes, or a sail on the water, & many times to the sea shore at Coney Island—
All the signs are that Grant is going to strike forthwith, perhaps risk all—One feels solemn who sees what depends. The military success, though first-class of war, is the least that depends—
Good bye, dearest comrade, write me whenever you can—if I make any move I shall let you know—
The text presented here is derived from Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., Walt Whitman: The Correspondence, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–77). For a detailed description of discrepancies between this electronic edition and the print source, see our statement of editorial policy.
A manuscript of this letter, dated October 8, 1864, is held in Yale University
1. Address: "Charles W Eldridge | care J F Eldridge & Co | 31 School street | Boston | Massachusetts." Postmark: "New York | Oct | 8." (Back)
2. The family had not received George's letter of October 2, 1863, from Petersburg, Virginia: "Here I am perfectly well and unhurt, but a prisoner. I was captured day before yesterday . . . I am in tip top health and Spirits, and am as tough as a mule and shall get along first rate. Mother, please dont worry and all will be right in time if you will not worry." According to his letter of October 23, 1864, he was taken prisoner near the Weldon Railroad. William E. Babcock, a lieutenant in the Fifty-first Regiment, informed Whitman on October 18, 1864, that George's effects were to be sent to his mother. On December 12, 1864, Babcock promised to send George's "large Trunk," and, in a memorandum dated December 26, Whitman noted receipt of the trunk (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman [New York: Macmillan, 1955; rev. ed., New York University Press, 1967], 318). (Back)