Title: Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman, 30 April 1864
Date: April 30, 1864
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers, ed. Charley Shively (San Francisco, California: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989), 135. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00368
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Janel Cayer, Sarah Synovec, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter
As you requested me to write you after leaving the Hospital. I1 will do so for the first time. My wishes are that this may find you enjoying good health and plenty of kind friends to associate with.
I have not been over to Armory Square Hospital since leaveing it—. But have been expecting to call there and also to see you The orders here are very strict no one is allowed out side of Camp without a pass and the passes are scarse
I shall manage to see you before I leave for the front if possible We are to get our horses in a day or so, and then be off to joine our Regiments
The News are dull concerning the movements of the Army but for all that we expect to hear of a hard fought Battle before long. I think that we will be sent out as reenforcements so much the better
Now Uncle I hope you will not believe that I had or have forgoten you. I will write again when at the front & perhaps have something more worth writing about. I will close by expecting to have a better opportunity of writing some thing else when you hear from me again My health is good at present
believe me ever your friend
1. "Little Mitch," or Reuben Farwell, served with the Michigan Cavalry during the War and met Walt Whitman in Armory Square Hospital early in 1864, and upon his release from the hospital he corresponded with Whitman. After Farwell received his discharge on August 24, 1864, he returned to his home in Plymouth, Michigan. Evidently the correspondence was renewed when Whitman sent a post card on February 5, 1875. On March 5, 1875, Farwell, who owned a farm in Michigan, wrote: "Walt my dear old Friend how I would like to grasp your hand and give you a kiss as I did in the days of yore. what a satisfaction it would be to me." In Farwell's last letter, on August 16, 1875, he said that he was planning to leave shortly for California. Eleven letters from Farwell are in the Trent Collection. He is mentioned in Memoranda During the War (see The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, 10 vols. [New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1902], 4:134). When Bucke wrote to Farwell after Walt Whitman's death, apparently only this one note, written "on the back of a circular," was extant (Miller). For Farwell's other correspondence with Whitman see May 5, 1864, June 8, 1864, June 16, 1864, October 2, 1864, November 7, 1864, November 21, 1864. [back]