Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman, 10 May 1864

Date: May 10, 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), 136. 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.00370

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Luke Hollis, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter





Dear Comrad

Yours received last night. and need I1 tell you that I am unwilling to answer yours. When there is so much stir & confusion

No I will tell you that we are about to leave this Camp for better or worse

To the front I suppose is the place of our destination

Last Night we went to the wharf to get each a horse But I had to returne to camp with out one because there were not enough to supply us all

This Morning we the Veterans or old Soldiers have to take horses & the New recruits remain in Camp

We will be sent a way from here before to Morrow Night I think, which would suit me very well for I am sick of staying around this cursed place  I will try & see you before I cross the long Bridge but if I can not get a chance, I hope you will write whenever convient

Give my best respects to the Boys on Ward. A.
Believe me ever Your Friend
Reuben Farwell

I will try & write you when to the front In hast


Notes:

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 April 30, 1864, May 5, 1864, June 8, 1864, June 16, 1864, October 2, 1864, November 7, 1864, November 21, 1864[back]


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