Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 7 July 1863

Date: July 7, 1863

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Thomas Jefferson Whitman, Dear Brother Walt: The Letters of Thomas Jefferson Whitman, ed. Dennis Berthold and Kenneth M. Price (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1984), 62. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00416

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Tim Jackson, Kathryn Kruger, and April Lambert




Brooklyn, N. Y.
July 7th 1863

Dear Walt

Enclosed please find $10 thus contributed


$5from Jas. P. Kirkwood1
$1"   John D Martin2
$1"   Chas Botsford3
 and $3 from self.

We are awfully pleased and excited at the war news. Feel as if the man4 had been appointed that was thinking less of political affairs than of licking the rebs. We are just getting news of the surrender of Vicksburgh. Hope to God that it is true. Bully for Meade!5 He has not only licked the rebs but the peace party headed by McClellan.6 Hope that he will not let them off but will poke it into them  How do you get along? I suppose you hardly have time to write me. I sent you a letter containing $15 last week7  did you get it?

Nothing new at home  I did not have any "time" on the 4th so I send you this money that I might have spent. do the little sums that we send you enable you to do any good.

Dear brother I am in a tremendious hurry, and you must excuse my letter. Mother sent you a letter a day or two since. Mattie and the babies8 are first-rate. Mother quite well. rest all right. Will write you again in a few days


affectionately Jeff


Notes:

1. James P. Kirkwood (1807–1877), a prominent civil engineer and cofounder of the American Society of Civil Engineers (1852), superintended the construction of the Brooklyn Water Works as chief engineer from 1856 to 1862. After his work in Brooklyn, he moved to St. Louis and designed the waterworks which Jeff would later build. Kirkwood eventually became a nationally known independent consultant and wrote the standard text on water filtration. [back]

2. John D. Martin was an engineer. [back]

3. Charles E. Botsford sent Walt Whitman one dollar on July 7, 1863. [back]

4. This is probably Grant. As Jeff explains, he was thinking specifically of the fall of Vicksburg, but he was also encouraged by news concerning the Gettysburg campaign. [back]

5. Major General George Gordon Meade (1815–1872) succeeded Joseph Hooker as commander of the Army of the Potomac in June 1863, and led the army to victory at Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863). [back]

6. General George Brinton McClellan (1826–1885) was General-in-Chief of the Army of the United States from November 1861, until July 1862, when he was replaced by General Henry W. Halleck. In 1864, when McClellan ran for the presidency, the Democratic party split between war Democrats and peace Democrats. To satisfy the war Democrats McClellan was nominated; to satisfy the peace Democrats C. L. Vallandigham and his followers were allowed to draft the platform. Jeff evidently considered the entire Democratic party as "the peace party." [back]

7. This letter is not extant. [back]

8. Jessie Louisa, hereafter the "Sis" of Jeff's letters, was born June 17, 1863. [back]


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