Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Bethuel Smith to Walt Whitman, 30 August 1864

Date: August 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), 184. 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.00604

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





Friend Walt

I1 received your letter today & was verry glad to hear from you wonse more I have bin wounded again but it has got well it hit me in the right thigh this time I have had A pretty hard time of it this summer A marching & fighting together

dear walt I am so glad to hear from you once more I would like to see you verry much I have drempt of you often & thought of you oftener still

I expect to leave here tomorrow morning for Carlisle barraks I was to gow this morning but did not & now I am to gow tomorrow morning I guess that they wont put it off anny longer my time is out in eleven days now I have bin home on A furlow I shant have to do anny more fighting I think

Write soon no more at present thew
Smith


Notes:

1. Christopher and Maria Smith were the parents of Bethuel Smith, Company F, Second U.S. Cavalry, who was wounded in 1863 and met Whitman shortly after. He wrote to Whitman on September 17, 1863, from the U.S. General Hospital at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, "I left the armory hospital in somewhat of A hurry." He expected, he explained on September 28, 1863, to rejoin his regiment shortly, and was stationed near Washington when he wrote on October 13, 1863. He wrote on December 16, 1863, from Culpeper, Virginia, that he was doing provost duty, and on February 28, 1864, he was in a camp near Mitchell Station, Virginia, where "the duty is verry hard." He was wounded again on June 11, 1864 (so his parents reported to Whitman on August 29, 1864), was transported to Washington, and went home on furlough on July 1. He returned on August 14 to Finley Hospital, where, on August 30, 1864, he wrote to Whitman: "I would like to see you verry much, I have drempt of you often & thought of you oftener still." He expected to leave the next day for Carlisle Barracks to be mustered out, and on October 22, 1864, he wrote to Whitman from Queensbury, N.Y. When his parents communicated with Walt Whitman on January 26, 1865, Bethuel was well enough to perform tasks on the farm. Smith was one of the soldiers to whom Whitman wrote ten years later; see Walt Whitman to Bethuel Smith, December 1874 (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 2:318–319). [back]


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