Title: Bethuel Smith to Walt Whitman, 22 October 1864
Date: October 22, 1864
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. 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.00882
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Eric Conrad, and Vanessa Steinroetter
Oct. 22 1864
Dear friend walt
I1 arrived home the 18 I had to [stop?] over my [illegible] on account of Sheridan fighting in the valley mother told me that you wanted me to stop & see you when I come home but it is to late now & I did not hear of it in time there is [illegible] considerable excitement here about the election.
my health is not verry good at present I have got diarrhea some I think that it is on account of the change of climate & of food that makes me so although I feel verry well
no more at present
good by From
to Friend Walt
Address Bethuel Smith. Glens Falls. Warren. C.O. N.Y.
1. Bethuel Smith, Company F, Second U.S. Cavalry, was wounded in 1863. He wrote to Whitman on September 17, 1863, from the U.S. General Hospital at Carlisle, Pennsylanvia, "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 (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." 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 Whitman's letter to Bethuel Smith, December 1874 (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence, 6 vols. [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 2:318–319). [back]