Title: Walt Whitman to a Soldier, April (?) 1865
Date: April (?), 1865
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:258. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Location of original letter manuscript is unknown.
Whitman Archive ID: med.00309
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson
My Dear Comrade:1
. . . I believe I have told you all that occurs to me, only I must let you know that your notion I may have forgotten you is not regular by a long shot. I do not forget any one so easily, where the friendship has been formed as it was under such circumstances as yours & mine in the hospital. You must write to me whenever you feel like it—tell me all about things & people down there in Kentucky—God bless you, my loving soldier boy, & for the present, Farewell.
1. Excerpts from five of Whitman's letters to an unidentified ex-soldier were printed by Florence Hardiman Miller in the Overland Monthly. According to Edward Havilland Miller, most of the letters have not been dated because of the fragmentary nature of her quotations, and the identity of the recipient is also unknown. Evidently he came from Kentucky and later moved to California. Florence Miller's transcripts are not reliable, as evidenced by a comparison of the facsimile (63) with the transcription (61). Miss Miller, who generally is more exuberant than factual, seems to imply that the correspondence continued into the early 1870s. Until the originals are found, this attempt at reconstruction will have to suffice; see Whitman's letters to soldiers from 1865(?) , early 1866(?) , May 16, 1866 , and November (?) 1866 . [back]