Title: Lewis K. Brown to Walt Whitman, 10 August 1863
Date: August 10, 1863
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Calamus Lovers: Walt Whitman's Working-Class Camerados, ed. Charley Shively (San Francisco, California: Gay Sunshine Press, 1987), 76-77. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature at the New York Public Library
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00142
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Tim Jackson, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter
My Dear Friend Walter,
Your very kind and long looked for letter of Aug 1st came to hand on the 6th & I1 was verry glad to hear from you but was verry sorry to hear that you wer so sick & I think that it would be much better for your health if you would give your self that furlou but I think that the boys about the Hospital could ill spare you, if you are as good to them as you wer to me. I shal never for get you for your kindness to me while I was a suffering so mutch, and if you do not get your reward in this world you will in Heaven.
Now I will put in a word for myself my leg still continues to mend verry slow but I hope sure, and I have ben enjoying my self as well as I could with my sore leg I have bin a way on a visit for a week & I have enjoyed my sel[f] verry much (for a wounded soldier is something hear I tell you) for the people wer so kind to me. Walter, we have a good many copperheads hear and some of them are verry rank I can tell you, and I have bin insulted by them twice since I came home, but I manage them verry well, I believe if I was in a battle & see a copperhead & a Reblle I would shoot the copperhead first, and to tell you the truth I am proud of my wound for I think that it is an honor to be wounded in this Cause. If I was able to enlist again, I would willingly do it. But we want first such men as you to stay at home and battle with treason in our midst, for I think that [a] good able Newspaper's correspondent dos a great deal to put down this rebelion & if we all leave home the rebbles will get to bold about home so I think that it is better as it is.
Well Walter how mutch I would like to see you out hear it is not near so warm out hear in the country and fruit is a getting ripe. Appels & Pairs & Peaches. & they are so nice to pull them of[f] of the trees them selves.
Walter I cannot write any thing that will interest you but I will try and fill up with something. The farmers are most all don Harvisting the crops are all light the wheat mostly was verry thin on the ground but well filled the Oats are verry light hardly worth a cutting (in fact there is a good many that wont cut them at all) the flax is allso short but there will be quite a lot of seed. Corn looks verry promising I dont remember of ever seeing it look better at this time of year. We have plenty of green corn to eat and it is very nice.
My Dear friend I hardly know what to put in this to interest you for I have wrot most everything that I can think of so I will give you a discription of My Fathers little place there is about 4 acres in it but the most of it is woodland we have a small stone hous about 18 by 24 ft. it has bin built about 6 years we are a going to build an end to it this fall about the same sise as it is too small, we have a nice little stable. We keep 1 horse and two cows and two hogs we have in a nice little field of corn & we had a nice little field of wheat & a pack of Irish Tralas, Water melons and cantilops, and every thing that is good & last though not least and a exelant spring of watter close to the door
Well I think I will have to fetch my letters to a close and you must not be angry for writing so much foolishness for you know that I am young and foolish all I have to add is my love to you good by and write soon from your ever faithful friend & companion,
1. Lewis Kirke Brown (1843–1926) was wounded in the left leg near Rappahannock Station on August 19, 1862, and lay where he fell for four days. Eventually he was transferred to Armory Square Hospital, where Whitman met him, probably in February 1863. In a diary in the Library of Congress, Whitman described Brown on February 19, 1863, as "a most affectionate fellow, very fond of having me come and sit by him." Because the wound did not heal, the leg was amputated on January 5, 1864. Whitman was present and described the operation in a diary (Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #103). Brown was mustered out in August 1864, and was employed in the Provost General's office in September; see Whitman's September 11, 1864. The following September he became a clerk in the Treasury Department, and was appointed Chief of the Paymaster's Division in 1880, a post which he held until his retirement in 1915. (This material draws upon a memorandum which was prepared by Brown's family and is now held in the Library of Congress.) [back]