Title: Caleb H. Babbitt to Walt Whitman, 18 September 1863
Date: September 18, 1863
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), 104-105. 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.00146
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Tim Jackson, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter
I am going to try and write you a few lines this morning, but you must overlook my poor composition also my writing, for I am very weak and my mind is not as it was before I was sun stroke. Walt, this is the first letter I have writen since I came home, but it is by no means the first one I would like to have writen you. Walt (you must excuse one for so adressing you) your letters have been of more value to me than you can imagine, it was not only the words that was writen that don me the good but to know that they come from the bottom of the heart of a true and sympathizing friend.—It does not seem as though I could ever repay you for your kindness toward me both while I was in the Hospital, and since I came home. I often think to myself, what can I do to repay you for your kindness I can think of nothing at present, but sometime I may have an opportunity. your letters are not only a blessing to me but a comfort to my friend to know that I have the sympathy, and good will, of a true friend, like yourself. My Sister and also my friends are very anxious to see and to read your Leaves of Grass and I hope they soon may soon have an oportunity of so doing. I do not wish you to think that I want to beg one of you, but that I wish to buy one of them.
Walt, In your letters you wish me to imagine you talking with me when I read them, well I do, and it does very well to think about, but it is nothing compared with the original.
I presume you would like to know how I have been since I came home and how I am at the present time. I have been pretty sick. My furlough of forty days is out to day (for to day is Sunday so you will see that it has taken me some time to write this simple epistle). and in days of which time I knew nothing and no friends and also the Doctor gave me up! Dear Walt, it has been Gods blessed will for me to regain my health in a small degree and to day I am able to be proped up in bed and able to write to my true friend and comrade. I am just about the same as I was when you saw me at Armory Hospital. I have to be sure begun with kind friend who have been friends sure but then Walt I would have amused them all for a few days if you could have been with me. how often think I of the many fine chats we have had all alone by ourselves in a loving and peaceful manner and those days will never be forgoten by me, and I am certain they will not by you, In your last you spoke about my furlough, in regard to that my Doctor has got through the proses you spoke of, and I am as anxious to be honorable in regard to that matter, as you are to have me and I hope there may be no trouble. My Sister Mary says when I go back to war she shall write to you.
This is what I call a short and simple letter but it is writen by me. I will bid you good by hoping to hear from you soon. I am yours with love and respect