Title: Julia Stillwell to Walt Whitman, 13 October 1863
Date: October 13, 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), 190. 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.00147
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, Tim Jackson, Nick Krauter, and Nicole Gray
Mr. Whitman, Dear Friend
I1 received your kind and ever welcome letter from you and glad to hear that my brother is so comfortable and many thanks to you for your kindness to him and to me in writing to let me know how he is and I hope that the lord will reward you for your kindness to us who are entire strangers to you and I am sure that I will and all of us will ever be gratefull to you and never will forget you or your kindness to us in our days of trouble we had heard of our dear Brothers death2 and we was in hopes that James3 would not hear of it untill he got stronger
Will you please be so kind as to inquire in Washington if we can go to Culpepper and get his body. they would not let us go some two weeks but we have heard since that they had given so many days for any one to go after bodies but we dont know if it is true or not and if you will Please inquire, we shall be very much obliged to you.
Please write and let me know and oblige
1. Julia Elizabeth Stilwell was the sister of James S. Stilwell, Second New York Cavalry, who was wounded and transferred to Ward C of Armory Square Hospital, and of John Stilwell, who was evidently killed at Culpeper, Virginia, about the time that James was wounded. She lived in South Norwalk, Connecticut. [back]
2. John Stilwell, brother of James and Julia Stilwell, was evidently killed at Culpeper, Virginia, about the time that James was wounded. Whitman was mistaken about the body, however, since, according to Margaret Stilwell's letter of October 25, 1863, members of the family had been refused a pass to Culpeper. [back]
3. James S. Stilwell, Second New York Cavalry, was confined in Ward C of Armory Square with a gunshot wound in his left leg; see "Notebook: September–October, 1863" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection) and "Hospital Notes" (Henry E. Huntington Library). He recovered slowly from his injury. About the end of May in the following year he was sent to Mower Hospital, Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, where he remained until he was granted a furlough in August 1864. He later returned to Mower Hospital and wrote to Whitman on September 27, 1864, that his wound was "most healed up," and that he expected either to be discharged or to be transferred to New York. See also Stilwell's letters to Whitman from July 5, 1864, and September 2, 1864. He was the brother of Julia and John Stilwell. [back]