Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Isaac Livensparger to Walt Whitman, 7 May 1864

Date: May 7, 1864

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), 155. 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.00161

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Sarah Synovec, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter





Dear Father,

As I1 always wish to fulfill my promises I will enjoy this afternoon in writing a letter in order to let you know how I got home and how my health is So I left Washington that evening at 5 Oc and got to Baltimore at 7 and left at 6 and got to Harisburg at two in the night. I changed cars and was off in a few minutes in the morning of the 4th Wednesday a train just a head of us run off track and was hurt which throwed us back six hours we ought to have got to Pittsburg at one that day But did not get in until after six then I had to wait until two in the night But I was glad of it. I went to the Soldiers Home and got my supper and took a good sleep I left Pittsburg a little after 2 after that we run right through I got to Bucyrus just in time for dinner. I had good luck there was one of my Fathers old acquaintances there in a bugy [took me] straight on home to the door whar I had a grand interunion with my friends I found all of them in good health they were a little supprised to see me but they had been looking for me every day for a long time everything is a month behind things in Washington It snowed all day this Monday the roads are very bad people are just getting their roads [open] the trees are just beginning to put forth their leafs. If my friend is in the Hospital yet tell him I got home all right I guess I will close by biding you good by for this time and request from you to send a letter in return at some later time.

I am very respectfully your soldier boy Isaac Livensparger, Address Lykens, Crawford Co[unty] Ohio


Notes:

1. On 25 Sep 1861, Isaac Livensparger, age 19, and his older brother Philip, 29, enlisted in Company H, 55th Ohio Infantry. The regiment spent the winter of 1863 encamped at Brooks Station, Virginia. On May 2, at the Battle of Chancellorsville, 153 men from the 55th Ohio were killed, wounded, or missing—including both Livenspargers. Philip was killed; Isaac was wounded in the left leg and sent to Armory Square Hospital. In a November 8–9, 1863 letter to Lewy Brown, Whitman describes Isaac Livensparger as wounded in the left leg and suffering from erysipelas. Whitman asks Brown to allow Livensparger to read his letter and to tell him "that I sent him my love." Written on the envelope to Brown's letter is Livensparger's message in reply: "This letter has been Read by Isaac Livensparger in Ward D. I think it is a very good letter & I am very much pleased & delited with it. I love to read such letters. I am yours truly." On 30 April 1864, Livensparger was finally discharged on a surgeon's certificate of disability. [back]


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