Title: John F. S. Gray 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), 150. 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.00162
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Luke Hollis, Sarah Synovec, Kathryn Kruger, Eric Conrad, and Nick Krauter
We are suddenly ordered away to the South-west. I1 will write you when we get settled!
1. John Frederick Schiller Gray was a captain in the Twentieth New York Infantry and later held the same rank in the Assistant Adjutant General's Volunteers. He became a major on January 4, 1865, and resigned on December 6 of the same year; see Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 2 vols. (Washington D.C.: Government Publications Office, 1903). In 1862 he fought in the battle at Antietam, and at Charles Pfaff's beer cellar located in lower Manhattan, he gave Whitman "a fearful account of the battlefield at ½ past 9 the night following the engagement." (For discussion of Whitman's activity at Pfaff's, see "The Bohemian Years.") In 1864, according to one of Whitman's notebooks (Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #103), Gray was stationed at New Orleans. He graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1871, and briefly practiced medicine with his father in New York. Whitman referred to him during this period in a notebook (The Library of Congress, Notebook #109). Later he practiced in Paris, Nice, and Geneva. He died of Bright's disease at St. Clair Springs, Michigan, on April 18, 1891; obituaries appeared in the New York Herald and the New York Tribune on August 19, 1891. [back]