Title: Jesse Mullery to Walt Whitman, 26 November 1864
Date: November 26, 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), 162-164 (dated December 24). 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.00174
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Vanessa Steinroetter, Eric Conrad, and Nick Krauter
Mr. Whitman, Dear Friend
I1 write these few lines to you in order that you may know where I am and also that I am in the enjoyment of middling good health I heard from you through my Father some time ago and I have wanted to visit you but I am sorry to say my health will not admit of my being out much this cold weather2. If you remember I was wounded through my lung and the ball is now near my right kidney and I am not as healthy as I use to be before I was wounded.
I feel quite well to day I have just received a letter from my Brother in my Regt (15th NJ) he spoke of you. I wrote him concerning you and he says he would like to see you. I think I owe you a thousand thanks for your kindness to me while in Hospt at Washington. I have often thought of you and wished I could hear from you. I would like to hear from that Lady who did so much for me. I think it was Miss Howard3. I think I will be well enough to come and see you in a week or two—and then we will talk over all the incidents of our short acquaintance in Washington. If you will answer this and set the day I will come and see you. I am a little deaf now from the earache but I hope we will get along with that. Hoping to hear from you soon I subscribe myself yours faithfully
1. According to Whitman's "Hospital Book 12" (Feinberg Collection, Library of Congress), Sergeant Jesse Mullery, Company K, Fifteenth New Jersey, was in Ward A, Armory Square Hospital, on May 14, 1864. The twenty-year-old boy had been "shot through shoulder, ball in lung—(ball still probably near lung)—lost right finger." On June 23, 1864, he went home to Vernon, New Jersey, on furlough, and then served as assistant cook in the army hospital in Newark. On December 26, 1864, Mullery proposed a visit to Brooklyn. He was still at the Newark hospital on January 23, 1865. According to his letters of May 3, 1865, and June 11, 1865, he later was able to return to active duty. [back]
3. This might possibly be Garaphelia "Garry" Howard, one of Whitman's Washington friends. In a February 11, 1874, letter to Ellen O'Connor, Whitman describes Howard as "a good, tender girl—true as steel." [back]