Title: Jesse Mullery to Walt Whitman, 3 May 1865
Date: May 3, 1865
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), 165. 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.00178
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter
Your welcome epistle of the 24th of April came to hand this morning and found me in good health and as usual very glad to hear from you.1 My Brothers James & Joseph are both well and in the Regt and wish me to return thanks for your kind remembrance of them
I received a letter from you written at Brooklyn bearing date of the 13th of April we marched from Burksville the following day. I have not had a chance to answer it. We finished our march to this place last Thursday afternoon and as soon as we halted my Regiment were ordered on Picket where we remained three days, consequently I could not write; and since we came in from picket we have been under marching orders. By the way we are waiting transportation towards Petersburgh. Our train started yesterday morning and about tomorrow we will start. We wait now for the Cars to return which took the 2nd Brigade of the Division in that direction on Monday. The soldiers have not emerged from the gloom which was cast over their minds on hearing of the death of our Beloved President. My heart is to full to write anything about him, for I cannot tell how well he was liked by the Soldiers who fought for the Flag under him. I am pained to say that many of my company secretly rejoiced when we received the news of the assasination. But none dared to cheer although if some Rebel had proposed it there were plenty ready to join in. All I want is to see the assassin dealt with if caught in a proper manner.
I hope I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you in Washington when I will tell you a great many things that I cannot write. Look out for me when you hear the 1st Div. of the 6th corps coming to Washington.
We are kept very close now on account of the Orders for going back. Otherwise I would try to visit the Prison Camp and also the burying ground. There are a large number of my comrades buried there and I should like to have the satisfaction of seeing their graves.
Should you see Miss Howard please remember me to her.2 Hoping to see you soon I will close for the present. Please write me before unless you hear of the Corps coming home. Yours truly.
1. According to Whitman's "Hospital Book 12" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection), 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 in probably near lung)—lost right finger." On June 23, 1864, he went home to Vernon, N. J., 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 this letter and one of June 11, 1865, he later was able to return to active duty. [back]
2. Possibly 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]