Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 2 July 1866

Date: July 2, 1866

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:280-281. 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, New York Public Library

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00209

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Brett Barney, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson




ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Washington,
July 2, 1866.

Dearest mother,

I got your letter of last Thursday—I wrote to Han1 two or three days ago—poor Mrs. Mix2 is very bad—she has her old complaint neuralgia—she suffers very much indeed—it makes me almost sick, some spells she has, the agony is terrible, & her screams are heartrending—fortunately her nights are comparatively easy—it is doubtful if she recovers—

We are having delightful weather—just right—I went to the Post Hospital3 yesterday, Sunday, & who do you think was one of the first persons I found there—Jo. Velsor,4 poor fellow, he has had jaundice pretty bad, but is now getting very near well—so he goes out & around—he expects to go to work again in a day or two—he has work in the Quartermasters Dept. driving an ambulance—

Mother, I suppose you got the letter Saturday last with the envelopes—

I hope you have as pleasant weather in Brooklyn as we have had here for a week past, & now—

It is generally expected Congress will adjourn the last of this month, & then there will be some high old times in politics & the Departments—most of us think that A[ndrew] J[ohnson] is only waiting for that, to lay around him & kick up his heels at a great rate. Well, we shall see what comes to pass—but I guess the Republicans are just every bit as ferocious as he is—they won't back down an inch—

Mother, the small bills I send you, you might distribute, (or get some fire crackers or something,) for Ed,5 & Jimmy & George6—not forgetting Hat & sis7


Walt.


Notes:

1. Hannah Louisa Whitman Heyde (1823–1908), sister of Walt Whitman and wife of Charles Heyde. Hannah and Charles lived in Burlington, Vermont. [back]

2. Mary Mix lived with her daughter, Juliet Grayson, who operated the boardinghouse at 468 M North, where Whitman lived between late January 1865 and February 1866. After her daughter's death on January 7, 1867, Mrs. Mix left Washington; see Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman of January 29, 1867 in Miller, Correspondence, 1:311–312). See also Whitman's letter of June 26, 1866[back]

3. After the war, all the hospitals except this one were converted to other purposes. Armory Square Hospital, as Whitman observed in "Letter from Walt Whitman to Hiram Sholes, 30 May 1867" (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York, North Carolina: New York University Press, 1961–77], 1:331–332), became a clothing depot. [back]

4. Undoubtedly Joseph A. Velsor, who was later listed in an address book (The Library of Congress #108), and who had a drugstore in New York after 1868. [back]

5. Edward Whitman (1835-1892), Walt's youngest brother, who was mentally and physically handicapped. [back]

6. Presumably James and George Whitman, sons of Walt's brother Andrew. [back]

7. Mannahatta and Jessie Louisa Whitman, daughter of Walt's brother Jeff.  [back]


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