Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: John J. Barker to Walt Whitman, 19 June 1863

Date: June 19, 1863

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), 109-110. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00125

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Tim Jackson, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter





Dear friend

i1 resevd your leter this morning an was very glad to here from you i am driven a team for the regment i have every faver i ask. i go whare i pleas and when i pleas Capten sais he will do all in his power to get mee in as a recruten officer if i get that i will be just whare i want to bee Carter is the Col he is all the man that hoald the same command that they first held thar has bin a change in all the officers in the regment lutennent Col melten2 is in command of the regment Col Carter3 is often brgider genral genral Carter is ctin mager general wee think they will be promoted Capten Skaggs4 did may the 19 at stan-foard by A Psenter that was ordley sargent of Co E is now Captan he is Jest like a privet and as study as a Jug JC sebrig5 is fist lutenent B B Jones6 is a lutenent brother william7 is ordly

1 hve got sound an well an as stout as ever i have bin at home twice since i roat to you i cudent stay long for the rebels pickets was in site just acrous the river an our pickets on this side i wish you could be with mee i have moar fun than a litel i am singel all a long the road from mill springs to stanfoard whare i make a trip ever 7 or 8 days i go in two miles of hoam when i go to millsprings our boys are all in good sirrets and egger to fight since rot to you wee went acrous the river an had skermis of about 4 ours an driv the bac seven miles wee returned in good order our los was 6 kild an 30 wound Capten Carrens morrtly I but is geten beter lutenen will Coff wounded 5 companys of our regmet is at millsprings an 5 here they will return today they 70 prisners yesterd give my big respc to all inquiren friends tell mis isral an mis low howdy for me ma god bles you good by


Notes:

1. John "Jack" J. Barker was a soldier in the Second Tennessee Volunteer Regiment, whom Whitman greatly admired for remaining loyal to the Union even while in captivity among the Confederates. He became sick and was transferred to a hospital, where Whitman met him for the first time. [back]

2. James M. Melton was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel on October 18, 1862. [back]

3. Colonel James P. T. Carter (John S. Goff, "Colonel James P. T. Carter of Carter County." Tennessee Historical Quarterly 26 (1967), 372–382). [back]

4. Captain Francis M. Skaggs was reported absent due to illness on the March–April 1863 muster roll and died at Stanford, Kentucky, on May 19, 1863.  [back]

5. John C. Selvage (also spelled "Selvidge") was promoted to first lieutenant on May 20, 1863, but he submitted his resignation weeks later on June 5, 1863. Surgeon John Shrady diagnosed Selvage with "phthisis pulmonalis and hemorrhage of lungs." [back]

6. Kindred B. Jones was promoted to second lieutenant of Company E of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry under First Lieutenant John E. Selvidge on May 20, 1863. At the time of Barker's writing, Jones was on a thirty-day medical leave to his home to Union County, Tennessee. [back]

7. Barker's brother William, sergeant of Company E of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry, was apparently serving as the orderly of the camp hospital at Stanford, Kentucky. [back]


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