Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Lewis K. Brown to Walt Whitman, 22 August 1863

Date: August 22, 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), 119-120. 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.00130

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





Dear Friend Walt,

Both of your letters came to hand, in due time & I1 insure you I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you wer enjoying good health. Dear Walt, I beg to be excused for not writing sooner, but to tell the truth we have had a good many visitors and when there was not visitors I was away, but you need not think that I have forgotton you. Your memory burns as bright as ever in my heart & allways will, thear is now doubt but some of my corrospondants in Washington has begin to think hard of me for not writing oftener, but I will be thear my self before long to make excuses'es in person. I will be thear on the last day of August, if I do not get my furlow extended, whitch I have the hopes of, for I would most as leave come back to see my old friends as stay at home. The Doctor that tens me hear wants me for to try and get my furlow extended, for he thinks that my leg will get worse if I go back while the weather is so hot, but I do not know how it will be yet (wont you advise me which is best) The Doctor thinks that he can have my furlow extended verry easy. Dear Walter I am enjoying my self fine as well, I think, as any cripple can. I was up to Quaker or Friends Quartily Meeting yesterday. (I expect you know what it is and may be have bin at one) thear was a great many thear & I seen a great many of my relations & freinds thear that I would not of seen if I had of stayed away. they had exelant preaching, but you must know that they are are on the Piece principle, and you know that I aint. I am for war as long as there is men & money until this sccussed Rebellion is put down for thear has bin to many good lives lost allready for to ever make a compromise, do not you think so.

Well Dear Walter, it is just in the highth of the Peach & Appel season and we have some nice Peaches but we have not got any Apples now for our early ons are dun and we have not many late ones. We have some few Watermellons & cantilopes but not many I often think of the poor boys in the Hospital when I am eating them

Walter I have no news to write so I will have to close this miserable scrach for I am aware that it is verry porely wrote (but I never mind the writing if the heart is all wright) so you must not mind this so with mutch love to you; and all enquiring friends I will bid you good by and God bless you from your friend and companion.


Notes:

1. Lewis Kirke Brown (1843–1926) was wounded in the left leg near Rappahannock Station on August 19, 1862, and lay where he fell for four days. Eventually he was transferred to Armory Square Hospital, where Whitman met him, probably in February 1863. In a diary in the Library of Congress, Whitman described Brown on February 19, 1863, as "a most affectionate fellow, very fond of having me come and sit by him." Because the wound did not heal, the leg was amputated on January 5, 1864. Whitman was present and described the operation in a diary (Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #103). Brown was mustered out in August 1864, and was employed in the Provost General's office in September; see Whitman's September 11, 1864. The following September he became a clerk in the Treasury Department, and was appointed Chief of the Paymaster's Division in 1880, a post which he held until his retirement in 1915. (This material draws upon a memorandum which was prepared by Brown's family and is now held in the Library of Congress.) [back]


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