Title: Livingston J. Brooks to Walt Whitman, 22 December 1863
Date: December 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), 116. 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.00138
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Joshua Ware, Tim Jackson, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter
I1 recieved your kind letter last night2 and was very happy to hear from you I am quite well at present and I hope you are enjoying the same blessings. I was sory to hear of your brother death [December 3rd], but we have all got to die some day This life is uncertain in this world. I have lived through sickness and dangers of war so far and I thank god for it. . we have had some lively times since I wrote to you our regt is doing picket now. the johneys has tryed our line a number of times there was about thirty of them the other day charged on our line there was one post with three men on it they got one of them but they lost four and had to skeddle that was all they get
Well Dear uncle you said you would like to be here for a change I wish you could be here for a while how I would like to see you but I live in hopes I may some day. Well you said Miss Marsh was in Ward J I dont know as she remember me but I do her how could I forget her if you see her pleas tell her I send my love and best wishes to her
Dear Uncle how I should like to see the cappatol now it must look splendid Who would not fight for such a cappatol and those beautiful stars and stripes that may forever float over it those stars and stripes is what brought me in the army and I am willing to fight as long as I live before I would see any other flag float over our cappitol than the stars and stripes but there is some that would like to see it trampled on the ground. I suppose you have herd that general buford was dead he was one good general as there was in the field he commanded our division and every one liked him. how is war matters in washington now any signs of it ever closing I guess this next draft will be apt to bring in few more men in the army.
Well Dear uncle there aint much news here at presant we are in very good quarters here, but how long we will stay I dont know. Well I will close by wishing you a mery mery Christmas and a happy New Years.
Please excuse poor writing and accept this from your well wishing Friend and comrad
1. Livingston J. Brooks, a soldier in Co B 17th Pennsylvania Cavlary, was brought to Armory Square Hospital with typhoid fever. Eventually Brooks recovered and, after a furlough, returned to his regiment. He wrote to Whitman on November 21, 1863, from Culpeper, Virginia. [back]
2. Whitman's reply of December 19 is lost (Charles I. Glicksberg, Walt Whitman and the Civil War [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1933], 140). Whitman noted the case in his diary (Glicksberg, Walt Whitman and the Civil War , 149–150). [back]