Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Alonzo S. Bush to Walt Whitman, 11 February 1864

Date: February 11, 1864

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), 128-129. 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.00140

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Bev Rilett, Eric Conrad, and Nick Krauter





Friend Walter,

Sir accordain to promis I1 now embrace this opportunity of informing you of my Safe arrival at Hed Quarters of 1st Ind Cav. My Friends gave me a warm reception Such as how are you Bush got robed did you &c I told them how it came to pass and how much I lost and finely that Washington was a hard place I tell you that Hoosiers are a fraid of thieves and murders and it made them open their eyes when they found out that I had been bit. Well I feel at home here and dont think I will come to the city untill I am muster out for good

Everything is lovely down here and the goose hangs high the weather has been pretty cold cince I came back and therefor we have had no hunt as yet. I was just in time for the boat. I had the pleasure of meeting my Capt G. Lutt so I was not alone had quite a nice time told them how long I had been in city and what kept me you ought to here them laugh at me for not being sharper I told them it would be all right in cours of time live & learn is my moto.

Walter I told that friend of mine about you and he thinks he will like you very much I showed him your Photograph. he liked it very much. Walter tell Benedict & Brown not to forget me and not send there to me.2

There is nothing going on here at presant and I have nothing to write every thing is same day after day no changes. We have plety to eate & wear and nothing to do.

We are all waiting for the 8th June so that we can go home and see our Sweet hearts. I supose you know what they are. If you dont I do and I long for to see mine very much and I think she will want to see me—

give my letter the least notice possible and oblidge yours remember me to all the Boys at armory Squre. Hoping to receive that Fatherly letter from you soon I will close good by


Notes:

1. Alonzo S. Bush was a Union soldier with Company A of the First Indiana Cavalry. He enlisted on August 13, 1862. For Bush's first correspondence with Whitman see the December 22, 1863. Alonzo S. Bush was a Union soldier with Company A of the First Indiana Cavalry. He enlisted on August 13, 1862. See Edward F. Grier's Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts (New York: New York University Press, 1984), 2:541. [back]

2. 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 letter from 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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