Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: George Washington Whitman to Walt Whitman, 1 February 1863

Date: February 1, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00336

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. The transcription presented here is derived from George Washington Whitman, Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman, ed. Jerome M. Loving (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1975), 83. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Gillian Price, and April Lambert

Camp near Falmouth
Feb 1st /63

Dear Walt.

Here we are yet in camp just the same as you left us, and I think by the appearance of things here we are likely to stay for some time. I have my log hut partly finished and should have had it completed long ago, but after I had cut the logs and had them brought here, orders came for us to be ready to move the next day so I used the logs for fire wood, and since then, the weather has been so stormy I could not do much to it. I suppose we will go on picket tomorrow, so that I wont have a chance to do anything to the house untill Wednesday, but I shall finish it this week, and as soon as I get it done, I want you to come down and see me. Frank Butler1 is helping me build it and is to occupy apartments in it. Your last letter to me is dated Jan 27th. You speak of haveing sent one the previous Saturday, encloseing one from home, and some money. I have not received it. I got a letter from Mother a day or two ago. She says they are all getting along after the old sort. Han has not got home yet, but Mother says she expects her before a great while.

We had a regular old Northern snow storm last week, but it is nearly gone now but the mud is quite plenty just about hear. Capt Sims tells me to night that he has been promised a leave of absence for 10 days and will probaly start for Brooklyn in a day or two  I suppose he will call on you in Washington.2 As soon as he gets back, I shall apply, and if I dont get it I dont know but I will send in my resignation  as it is hardly a fair shake for some to go home two or three times a year while others cant get away at all, but I dont blame Sims at all for going whenever he can get a chance.

Walt I think you had better write on to Mother and let her send you (by express) $20 of my money and bring it on here to me when you come, for if I go home I shall want it, as I may not have a chance to get my pay in Washington.

Tom3 recd. a letter from you to night. Write as soon as you get this. Good night     G.W.W.


1. First lieutenant for Company G of the Fifty-First Regiment. [back]

2. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from January 22, 1863. Walt Whitman may have lived in Sims's tent during part of his stay at Fredericksburg. [back]

3. In a letter to his mother written on December 29, 1862, soon after his return from Fredericksburg, Walt describes Tom as "the cook, a young disabled soldier,…an excellent fellow, and a first-rate cook." [back]


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