Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 8 May 1865

Date: May 8, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00366

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), 135. 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

Head Quarters  Prince St. Military Prison
Alexandria Va.
 May 8th 18651

Dear Mother

I arrived here and joined the Regiment about ten days ago and was placed in command of this Prison.

I am very well, indeed but have plenty to do as I have about 300 Prisoners (mostly thieves, Bounty jumpers and Deserters) to look after. I have 100 of the men of our Regt. and 5 Officers here with me guarding the Prisoners.

There is about 20 Rebel officers here (Paroled Prisoners) but they are used very different from what we were, when we were in Rebeldom.

I saw Walt when I came through Washington, and I hear he was over to see me yesterday but did not find me. Well Mammy the war seems to be over, and I think the most of us will soon be sent home. It is now getting late (after Eleven O clock at night) and as I feel rather tired I will go through the Prison and see that all is right and then turn in. I sleep here in the building (I have a very good room) and take my meals at a Boarding house  I pay 6 dollars per week for grub but dont live any of the best.

Good night to all

Direct Capt G. W. Whitman Comdng Prince St Military Prison  Alexandria Va


1. Not long after he had arrived at Annapolis, George Whitman was granted a thirty-day furlough. He reached his mother's home in Brooklyn on March 5, 1865, and although his leave was to expire on April 4, he reluctantly applied for an extension for reasons of health. In support of his request, the Whitman family physician, Edward Ruggles, wrote: "I have carefully & several times examined this Officer, and find that he has Rheumatism, with swelling & weakness of legs, & Debility . . ." (Military Record; see Jerome M. Loving's Introduction). George Whitman reported for military duty about April 24 and was assigned command of a military prison in Alexandria, Virginia. [back]


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