Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: George Washington Whitman to Walt Whitman, 14 July 1865

Date: July 14, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00367

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University. 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), 136. 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, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, Gillian Price, and April Lambert

Camp of 51st Regt.  N. Y. Vols
near Alexandria Va
 July 14th/651

Dear Brother,

I returned to the Regt last night (I have been away on Court Martial you know) and found your letter of July 5th and Mothers, and Hannahs, that you sent me at the same time. Poor Hann I feel quite worried about her and have just written to her saying that Mother and I will come on to see her in the cours of three of four weeks.2 Walt I suppose you know that we are going to be Mustered out of service,  we are making out the Muster Rolls now, and we expect to be in New York in about 10 days.3 I have been over to Washington two or three times since I saw you, but it was always in the afternoon (after C.M. hours) so that I could not get up to your place in time to see you.

Walt come over and see us,  the stage leaves Willards twice every day, and brings you right to Camp, so jump in and come over.4 I have written to Mother to day to let her know that I am coming home, and telling her to get ready for a trip to Vermont. I am sleepy so good night Walt.

G. W. W.

The trouble about the informality of Muster is all right


1. George Whitman was promoted to the rank of major on May 18, 1865. During his final months in the army, he requested to remain in military service as a career officer but was unsuccessful in his petition. See Loving's Introduction to The Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman (Durham, North Carolina; Duke University Press, 1975), 26. [back]

2. Louisa Van Velsor Whitman planned to visit Hannah Whitman Heyde in Burlington, Vermont. In a letter to Walt from September 5, 1865, she wrote: "i have arrived at last to Burlington and found hanna quite as well and better than i expected. george came with me to troy and went back by the boat from albany" (Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). Mrs. Whitman returned to Brooklyn on October 17, 1865. [back]

3. The Fifty-first Regiment of New York Volunteers was discharged from military duty at Alexandria, Virginia, on July 25, 1865. Two days later the regiment departed by train from Baltimore for Brooklyn. [back]

4. In his diary notes, dated simply July 1865, Walt Whitman recorded that he had been over to Alexandria twice to have dinner with George (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University). [back]


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