Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman, 16 June 1864

Date: June 16, 1864

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00372

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. 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), 140-141. 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, Joshua Ware, Luke Hollis, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter

Dear Comrad

I1 arrived in Town this forenoon and I have been trying to find your residence But unseccessfull I came to Armory Suqare Hospital to learn whither you had gone The Boys do not know your whereabouts. S

So I concluded to find out by dropping a few lines to you

I hope my Dear Uncle that nothing has befallen you Either sickness or discontentment

I would like to see you before I returne to The Front which will be on the 18th of this month. To morrow night I will remain here If you have any desire or wish to see me Call or write me your address I just come from the front & Expect to return soon

receive this from one who remembers you still
Yours Affectionately


1. "Little Mitch," or Reuben Farwell, served with the Michigan Cavalry during the War and met Walt Whitman in Armory Square Hospital early in 1864, and upon his release from the hospital he corresponded with Whitman. After Farwell received his discharge on August 24, 1864, he returned to his home in Plymouth, Michigan. Evidently the correspondence was renewed when Whitman sent a post card on February 5, 1875. On March 5, 1875, Farwell, who owned a farm in Michigan, wrote: "Walt my dear old Friend how I would like to grasp your hand and give you a kiss as I did in the days of yore. what a satisfaction it would be to me." In Farwell's last letter, on August 16, 1875, he said that he was planning to leave shortly for California. Eleven letters from Farwell are in the Trent Collection. He is mentioned in Memoranda During the War (see The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, 10 vols. [New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1902], 4:134). When Bucke wrote to Farwell after Walt Whitman's death, apparently only this one note, written "on the back of a circular," was extant (Miller). For Farwell's other correspondence with Whitman see April 30, 1864, May 5, 1864, June 8, 1864, October 2, 1864, November 7, 1864, November 21, 1864[back]


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