Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman, 2 October 1864

Date: October 2, 1864

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00374

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), 138. 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, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter

Dear Comrad

Yours I1 recived several weeks ago. Though I have been quite unwell like your self This makes the fourth week I have been out of the Service of Uncle Sam I hardly know what to write you at present because I do not know wether you ever will recive it or not. I am some better than I was when I arrived here

I trust that you will excuse me in not writing you before

Though I tried to find out by the Boys in Armory where you were But they could not tell

Now Uncle if you will (not) Answer this after My being detained in geting yours from the Regt. I belonged to too this place

I least I hope you will Try and give me a Reply

I trust that this may find you well and in better health than when you wrote me last. I will answer All enquireys from you. this from one who would like to see you Indeed

A Comrad
Ruben Farwell


1. 'Little Mitch,' or Reuben Farwell, served with the Michigan Cavalry during the War and met Whitman in Armory Square Hospital early in 1864, and upon his release from the hospital he corresponded with him. 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 at Duke University. He is also mentioned in Whitman's Memoranda During War; Richard Maurice Bucke, ed., The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman [New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1902], 4:134. The year is confirmed by the reference to Farwell's letter of March 5, 1875 (Trent). (For Farwell's correspondence with Whitman see April 30, 1864, May 5, 1864, May 10, 1864, June 8, 1864, June 16, 1864, and November 7, 1864.) [back]


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