Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to O. K. Sammis, 13 March 1868

Date: March 13, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: hun.00056

Source: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:23. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Attorney General's Office,
March 13, 1868.1

My dear Doctor,2

Your note has just come to hand, stating that you intend a visit to Washington, & desire a situation. My friend, if that is your sole object here, & you depend upon any thing of that kind, (unless you have some special friend who has great influence, or offices at his disposal,) I seriously advise you against any such enterprise. I myself have no influence at all, being a mere clerk, & of low grade—& our office is in confusion—the Attorney General having yesterday resigned his place3—& it being very probable that the rest of the cabinet will follow before long. They are discharging many of the Department employes, & appointing none. For some months to come, indeed for the ensuing year, every thing will be unsettled & in suspense here—4

There is nothing new with me—nor in our family.

Yours, &c.
Walt Whitman

with friendliest regards.


1. Endorsed (in unknown hand): "Dr. O. K. Sammis." [back]

2. O. K. Sammis wrote to Walt Whitman on April 6, 1860, and was mentioned in his April 15, 1863 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]

3. Henry Stanbery (see Walt Whitman's May 7, 1866 letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman) sent a letter of resignation on March 11, 1868, and President Johnson acknowledged it on March 12, 1868. The correspondence appeared in the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle on March 14, 1868. Stanbery resigned in order to serve as one of Johnson's counsels during the impeachment proceedings. [back]

4. A reference to the presidential election in the fall. [back]


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