Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 9 March 1863

Date: March 9, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00401

Source: Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Thomas Jefferson Whitman, Dear Brother Walt: The Letters of Thomas Jefferson Whitman, ed. Dennis Berthold and Kenneth M. Price (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1984), 34-35. 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, and April Lambert

Brooklyn, N. Y.
March 9th/63

Dear Walt,

Much to our joy and surprise George made his appearance among us on Sunday morning.1 He arrived home about 11 Ock on Saturday night but we all happened to be abed and he did not wake us up but went to his room and made himself shown at about 8 ock in the morning  He is well and looking first rate, pretty well played out as regards cloths, but we will fix him up in that respect this afternoon  He wants me to ask you if you can find out if he can get his pay in New York and if so at what office and hour. Please find out what you can about it and answer me at once. He has some $500 coming to him and would like to get it here if he can. Please write me at once will you Walt.

Of course we were all wonderfully glad to see him. I think he looks well. He certainly is well pleased with his position and I think it would be hard to get him to leave it.2 He could only get 10 days and that will hardly be time for him to see and shake hands with all his friends. 'Tis a pity it could not have been for 20 or 30 days, it certainly ought to have been.

We are all in our usual good health. Mother, George says looks younger than when he went away. I think she looks better than when you left. Mattie, Sis and the rest are all well.

I received a long letter from you Saturday. I like much to hear from you   you must write often. About your office hunting3  I suppose you will have to wait a long time before it amounts to anything but patience will bring something undoubtedly

Hoping to hear from you immediately, I remain

yours affectionately Jeff.


1. George briefly mentions this furlough at home from March 7 to March 17, 1863, in his Civil War Diary[back]

2. Army life agreed with George. He had held the rank of captain since November 1, 1862, and after the war he attempted unsuccessfully to secure a commission as a captain in the regular standing army (Jerome M. Loving, ed., Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman [Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1975], 6, 26). [back]

3. Jeff refers to Walt's letter of March 6, 1863, only part of which is extant. Earlier, on February 13, 1863, Walt had described his efforts to find employment in Washington: "(it is very amusing to hunt for an office—so the thing seems to me just now—even if one don't get it)—I have seen Charles Sumner three times—he says every thing here moves as part of a great machine, and that I must consign myself to the fate of the rest....Meantime I make about enough to pay my expenses by hacking on the press here, and copying in the paymasters offices." [back]


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