Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Hugh B. Thomson to Walt Whitman, 13 December 1866

Date: December 13, 1866

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00613

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 Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers, ed. Charley Shively (San Francisco, California: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989), 202, 203. 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, Brett Barney, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter

Mr. Walt Whitman, My Dear friend

Your kind favor of the 11th inst came duly to hand, and was followed next day by your copy of "Drum Taps."1 Accept of my thanks for both it was more certainly than I could expect from a comparative stranger to me.—and yet not a stranger, for I am hailed as a soldier and comrade

there is the link that binds me to you in a bond of unity and good feeling. May it never be severed by an unloyal act of mine, let our password be "Goodwill," and when called upon to sunder all earthly ties, when the last "long roll" is called in which there will be no "missing" may we be found in the ranks of the Captain of our Salvation, ready to enter upon an eternity of bliss and where parting is no more.

I shall be pleased to see you when in our city, and in anything that I can contribute to your happiness in all things command me. With Many Regards, Respectfully Yours


1. Hugh B. Thomson, who may have been a patient at Armory Square Hospital between 1862 and 1863, also wrote to Whitman on July 22, 1869: "You will not remember the writer of this letter....I won't forget Walt Whitman. I have just read that you completed your half century. May you live to a ripe old age, loving and beloved. I was reading 'Drum Taps' last night, no man can depict Army life so vividly that had not spent his time amongst the boys" (Yale). See also Thomson's letter of December 5, 1866[back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.