Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Miss Gregg, 7 September 1863

Date: September 7, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00787

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 Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:143. 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, Tim Jackson, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson

Sept 7, '631

Dear friend,2

You spoke the other day, partly in fun, about the men being so undemonstrative. I thought I would write you a line, as I hear you leave the hospital tomorrow for a few weeks. Your labor of love & disinterestedness here in Hospital is appreciated. I have invariably heard the Ward A patients speak of you with gratitude, sometimes with enthusiasm. They have their own ways (not outside eclat, but in manly American hearts, however rude, however undemonstrative to you). I thought it would be sweet to your tender & womanly heart, to know what I have so often heard from the soldiers about you, as I sat by their sick cots. I too have learnt to love you, seeing your tender heart, & your goodness to those wounded & dying young men—for they have grown to seem to me as my sons or dear young brothers.

As I am poor I cannot make you a present, but I write you this note, dear girl, knowing you will receive it in the same candor & good faith it is written.


1. Endorsed (by Walt Whitman): "Note to Miss Gregg." Draft Letter. [back]

2. This nurse remains unidentified beyond her name. She is referred to in Whitman's letters from November 8–9, 1863, and November 15, 1863[back]


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