Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Margaret S. Curtis, 28 October 1863

Date: October 28, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00801

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), 1:174-175. 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

Dear Madam.1

Since I last wrote you2 I have continued my hospital visitations daily or nightly without intermission & shall continue them this fall & winter. Your contributions, & those of your friends, sent me for the soldiers wounded & sick, have been used among them in manifold ways, little sums of money given, (the wounded very generally come up here without a cent & in lamentable plight,) & in purchases of various kinds, often impromptu, as I see things wanted on the moment, for instance [when a] train is standing tediously waiting, &c. as they often are here. But what I write this note for particularly is to see if your sister, Hannah Stevenson,3 or yourself, might find it eligible to see a young man whom I love very much, who has fallen into deepest affliction, & is now in your city. He is a young Massachusetts soldier from Barre. He was sun-struck here in Washington last July, was taken to hospital here, I was with him a good deal for many weeks—he then went home to Barre—became worse—has now been sent from his home to your city—is at times (as I infer) so troubled with such distress—I received a letter from Boston this morning from a stranger about him,4 telling me (he appears too ill to write himself) that he is in Mason General Hospital, Boston. His name is Caleb H. Babitt5 of Co E 34th Mass Vol. He must have been brought there lately. My dear friend, if you should be able to go, or if not able yourself give this to your sister or some friend who will go—it may be that my dear boy & comrade is not so very bad, but I fear he is. Tell him you come from me like, & if he is in a situation to talk, his loving heart will open to you at once. He is a manly, affectionate boy. I beg whoever goes would write a few lines to me how the young man is. I send my thanks & love to yourself, your sister, husband, & the sisters Wigglesworth.6 Or else give this to Dr. Russell.7 The letter from the stranger above referred to is dated also Pemberton square hospital.


1. The letter is endorsed, "to Margaret S Curtis | care Charles P Curtis | Boston | Mass | Oct. 28 '63 (about Caleb H | Babbitt." Draft Letter. [back]

2. See Whitman's letter from October 4, 1863[back]

3. See the letter from October 8, 1863[back]

4. Whitman probably referred to the letter written by S. H. Childs for Babbitt on October 26, 1863; see his letter from September 3, 1863[back]

5. See the letter from September 3, 1863[back]

6. See the letter from October 8, 1863[back]

7. See the letter from December 3, 1863. [back]


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