Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Elliot F. Shepard to Walt Whitman, 16 February 1865

Date: February 16, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00864

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. 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, Joshua Ware, Vanessa Steinroetter, Eric Conrad, Heidi Bean, and Nicole Gray

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New York
16th Feby '65

My Dear Walt Whitman:

On the receipt of your favor of the 26th ult., I1 arranged with Captain Walton for the sending of a box to our dear and brave boys at the Danville Military Prison.2

And to-day I am having a box put up which will start tomorrow.

Captain Wright does not think the boxes will ever reach our boys—but this shall not prevent my trying to get them things to keep the breath of life in them, and to cheer them up3.

Of the articles you enumerate, I omitted tobacco, fearing it could perfume and render the food impalatable. I added dessicated vegetables in its' stead.

It is about time you heard from the first box you sent. Have you?

If the accounts in the papers are correct, we ought to have the boys back again before long. I hope their turn for exchange will come first.

Major Marsh has arrived back at the regiment again, after a short visit here.

A letter from Capt. M. Ready just brings me word that they are in good spirits after the movement on the left.4

Very truly Yours,
Elliot F. Shepard


1. Elliott F. Shepard, of the Fifty-first Regiment, informed George of his promotion on April 16, 1862 (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden [Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1906–96], 2:201). Whitman also suspected that Colonel Shepard was responsible for George's promotion to major in 1865. [back]

2. Captain Charles W. Walton was a member of the Fifty-first Regiment, New York State Volunteers. [back]

3. Lieutenant Colonel John G. Wright was commanding officer of the Fifty-first Regiment. [back]

4. While Walt was with George after the battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, he noted in his diary that, among others, Fred B. McReady, then an orderly sergeant in George's regiment, "used me well" (Charles I. Glicksberg, Walt Whitman and the Civil War [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1933], 70). McReady sent Whitman a lengthy account of the activities of the Fifty-first regiment from February 9 to April 29, 1864 (Berg Collection, New York Public Library). In the Brooklyn Daily Union of September 22, Whitman noted: "Fred. McReady I know to be as good a man as the war has received out of Brooklyn City" (Emory Holloway, ed., The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman. [Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page, 1921], 2:29). On May 6, 1864, McReady was wounded in the hip. [back]


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