Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Bethuel Smith to Walt Whitman, 13 October 1863

Date: October 13, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00889

Source: 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, Kathryn Kruger, and Tim Jackson

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Oct the 13 1863

Dear Friend

I now sit down to write to write you a few lines to let you now where I am I am with the regiment now. I left Carlisle about one week ago and have ben diledaleying around & have not had time to rite to you untill now & I have not got much time now the toe is most all healed up but my foot is swelled so that I can not get my boot on it swelled from walking from the depot [out?] her but I think that will go down in a day or to the brigade is gone out to the front again & I dont now but we shall follow them pretty soon I dont now as I can write anny more at present So good by for this time

Bethuel Smith1

Co. F. 2nd U. S. Cav.
Washington DC


1. Bethuel Smith, Company F, Second U.S. Cavalry, was wounded in 1863. He wrote to Whitman on September 17, 1863, from the U.S. General Hospital at Carlisle, Pennsylanvia, "I left the armory hospital in somewhat of A hurry." He wrote on December 16, 1863, from Culpeper, Virginia, that he was doing provost duty, and on February 28, 1864, he was in a camp near Mitchell Station, Virginia, where "the duty is verry hard." He was wounded again on June 11 (so his parents reported to Whitman on August 29, 1864), was transported to Washington, and went home on furlough on July 1. He returned on August 14 to Finley Hospital, where, on August 30, 1864, he wrote to Whitman: "I would like to see you verry much, I have drempt of you often & thought of you oftener still." He expected to leave the next day for Carlisle Barracks to be mustered out, and on October 22, 1864, he wrote to Whitman from Queensbury, New York. When his parents communicated with Walt Whitman on January 26, 1865, Bethuel was well enough to perform tasks on the farm. Smith was one of the soldiers to whom Whitman wrote ten years later; see Whitman's letter to Bethuel Smith, December 1874[back]


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