Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Alfred Pratt, 28 October 1867

Date: October 28, 1867

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01561

Source: The 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), 1:345–346. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Ashley Lawson, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

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Attorney General's Office,
Oct. 28, 1867.

Alfred Pratt,1
Dear boy & Comrade,

I have been home to Brooklyn, N. Y. on a visit to my mother, but I am now back here again, and am well as usual, and working in the same place. Your letter of August 15, and the letter of Oct. 2, have both reached me, & I was very glad to hear from you & your folks, & to get such friendly letters. Dear boy, I should like much to pay you a visit, & to be with you for a while, & to become acquainted with your father & mother—it would be a real comfort to me, & I am determined to come one of these days—I often think about it, & about you too, dear friend, & one of these days we will see each other again.

There is nothing very new in my affairs. I have had quite a pleas-ant summer, & now the fall is here—the past three weeks has been splendid weather here, both days & nights—but to-day there is a heavy rain—looks as if it had set in for a long storm—

—I am living at a boarding house, the same place where you come to see me, but new landlord & landlady2—472 M st.—it is quite pleasant—mostly young people, full of life & gayety—then I go to my work at 9, & leave at 3—so you see it is easy enough—In about three weeks more it will be lively times here in Washington, as Congress is to meet then, & there will be some important questions brought up—but I take all these things very coolly—&, since the war is over, dont allow myself to get excited—

You must write to me often as you can. I shall probably remain here this winter. I wish you to give my love to your father & mother. They do not seem at all like strangers to me.

And now Alfred I must bid you farewell for the present, my loving boy & comrade.—When you write, write to me about the farm, & the farm-life, crops, horses, &c. for I like to hear about such things too.

Walt Whitman.


1. All that is known about Alfred Pratt is contained in this letter and those of June 10, 1865, August 7, 1865, August 26, 1865, September 27, 1866, January 29, 1867, July 25, 1867, July 1, 1869, and January 20, 1870[back]

2. Mr. and Mrs. Newton Benedict operated the boarding house after the death of Juliet Grayson on January 7, 1867. This change in ownership was first noted in Walt Whitman's February 12, 1867 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]


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