Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to a Soldier, November (?) 1866

Date: November (?), 1866

Whitman Archive ID: med.00317

Source: Location of original letter manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:298. 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, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson

We have a new Attorney-General.1 One of the first things he did was to promote me. Sensible man, wasn't he? May the Lord reward him. . . .

I enclose you a little picture. You shall have a better one, dear son. The picture in shirt sleeves was taken in 1854.2 You would not know it was me now, but it was taken from real life and was first-rate then.


1. See Whitman's letter from April (?) 1865.

Henry Stanbery (1803–1881) was appointed Attorney General on July 23, 1866, and served until March 12, 1868, when he resigned to serve as President Johnson's chief counsel in the impeachment proceedings. When, at the conclusion of the trial, Johnson renominated Stanbery, the Senate refused to confirm him. Failing eyesight—to which Whitman referred in letters from November 13, 1866, and November 20, 1866,—forced Stanbery to retire from legal practice in 1878. Speaking to Horace Traubel in 1888, Whitman affirmed his fondness for Stanbery (With Walt Whitman in Camden [Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1906–1996], 3:156). [back]

2. The frontispiece to the first edition of Leaves of Grass[back]


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