Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Reuben Farwell, 21 April [1875]

Date: April 21, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: med.00435

Source: The location of the original 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), 2:328. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

All goes on about the same 1—still unwell, but up—yours of March 5 rec'd and welcomed—O how I should like to see you, every day, dear Mitch—my own dear boy and comrade of the war—the hospital—I have to sit here alone much of the time, and think of those old times—very cold here, yet—this is the 21st April, and the ground is frozen here—I keep cheerful spirits, and still hope to get around—Love to you, and to the wife and little girl—Write soon—Address, Camden, N. Jersey.


1. Transcript.

"Little Mitch," or Reuben Farwell, served with the Michigan Cavalry during the War and met Whitman in Armory Square Hospital early in 1864, and upon his release from the hospital he corresponded with Whitman. After Farwell received his discharge on August 24, 1864, he returned to his home in Plymouth, Michigan. Evidently the correspondence was renewed when Whitman sent a postcard on February 5, 1875. On March 5, 1875, Farwell, who owned a farm in Michigan, wrote: "Walt my dear old Friend how I would like to grasp your hand and give you a kiss as I did in the days of yore. what a satisfaction it would be to me." In Farwell's last letter, on August 16, 1875, he said that he was planning to leave shortly for California. He is mentioned in "Memoranda During the War"; see The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, ed. Richard Maurice Bucke, Thomas B. Harned, and Horace L. Traubel (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1902), 4:134.

The year is confirmed by the reference to Farwell's letter of March 5, 1875. When Bucke wrote to Farwell after Walt Whitman's death, apparently only this one note, written "on the back of a circular," was extant. [back]


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