Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Charles H. Harris to Walt Whitman, 30 May 1864

Date: May 30, 1864

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00163

Source: Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature at the New York Public Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers, ed. Charley Shively (San Francisco, California: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989), 150–151. 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, Luke Hollis, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter

Dear Uncle As i1 shal now clame you four you remain as dear to me as mi one [relation] Wal Uncle i got home all lonely only i was mity tiard whin i arrived i ni Brattelboro but i am fuly wal Reasted now as four mi wound i dont think it is as wal as it was whin i left Washington but i think it will be all rite after a while Charles Dunkler get home all rite also he sens his love to you

Oh Uncle i wish you ware hear in old Vermont with me we wod have some late old times fishing a mong the green mountains that what master Wal Uncle i soppose that you like on the old court Register now as ever oh the boys must think a good deal of you i wish i had see you now i most Pay the wine it seames lonesome hear without you but Nevr mind i woant be long before i shal be whare i Can see you once mour i told mi folks about you thay think thr soldier Boys out to think a grate Deal of you

whin i arived in Brattleboro i found mi folks all wal i tel you whot theay was very glat to se mi and also the Girls—oh Pleas giv mi love to Miss Howard2 and also to dear Carter3 also to Miss Gregg4, wont you

about mi Photograph i will send it to you in mi next letter Wal Uncle i have no moare now to write this time Ples giv mi love to all mi [ac]quainize frinds i will Close now by saying good By Dear Uncle wishing to hear from you son From year Ever tru young friend

Ples Excuse all mistakes an Bad Writing Also Excuse mi shoart letter this tim an i will try and Do Better in my next


1. Charles H. Harris enlisted as a private in Company F, 4th Vermont Infantry, at Brattleboro on September 21, 1861 and reenlisted on December 12, 1863. At the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864, the 4th Vermont sustained extraordinary losses; nearly half of the regiment of 550 men were killed or wounded. Harris was among those wounded and was sent to Armory Square Hospital. In his notebook, Whitman recorded Harris's arrival: "Charley H Harris co F. 4th Vermont bed 35—ward A May 13 '64" (Edward F. Grier, Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, [New York, New York University Press: 1984], 2:729). Harris was finally discharged for his wounds on December 31, 1864. [back]

2. Garaphelia ("Garry") Howard was one of Whitman's Washington friends. In a February 11, 1874 letter to Ellen O'Connor, Whitman describes Howard as "a good, tender girl—true as steel" (Edwin Haviland Miller, [New York: New York University Press, 1961], 2:275–277). [back]

3. Possibly "Albina H Carter co E 6th Maine g s w lft knee" (Edward F. Grier, Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, [New York, New York University Press: 1984], 2:666). [back]

4. Miss Gregg, a nurse in Armory Square Hospital Ward A. See Whitman's letter to Gregg May 6, 1864[back]


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