Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Jesse Mullery to Walt Whitman, 23 January 1865

Date: January 23, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00177

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), 164. 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, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter

My Dear Friend,

I1 have been thinking about writing you at Brooklyn but as I did not know for certain that you were there I have waited until now so that I might be shure this would find you in Washington I presume you are there by this time and I hope soon to receive a communication from you. I have thought of you very often since I saw you and would have gone to Brooklyn to see you again had my health been good enough. I have not been out much since I saw you as the weather would not admit and when the weather is stormy my wound pains me so much that I am obliged to remain quiet: I received a letter from James a few days ago acknowledgeing the receipt of your card. I also sent him your letter which he says he was very much pleased with: and he says he will always keep the card in remembrance of one who was so kind to me when I was so much in kneed of a little care When I wrote him before I did not tell him the picture was for him but merely enclosed your letter with the card in it telling him to return the letter after he had read it. And in answering he says The accompanying picture I understand is for me for which you will please give Mr Whitman my warmest thanks also for his kind rememberance of me I hope he may live to see you for I believe he has a great desire to as he speaks of you in every letter—

I presume you have seen some of my Washington friends ere this, and I hope to hear from them when I hear from you. If you see Miss Howard please remember me to her as you know I have good reason to thank her for many a kind turn which she wrought for me during my stay in that city2. I cannot forget Armory Square hospital and I have a strong desire to visit that place again. Please tell Mr Woods (if you see him) I am enjoying good health and I send my kind regards to him and all others that I am acquainted with who may be in Ward A.

Hoping to hear from you soon I will subscribe myself yours affectionately


1. According to Whitman's "Hospital Book 12" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection), Sergeant Jesse Mullery, Company K, Fifteenth New Jersey, was in Ward A, Armory Square Hospital, on May 14, 1864. The twenty-year-old boy had been "shot through shoulder, ball in lung—(ball still in probably near lung)—lost right finger." On June 23, 1864, he went home to Vernon, N. J., on furlough, and then served as assistant cook in the army hospital in Newark. On December 26, 1864, Mullery proposed a visit to Brooklyn. He was still at the Newark hospital on January 23, 1865. According to his letters of May 3 and June 11, 1865, he later was able to return to active duty. [back]

2. In several letters Mullery referred to the kindnesses of a Miss Howard while he was in the hospital, and another soldier, Charles H. Harris, on May 30, 1864 (Berg Collection, New York Public Library), asked to be remembered to Miss Howard and her sister. On February 20, 1866, Mullery wrote that one of the Howard sisters had died the preceeding fall, and recalled "the Same Sad Smile on her countenance" (Library of Congress). Probably these were the Misses Sallie and Carrie Howard listed in the 1866 Directory, or the Miss Garaphelia Howard mentioned in Whitman's letter to Ellen M. O'Connor from February 3, 1874 (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 2: 271–272). [back]


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