Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Jesse Mullery to Walt Whitman, 11 June 1865

Date: June 11, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00179

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), 166. 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, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter

Dear Friend

I1 have been looking for you to visit me ever since we have been in camp here but I guess you are not coming so I have concluded to write you a short note to let you know that I am in good health and good spirits. I attended the Review the other day on purpos to see you, but I failed and I now fear you are not in Washington or I think I would have seen you. I wish you would come and see me if you can, I expect to go home soon. I think our Regiment will be in Washington the later part of this week or the first of next week and then I shall try to see you. If you see Miss H[oward]2 please tell her I am sorry she did not call at my company the evening she was at the Regt. I heard from her in a short time after she had gone, but then it was to late.

I am sorry that I did not see her and I hope I may have the pleasure of seeing you before I leave Washington. Hoping to hear from you soon I will close for to day, Yours Truly,


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 21, 1864, Mullery proposed a visit to Brooklyn. He was still at the Newark hospital on January 23, 1865. According to this letter and one of June 11, 1865, he later was able to return to active duty. [back]

2. In several letters Mullery referred to the kindnesses of Miss Howard while he was in the hospital, and another soldier, Charles H. Harris, on May 30, 1864, asked to be remembered to Miss Howard and her sister. Probably these were the Misses Sallie and Carrie Howard listed in the 1866 Directory, or Miss Garaphelia Howard—a writer, women's rights supporter, and fellow copyist with Whitman in the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster General’s Office. Garaphelia Howard is mentioned in Whitman's letter to Ellen O'Connor (1830–1913) of February 3, 1874, and discussed in Will Hansen's post "Walt and Garaphelia" for The Newberry Library Blog. [back]


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