Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 2 April 1867

Date: April 2, 1867

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00262

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, the New York Public Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:322–323. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

Attorney General's Office,
April 2, 1867.

Dearest mother,

I rec'd your letter of March 28—you must have had rather a dreary time this winter, the cold & storms, & being left so much alone1—but now I think the spring is upon us, & I think it will be pleasant enough there all summer—

Dear mother, I have not much to write this time—I am feeling very well—no trouble in the head, nor any thing, so far—I get along very well in my boarding house—the landlady2 is a young woman, from New York State—but she works in the Treasury & leaves things to her servants, black women—I like her very well—& the place is probably as good a one as I could get—In the Office every thing is just the same—Ashton expects to leave next May or June.

We have had very pleasant weather here this week—only sometimes the dust is bad—I went to the Hospital Sunday & shall go again this afternoon—Kephart3, that had bleeding at the lungs, & pneumonia, is quite recovered—when I came away, he walked out a few blocks with me—there are one or two pretty bad cases that I go to see, yet—

Washington is filled with darkies—the men & children & wenches swarm in all directions—(I am not sure but the North is like the man that won the elephant in a raffle)—I was glad you wrote about the little girls—Tell Hattie and sis Uncle Walt sends his love to them, & is coming home to see them.



1. Louisa Van Velsor Whitman continued in her letters to complain of the severe winter. On March 21, 1867, she lamented: "it has been almost as much as your life was worth to get to the privy"; and on March 28, 1867: "it will be spring one of these days i hope . . . ." [back]

2. Mr. and Mrs. Newton Benedict operated the boarding house after the death of Juliet Grayson on January 7, 1867. This change in ownership was first noted in Walt Whitman's February 12, 1867 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]

3. Walt Whitman first wrote of Andrew J. Kephart in his February 26, 1867 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. Kephart was a soldier from Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, admitted from the 44th Regiment Infantry for bleeding at the lungs.

Walt Whitman also wrote about Kephart's recovery in his March 5, March 12, and March 19, 1867 letters to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]


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