Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William H. Millis, Jr. to Walt Whitman, 16 February 1874

Date: February 16, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00394

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, 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: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989), 160. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Ashley Lawson, Kevin McMullen, Caterina Bernardini, Cristin Noonan, Marie Ernster, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

Dover, Delaware,
February 16, 1874

Dear Friend

Your card came to me on the night of the 13th.1 I was agreeable surprised to think that you had not forgotten me as I shall never forget you as long as I live. My father & mother2 is still living in Bridgeville But myself & my little Family live near the capital of this state. I am married & have one Child I will be 3 years married3 in March. I am about as well as I could expect to be under circumstances. You cant begin to think how proud I felt when I got your card.

If you can make it convient I would like for you to pay us a visit in May, as we will be better fixed then to accomodate you then we are at present.

Hoping this may find you well & also that we may here from again soon,

I remain your &c.

William H. Millis Jr. (ca. 1840–1916 was a Union soldier, who served during the American Civil War. He was the son of William H. Millis Sr., who corresponded with Whitman during the war about the condition of his wounded son (see Millis Sr.'s January 9, 1864, letter to Whitman). Whitman described Millis Jr., upon first meeting: "Wm H Millis co E 8th Penn Cav. Gen Gregg's old reg. Bridgeville Sussex co Del bed 33 Ward B May 8th '64 / g s w in Chest—w in left arm father living in Bridgeville Del" (NUPM 2:728). Millis Jr. first wrote to Whitman on January 12, 1865, thanking him for his letter (not extant) and proclaiming, "May god bless you forever I cant find words to tell you the love thier is in me for you. I hope you & I may live to meet again on this earth if not I hope we shall meet in the world w[h]ere there is no more parting." Millis, Jr. later moved to Delaware, where he worked for many years at the plant of the American Car and Foundry Company ("Old Soldier Dies," The Evening Journal, June 7, 1916, 1).


1. This postal card has not been located. [back]

2. William H. Millis Jr. was the son of William H. Millis (1871–1888)—a house carpenter— and his wife, Sarah Ann Smith Millis (1818–1890). [back]

3. William H. Millis Jr. was married to Eliza E. Connelly Millis (1845–1918). [back]


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