Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William H. Millis, Jr. to Walt Whitman, 4 April 1875

Date: April 4, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00396

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), 161. 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,
April 4, 1875

Dear Friend,

Again I take the time & privlege of droping a few lines to tell you that we have not forgotten you & want to hear from you.1 We have had a son borned since we heard from you & We call him Walter Whitman Millis2 in honer to you for Love for you.

How I would like to see your dear old face once more. Times is very hard here, & money is very scarce. Hoping to hear from you soon.

We remain yours with love

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. Whitman's letters to William H. Millis Jr. are not extant. Based on the surviving letters of Millis Jr. to Whitman, it is evident that the two corresponded off and on between the years of 1863 and 1875. Although Millis Jr. made no note of any recently received communication from Whitman in this letter, he reported in his letter of February 25, 1875, that he had received a letter, picture, and paper from Whitman ahead of his response to the poet. [back]

2. Walt Whitman Millis was born in 1875; he passed away the following year, in 1876. He is buried in Dover, Delaware. [back]


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