Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Abby H. Price, 4 February 1865

Date: February 4, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00013

Source: The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:253. 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, Vanessa Steinroetter, Nicole Gray, and Alyssa Olson

February 4 1865

My dear friend,

As you see by the date of this, I am again back in Washington. I spend a portion of my time around among the Hospitals as formerly—I find quite a good many bad old lingering wounds, & also a good many down with sickness of one sort or another—& the latter are receiving accessions every day—especially as they appear to be breaking up the Corps Hospitals in front, down in Grant's army—a good many of the men have been sent up here—day before yesterday I saw a string of over a hundred ambulances, bringing up the men from the depot, to distribute them around to the different Hospitals.

My health is pretty good, & I remain in good spirits considering.

I have a little employment here, of three or four hours every day. It is regular, & sufficiently remunerative—Sundays I spend most of the day in the Hospitals—during the week a few hours from time to time, & occasionally in the evening.

Abby, I write in haste to catch this evening's mail, so will not make out much of a letter. I was not able to get over and make you a parting visit, as I wished.

I send my love to Emily and Helen and all—

Walt Whitman

Direct to me simply to Washington, D. C. as I go to post office for my letters.

Abby H. Price (1814–1878) was active in various social-reform movements. Price's husband, Edmund, operated a pickle factory in Brooklyn, and the couple had four children—Arthur, Helen, Emily, and Henry (who died in 1852, at 2 years of age). During the 1860s, Price and her family, especially her daughter, Helen, were friends with Whitman and with Whitman's mother, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. In 1860 the Price family began to save Walt's letters. Helen's reminiscences of Whitman were included in Richard Maurice Bucke's biography, Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and she printed for the first time some of Whitman's letters to her mother in Putnam's Monthly 5 (1908): 163–169. In a letter to Ellen M. O'Connor from November 15, 1863, Whitman declared with emphasis, "they are all friends, to prize & love deeply." For more information on Whitman and Abby H. Price, see Sherry Ceniza, "Price, Abby Hills (1814–1878)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


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