Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William E. Vandemark to Walt Whitman, 31 July 1863

Date: July 31, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00128

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. 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), 204. 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, Tim Jackson, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, and Nick Krauter

Friend witman

I1 now take the plesure of fulfilling my promace of writing to yo hoping to find yo en Joying good hlth I am not very well i am worse now than wen i got out of bed i tore my wound acoming home the hole is a bout half an inch square I hante ben noware sence i have been home i have had the docter and he ordered me to bathe in sider soaky i will hef to have my furlow exstended I would have written be fore but i was not able to do it yo must exscuse me—

the crops look much better here than they do in washington I find a grate many that donte know me when i arrived in york my cosin was thare and he brought me to my home it has ben rainy ever since I have been home—

give my love to the boys in ward B I will be back Just as soon as i am able to come

No more at present Good by answer by return mail from a friend and ever shall be


1. William E. Vandemark, a private in Company I of the 120th New York Infantry, was wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863. Whitman noted that Vandemark was placed in "bed 39-Ward B" at Armory Square Hospital, and Whitman may have written a letter to Vandemark's sister Sarah in Accord, New York (Edward F. Grier, ed., Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 2:644). Vandemark returned home on furlough and was briefly transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps during the summer of 1864 before returning to his regiment. He was killed on a skirmish line during the charge on Fort Davis at Petersburg, Virginia, on September 28, 1864. [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.