Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William E. Vandemark to Walt Whitman, 2 November 1863

Date: November 2, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00131

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), 205. 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

Dear Father

I1 now take the plesure of fulfilling my promace a writing to you hoping those few lines will find you well 1 am getting better fast

i am at home now i got home after noon my famly is well i left washington wensday we got to Jursey city thursday twelve oclock then we was taken to davids islind and then friday they gave us passes for 8 days i will come to brooklin sunday morning i wish that yo would meet me at fulten street fery i long to see yo and have a long talk with yo

It rains here this morning and to day is lection one of my neighbor men runs for member of assembly he is a good union man and i hope that he will get elected for he is a good union man—

i am in the hospittle on davids island up the east river the hospittle is very large and nice place we have nice breazes of wind all the wile i suppose that there will hef to be some heavy fiting soon agen the rain :has made very hiwater here

i am soon going to lection to go the union ticket hope the state will go union all through

the poor for us their prayers will send for blessing rich and endless and was not Jesus poor a friend to us—else poor and friendly that through his poverty and pain we might the bliss of angels gain a christian help the needy

well father i will close now with giveing yo the address

write soon for i long to heer from yo from William E Vandemark to his father good by


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Whitman may have written a letter to Vandemark's sister Sarah in Accord, New York (Edward F. Grier, ed., Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 2:644).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.