Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Elijah Douglass Fox to Walt Whitman, 7 November 1863

Date: November 7, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00133

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), 143-144. 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, Kathryn Kruger, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Nick Krauter

Dear friend Walt

Not knowing what they were agoing to do with me until thursday last is my excuse for not writing sooner. Thursday I expected my dischar[g]e so that I could start Friday but on going to the office I found that they had not yet been signed by Bliss you recollect that Stearns told me he knew that they had gone up and when the truth was known he knew nothing about it thursday afternoon my papers wer sent in to the ward for me to go before Bliss1 he examined me and told me I could have my papers in three days think I can start tuesday for home I have got so that I am able to walk to the Sutler's and back

(Walt it is useless for me to try to tell you how much i have missed you at night when my supper was brought in there was still something wanting that that was your cheerful smiling face! and then too I missed your kiss of friendship and love as also your kind "good night" or "So long")

I should like much to have seen you again before I went home. I have some thoughts of going up to Annapolis before I start north but have not yet decided. please write as soon as you get this and direct to Portage Kalamazoo, Co. Michigan good by dear friend

I remain your own
Adopted Douglass


1. D. Willard Bliss (1825–1889) was a surgeon with the Third Michigan Infantry, and afterward in charge of Armory Square Hospital. See John Homer Bliss, Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America, from about the year 1550 to 1880 (Boston: John Homer Bliss, 1881), 545. He practiced medicine in Washington after the war; see "Letter from Walt Whitman to Hiram Sholes, May 30, 1867" (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961], 1:331–332). When a pension for Whitman was proposed in the House of Representatives in 1887, Dr. Bliss was quoted: "I am of opinion that no one person who assisted in the hospitals during the war accomplished so much good to the soldiers and for the Government as Mr. Whitman" (Thomas Donaldson, Walt Whitman the Man [New York: F. P. Harper, 1896], 169). [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.