Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 3 December 1866

Date: December 3, 1866

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00152

Source: T. E. Hanley Collection, University of Texas. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:298-299. 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, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson

Dec. 3, 1866. Monday afternoon.

Dearest Mother,

I thought I would write a day before the usual time, as I did not send any letter last Saturday. For the last two days I have felt a good deal better—My head is much better, & I feel more like myself every way. I sent Han a short letter last Friday, & sent the piece from the "Galaxy"1—I thought it would please her.

I went to the Hospital yesterday afternoon—took a lot of tobacco, &c. I wrote several letters—there are quite a good many, some with sickness, some with old wounds—two or three in the last stages of consumption, &c. I go every Sunday, & sometimes Wednesday also—There are many of the patients, very young men, country boys—several from the Southern states, whose parents & homes & families are gone or broke up—& they have enlisted in the regular army—then they get down with fever or something, & are sent to Hospital—I find most of them can't read or write—there are many of these homeless Southern young men now enlisted in the regulars—they have no other resource—

We have quite a procession here to-day to "welcome Congress"—two-thirds of it consists of darkies—they look very well too—the streets are jammed with darkies—I tell you when they do turn out here they are thicker than crows in a cornfield—

The O'Connors have got to move—but can't get a house suitable—Every thing in the office same as usual—We are having beautiful bright, coolish weather—

Thursday last, Thanksgiving day, four of us went out in Maryland 15 miles, to see the Great Falls, on the Potomac. We carried a basket of grub, built a fire & made tea, &c—had a first rate, quiet time—the Falls were a fine sight—almost as impressive as Niagara—I much enjoyed the ride & every thing, & it did me good—I felt well, all day, & have felt quite well ever since. Love to you, dearest mother, & to all.



1. John Burroughs's article; see Whitman's letter from November 23, 1866[back]


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