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George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 9 June 1862

Dear Mother

I have just received your letter of June 4th and hope you will write me oftener, I sent you a letter containing five dollars 5 or 6 days ago which I supose you received   I also sent you thirty dollars by Adams Express. Please write if you received it all right. Everything here remains quiet,  I am perfectly well and get along first rate. The Captain of our company1 has a Wife, staying at his Brothers in Burlington Vermont,  he has writen to her saying I had a Sister there, and asking her to call and see her,  he received a letter to night from his wife saying, that she had been there two or three times  once Han and Heyde were out  the next time she saw Heyde who said that he and Han would call and see her,  this was a Month or 6 weeks ago,  She says in her letter that Han has never called and I am quite certain that Heyde never told Han any thing about Mrs Fancis, calling, or she would have went to see her, as she could have heard from me every week. Mrs. Francis also says that she has heard from some of Hans friends that Heyde does not treat her very well but she wrote for him not to say any thing about that to me.

Mother I wish you would write to Han asking her to come home and if she wants money to come home with   I will send it to her  I want her to come very much  if I could get away I would go myself to Burlington on purpose to give that little Cuss Heyde a good square kicking.

Mother dont fail to write to Han immediately and try and get her to come home and stay. If you think it would be better for Walt to go on there and see how things are I will send him some money if he will go, and then he can bring Han back if things are as we susspect.

Mother you dont say any thing about your cold in the letter I got to night so I hope you are entirely over it. So Bunkum has gone Sogering too has he,2 well they will have good times in Baltimore for it seems to me this war is about played out,  I have been rather doubtful about Corinth3 but it seems Halleck has cleared them out of there, and if Mac,4 does the clean thing at Richmond I dont see what hope will be left them

I told you in my last letter of the splendid present the boys of our company made me  I am very proud of it I tell you  We have had a couple of as pretty flags as I ever saw presented to the Regt  one by the Ladies of New York and one by the City.  The New York Comon Concill when they appropriated the money for the flag they gave us said something about our exchanging (the flag that we have carried ever since we left New York) for the new one,  the Colonel one day when the Regt was out on drill, stated the case to the Boys and asked if they would exchange,  the boys let up such a yell as convinced the Colonel that the City would have a good time getting that old Flag. It has 15 or 20 bullet holes in it and the staff was shot into at Newbern, and we think a great deal of it.

Well Mother I beleive that is all all I have got to say. So good night and Much Love to all

Lieut G. W. Whitman Co D  
 51st Regt N.Y.V.


  • 1. Morris Hazard, Jr. was captain of Company D until his discharge from the army on May 7, 1862. [back]
  • 2. This is George's first of three direct references (see George Washington Whitman's letters to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from June 29, 1862, and September 30, 1862) to the soldiering of his brother Andrew. It still remains a mystery whether Andrew Whitman ever entered military service. An inquiry to the Bureau of National Archives produced the reply that George Whitman was the only brother of Walt Whitman fighting in the Civil War (Katherine Molinoff, Monographs on Unpublished Whitman Material [Brooklyn, New York: Comet Press, 1941], 18–19). Further, a similar query by the editor to the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs in Albany also failed to uncover the name of Andrew Whitman. Yet in a letter from Walt Whitman to Lewis Kirk Brown from November 8–9, 1863, Walt Whitman wrote that Andrew "too was a soldier." [back]
  • 3. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from June 1, 1862. [back]
  • 4. General George Brinton McClellan (1826–1885) was General-in-Chief of the Army of the United States from November 1861, until July 1862, when he was replaced by General Henry W. Halleck. In 1864, when McClellan ran for the presidency, the Democratic party split between war Democrats and peace Democrats. To satisfy the war Democrats McClellan was nominated; to satisfy the peace Democrats C. L. Vallandigham and his followers were allowed to draft the platform. Thomas Jefferson Whitman evidently considered the entire Democratic party as "the peace party" as evidenced from the letter to his brother Walt dated July 7, 1863. [back]
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