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George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 10 November 1862

Dear Mother

I have not had a chance to send you a letter for some days, but I suppose you have seen by the papers that we have crossed into Va again. We are now about 50 miles from Harpers Ferry and about 15 miles from Cullpepper court House, where the rebels are said to be in considerable force. We have found nothing but small squads so far doing picket duty, who fall back as fast as we advance. I am well and hearty but we get pretty hard fare, most of the time, but we are getting pretty well used to that. We crossed into Va on the 27th of Oct and have been traveling about from one place to another ever since, The Villiages we have passed through are the most God forsaken places I ever saw,1  the people seem to have next to nothing to eat as the men have all gone in the Secesh army, and how they are going to get through the winter I dont know. We have not seen a paper since we came into Va and we cant find out what the rest of the army is doing, or how the New York election went, so you see we are a long way behind the age  Captain Francis2 has not come back yet. and I am getting almost tired of haveing the whole trouble and responsibility of the Company and someone else getting the pay for it.  We have not been paid yet and I have something over 400$ comeing to me besides the $100 bounty which I believe I am entitled to as I was mustered into the Service as a private.

I recd your letter of Oct 26th.

Mother, I must stop writing as my candle is going out, and I hope in a few days we will get where we can send letters regular

Good Night Mother and much love to all G W Whitman


  • 1. See Civil War Diary. [back]
  • 2. Henry W. Francis, also of Buffalo, New York, was promoted to the rank of captain to replace Hazard when the latter left military service. After living with George's regiment for a time after the battle of Fredericksburg, Walt Whitman made the following comment in a letter to his mother: "Capt. Francis is not a man I could like much—I had very little to say to him." Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence (New York: New York University Press, 1961-69), 1:60. [back]
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