Skip to main content

George Washington Whitman to Walt Whitman, 6 February 1863

Dear Walt.

We have just received orders to cook three days rations and be ready to march immediately  I beleive the whole of the 9th Army Corps are ordered to report at Fortress Monroe. If so I suppose we will march to Aquia Creek, and go on board of Transports  My own oppinion is that Burnside1 is to collect a force at Fortress Monroe, and start off again on his own hook with a sepperate command. I wrote you a few days since,2 to send home for Mother to send you $20 by express and for you to bring it, when you came down here. Of course you will keep it, untill we get to some place where you can either send it by express or bring it yourself. We will probaly stay somewhere around Fortress Monroe for some time, if so you can take a run down there and see me,  I will write you as soon as we get there. I have my house nearly finished, and was going to have a nice warm place. Capt Sims3 left here yesterday for home on a leave of absence for 10 days. I was going to apply as soon as he came back and was makeing lots of reckoning of going home for a few days, but I suppose there will be no getting away now for some time.

Walt, I have not received the letter you sent with the money, nor have I received any letter from you since the 27th of Jan. I wish you would write home telling them that we are going to leave here, as I dont know that I shall get a chance to write before we start. I will write to them as soon as we get to Fortress Monroe or wherever we may go. The mail is about closeing so I must stop. Good bye for the present



  • 1. Ambrose Everett Burnside (1824–1881) organized at the outbreak of the war the First Rhode Island Infantry. He was then in command of the Expedition Against the Coast of North Carolina. [back]
  • 2. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Walt Whitman from February 1, 1863. [back]
  • 3. Samuel H. Sims, a captain in George's Fifty-first New York Volunteer Regiment, had been the subject in part of Walt Whitman's article, "Our Brooklyn Boys in the War," which appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, on January 5, 1863. Sims died on July 30, 1864, of wounds received near Petersburg, Virginia (see George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from August 9, 1864). Walt Whitman may have lived in Sims's tent during part of his stay at Falmouth, Virginia, opposite Fredericksburg—a trip that Walt took in search of George after reading his brother's name in the New York Herald listed among the wounded in the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. As it turned out, George only suffered a minor injury; George wrote in a letter to his mother on December 16, 1862: "I have come out safe and sound, although I had the side of my jaw slightly scraped with a peice of shell which burst at my feet." [back]
Back to top