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George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 9 December 1863

Dear Mother

I have just received a letter from Jeff, of Dec. 3d bringing the sorrowfull news of the death of Brother Andrew.1 I was somewhat prepared for the worst, by Walts letter of Dec. 1st but I still had strong hopes, that he would recover, and until I received Walts letter, I had no idea that Andrew was in any immediate danger.

Mother I am very glad to hear that Mary has been down to see you, and was with poor Andrew during his last hours, and am very sory that Walt did not stay with you a few days longer.2 Jeff speaks of my trying for a leave of absence but I hardly think it would be of any use at present,  besides I dont know that I could do any good by comeing home, although I am very anxious to see you all.

Mother I wish you or Jeff would write me a long letter giving the particulars about Andrews family and what Nancy3 proposes to do. Was Andrew burried at Cyprus Hill4 Cemetry. I would advise buying a plott of ground there if you have not done so already.

Mother I do hope that you will bear up with your troubles, and not make yourself sick by worrying. Walt wrote me that Matty and all the rest of you were doing everything in the world that could be done for Andrew and it is some consolation to know, that he died surrounded by friends and relatives,5 who were anxious to make his last hours as comfortable as possible, while so many are dying (out here) with no one about them who seems to take the least interest in them. I yesterday received a letter from Walt,6 enclosing one from Hannah dated Nov 21st. Hannah seems to be much better now than when I last heard from her, and I hope to hear soon, of her coming home to pay you a long visit.

Mother you see by this that we have moved from Crab Orchard,  we came on here last week,  this place is 38 miles from Crab Orchard, in the direction of Cumberland Gap. How long we will remain here, of course we dont know, but there is strong talk of our being ordered home to re organize and as nearly all of our men are anxious to re-enlist in the veteran Corps, I think that the chances are that we will be ordered home before many weeks. I sent you $150.00 by Addams Express a few days ago,  I was on to Lexington Ky. to Express the money for the men,7 and sent it from there, Mother dont be the least backward in useing the money for anything you want, and I know, you will do all, that is required for, Andrews Family  I dont feel like writing more to night, so good night dear Mother. Give my love to all

G. W. Whitman

I am in as good health as ever I was in my life


  • 1. Andrew Jackson Whitman finally died of his throat disease on December 3, 1863. See Thomas Jefferson Whitman's letter to Walt Whitman from December 3, 1863. [back]
  • 2. Whitman had been home in Brooklyn from November 2 to December 1, 1863. [back]
  • 3. Nancy was Andrew's wife. [back]
  • 4. George refers here to Cyprus Hills Cemetery. [back]
  • 5. Jim Cornwell and a few other of Andrew's friends helped in making the funeral arrangements. There were ten carriages in the funeral train (Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to Walt Whitman, December 4, 1863, and December 17, 1863 [Trent Collection]). [back]
  • 6. See Walt Whitman's letter to George Washington Whitman from December 6, 1863. [back]
  • 7. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman from April 22, 1863. [back]
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