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Walt Whitman to the Editor of the New York Herald, 26–29 (?) December 1864

Private note to Editor.1

Sir I respectfully ask you to print this communication written to start a public demand for the general exchange of prisoners of war.2 As the question now stands, the fault is altogether with our government. I hope you will feel to say a word editorialy about it, perhaps call attention in that way to the communication.

I solicit that you will find room for it to-morrow morn'g as I have sent this afternoon similar communications to one or two other papers, (though this one is different in form & made specialy for the Herald.


  • 1.

    Draft letter.

    Between December 26 and 29, 1864, Whitman sent copies of his article "The Prisoners" to several newspaper editors, including the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the New York Times. See Whitman's letters from December 26 (?), 1864, and December 29, 1864, for similar letters of solicitation to editors.

  • 2. Whitman's fervor for a general exchange of prisoners was born from his inability to effect a special exchange for his brother George, who, Whitman had told Ellen M. O'Connor in a letter dated December 4, 1864, "still remains a prisoner—as near as we can judge he is at Columbia, S C—we have had no word from him—." [back]
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