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Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 7 October 1863

My dear Walt,

The enclosed $10 is from Mr James P. Kirkwood1 for the use of the Hospital soilders  I will mail you another letter with some more money to-morrow

How goes things with you, Walt? What about coming home? I have not written you very lately, I have been so very busy. Mother and the rest are about the same. Andrew does not get better. I fear than Andrew will never get better. He looks very bad rather a painful case. I yesterday wrote you a letter and enclosed some money from myself, after thinking the matter over I destroyed the letter and shall give the money to Andrew, did I not do right

In acknowledging the receipt of money from me please state the amount but not who from as I dont want them to know that I dont send any myself but I honestly think when I possibly can give any thing that I ought to give it to Andrew. All the rest of us are the same as usual  Mattie and the babies are very well. the little one is growing finely and is getting to be quite a youngster  Hattie is growing up well  I often wish you was at home  I think you would enjoy her very much and it would be beneficial to her  Jess is about the same. He is not very strong, but does not get worse I think. I should like to have one of the old fashioned letters from you, and cannot you send me the letter to go to Davis2 before the 12th as the steamer goes out then

Did you write to Wm Davis at Worcester, if not wont you do so,3 and if you have leasure write to Mr Kirkwood sometime if you will4  I will give you his address  Mr Kirkwood is travelling around the eastern states on horseback and is not very well. I think a letter from you would do him good. Let me hear from you. I will write you again to-morrow.

Affectionately Thos. J. Whitman


  • 1. James P. Kirkwood (1807–1877), a prominent civil engineer and cofounder of the American Society of Civil Engineers (1852), superintended the construction of the Brooklyn Water Works as chief engineer from 1856 to 1862. After his work in Brooklyn, he moved to St. Louis and designed the waterworks which Jeff would later build. Kirkwood eventually became a nationally known independent consultant and wrote the standard text on water filtration. [back]
  • 2. Joseph Phineas Davis (1837–1917) took a degree in civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1856 and then helped build the Brooklyn Water Works until 1861. He was a topographical engineer in Peru from 1861 to 1865, after which he returned to Brooklyn. A lifelong friend of Jeff's, he became city engineer of Boston (1871–80) and completed his distinguished career as chief engineer of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (1880–1908). Whitman probably did not write this letter to Joseph Davis; he makes no reference to it in either his correspondence or his diary. [back]
  • 3. See Thomas Jefferson Whitman's letter to Walt Whitman from September 24, 1863. [back]
  • 4. There is no record of Walt Whitman writing Kirkwood at this time. [back]
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