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Walt Whitman to Miss Gregg, 7 September 1863

Dear friend,2

You spoke the other day, partly in fun, about the men being so undemonstrative. I thought I would write you a line, as I hear you leave the hospital tomorrow for a few weeks. Your labor of love & disinterestedness here in Hospital is appreciated. I have invariably heard the Ward A patients speak of you with gratitude, sometimes with enthusiasm. They have their own ways (not outside eclat, but in manly American hearts, however rude, however undemonstrative to you). I thought it would be sweet to your tender & womanly heart, to know what I have so often heard from the soldiers about you, as I sat by their sick cots. I too have learnt to love you, seeing your tender heart, & your goodness to those wounded & dying young men—for they have grown to seem to me as my sons or dear young brothers.

As I am poor I cannot make you a present, but I write you this note, dear girl, knowing you will receive it in the same candor & good faith it is written.


  • 1. Endorsed (by Walt Whitman): "Note to Miss Gregg." Draft Letter. [back]
  • 2. This nurse remains unidentified beyond her name. She is referred to in Whitman's letters from November 8–9, 1863, and November 15, 1863 . [back]
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