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Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 10 June 1864

Dearest mother

I got your letter dated last Wednesday—I do not always depend on Swinton's1 accounts—I think he is apt to make things full as bad as they are, if not worse—

Mother, I was so glad to get a letter from Jeff this morning enclosing one from George dated June 1st—it was so good to see his handwriting once more—I have not heard any thing of the reg't—there are all sorts of rumors here, among others that Burnside does not give satisfaction to Grant & Meade, & that it is expected some one else will be placed in command of 9th Corps—Another rumor, more likely, is that our base of the army is to be changed to Harrison's Landing on James river instead of White House on Pamunky—

Mother, I have not felt well again the last two days as I was Tuesday, but I feel a good deal better this morning, I go around, but most of the time feel very little like it—the doctor tells me I have continued too long in the hospitals, especially in a bad place, armory building, where the worst wounds were, & have absorbed too much of the virus in my system—but I know it is nothing but what a little relief & sustenance of right sort, will set right—

I am writing this in Major Hapgood's office—he is very busy paying off some men whose time is out, they are going home to New York—I wrote to George yesterday—we are having very pleasant weather here just now—Mother, you didn't mention whether Mary had come, so I suppose she has not, I should like to see her & Ansel too2

The wounded still come here in large numbers—day & night trains of ambulances—tell Jeff the $10 from Mr Lane for the soldiers came safe—I shall write to Jeff right away—I send my love to Mat & all—Mother, you must try to keep good heart—



  • 1. William Swinton was a correspondent of the New York Times; see Walt Whitman's letter from February 23, 1863. At this time he was at Grant's headquarters; signed dispatches appeared in the Times on May 24, 1864 (see note 1 to the letter from May 25, 1864) and May 30, 1864. On July 5, 1864, Mrs. O'Connor reported that Swinton was in Washington: "He looked sick, & says he is. He has had chills & fever, caught on the James River" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection). [back]
  • 2. Ansel Van Nostrand was the husband of Mary Van Nostrand, the former Mary Elizabeth Whitman. [back]
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