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Walt Whitman to N. M. and John B. Pratt, 10 June 1865

Mr. & Mrs. Pratt:

As I am visiting your son Alfred1 occasionally, to cheer him up in his sickness in hospital, I thought you might like a few words, though from a stranger, yet a friend to your boy. I was there last night, and sat a while by the bed, as usual, & he showed me the letter he had just received from home. He wrote to you yesterday. He has had diarrhea pretty bad, but is now improved & goes about the hospital—but as the weather is pretty hot & powerful in the midst of the day, I advised him not to go outdoors much at present. What he wants most is rest, and a chance to get his strength again. I expect he will improve by degrees, & I hope it will not be very long before he will be sent home—though I don't know, as I am only a friend, occasionally visiting the hospitals. Alfred has good accommodations where he is, & a good doctor, & nursing—so you must not worry about him. I shall stop & see him a little every day, as he likes to have me, & I like him too. Poor young men, there are hundreds & thousands of them here, wounded or sick, in the great army hospitals—many of them suffering with amputations & wounds—others with sickness, & so faint & weak, this weather—it is enough to make one's heart bleed—

As to Alfred, he is comparatively well off, there are so many with bad wounds &c.—the deaths are quite frequent. He will soon be restored, according to present appearances.

We are having very hot weather here, & it is dry & dusty—The City is alive with soldiers from both the Army of the Potomac & the Western Armies, brought here by Sherman. There have been some great Reviews here, as you have seen in the papers—& thousands of soldiers are going home every day.

You must write to Alfred often, as it cheers up a boy sick & away from home. Write all about domestic & farm incidents, and as cheerful as may be. Direct to him, in Ward C, Armory Square Hospital, Washington, D. C. Should any thing occur, I will write you again, but I feel confident he will continue doing well. For the present farewell.

Walt Whitman Washington  
 D C


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