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Bethuel Smith to Walt Whitman, 12 March 1875

 loc_jc.00123_large.jpg Bethuel Smith March 12 '75 (sent papers & a few lines April 21. '75) Queensbury Dear friend

I received your letter last weak​ 1 & was glad to hear from you I receivd​ some papers about three weaks​ ago last summer I was in brooklyn & I hunted for you but could not find you I mad​ up my mind that I would not hear from you again but I have I received your picture & I thought it looked natural it is night now & I was agoing to the villiage tomorrow So I thought I would write A few lines to you my halth​ is good & so is my family I have got three boys & one girl


the way that I came to be in brooklyn I was A Canalin​ it last summer & we went to new york new jersey brooklyn port morris newark new jersey & several places but did not see any thing of walt in anny​ of the places I talk some of canaling this summer but dont​ now​ for sertain​ yet I wat​ you to tell me where Camden is whether it is in the upper or lower part jersey or off towards newark so that if I do Come down there I can find you I would like to see you verry​ much last fall I bought A small farm & paid  loc_jc.00125_large.jpg fifty dollas​ down & fifty this spring it makes pretty hard time with me this spring I ame​ owing some debts that I dont​ no​ whether I can pay them or not this spring one of my horses is so lame that I cant​ work him & I have every thing to buy I have got one cow & the two sheep that is all of my stock youre​ letters was directed rite​ the two firts​ years of my mairage​ my wife was sick the most of the time so it used up what money that I had then but her health has ben​ verry​ well sence​ then

 loc_jc.00126_large.jpg Bethuel Smith

ther​ was so much son​ this winter that it has ben​ bad gitting​ aroung​ in this part of the cuntry​ the snow is about 4 feat​ deap​ now in the woods but not so deep in the fealds​ I like your peaces​ in the paper verry​ much I am to pay four hundred dollars for 39 3/4 acres of land A small house & barn on it I dont​ now​ as I can think of anny​ more to write at present So good buy​ for this time

this is from Bethuel Smith your friend

This pictur​ was taken about nine years ago2

Bethuel Smith (1841–1893), a New York native, was the son of Christopher Smith (1801–1871), a farmer, and Maria Smith (1811–1887). Bethuel Smith served in the Union Army—Company F, Second U.S. Cavalry—during the Civil War. Smith was wounded in 1863 and taken to Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D. C., where he met Whitman. Smith wrote to Whitman on September 17, 1863, from the U.S. General Hospital at Carlisle, Pennsylanvia, "I left the armory hospital in somewhat of A hurry." He expected, he explained on September 28, 1863, to rejoin his regiment shortly, and was stationed near Washington when he wrote on October 13, 1863. He wrote on December 16, 1863, from Culpeper, Virginia, that he was doing provost duty, and on February 28, 1864, he was in a camp near Mitchell Station, Virginia, where "the duty is verry hard." He was wounded again on June 11 (so his parents reported to Whitman on August 29, 1864), was transported to Washington, and went home on furlough on July 1. He returned on August 14 to Finley Hospital, where, on August 30, 1864, he wrote to Whitman: "I would like to see you verry much, I have drempt of you often & thought of you oftener still." He expected to leave the next day for Carlisle Barracks to be mustered out, and on October 22, 1864, he wrote to Whitman from Queensbury, New York. When his parents communicated with Whitman on January 26, 1865, Bethuel was well enough to perform tasks on the farm. Smith recovered from his injuries and went on to marry Lois E. Chadwick Smith (1845–1911). The couple had six children. Smith was one of the soldiers to whom Whitman wrote in the 1870s; see Whitman's letter to Bethuel Smith, December 1874.


  • 1. This letter has not been located. [back]
  • 2. This enclosure has not been located. [back]
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