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Jesse Mullery to Walt Whitman, 20 February 1866

 loc_nk.00199_large.jpg Dear Friend

Yours of the 7th came to hand some time ago, but I have not as yet taken time to answer it.2 I have been about sick with a cold on my lungs, and after my days work was done I did not feel like writing.

I hope you are enjoying good health this winter. I am going to give up my place the first of Apr. I dont think it avisable for me confine myself to a store.

My health will not admit of it. I Red​ a letter from Miss Howard3 last evening stating that her sister died last fall—I had not heard from her since I left Washington. How I pity her.  loc_nk.00200_large.jpg  loc_nk.00201_large.jpg Often when my mind wanders back to the days that I spent in Armory Square,4 I can but cry. I often think I see her coming toward me, and the same sad smile on her countenance as in thoes​ days. I cannot tell how much I owe you & Miss Howard for favors while in Hospital at Washington. I lost a very near and dear friend and Brother in the Service of the United States and I know how to pity thoes​ that meet with similar losses.

I cannot write more at present But beleive​ me sincerely your true Friend although I am far away from you.

My Hearts desire is that you may live a long and happy life and when you leave this Earth you may be prepared for a better life—

Hoping to hear from you soon I close  loc_nk.00202_large.jpg

please write Soon— Jesse R. Mullery To Walt Whitman Washington D.C.  loc_nk.00197_large.jpg Atty Gen Office Ltr Jesse Mullins Attorney Genl office)  loc_nk.00198_large.jpg

According to Whitman's "Hospital Book 12" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection), Sergeant Jesse Mullery, Company K, Fifteenth New Jersey, was in Ward A, Armory Square Hospital, on May 14, 1864. The twenty-year-old boy had been "shot through shoulder, ball in lung—(ball still in probably near lung)—lost right finger." On June 23, 1864, he went home to Vernon, New Jersey, on furlough, and then served as assistant cook in the army hospital in Newark. On December 21, 1864, Mullery proposed a visit to Brooklyn. He was still at the Newark hospital on January 23, 1865. According to his letters of May 3 and June 11, 1865, he later was able to return to active duty. By 1866, Mullery was employed in a store in New York.


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Mr. Walter Whitman | Washington. | D.C. It is postmarked: Warwick | FEB | 21 | N.Y.; CARRIER | FEB | 22 | 1 P.M. [back]
  • 2. This letter has not been located. [back]
  • 3. In several letters Mullery referred to the kindnesses of Miss Howard while he was in the hospital, and another soldier, Charles H. Harris, on May 30, 1864, asked to be remembered to Miss Howard and her sister. Probably these were the Misses Sallie and Carrie Howard listed in the 1866 Directory, or Miss Garaphelia Howard—a writer, women's rights supporter, and fellow copyist with Whitman in the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster General’s Office. Garaphelia Howard is mentioned in Whitman's letter to Ellen O'Connor (1830–1913) of February 3, 1874, and discussed in Will Hansen's post "Walt and Garaphelia" for The Newberry Library Blog. [back]
  • 4. Armory Square Hospital was the hospital Walt Whitman most frequently visited in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. Because of Armory Square's location near a steamboat landing and railroad, it received the bulk of serious casualties from Virginia battlefields. At the end of the war, it recorded the highest number of deaths among Washington hospitals. See Martin G. Murray, "Traveling with the Wounded: Walt Whitman and Washington's Civil War Hospitals." [back]
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