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Milford C. Reed to Walt Whitman, 1 June 1889

 loc.03559.001_large.jpg from an old cavalry soldier My Dear Old Friend

The enclosed I clipped from the Inter Ocean today, and as this is my 48th birthday, I am prompted by old recolections​ to write you a few lines congratulating you on your 70th birthday. I hope you will long and prosper. This brings me back to 27 years ago when I used to see your sturdy form and kindly face in Washington. I dont know that you will remember me but I think you will. Do you remember the young man of the 5th US Cavalary who you used to visit in Armory Square Hospital and the many times you used to take me into a Restaurant and give me a loc.03559.002_large.jpg  loc.03559.003_large.jpg good square meal. I suppose you done that to so many you would hardly remember me by that. for all Soldiers know​ to you looked upon you as their friend, for you ever wore your heart on your sleeve to Old Soldier boys. You used to call me Cody then. I well rember​ the last time I saw you it was in in the street in New York you had a little girl with you at the time, and readily recognised me. Well I have not changed so very much only of course somewhat older. hair sprinkled somewhat with gray. your hair cannot be much more white than it was in the long ago. I hope you are in good health and may continue so to a good loc.03559.004_large.jpg  loc.03559.005_large.jpg round old age. for you deserve it well and you also deserve well of your country. for you were ever a friend of the Soldier and of your country. 27 years and what history for the US has been written in that time. For the years gone by I have often passed through Camden, and had I have known it was your home I should surely have stopped to see you, that I might once more have crasped​ you by the hand and looked into that kindly face and fought over our battles (once again) in Washington. I would like very much to hear from you. should you remember me and have the leisure and should I in the future be near loc.03559.006_large.jpg Camden. I will certainly do myself the pleasure of calling on you.

Bleive​ me Yours Sincerly​ MC Reed 222 So Clark st Chicago Ill

Milford C. Reed (1844–1894), also known as Cody M. Reed, was born in New York and moved to Michigan, eventually enlisting in the Company K of the Third Michigan Infantry. He transferred to the U.S. cavalry and served for 19 months from November 1862 until June 1864 in Company F of the Fifth Cavalry. He then served in the First New York Light Artillery in 1864–1865. He wrote to Whitman on May 26, 1865 to ask him for help with a watch he had pawned. For more on Reed, see Steve Soper, Men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry, "Cody M. Reed,"


  • 1. This letterhead is on all three pages of stationery. [back]
  • 2. Whitman sent this letter as an enclosure in his June [8]–9 1889, letter to Canadian physician Richard Maurice Bucke. [back]
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