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Walt Whitman to Byron Sutherland, 15 October 1865

Dear Friend:

I write you a few lines to let you know that I have come home on a month's furlough—there is nothing very new or special with me. I am still employed in the Attorney Gen'l's office, & shall return there before the middle of next month. I often think about you, & wish it was so we could have each others society frequently—Byron,1 I don't know certain whether I have written to you since I rec'd your last letter or not—but it came safe, & was glad to hear from you—write soon, my dear comrade, & direct your letter to me, Portland Av. near Myrtle, Brooklyn, New York.2 Soon as I get back to Washington, I will send you word.

Here in this place & New York, I go around quite a good deal—it is a great excitement to go around the busiest parts of New York, Broadway, & the wharves, & great ferries—The oceans of people, the trucks & omnibuses, go all jammed together, & such bustle & noise—I like it much for a few hours now and then—but don't want to be continually in it—I have made an addition to the little book "Drum Taps,"3 & will send you one of the perfect copies soon—we had a fine long pouring rain here all last night—I am writing this home at my mother's, in the front basement sitting by the stove, as the weather is cool—Mother is absent at Burlington, Vt, but returns to-morrow—the others have gone to church, etc—so I am entirely alone to-day—so I thought I couldn't do better than write to you. Dear comrade, I hope you are well & doing well—write soon, boy—from your loving friend and comrade—

Walt Whitman.


  • 1. Whitman corresponded with Byron Sutherland, a soldier, between 1865 and 1870. On September 20, 1868, he wrote to Sutherland: "I retain just the same friendship I formed for you the short time we were together, (but intimate,) in 1865" (Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection, New York Public Library; Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 2:44–45). [back]
  • 2. Whitman had written to Sutherland on August 26, 1865 . [back]
  • 3. Whitman refers to Sequel to Drum-Taps; see also his letter to Ellen M. O'Connor of October 12, 1865 . [back]
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