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Elijah Douglass Fox to Walt Whitman, 10 November 1863

Dear Father

You will allow me to call you Father wont you. I1 do not know that I told you that both of my parents were dead but it is true and now Walt you will be a second Father to me wont you, for my love for you is hardly less than my love for my natural parent. I have never before met with a man that I could love as I do you still there is nothing strange about it for "to know you is to love you" and how any person could know you and not love you is a wonder to me. Your letter found me still here and not yet ready to start home my Papers have not yet returned from headquarters. I almost wish at times that they would not return until you come back. Were it not for the great love for my wife I would stop until you returned but I still think I shall come back eer long. I think my papers will be in tomorrow certain.

Dear Comrade do not feel bad about anything you did or did not do while here. You did much and that which I prized most of all you gave me was your love and your company. One of these I know I have and for both I would charge all the riches in the world. As for your not coming to see me I felt bad about it then but now I think it only taught me how much I should miss you and also what a vacancy there would be in my affections were I to be deprived of your love as well as your company. I have not yet seen your letter to Brown as I did not get this until nearly dark but I will go up there in the morning and see if he has received it.

I suppose you have heard that we received some 90 wounded men Sunday night a number of which were Rebels. Among the wounded were the Col and the Maj. of the 6th Wisconsin Regt. and quite a number of privates a great many of them were very badly wounded, more so than any lot I have seen come in, eight of them died while on the way. And now Dear Comarade I must bid you good by hoping you will enjoy your visit and when you return have a pleasant and safe journey be assured you will meet with a warm welcome from many in Armory Square. You will yet be rewarded for your kindness to the Soldiers. (You can direct your next either as you did the last or direct to Portage Kalamazoo Co. Mich) if it comes here it will be forwarded to me. I shall start as soon as my papers come. My love to you and now Dear Father good by for the present. Douglass


  • 1. Elijah Douglass Fox was a Union soldier in the Third Infantry Wisconsin. At the time of his enlistment in May 1861, he resided in Buena Vista, Wisconsin. According to the "Notebook: September–October, 1863" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection), Fox was brought to Armory Square Hospital on September 26, 1863; it was here where he met Walt Whitman. He was discharged from the Union army on November 10, 1863, due to disability. [back]
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