Skip to main content

William E. Vandemark to Walt Whitman, 16 December 1863

Dear brother and comrad

I1 received a letter from yo this mornin dated the 13 and was very glad to hear from yo i am not very well i have good dele of pain in my hip and head i see by the tones of yiour letter that yo are not very well i hope by the time this letter reaches yo they may find yo well i know it is bad to loos a brother but the lord giveth and the lord taketh away an then we must all sooner or later give up this world— i had a few lines from home this morning my little girl is sick and i feeling bad to think that i cant see her now but my prays is that she may better soon well father i am going to my ridgement i think the doctor marked so but i cant march we expect evry day to start for elickazandry [Alexandria] to the convalesent camp if i could get to the city i could get my discharge but i cant father i thank yo for seeing about my discriptave list for they owe me now six months pay and i want i very bad they paid all those that had thair discriptave lists the doctors here are meen for they have no feeing to a man father the wether is getting cold here now and i will be glad wen i get away from here i long to see yo and have a good talk with yo for yo have ben kind to me wen i Could not help my self and i hope the day may come wen i can do for yo some good in return for father you donte know how i do love you i donte know wy it is i am more attached yo than enny one that i was acquainted with the papers gives us good news now conserning the war i hope theat peace may soone be proclaimed thair has been a grate many lives lost in the cruel war father i wish that yo would send yiour likenes and i will send yo mine & i wish that i could see yo i hope that i may soon see yo their is about 15 rebs here now they get all they want and the docters pays thair attention to the will the rebs over our men like dogs now strange it is well it may be all for the best i hope they will turn thair corse before it is to late

Deair father and Comrad i will close now good by and may god take care of yo and that we may soon meet from friend & son William Vandemark to his comrad and father and friend


  • 1. William E. Vandemark, a private in Company I of the 120th New York Infantry, was wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863. Whitman noted that Vandemark was placed in “bed 39—Ward B” at Armory Square Hospital, and Whitman may have written a letter to Vandemark's sister Sarah in Accord, New York (Edward F. Grier, ed., Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 2:644). Vandemark returned home on furlough and was briefly transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps during the summer of 1864 before returning to his regiment. He was killed on a skirmish line during the charge on Fort Davis at Petersburg, Virginia, on September 28, 1864. [back]
Back to top