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Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 14 May 1866

Dearest Mother,

I hope you are entirely over that sickness of last week—When you write you must tell me—and also how you all get along with the new quarters—I think you must be pretty badly cramped—All goes on as usual with me—I spent yesterday afternoon at the Quarter Master's hospital—it is the old dregs & leavings of the war, old wounds, brokendown sick, discharged soldiers, who have no place to go, &c.—It is a shame that the Government has provided no place for such cases, of the Volunteer Army—they are just taken in here, to prevent them dying in the street—others go to the poor house—a good many break down after discharge, & have no pensions—& what is $8 a month these days anyhow?

Mother, have [you] heard any thing lately from Han?1 I write to her every now & then—It is very pleasant weather here, quite cool to-day—Good by, dear mother,



  • 1. Hannah Louisa Whitman Heyde (1823–1908) was Walt Whitman's younger sister, and she was one of the only members of the Whitman family to read and admire Whitman's writings. She married Charles Heyde in 1852, and the couple lived in Burlington, Vermont. Charles regularly disparaged his wife and her sometimes erratic behavior in his letters. For more information on Hannah, see Paula K. Garrett, "Whitman (Heyde), Hannah Louisa (d. 1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
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