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William H. Millis, Jr. to Walt Whitman, 25 February 1875

Beloved Friend,

Your Letter & Picture & Paper came safe.1 I hope you will excuse me for not writing sooner I have been laid up with a pain in my back ever since tuesday last, but I am feeling better at this present time & hope to [be] able to go to work tomorrow [morn]ing. I cant find words to tell you how thankfull​ I am for the Picture. I dont think that I ever had a present that I think more of than I do it. I am agoing​ to have it framed if nothing happens I want that Picture to remain in my family as long as thier​ is a member of it living. I would like very much to see you & have a long talk with you & if nothing happens I want you to visit us soon as the Weather gets pleasenter. We are as comfortable as the most of poor people that has to labor for a living. this is a very plaesent​ place in the summer time when the trees are all out in full bearing.

I will stop hopeing​ this may find you improving in health2.. also with much love & many thanks from myself & my Wife3

William H. Millis Jr. (ca. 1840–1916 was a Union soldier, who served during the American Civil War. He was the son of William H. Millis Sr., who corresponded with Whitman during the war about the condition of his wounded son (see Millis Sr.'s January 9, 1864, letter to Whitman). Whitman described Millis Jr., upon first meeting: "Wm H Millis co E 8th Penn Cav. Gen Gregg's old reg. Bridgeville Sussex co Del bed 33 Ward B May 8th '64 / g s w in Chest—w in left arm father living in Bridgeville Del" (NUPM 2:728). Millis Jr. first wrote to Whitman on January 12, 1865, thanking him for his letter (not extant) and proclaiming, "May god bless you forever I cant find words to tell you the love thier is in me for you. I hope you & I may live to meet again on this earth if not I hope we shall meet in the world w[h]ere there is no more parting." Millis, Jr. later moved to Delaware, where he worked for many years at the plant of the American Car and Foundry Company ("Old Soldier Dies," The Evening Journal, June 7, 1916, 1).


  • 1. This letter has not been located. [back]
  • 2. In January 1873, Whitman suffered a paralytic stroke that made walking difficult. He first reported it in his January 26, 1873, letter to his mother, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman (1795–1873), and continued to provide regular notes on his condition. By mid-March Whitman was taking brief walks out to the street and began to hope that he could resume work in the office. See also his March 21, 1873, letter to his mother. [back]
  • 3. William H. Millis Jr. was married to Eliza E. Connelly Millis (1845–1918). [back]
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