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William H. Millis, Jr. to Walt Whitman, 27 September 1875

Dear Uncle Whitman

I feel very anxious to hear from you so I thought I would drop a few lines to you to let you know that I have not forgotten you but often think of you.

We are all very well at the present & hope these few lines may find you in the best of health & enjoyments. Our Little Walt Whitman1 is well & Growing very fast. Dover is very dull at the present & no prospect for any better this fall & Winter.. from the present prospects I for one will be out of employment this Winter. I hardly know what I shall do as I have a family to keep now

Hopeing​ to hear from you soon & also to hear of your being well2 We all join in sending our Love to you. & may God bless you in your old age Please write soon to me

Yours With respect & love

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. In his April 4, 1875 letter to Whitman, William H. Millis, Jr. announced the birth of his son, who was named Walter Whitman "in honor to you for Love for you," remarked Millis, Jr. Walt Whitman Millis passed away the following year, in 1876. He is buried in Dover, Delaware. [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]
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