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Manville Wintersteen to Walt Whitman, 1 March 1875

Kind sir,

I received your card1 was glad to here​ from a soldiers friend in time of need and if you are the friend that took care of me I am glad to here​ from you I can not place you as I did not learn your name but havent forgot the kindness I recived​ while in the Army​ Square Hospital2 I would like to see you

I draw a small pencion​ am owing to york St[ate] grafting in a bout​ 3 weeks

I guess you are the friend that wrote a ltter​ for me when I first came to the hospital I am glad to here​ from eny one​ write again

my respects and good wishes3

Manville Ellwood Wintersteen (1841–1917), a Pennsylvania native, was a Union solder during the U. S. Civil War. He served in the Sixth Ohio Cavalry, was wounded in the left shoulder, and, according to Whitman's "Notebook: September–October, 1863" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.), "came in frozen" from a "cav[alry] fight." According to Wintersteen's service records and his records from an Ohio National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, he suffered a gun shot wound in the left side of his chest in 1863, in Culpeper, Virginia, during the Battle of Culpeper Court House. In his hospital notes, Whitman termed him "a noble sized young fellow" (Charles I. Glicksberg, Walt Whitman and the Civil War [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1933], 150), and referred to him briefly in Specimen Days as "Manvill Winterstein" (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1882–1883, 77). In 1875 Whitman wrote to Wintersteen, who, on March 1, replied: "I can not place you as I did not learn your name but havent forgot the kindness I recived while in the Arm[or]y Square Hospital." On March 10 of the same year, Wintersteen acknowledged receipt of Whitman's picture, and on August 8 described his not-so-prosperous circumstances. Whitman's letters to Wintersteen have not yet been located.


  • 1. This letter has not been located. [back]
  • 2. After being wounded in Virginia, Wintersteen was taken to Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D. C. in September of 1863. According to jottings in Whitman's notebooks, Wintersteen occupied Ward C, bed 21 (Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers, ed. Charley Shively [San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989], 227). [back]
  • 3. No signature is indicated in the transcription. [back]
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