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Manville Wintersteen to Walt Whitman, 8 August 1875

Kind sur​ Uncl​

I recived​ your welcom​ and expecd​ letter1 was glad to here​ from you I neglect wrighting​ for I am not much on a right but I must wright​ to you Moather​ 2 ses​ I aught​ to right​ to one that was a friend in time of need I am glad to know that you are living I should like to see you very much if I could I would but traviling​ cost money and I did not get much from where I am I supose​ their​ is not much call for help in Campdin​ I get 4 dollers​ per month pencion​ but every little helps in hard times very plesent​ weather and crops look well here since the rain we had last weak​ I am working by the month since I came home from York St

I can come home very​ Sunday and as I looked at your pictur​ I sed​ I must wright​ eny how​ if ever so poor a letter but you will excuse from a friend though many miles away this world is ful​ of trouble and we and we all have our share sum​ is blest​ with health and wealth while others . . . want3 but I am glad to get along and be most well

I can allways​ find work wright​ again

My love to you and good wishes, Yours truly4

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 is not extant. [back]
  • 2. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 3. Charley Shively's ellipses seem to indicate that there are words missing at this point in the letter. [back]
  • 4. No signature is indicated in the transcription. [back]
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