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William E. Vandemark to Walt Whitman 7 December 1863

Dear Father

I1 have wrten to yo some time a go and have not had answer as yet i donte know wat to think some times i think that yo have not received the letter  I hope wen those few lines reach you they will find yo well i am quite well my hip hurts me some friday i was exazamend by the beast of dockters i would not go in the invalid corps so they send me to my ridgement i am willing to go and try and do my duty thair and if the Rebs hit me a gen all rite i will take up with it

the wether is quite cold here now and we had a bout two inches snow here i suppose that i will be in elickzander [Alexandria] they cant put me in the invalid corps i think thair is to much humbug thair i have ben home sence i left Washington i wish yo would see dockter blis and have him to send my discriptive list to the sargent in charge for i hante ben paid in very neer six month and cant get paid without the discriptive list he will direct it to Dockter Smith, Sargent in charge Decam general-hospittle Davids Island N Y H

pleas write and let me know how yo are geting a long and how the boys is gets a long tel them i am going to my ridgment agen i like the place very well thair is 22 pavilions and they are bilding all the time and a nice Church here and then other fixtures such as headquarters and the like of the church is the St pauls docktren to day was communeion i was up to see the site of corse

well father we have had some splendid vicktorys and it maks me feel that i have confidence yet and hope that day will not be fare off we peace will be in our land once more may god grant us the blesing of a spedy peace at the same time not give the Rebs an inch of ground for war here after for father to think the lives that has ben lost in this war i suppose that god knows best in all things father i long to see yo and have good talk to yo a grate meny of the boys have gone to bedlous island but they will hardly leave thair this winter thair is lots of virmen that here they are hard cases i think

well father i will hef to close now good by from Wm E Vandemark to his friend Walt Whitman please write


  • 1. William E. Vandemark, a private in Company I of the 120th New York Infantry, was wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863. Whitman noted that Vandemark was placed in “bed 39—Ward B” at Armory Square Hospital, and Whitman may have written a letter to Vandemark's sister Sarah in Accord, New York (Edward F. Grier, ed., Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, 6 vols. [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 2:644). Vandemark returned home on furlough and was briefly transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps during the summer of 1864 before returning to his regiment. He was killed on a skirmish line during the charge on Fort Davis at Petersburg, Virginia, on September 28, 1864. [back]
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