Dear Uncle As i shal now clame you four you remain as dear to me as mi one [relation] Wal Uncle i got home all lonely only i was mity tiard whin i arrived i ni Brattelboro but i am fuly wal Reasted now as four mi wound i dont think it is as wal as it was whin i left Washington but i think it will be all rite after a while Charles Dunkler get home all rite also he sens his love to you
Oh Uncle i wish you ware hear in old Vermont with me we wod have some late old times fishing a mong the green mountains that what master Wal Uncle i soppose that you like on the old court Register now as ever oh the boys must think a good deal of you i wish i had see you now i most Pay the wine it seames lonesome hear without you but Nevr mind i woant be long before i shal be whare i Can see you once mour i told mi folks about you thay think thr soldier Boys out to think a grate Deal of you
whin i arived in Brattleboro i found mi folks all wal i tel you whot theay was very glat to se mi and also the Girls—oh Pleas giv mi love to Miss Howard2 and also to dear Carter3 also to Miss Gregg4, wont you
about mi Photograph i will send it to you in mi next letter Wal Uncle i have no moare now to write this time Ples giv mi love to all mi [ac]quainize frinds i will Close now by saying good By Dear Uncle wishing to hear from you son From year Ever tru young friend
Ples Excuse all mistakes an Bad Writing Also Excuse mi shoart letter this tim an i will try and Do Better in my next
The text presented here is derived from Charley Shively, ed., Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers (San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989). For a detailed description of discrepancies between this electronic edition and the print source, see our statement of editorial policy.
The manuscript of this letter, dated May 30, 1864, is held in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature at the New York Public Library.
1. Charles H. Harris enlisted as a private in Company F, 4th Vermont Infantry, at Brattleboro on 21 Sep 1861 and reenlisted on 12 December 1863. At the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864, the 4th Vermont sustained extraordinary losses; nearly half of the regiment of 550 men were killed or wounded. Harris was among those wounded and was sent to Armory Square Hospital. In his notebook, Whitman recorded Harris's arrival: "Charley H Harris co F. 4th Vermont bed 35—ward A May 13 '64" (Edward F. Grier, Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, [New York, New York University Press: 1984], 2:729). Harris was finally discharged for his wounds on 31 December 1864. (Back)
2. Garaphelia ("Garry") Howard was one of Whitman's Washington friends. In a February 11, 1874 letter to Ellen O'Connor, Whitman describes Howard as "a good, tender girl—true as steel" (Edwin Haviland Miller, [New York: New York University Press, 1961], 2:275–277). (Back)
3. Possibly "Albina H Carter co E 6th Maine g s w lft knee" (Edward F. Grier, Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, [New York, New York University Press: 1984], 2:666). (Back)