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Letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, March 31, 1863

Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, March 31, 1863." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 85-87.
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On a rainy day in Washington, Whitman writes to his mother. He discusses the people he has met in D.C. and the progress of the Army. He is not homesick yet, but misses his mother and his niece, Mat.

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To Louisa Van Velsor Whitman
Washington March 31, 1863.
Dearest mother,
I have not heard from George, except a note he wrote me a couple of days after he got back from his furlough—I think it likely the regiment has gone with its corps to the west, to the Kentucky or Tennessee region—Burnside at last accounts was in Cincinnati—Well it will be a change for George, if he is out there—I sent a long letter to Han last Saturday, enclosed George’s note to me. Mother, when you or Jeff writes again, tell me if my papers & MSS are all right—I should be very sorry indeed if they got scattered, or used or any thing--especially the copy of Leaves of Grass covered in blue paper, and the little MS book “Drum Taps,” & the MS tied up in the square, spotted (stone-paper) loose covers—I want them all carefully kept.
Mother, it is quite a snow storm here this morning—the ground is an inch and a half deep with snow—and it is snowing & drizzling—but I feel very independent in my stout army-boots, I go any where. I have felt quite well of my deafness and cold in my head for four days or so, but it is back again bad as ever this morning.

Dear mother, I wrote the above, in my room—I have now come down to Major Hapgood’s office. I do not find anything from home, and no particular news in the paper this morning—no news about the Ninth Army Corps, or where they are. I find a good letter from one of my New York boys, (Fifth Avenue)—a young fellow named Hugo Fritsch, son of the Austrian Consul General—he writes me a long first-rate letter this morning—he too speaks about the opera, (like Jeff) he goes there a good deal—says the Medori, the soprano, as Norma, made the greatest success ever seen—says the whole company there now, the singers, are very fine—all this I write for Jeff & Mat—I hope they will go once in a while when it is convenient.
It is a most disagreeable day here, mother, walking poshy and a rain and drizzle—
There is nothing new with me—no particular sight for an office, that I can count on, But I can make enough with the papers, for the present necessities—I hear that the paymaster, Major Yard, that pays the 51st, has gone on West. I suppose to Cincinnati, wherever the brigade has gone—of course to pay up—he pays up to the 1st of March—All the Army is going to be paid up to the 1st March every where.
Mother, I hope you are well and hearty as usual—I am so glad you are none of you going to move—I would like to have the pleasure of Miss Mannahatta Whitman’s company, the first fine forenoon, if it were possible—I think we might have first rate times, for one day at any rate—I hope she will not forget her Uncle Walt—I received a note from Probasco, requesting me not to put his name in my next letter—I appreciate his motive, and wish to please him always—but in this matter I shall do what I think appropriate—Mother, I see some very interesting persons here—a young master’s mate, who was on Hatteras, when surprised & broadsided by the Alabama, Capt. Semmes—he gave me a good acc’t of it all—then Capt. Mullin, U.S. Army (engineer), who has been six years out in the Rocky Mt’s, making a gov’t road, 650 miles from Ft. Benton to Walla Walla—very, very interesting to know such men intimately, and talk freely with them—Dearest mother, I shall have great yarns to spin, when I come home—I am not a bit home sick, yet I should [like] to see you & Mat, very very much—One thinks of the vimmen when he is away.
Shall send the shirts in a day or two.

People who Created this Work

Whitman, Walt author

People Mentioned in this Work

Fritsch, Hugo [pages:86]

Whitman mentions that he has received a good letter from his friend Hugo Fritsch in New York.