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Letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, January 30, 1865

Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, January 30, 1865." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 249-251.
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Whitman writes a letter to his brother Thomas Jefferson Whitman. In it he discusses how to get a letter to his other brother George in the army, his comfortable job and lodgings, and his visits to the troops.

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To Thomas Jefferson Whitman
Washington | January 30 1865
My dear brother,
Your letter has only just reached me though I see the Brooklyn post office stamp is January 27—I was gratified with Babcock’s and Smith’s letters, though I am very sorry they neither of them mentioned the date of Lt. Caldwell’s letter from Danville. If it should be much later than George’s, which was November 27th, it would be a relief to know it—but I presume it was one of the same batch. Jeff, I have this morning written to Capt. Mason, telling him where George is, & asking him, as that would be ten times more likely to get through, if he will have (or direct some proper person) to put up a box of things to eat, & given him George’s address to send it through the lines, & said that I or you would pay the bill of course, & be most deeply obliged to him & that I would have enclosed the money in the letter I sent him, but thought it safer to wait & see whether it reached him. I have written to George since I have been here in Washington. Also a few lines to Han. We have had very cold mean weather here ever since I arrived till to-day—it is now moderated & very pleasant overhead.
I am quite comfortable, have a comfortable room enough, with a wood stove, & a pile of wood in the room, a first rate & good big bead, & a very friendly old secesh landlady whose husband & son are off in the Southern army—she is different from any I have found yet here, is very obliging, starts my fire for me at 5 o’clock every afternoon, & lights the gas, even, & then turns it down to be ready for me when I come home. I get my meals where I can—they are poor & expensive—You speak of the Indian office—it is a Bureau in the Department of the interior, which has charge of quite a large mass of business relating to the numerous Indian tribes in West & Northwest, large numbers of whom are under annuities, supplies, &c for the government. All I have hitherto employed myself about has been making copies of reports & Bids, &c. for the office to send up to the Congressional Committee on Indian Affairs. It is easy enough—I take things very easy—the rule is to come at 9 and go at 4—but I don’t come at 9, and only stay till 4 when I want, as at present to finish a letter for the mail—I am treated with great courtesy, as an evidence of which I have to inform you that since I began this letter, I have been sent for by the cashier to receive my PAY for the arduous & invaluable services I have already rendered to the government—I feel quite well, perhaps not as completely so as I used to was, but I think I shall get so this spring—as I did indeed feel yesterday better than I have since I was taken sick last summer.
I spent yesterday afternoon in Armory Square Hospital, & had a real good time, & the boys had too. Jeff, you need not to be afraid about my overdoing the matter. I shall go regularly enough, but shall be on my guard against trouble. I am also going to some of the camps about here, there is a great chance among them to do good, & they are interesting places every way, for one who goes among the men. I have thought every day of Mother—dear Mother, I hope she gets along well this bitter weather—(about the hoop iron, I think it was the right thing to do—the least they can do is to take it off)—My dear brother, you must by all means come & see me—Martha, my dear sister, I send you & the dear little torments my best, best love—Jeff, give my respects to Mr. Lane & Dr Ruggles—

People who Created this Work

Whitman, Walt author

People Mentioned in this Work

Ruggles, Edward [pages:251]

Whitman asks his brother to give his respects to Dr. Ruggles.