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The letter from George, and your lines, and a few from Jeff came yesterday, and I was glad indeed to be certain that George had got back to Kentucky safe and well while so many fall that we know, or, what is about as bad, get sick or hurt in the fight, and lay in hospital, it seems almost a miracle that George should have gone through so much, South and North and East and West, and been in so many hard-fought battles, and thousands of miles of weary and exhausting marches, and yet have stood it so, and be yet alive and in good health and spirits. O mother, what would we [have] done if it had been otherwise if he had met the fate of so many we know if he had been killed or badly hurt in some of those battles ? I get thinking about it sometimes, and it works upon me so I have to stop and turn my mind on something else. Mother, I feel bad enough about Andrew, and I know it must be so with you too one don't know what to do ; if we had money he would be welcome to it, if it would do any good. If George's money comes from Kentucky this last time, and you think some of it would do Andrew any real good, I advise you to take some and give him I think it would be proper and George would approve of it. I believe there is not much but trouble in this world, and if one hasn't any for himself he has it made up by having it brought close to him through others, and that is sometimes worse than to have it touch one's self. Mother, you must not let Andrew's case and the poor condition of his household comforts, etc., work upon you, for I fear you will but, mother, it 's no use to worry about such things. I have seen so much horrors that befall men (so bad and such suffering and mutilations, etc., that the poor men can defy their fate to do anything more or any harder misfortune or worse a-going) that I sometimes think I have grown callous but no, I don't think it is that, but nothing of ordinary misfortune seems as it used to, and death itself has lost all its terrors I have seen so many cases in which it was so welcome and such a relief.
Mother, you must just resign yourself to things that occur but I hardly think it is necessary to give you any charge about it, for I think you have done so for many years, and stood it all with good courage.
We have a second attack of hot weather Sunday was the most burning day I ever yet saw. It is very dry and dusty here, but to-day we are having a middling good breeze I feel pretty well, and whenever the weather for a day or so is passably cool I feel really first rate, so I anticipate the cooler season with pleasure. Mother, I believe I wrote to you I had a letter in N. Y. Times, Sunday, 16th I shall try to write others and more frequently. The three Eagles came safe ; I was glad to get them I sent them and another paper to George. Mother, none of you ever mention whether you get my letters, but I suppose they come safe it is not impossible I may miss some week, but I have not missed a single one for months past. I wish I could send you something worth while, and I wish I could send something for Andrew mother, write me exactly how it is with him
Mother, I have some idea Han is getting some better ; it is only my idea somehow I hope it is so from the bottom of my heart. Did you hear from Mary's Fanny since ? And how are Mat's girls ? So, Mannahatta, you tear Uncle George's letters, do you ? You mustn't do so, little girl, nor Uncle Walt's either ; but when you get to be a big girl you must have them all nice, and read them, for Grandmother will perhaps leave them to you in her will, if you behave like a lady. Matty, my dear sister, how are you getting along ? I really want to see you bad, and the baby too well, may-be we shall all come together and have some good times yet. Jeff, I hope by next week this time we shall be in possession of Charleston some papers say Burnside is moving for Knoxville, but it is doubtful I think the 9th Corps might take a rest awhile, anyhow. Good-bye, mother. WALT.
- Walt Whitman
- THE WOUND DRESSER A Series of Letters Written from the Hospitals in Washington During the War of the Rebellion, Walt Whitman, 1898