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I have been thinking to-day and all yesterday about the draft in Brooklyn, and whether Jeff would be drafted ; you must some of you write me just as soon as you get this I want to know; I feel anxious enough I can tell you and besides, it seems a good while since I have received any letters from home. Of course it is impossible for Jeff to go, in case it should turn out he was drafted the way our family is all situated now, it would be madness. If the Common Council raise the money to exempt men with families dependent on them, I think Jeff ought to have no scruples in taking advantage of it, as I think he is in duty bound but we will see what course to take, when we know the result, etc. ; write about it right away.
The Eagles came; this is the second time; I am glad to get them Jeff, wait till you get four or five, and then send them with a two-cent stamp. I have not had any letter from George. Mother, have you heard anything ? did the money come ? Dear mother, how are you nowadays ? I do hope you feel well and in good spirits I think about you every day of my life out here. Sometimes I see women in the hospitals, mothers come to see their sons, and occasionally one that makes me think of my dear mother one did very much, a lady about 60, from Pennsylvania, come to see her son, a captain, very badly wounded and his wound gangrened, and they after a while removed him to a tent by himself. Another son of hers, a young man, came with her to see his brother. She was a pretty full-sized lady, with spectacles ; she dressed in black looked real Velsory. 1 I got very well acquainted with her ; she had a real Long Island old-fashioned way but I had to avoid the poor captain, as it was that time that my hand was cut in the artery, and I was liable to gangrene myself but she and the two sons have gone home now, but I doubt whether the wounded one is alive, as he was very low. Mother, I want to hear about Andrew too, whether he went to Rockland lake. You have no idea how many soldiers there are who have lost their voices, and have to speak in whispers there are a great many, I meet some almost every day ; as far as that alone is concerned, Andrew must not be discouraged, as the general health may be good as common irrespective of that. I do hope Andrew will get along better than he thinks for it is bad enough for a poor man to be out of health even partially, but he must try to look on the bright side. Mother, have you heard anything from Han since, or from Mary's folks ? I got a letter from Mrs. Price last week; if you see Emma tell her I was pleased to get it, and shall answer it very soon. Mother, I have sent another letter to the N. Y. Times it may appear, if not to-day, within a few days. I am feeling excellent well these days, it is so moderate and pleasant weather now ; I was getting real exhausted with the heat. I thought of you too, how it must have exhausted you those hot days. I still occupy the same 3rd story room, 394 L st. 3 and get my breakfast in my room in the morning myself, and dinner at a restaurant about 3 o'clock I get along very well and very economical (which is a forced put, but just as well). But I must get another room or a boarding-house soon, as the folks are all going to move this month. My good and real friends the O'Connors live in the same block ; I am in there every day. Dear mother, tell Mat and Miss Mannahatta I send them my love I want to see them both. O how I want to see Jeff and you, mother ; I sometimes feel as if I should just get in the cars and come home and the baby too, you must always write about her. Dear mother, good-bye for present. 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