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Well, here I sit this forenoon in a corner by the window in Major Hapgood's office, all the Potomac, and Maryland, and Virginia hills in sight, writing my Tuesday letter to you, dearest mother. Major has gone home to Boston on sick leave, and only the clerk and me occupy the office, and he not much of the time. At the present moment there are two wounded officers come in to get their pay one has crutches ; the other is drest in the light-blue uniform of the invalid corps. Way up here on the 5th floor it is pretty hard scratching for cripples and very weak men to journey up here often they come up here very weary and faint, and then find out they can't get their money, some red-tape hitch, and the poor soldiers look so disappointed it always makes me feel bad.
Mother, we are having perfect weather here nowadays, both night and day. The nights are wonderful ; for the last three nights as I have walked home from the hospital pretty late, it has seemed to me like a dream, the moon and sky ahead of anything I ever see before. Mother, do you hear anything from George? I wrote to him yesterday and sent him your last letter, and Jeff's enclosed I shall send him some papers to-day I send him papers quite often. (Why hasn't Jeff sent me the Union with my letter in ? I want much to see it, and whether they have misprinted it.)
Mother, I don't think the 51st has been in any of the fighting we know of down there yet what is to come of course nobody can tell. As to Burnside, I suppose you know he is among his friends, and I think this quite important, for such the main body of East Tennesseans are, and are far truer Americans anyhow than the Copperheads of the North. The Tennesseans will fight for us too. Mother, you have no idea how the soldiers, sick, etc. (I mean the American ones, to a man) all feel about the Copperheads ; they never speak of them without a curse, and I hear them say, with an air that shows they mean it, they would shoot them sooner than they would a Rebel. Mother, the troops from Meade's army are passing through here night and day, going West and so down to reinforce Rosecrans I sup- pose the papers are not permitted to mention it, but it is so. Two Army Corps, I should think, have mostly passed they go through night and day I hear the whistle of the locomotive screaming away any time at night when I wake up, and the rumbling of the trains.
Mother dear, you must write to me soon, and so must Jeff. I thought Mat was going to send me a great long letter I am always looking for it; I hope it will be full of everything about family matters and doings, and how everybody really is. I go to Major's box three or four times a day. I want to hear also about Andrew, and indeed about every one of you and everything nothing is too trifling, nothing uninteresting.
O mother, who do you think I got a letter from, two or three days ago ? Aunt Fanny, Ansel's mother she sent it by a young man, a wounded soldier who has been home to Farmingdale on furlough, and lately returned. She writes a first-rate letter, Quaker all over -I shall answer it. She says Mary and Ansel and all are well. I have received another letter from Mrs. Price she has not good health. I am sorry for her from my heart ; she is a good, noble woman, no better kind. Mother, I am in the hospitals as usual I stand it better the last three weeks than ever before I go among the worst fevers and wounds with impunity. I go among the smallpox, etc., just the same I feel to go without apprehension, and so I go. Nobody else goes ; and as the darkey said there at Charleston when the boat run on a flat and the Reb sharpshooters were peppering them, " somebody must jump in de water and shove de boat off."
- THE WOUND DRESSER A Series of Letters Written from the Hospitals in Washington During the War of the Rebellion, Walt Whitman, 1898