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Yours and George's letter came, and a letter from Jeff too all good. I had received a letter a day or so before from George too. I am very glad he is at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, and I hope and pray the reg't will be kept there for God knows they have tramped enough for the last two years, and fought battles and been through enough. I have sent George papers to Camp Nelson, and will write to-morrow. I send him the Unions and the late New York papers. Mother, you or Jeff write and tell me how Andrew is ; I hope he will prove to be better. Such complaints are sometimes very alarming for awhile, and then take such a turn for the better. Common means and steadily pursuing them, about diet especially, are so much more reliable than any course of medicine whatever. Mother, I have written to Han ; I sent her George's letter to me, and wrote her a short letter myself. I sent it four or five days ago. Mother, I am real pleased to hear Jeffs explanation how it is that his wages is cut down, and that it was not as I fancied from the meanness of the old coons in the board. I felt so indignant about it, as I took it into my head, (though I don't know why) that it was done out of meanness, and was a sort of insult. I was quite glad Jeff wrote a few lines about it and glad they appreciate Jeff, too. Mother, if any of my soldier boys should ever call upon you (as they are often anxious to have my address in Brooklyn) you just use them as you know how to without ceremony, and if you happen to have pot luck and feel to ask them to take a bite, don't be afraid to do so. There is one very good boy, Thos. Neat, 2nd N. Y. Cavalry, wounded in leg. He is now home on furlough his folks live, I think, in Jamaica. He is a noble boy. He may call upon you. (I gave him here $i toward buying his crutches, etc.) I like him very much. Then possibly a Mr. Haskell, or some of his folks from Western New York, may call he had a son died here, a very fine boy. I was with him a good deal, and the old man and his wife have written me, and asked me my address in Brooklyn. He said he had children in N. Y. city and was occasionally down there. Mother, when I come home I will show you some of the letters I get from mothers, sisters, fathers, etc. they will make you cry. There is nothing new with my hospital doings I was there yesterday afternoon and evening, and shall be there again to-day. Mother, I should like to hear how you are yourself has your cold left you, and do you feel better ? Do you feel quite well again ? I suppose you have your good stove all fired up these days we have had some real cool weather here. I must rake up a little cheap second-hand stove for my room, for it was in the bargain that I should get that myself. Mother, I like my place quite well, better on nearly every account than my old room, but I see it will only do for a winter room. They keep it clean, and the house smells clean, and the room too. My old room, they just let everything lay where it was, and you can fancy what a litter of dirt there was still it was a splendid room for air, for summer, as good as there is in Washington. I got a letter from Mrs. Price this morning does Emmy ever come to see you ?
Matty, my dear sister, and Miss Mannahatta, and the little one (whose name I don't know, and perhaps hasn't got any name yet), I hope you are all well and having good times. I often, often think about you all. Mat, do you go any to the Opera now ? They say the new singers are so good
when I come home we'll try to go. Mother, I am very well have some cold in my head and my ears stopt up yet, making me sometimes quite hard of hearing. I am writing this in Major Hapgood's office. Last Sunday I took dinner at my friends the O'Connors had two roast chickens, stewed tomatoes, potatoes, etc. I took dinner there previous Sunday also.
Well, dear mother, how the time passes away to think it will soon be a year I have been away ! It has passed away very swiftly, somehow, to me. O what things I have witnessed during that time I shall never forget them. And the war is not settled yet, and one does not see anything at all certain about the settlement yet ; but I have finally got for good, I think, into the feeling that our triumph is assured, whether it be sooner or whether it be later, or whatever roundabout way we are led there, and I find I don't change that conviction from any reverses we meet, or any delays or Government blunders. There are blunders enough, heaven knows, but I am thankful things have gone on as well for us as they have thankful the ship rides safe and sound at all. Then I have finally made up my mind that Mr. Lincoln has done as good as a human man could do. I still think him a pretty big President. I realize here in Washington that it has been a big thing to have just kept the United States from being thrown down and having its throat cut ; and now I have no doubt it will throw down Secession and cut its throat and I have not had any doubt since Gettysburg. Well, dear, dear mother, I will draw to a close. Andrew and Jeff and all, I send you my love. Good-bye, dear mother and dear Matty and all hands. 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