View Full Version : Walt Whitman letter written for dying soldier

03-10-2016, 05:16 PM
Rare Walt Whitman letter, written for a dying soldier, found in National Archives (http://wapo.st/1TucIEK)

Pvt. Robert N. Jabo, of the 8th New Hampshire infantry, was dying of tuberculosis in Washington’s Harewood Hospital and needed to write to his family.

The Civil War had been over for months. Most soldiers had gone home. And Jabo’s wife and six children were no doubt wondering where he was.

But he was sick and illiterate. So a cheerful, bearded man who regularly visited hospitalized soldiers offered to write a letter for him.

“My dear wife,” it began, “you must excuse me for not having written. . . . have not been very well.” The letter explained that it was penned by “a friend who is now sitting by my side.”

And in a postscript, the friend identified himself: “Walt Whitman.”

03-10-2016, 06:57 PM
Really fascinating article. Thanks for sharing it here!