The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Document associated with: Wilcox, Cornelius Marcellus
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System Number: 02119
Date: 12 October 1898
Author: Robert R. Hemphill[1]
Place: Abbeville, SC
Recipient: JW
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H220
Document Type: TLc


Abbeville, S. C.

October 12th, 1898.


Dear Sir,

I have just read a newspaper sketch[2] of yourself in which it is stated that your father[3] graduated at West Point, was an officer in the U. S. army and was afterwards a distinguished Civil engineer in Russia.

I write to inquire about Dr. Wm. M. Whistler[4] who was assistant surgeon in the Confederate army. He was assigned during the campaign of 1864 to Orr's[5] Rifle regiment, McGowan's[6] Brigade, Wilcox's[7] Division, Hill's[8] Corps, under Gen. Robert E. Lee[9].

I was sergeant major of the regiment and became well acquainted with him. He went through the lines on furlough in the winter of 1864 and we never heard from him again. It was his intention to visit his mother[10] in England on a furlough of four months. Gen. Lee surrendered before the expiration of that time. He was a fine surgeon, kind hearted and a very brave man. We all admired and respected him and have often wondered if he is yet alive.

(p. 2) From what he told us he must have been a brother of yours and therefore I write to you.

If he still lives, send this letter to him. If he does not and you know of him, be kind enough to write to me. I will take it as a favor if you will give the matter attention at your earliest convenience.

Yours truly,


South Carolina,
U. S. A.

Lee, Hill, Wilcox and McGowan our Commanders are all dead.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Robert R. Hemphill
Robert R. Hemphill (b. ca 1840), sergeant in W. McN. Whistler's unit (Orr's Rifles) in the Confederate Army [more].

2.  sketch
Not identified.

3.  father
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

4.  Whistler
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

5.  Orr's
Orr, Confederate army Rifle Regiment Commander [more].

6.  McGowan's
Samuel McGowan (1819-1907), Brigade Commander in the Confederate army [more].

7.  Wilcox's
Cornelius Marcellus Wilcox (1825-1890), Confederate Division Commander [more].

8.  Hill's
Daniel Harvey Hill (d. 1889), Professor at USMA, West Point from 1849-1859 [more].

9.  Gen. Robert E. Lee
General Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870), Superintendant of USMA, West Point, and later Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate States of America [more].

10.  mother
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].