He was a veteran of the Confederate Army, and is believed
by historians to have been the greatest love of gay American
poet Walt Whitman. Doyle and Whitman met in Washington,
on the horse-drawn streetcar for which Doyle was the
conductor. Doyle later recalled, “We were familiar at once—I
put my hand on his knee—
we understood. He did not
get out at the end of the
trip—in fact went all the
way back with me.” Doyle
and Whitman exchanged
several letters and postcards.
In his notebooks, Whitman
referred to Doyle using the
code “16.4,” a reference
to the numerical order of
Doyle’s initials. Whitman
wrote in one letter to him,
“I will imagine you with your arm around my neck saying
Good night, Walt—& me—Good night, Pete.”


  • Title: Peter Doyle
  • Creator: Congressional Cemetery
  • Date Created: 1907
  • Location Created: Congressional Cemetery

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