Walt Whitman was America’s poet patriot, a man who loved this country with his every word. He was a self-appointed laureate who said, “I hear America singing.”
But the Civil War tested Whitman’s optimism. With his brother George injured on a distant battlefield in Virginia, Whitman set off in search of him. After months spent tending wounded soldiers he found on the streets and in the hospitals of Washington DC, Whitman began writing a different song, one about witnessing a country at war, a country deeply divided, and desperately searching for ties that once again might bind.
Peter Coviello, editor of Walt Whitman’s “Memoranda During the War.”