Whitman, Walter

Life Span
to
Full name
Walter Whitman
Place of Birth
Birth Date Certainty
Exact
Death Date Certainty
Exact
Gender
Male
Race
White
Sectional choice
North
Origins
Free State
No. of Spouses
0
No. of Children
0
Family
Walter Whitman (father), Louisa Van Velsor (mother),
Occupation
Educator
Journalist
Writer or Artist
Other
Other Occupation
Clerk
Relation to Slavery
White non-slaveholder
Church or Religious Denomination
Quakers (Society of Friends)
Government
Lincoln Administration (1861-65)

Walt Whitman (American National Biography)

Scholarship
The first two years of the war are fairly blank in the Whitman biography, but he surfaces again in the fall of 1862. His younger brother, George Washington Whitman, an officer in the Fifty-first Regiment of New York Volunteers, was reported in the New York papers to have been seriously wounded in the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. Whitman was dispatched to Washington, D.C., by anxious family members in Brooklyn to search for his brother in the more than forty wartime hospitals. Failing to find George there, he went to the battle site to find his brother only slightly wounded. He remained in camp with his brother's regiment for more than a week and then returned to the nation's capital, escorting a group of seriously wounded and dying soldiers. Once at his destination, he felt he could not return to civilian life in New York. He remained in Washington throughout the war and beyond, worked at various government jobs, and devoted himself to cheering up sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals. This unselfish service earned him the titles of "wound dresser" and "the Good Gray Poet," but no government pension (which Whitman later said he would have refused anyway).
Jerome Loving, "Whitman, Walt," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-01761.html.
Chicago Style Entry Link
Ljungquist, Kent. "Meteor of the War": Melville, Thoreau, and Whitman Respond to John Brown." American Literature 61, no. 4 (1989): 674-680. view record
Reynolds, David S. Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography. New York: Knopf, 1995. view record
How to Cite This Page: "Whitman, Walter," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/6851.