|Walt Whitman during the war The most individual of American poets was born at Westhills, Long Island, in 1809, the son of a carpenter. He early learned the trade of printing; at twenty he was editor and publisher of a paper. For many years he was traveling all over the West of that day, from New Orleans to Canada. In 1855 he brought out the first edition of Leaves of grass, at first a thin volume of ninety-four pages, later growing until it had become several times the size of the original. At the end of the second year of the Civil War, Whitman went to Washington to care for his brother, who had been wounded in the battle of Fredericksburg. For the next three years he served as an army nurse, chiefly in the hospitals of Washington. The literary outcome of this experience was Drum Taps, from which the poems in the present volume are taken, and which he described as ‘a little book containing life's darkness and blood-dripping wounds and psalms of the dead.’ For several years after the war he remained in Government employ in Washington, but in 1873 he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where in 1892 he died in cheerful poverty.|
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