In Whitman's Hand

Poetry Manuscripts

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[Leaf 1 recto]

indcidents for (Soldier in the Ranks)

describe a group of men coming off the
        field, after a heavy battle, the grime,
        the sweat, ^some half naked the torn & dusty clothes,
        their own mothers would not recognize
The moon rises ^silently over the battle field
        but red as blood, coming above the
        smoke—you look over the field, you
        see little lights moving around, stopping & moving
        around again, they are searching for the wounded, & bringing
        they are bringing off the dead
At Gettysburgh, the second day of the battle,
        our troops drove the secession army from
        a position they had occupied, & where the
        preceding night, they had gathered their dead—
        the andead lay in certain parts spots of the field
        piled three or four deep where the had placed them,
        to be burial ready for burial the next nmorning.
[Leaf 1 verso]  

Whitman wrote this manuscript sometime after the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) and probably before the end of the Civil War in April 1865.
Editorial note
The verso of the manuscript leaf has what may be either a single note written at two different times or two separate notes: "Poems in works (Camden" and "III: 289." The writing is presumably that of an archivist or some other non-Whitman hand(s).
incidents for (Soldier in the Ranks)  |  Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Whitman Archive ID


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