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Walt Whitman to the Editors of The Daily Crescent, 26 August 1848

Our city is quite well supplied, now-a-days, with the article of military characters—both officer and private. Major Gen. Gaines1 has returned among us; and has issued a sort of manifesto, so unique in its character that I cannot help copying it,2 for the benefit of the New Orleanois. Gen. Gaines is speaking of the returned soldiers from Mexico. [The order here referred to was published yesterday.—Eds.

What documents does this remind you of—is this in the style of Hannibal,3 Caesar,4 or Bonaparte?5

Cool weather yet continues—that is comparatively cool.—People are flocking back to town from their cotes in the country. Every one is curious to hear the news from Ireland; and the Irish themselves are half crazy with doubt.6 Large sums of money have been poured in to the hands of the "Irish Directory" in this city—of course for the purchase of arms and equipments to help the Repealers. It is expected that we shall soon hear of some diplomatic passages between the British and our officers.

Forrest7 appears at the Broadway theatre next Monday night—one of his "farewell" engagements pre-haps.



  • 1. Born in Virginia and educated in Tennessee, Edmund Pendeleton Gaines (1777–1849) became a United States Army officer. He served for nearly fifty years and was a veteran of the War of 1812 and of the Mexican-American War, which had officially ended in early February 1848, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. [back]
  • 2. See "Military Order," The New Orleans Crescent (September 5, 1848), 2. [back]
  • 3. Hannibal (247 BC–183–181 BC) was a statesman and military commander who lead Carthage forces in the Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) against the Roman Republic. Roman troops defeated Hannibal after his invasion of Italy. [back]
  • 4. Gaius Julius Caesar (July 100 BC–44 BC) was a statesman and a Roman general. Caesar led the Roman armies during the Gallic Wars and defeated his political rival Pompey (106 BC–46 BC) in a civil war, after which Caesar assumed control of the goverment of Rome, ruling from 49 BC until he was assassinated on the Ides of March (March 15) in 44 BC. [back]
  • 5. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1825) was the military leader who, after the French Revolution, became the first Emperor of France—Napoleon I—from 1804 to 1815. As Emperor, Napoleon led the Napoleonic Wars in an attempt to conquer Europe but was defeated at Waterloo on June 18, 1815. [back]
  • 6. Whitman is referring to the political and cultural forces pushing for an independent Ireland in the 1840s. The Young Ireland movement was an Irish nationalist movement that supported Irish independence. The movement had its origins in the Repeal Association's campaign to dissolve the 1800 Irish Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland. Young Irelanders seceded from the Repeal Association and formed the Irish Confederation, garnering a strong base in Dublin, and exerting a lasting influence on subsequent separatist endeavors. Young Irelanders attempted an unsuccessful insurrection in 1848 with the aims of Irish independence and democratic reform and as a response to British Parliament's passage of a "Crime and Outrage Bill" that enacted martial law in Ireland in an attempt to counter Irish nationalism. The Young Irelanders' rebellion in July 1848, resulted in the arrest of the movement's leaders and the collapse of the rebellion efforts. Ireland would not become self-governing until 1922. [back]
  • 7. Edwin Forrest (1806–1872) was an American stage actor, well known for his Shakespearean roles. He was also notorious for his feud with William Macready, a British actor, which ended in an 1849 nativist riot at New York's Astor Opera House that left twenty-five dead. [back]
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