In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: incidents, for (Soldier in the Ranks)

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1865

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00008

Source: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: 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.

Notes written on manuscript: On leaf 1 verso, in unknown hand: "Poems in works (Camden"

Contributors to digital file: Nick Krauter, Lisa Renfro, Andy Jewell, Stephen Boykewich, Kenneth Price, Brett Barney, Ashley Lawson, Tim Jackson, and Nicole Gray

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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, & [brought?]
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.

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