Arlington, VA

Garret Peck, Author of “Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.”

Shirlington Library
4200 Campbell Ave
Arlington, Virginia 22206

The Civil War and America’s Great Poet

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth, join local historian Garrett Peck and learn about Walt Whitman’s time in Washington, DC during the Civil War. Walt Whitman was already famous for “Leaves of Grass” when he journeyed to the nation’s capital at the height of the Civil War to find his brother George, a union officer wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Whitman eventually served as a volunteer “hospital missionary,” making more than six hundred hospital visits and serving over eighty thousand sick and wounded soldiers in the next three years. With the 1865 publication of Drum-Taps, Whitman became poet laureate of the Civil War, aligning his legacy with that of Abraham Lincoln. He remained in Washington until 1873 as a federal clerk, engaging in a dazzling literary circle and fostering his longest romantic relationship, with Peter Doyle.

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