The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


Heart of the Stranger that Hovered Near

Whitman-1860We don’t think of Civil War hospitals as the most poetic of places, given the realities of 19th century medicine and the war’s high casualty rates. But the poet Walt Whitman spent five years of his life in them, caring for wounded soldiers. He wrote that “The expression of American personality through this war is not to be looked for in the great campaign and the battle-fights. It is to be looked for in the hospitals, among the wounded.” In this special “Civil War 150th” podcast, BackStory correspondent Catherine Moore collects segments of The Good Grey Poet’s Civil War memoirs, diary entries, and poetry to tell the story of Walt Whitman’s encounter with America’s wounded.


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