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Zachary Deldin
Mr. Bless
English Foundations II Honors
October 21, 2015
The War on Whitman
War can be for a great cause or a poor cause, but war inflicts scars on the brave men and
women who serve, physically and mentally. The worst type of mental sickness any brave warrior can
get is PTSD,
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a
trauma. About 6 of every 10 (or 60%) of men and 5 of every 10 (or 50%) of women experience at
least one trauma in their lives which can contract PTSD, (
US Department of Veteran Affairs).
PTSD is the common physiological trauma that most military soldiers, veterans, or even nurses can
get from being at war and seeing horrific things. Walt Whitman is an extraordinary poet, writer of
The Artilleryman's Vision,
I Saw Old General at Bay, Dirge for Two Veterans, etc,
who had
witnessed the acts or war, who also served as a volunteer nurse in D.C. The events and injuries
Whitman witnessed inspired him to write poems about war. Not only did war inspire Whitmans
poetry and life, it influenced and impacted his life and poetry as well. The terror of war was
witnessed by Whitman and his poetry and life have been influenced and impacted from wars horrid
War is a battle fought by brave men and women fighting for a good cause but the risk is that
the brave warriors walk away with physical and mental scars. Nurses of battle are great people who
treat the warriors to the full length of medicine but they witness horrific things. Whitman during the

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the war had a brother,and that sibling would change Whitmans involvement in the war. It would
also allow Whitman see the horrid conflict of war. As Whitman noted, When Whitman learned that
his younger brother had been wounded in Fredericksburg. Virginia, he immediately traveled to the
front. There he saw the aftermath of one of the wars bloodiest battles. This experience convinced
him, to work in Washington D.C. as a volunteer nurse. While caring for the wounded, Whitman
witnessed the effect of war on mens bodies and minds, (Source 1 lines 26-31). The citation above
shows how the involvement of Whitman in the war started, but the real content is the aftermath to
the brave soldiers that Whitman had to treat. The citation said Whitman traveled to the Virginia
where one of the bloodiest battles was taking place, the Battle of Fredericksburg, where over 18,000
people were killed and much more were brutally injured. This battle was an inspiration to Whitman
to write poetry including
he Artillerymans Vision. Not only is the poem
he Artillerymans
Vision a miraculous poem it is also Whitmans experience in the bloody battle of Fredericksburg.
Now a strange lull for a few seconds/ not a shot fired on either side/ Then resumed the chaos
louder than ever/ with eager calls and orders of officers,(Source 2 lines 19-21). The ambiguous
poem illustrates the silence for a few seconds resulted in dreadful battle. This stylistic choice of the

The Artillerymans Vision

helps bring out the influence of his life on the war.

With Whitmans involvement in the blood battle in our country he can see the impact that
the Civil War did to brave men, physically and mentally.
Reflecting on the Civil War in 1892, Walt

Whitman concluded, "The real war will never get in the books (National Humanities Center). The

diction used in the citation above is saying that the wars violence and its outcome on brave soldiers
was to much for Whitman to take in; he can not put the full picture into any piece of his writing
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Whitman witnessed the worst war within our country and its conflict was so horrific he couldnt
capture what really happened in words. Whitman saw horrific actions and injuries take place in
battle. Volunteering as a nurse, he saw the physical and mental wounds up close. Not only did the
war influence desolated poetry and life of Whitman but it did bring out the potent influences and life
of Whitman.
With Whitmans volunteering hours, as a nurse, he help and saved brave soldiers from the
Union and the Confederacy. He learned stories about the war and about how the soldiers got
injured. Whitman would write to his mother often and tell her about the soldiers he would care for.
On the day where he wrote to his mother a Union soldier was brought to Whitmans care. Whitman
emphasizes the real heart of ar from the soldiers, He got badly wounded in the leg and side at
Fredericksburg that eventful Saturday, 13th December. He lay the succeeding two days and nights
helpless on the field, between the city and those grim batteries, for his company and his regiment
had been compelled to leave him to his fate (Source 3 lines 4-7). Whitmans letter has a motif of
conflict and violence throughout the civil war put this man through a world of pain but he still held
on. The thing that influenced Whitman the most was that he never gave up his side of the war, even
though he was left out to dry he still fights on the same side as them. Learning about the soldiers
story Whitman declares that both sides treat anyone in need, This man treated our soldier kindly,
bound up his wounds, cheered him, gave him a couple of biscuits, gave him a drink of water, asked
him if could eat some beef. This good Secesh, however, did not change our soldiers position for it

might have cause the blood to burst from the wounds where they were clotted and stagnated,
(Source 3 lines 19-24). The vernacular

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language used in the quote shows an example of the way soldiers were called of the confederacy.
The soldier was offered warmth, food, drink, from the enemy but he stilled fought for his side. He
had heart and not even a kind enemy could change that. It had a big influence on Whitmans life
because he saw what eerie violence did to soldiers it brought out their true colors even if they were
on opposite sides. The man that helped the Union soldier showed bravery and heart and that
experience told to Whitman would help his writing in a potent way. Whitman has experienced the
good from the horrid conflict of the civil war that would not only influenced his poetry but give him
a clear vision of how it impacted his life.
The writer that created
The Artilleryman's Vision,
I Saw Old General at Bay, Dirge for Two
Veterans, etc,
was a man that helped with the aftermath one of the bloodiest wars in the United
States of America and that war impacted and influenced his life in many ways.
The terror of war was
witnessed by Walt Whitman and his poetry and life have been influenced and impacted from wars
horrid conflict. The vicious combat witnessed by Whitman has been the result of great poetry and
events that changed his life. Because of what he witnessed, Whitman understood what happened
during the war and how it effected the soldiers. The civil war was a historic turnaround for the USA
but it also made an impact in Whitmans poetry and life.