Whitman wrote two volumes of poetry about the Civil War: Drum Taps (1865) and Sequel to Drum Taps (1866), after witnessing first-hand the suffering, bravery, wastefulness, heroism, and tragedy of war while working in hospitals during the Civil War.
’’Unnamed, unknown, remain and still remain the bravest soldiers.
Our manliest, our boys, our hardy darlings: no picture gives them.
Likely, the typical one of them (standing, no doubt, for hundreds,
thousands) crawls aside to some bush-clump or ferny tuft on receiving
his death-shot; there, sheltering a little while, soaking roots, grass,
and soil with red blood; the battle advances, retreats, flits from the
scene, sweeps by; and there, haply with pain and suffering…the last
lethargy winds like a serpent round him; the eyes glaze in death;…and
there, at last the Bravest Soldier, crumbles in Mother Earth, unburied
and unknown.’’- Observations of poet Walt Whitman, in 1865