In 1862, Walt arrived in the Washington dc where he intended to stay for few days. He wound up staying for the next 10 years. He became a regular visitor to the military hospitals in the first 3 years he was in there. He wanted to bring cheer and companionship to the soldiers who are confined to their beds. Whitman made personal visits to the hospitals which was up to 600 times, and during his visit, he spoke to 100,000 soldiers.
Walt’s brother had been wounded in the army during this period. Despite the fact that he was not much wounded, but visiting the hospitals during that period made him have a deep impression which compelled him to move from Brooklyn to Washington. Walt in the year 1863, he accepted a job to work with the government as the hospitals nurse. During this time, he wrote the book “The Great Army of the Sick”.
On return from Washington, he was sick and came back to Brooklyn for treatment only to find out that his friend are dead in the war and others are in the military hospitals wounded.
As he observed dozens of “poor sick, pale, tattered soldiers” climbing up five flights of stairs in search of back pay that was not always forthcoming. Many of the men had been honorably discharged from the Army, but without money to get home they were stuck in the hospitals and convalescent camps, surrounded by sick and dying comrades. Some were reduced to living on the streets. The war had changed already from civil war to union war which he didn’t have a clue about during his time in service as a nurse.
In his moments during his services in war prison, he became sick and was forced to return home. When he came back, he found his friends are dead;others wounded in war and are in the military hospitals.
He said that he had suffered during the war and his words were a relief to his suffering.
During the war season, Walt had much experience as a soldier and also as a Christian ambassador. He felt empathy towards the soldiers who were wounded in the civil war, where he was forced to carry some treats to the patient while he was going for visit in the hospitals. The pain and empathy that he felt when his brother was wounded during the war was so much for him to bearthat he was forced to flee Brooklyn to Washington.
On his occasional visits to the hospital, he was so touched by the fact that the young and the brave soldiers had died and others were wounded as a result of union war. He was convinced that American people were so patriotic to their nation.
To Whitman, war was a therapy to him since he saw people die, which made him change his life to Christianity.
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