…I write to you this letter, because I would do something at least in his memory…He is one of the thousands of our unknown American young men in the ranks about whom there is no record or fame, no fuss made about their dying so unknown, but I find in them the real precious and royal ones of this land…
During the Civil War, Walt Whitman worked and lived in Washington D.C., and often passed by President Abraham Lincoln who was out riding in the mornings. The war weighed heavily on both of these men, and it seems that Walt could see in the president’s eyes the depth in which it affected him. He saw “Lincoln as a captain, guiding his ship through troubled waters, and wrote in his notebook:
‘…his face and manner…are inexpressibly sweet…I love the President personally.'”
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;But O heart! heart! heart!O the bleeding drops of red,Where on the deck my Captain lies,Fallen cold and dead.