Walt Whitman poems inspired by Abraham Lincoln?

Walt Whitman

Read one of the intriguing Walt Whitman poems “O Captain my Captain” bring patriotic feeling and the great respect for Abraham Lincoln.

Walt Whitman (b. 31 May 1819 — d. 26 March 1892) of Long Island, who lived around and studied from public school. What was the connection between both? Though Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln never met in life.

When he was 12, began falling in love with written words of Shakespeare, Homer, Dante and an avid reader of the Bible. Whitman taught many students on Long Island in one single room and became a teacher.
Finally, he found long waited movement of his true wish, he jumped off the cliff of a single room school house to the bay of journalists. His thoughts and words spinning around in his head prove his journalism best.

The founder of The Long-Islander Walt Whitman poems inspired by Abraham Lincoln
Walt Whitman poems inspired by Abraham Lincoln? | Image credit to Twitter.

The founder of The Long-Islander

He founded a newspaper called “The Long-Islander” Walt also known as one of the famous editors who edited many newspaper articles of Brooklyn and New York City. Whitman’s poems, O Captain! Written shortly after the death of US President Abraham Lincoln (<< read handwritten letter of Abraham Lincoln to Lydia Parker Bixby). Whitman expressed his intense grief and mythical connection of Mr Lincoln. The Poem, O Captain! My Captain! Became so famous and popular during his time.
During the American Civil War, Whitman soon reached to the Hospitals of Washington DC and volunteered.

He worked for government although he never met Lincoln in his life. Walt felt so close to him and shook upon the assassination of the president. “The Saturday Press” was the first who published the poem, “O Captain!

Abraham Lincoln: Walt Whitman poems inspired by Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

The poem “O Captain” generated a lot of connection of Walt Whitman for Abraham

It is one of the famous Walt Whitman poems and it is the most enjoyed

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.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you, they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! Dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

Read collection of Walt Whitman's poems published by Oxford University Press


Local Matters: special letter to Mrs Bixby from Abraham Lincoln

This is a story of a widow Lydia Parker Bixby (1801 – 1878) from Boston and her five sons died on the battlefield. The extraordinary sacrifice of Bixby caught the attention of the government of Massachusetts and the former president of America, Abraham Lincoln. Such a great honour Mrs Lydon Bixby received from the president Abraham Lincoln. The Bixby’s letter had become one of the memorable one as it was handwritten by Lincoln. And registered in the literature of American history.

The letter was identified as “Mother of five sons who were killed in battle”. When single, short, Lydia Bixby visited the office of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts,

“I’m Mr Bixby, Mrs Lydia Bixby  of Hopkinton... You may recall my visit of two years ago, what his excellency kindly advanced me forty dollars through this office to visit my son in the army hospital at Washington. I had to come to apply for a pension, he is dead.”

Lydia Bixby
John Hay, private secretory of Lincoln

The Adjutant General kindly attempted few more inquiries to the sad and pensive heart. Bixby placed her documents (letters from the field) each informing her the death of her son. After ten days, the Adjutant General sent the below letter to the government of Massachusetts,

Adjutant General's Office, Boston, September 24, 1864. His Excellency, John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief. Governor:

“Your Excellency may remember that I had the honor two years ago to speak to you of a widow lady, Mrs. Bixby, in the middle walks of life, who had five sons in the Union Army. One of whom was wounded in Antietam and was sent to a hospital in Baltimore or Washington. She was very anxious to go and see him, and Your Excellency was kind enough to draw your check for Forty Dollars (540) to pay her expenses, and she made her journey. The boy recovered and joined his regiment again. About ten days ago Mrs. Bixby came to my office and showed me five letters from five different company commanders, and each letter informed the poor woman of the death of one of her sons. Her last remaining son was recently killed in the fight on the Weldon rail- road. Mrs. Bixby is the best specimen of a true-hearted Union woman I have yet seen. With great respect, I have the honor to be your Excellency's obedient servant, Wm. Schouler, Adjutant General.

Twelve days later, on 1st Oct requested a detail reports which was furnished in the letter below.

Adjutant General's Office,
Boston, October 12, 1864. Major Thomas M. Vincent, U. S. A. Ass’t Adjutant General, Washington, D. C. Major :
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st instant, requesting me to send you the names of the five sons of Mrs. Bixby—who were in the military service ; also the regiments and companies to which they be- longed.
They were as follows :

  1. Sergeant Charles N. Bixby, Co. D, 20th Regiment, mustered in July 28, 1862 ; killed at Fredericksburg, May 3, 1863.
  2. Corporal Henry Bixby, Co. K, 32nd Regi- ment, mustered in August 5, 1862 ; killed at Gettysburg, July, 1863.
  3. Private Edward Bixby, recru’t for 22nd
    Regiment, Mass. Vols. Died of wounds in Hospital at Folly Island, S. C. He ran away from home and was mustered in the field.
  4. Private Oliver C. Bixby, Co. E, 5Sth, Mass. Vols. Mustered March 4, 1864, killed before Petersburg, July 30, 1864.
  5. Private George Way Bixby, Co. B, 56tb Regiment, Mass. Vols. Mustered March 19. 1864. Killed before Petersburg, July 30, 1864.
    The last named, George, enlisted under the assumed name of “George Way.” His name was George Way Bixby. The reason why he did not enlist under his proper name was to conceal the fact of his enlistment from his wife. Very respectfully.
    Your obedient servant,
    Wm. Schouler.
    Adjutant General.

President Lincoln was touched by the story of sacrifice by Bixby. Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter of condolence in his handwriting to Lydia Bixby,

Executive Mansion
Washington, Nov. 21, 1S64. To Mbs. Bixby, Boston, Mass.

Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War
Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln.