The Road Unknown
The first edition of Leaves of Grass, published in 1855, heralded a new voice in American letters. Walt Whitman’s muscular sensuality freed poetry from the bounds of meter to celebrate the freedom of nature, sexuality, and the self. Whitman continued to rework and reprint his verse under this title until his death in 1891. The earliest surviving manuscript is the 1860 edition in which the Calamus poems appeared for the first time.
While searching for his wounded brother in 1862, Walt Whitman found a mission. For the remainder of the conflict, he volunteered at military hospitals around Washington. Whitman wrote letters for patients, offered comfort, and brought small gifts of food, paper, pens, and books. His letters to friends and family conveyed his profound admiration and love for the wounded, sick, and dying men of the wards.
More about Whitman and his work:
Brooklyn, New York: [Walt Whitman], 1855. Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History (A 1855 .W34 L4)