DC -- Natl Museum of Health and Medicine (Walter Reed) -- Exhibit: Walt Whitman's Soldiers:
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NMHMWH_080114_03.JPG: Part of a Walt Whitman display --
Walt Whitman's Soldiers:
"I go around among these sights, among the crowded hospitals doing what I can, yet it is a mere drop in the bucket... the path I follow, I suppose may say, is my own." -- Walt Whitman, Drum Taps
The poet Walt Whitman came to Washington in 1863 in search of his brother, George, whose name Whitman and his family saw listed on a newspaper casualty roster from the battlefield at Fredericksburg, Virginia. After searching for George in nearly forty Washington hospitals, Whitman travelled to Fredericksburg to find George's unit. There, he found George alive and having suffered a superficial facial wound. However, Whitman's personal relief quickly turned to horror as he witnessed the human costs of battle. "I notice a heap of amputated feet, legs, arms, hands, &c; a full load for a one-horse cart, human fragments, cut, bloody, black and blue, swelled and sickening."
Whitman's experiences at war profoundly shaped his own psyche and his poetic vision. He sought to make sense of the personal and national trauma of the Civil War white devoting himself to visiting wounded soldiers in Washington's hospitals. Inspired by his witness of suffering by soldiers and of caregiving by nurses and doctors, Whitman's writing from this tumultuous period stand among his greatest.
The National Museum of Health and Medicine holds several unique anatomical specimens that open a window onto Walt Whitman's life and his experiences caring for soldiers in Washington's Civil War hospitals. These specimens are from soldiers Whitman nurses and are accompanied by his descriptions of these young men.
In the wards:
Whitman nursed soldiers by writing down their stories, writing letters for them, giving them small gifts, holding them, and comforting them through conversation. His purpose, he wrote, was "just to help cheer and change a little the monotony of their sickness and confinement."
Whitman's "New York Soldier":
This afternoon, July 22d, I have spent a long time with Oscar F. Wilber, company G, 154th New York, low with chronic diarrhea, and a bad wound, also.... He talk'd of death, and said he did not fear it. I said, "Why, Oscar, don't you think you will get well?" He said, "I may, but it is not probable." He spoke calmly of his condition. His wound was very bad, it discharg'd much. Then the diarrhea had prostrated him, and I felt that he was even then the same as dying. He behaved very manly and affectionate.
Upper thigh bone of Private Oscar Wilbur
NMHMWH_080114_06.JPG: Death of a Case from Second Bull Run:
Well, poor John Mahay is dead. He died yesterday. His was a painful and lingering case. I have been with him at times for the past fifteen months. He belonged to Company A, One Hundred an [sic] First New York, and was shot through the lower region of the abdomen at second Bull Run, August, 1862. One scene at his bedside will suffice for the agonies of nearly two years. The bladder had been perforated by a bullet going entirely through him. Not long since I saw a good part of the morning by his bedside, Ward E. Armory-square. The water ran out of his eyes from the intense pain, and the muscles of his face were distorted, but he uttered nothing except a low groan now and then...
Urinary stones removed from the bladder of Private John Mahay
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2009_DC_NMHMDC_Whitman: DC -- Natl Museum of Health and Medicine (Walter Reed) -- Exhibit: Walt Whitman's Soldiers (1 photo from 2009)
2009_DC_NMHMDC_Trauma_Bay: DC -- Natl Museum of Health and Medicine (Walter Reed) -- Exhibit: Trauma Bay II (Iraq) (5 photos from 2009)
2008 photos: Equipment this year: I was using three cameras -- the Fuji S9000 and the Canon Rebel Xti from last year, and a new camera, the Fuji S100fs. The first two cameras had their pluses and minuses and I really didn't have a single camera that I thought I could use for just about everything. But I loved the S100fs and used it almost exclusively this year.
Trips this year: (1) Civil War Preservation Trust annual conference in Springfield, Missouri , (2) a week in New York, (3) a week in San Diego for the Comic-Con, (4) a driving trip to St. Louis, and (5) a visit to dad and Dixie's in Asheville, North Carolina.
Ego strokes: A picture I'd taken last year during a Friends of the Homeless event was published in USA Today with a photo credit and everything! I became a volunteer photographer with the AFI/Silver theater.
Number of photos taken this year: 330,000.
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