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155Whitman is Subject of Overbeck Lecture

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  • calvertmartin
    Oct 22, 2013
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      Reserve Now for Nov. 5 Overbeck Lecture: Walt Whitman in Washington

      On Tuesday evening, November 5, the Overbeck History Lecture Series will explore Walt Whitman's immersion in the life of his adopted city, Washington, DC, during the Civil War and the following decade. Whitman scholar Martin G. Murray will discuss the poet's many roles here, sharing visual images and excerpts from Whitman's poetry and prose.

      Whitman arrived in the nation's capital in 1863 in search of his brother, who had been wounded in the war, and became a regular visitor at the makeshift hospitals that had sprung up all over the city to tend to the thousands of Union casualties. He stayed on to serve as a federal clerk and formed strong friendships with several of the city's leading figures, while also writing some of his most notable poetry based on his experiences in the city.

      An independent researcher and founder of the Washington Friends of Walt Whitman, Martin Murray has written and lectured extensively on Whitman for both academic and nonacademic audiences, and frequently leads walking tours of Whitman's Washington haunts. Most recently, he served on the coordinating committee for "Melville and Whitman in Washington: The Civil War Years and After" sponsored by the Melville Society and hosted by George Washington University. He works as an economist for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

      The lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, at the Naval Lodge Hall at 330 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E. As always, admission is free but a reservation is required due to limited seating. Please email OverbeckLecture@... and indicate how many seats you will need.

      The Overbeck History Lectures are a project of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. Please remember CHCF in your charitable giving.


      Whitman and Mosby's Raiders


      Due to the government shutdown, David Brundage's lecture on Walt Whitman, Sgt. Fountain Beattie and Mosby's Rangers for the Rock Creek Civil War Roundtable has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 9, at 9:30 am at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road, NW, Washington, DC.  

      Sgt. Fountain Beattie was Col. John Singleton Mosby's closest friend and companion throughout the Civil War. Fount later bought Green Spring farm in Annandale, Virginia in 1878 where he lived, worked the land and raised a family until 1917. Today Green Spring is a Fairfax County Park and Horticulture center with the original farmhouse still in use. Walt Whitman spent most of the war in Washington DC where he visited soldiers in the hospitals and talked with those on the street passing through the city. He heard about many battles and skirmishes across the country from the very soldiers who were there. One in particular he described in great detail about the viciousness of a rebel attack on a Union hospital train in Upperville, Virginia. This was one of Mosby's encounters with Federal troops where the wounded were dragged from the wagons and tortured and bayoneted to death. Other Federal troops drove off the attackers with some of them being captured and later executed. Fountain Beattie has been documented as a participant. Walt described the incident in his book Specimen Days in one of his most colorful and intense accounts called "A Glimpse of War's Hell Scenes". He goes on to tell how the circumstances of war bring out the very worst in humanity in words only a great writer and poet could create.

      This presentation will be accompanied by photos taken at Green Spring Farm in the very house in which Fountain Beattie lived the remainder of his life.

      Sources: Whitman’s Specimen Days and Internet records of J.S. Mosby and Fountain Beattie.