Leaves of Grass Drum-Taps: Summary and Analysis

Walt Whitman

Drum-Taps: Summary and Analysis

First O Songs for a Prelude - Summary
Whitman begins this section, which is devoted to the Civil War, with a rousing portrayal of New York City and the Union preparing for war. The poet describes regiments of soldiers marching through Manhattan as exuberant crowds line the streets, cheering on their heroes. Men from all occupations rush to volunteer while women sign up to serve as nurses.

To the drum-taps prompt,
The young men falling in and arming,
The mechanics arming, (the trowel, the jack-plane, the black-smith’s hammer, tost aside with precipitation,)
The lawyer leaving his office and arming, the judge leaving the court
The driver deserting his wagon...

(The entire section is 1579 words.)