Title: Beat! Beat! Drums!
Date: September 24, 1861
Publication information: Harper's Weekly 5 (28 September 1861): 623.
Source: Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue.
Whitman Archive ID: per.00055
cropped image 1
1. Although dated 28 September 1861, the issue of Harper's Weekly featuring Whitman's "Beat! Beat! Drums!" actually appeared one week earlier, on 21 September 1861. See Sculley Bradley and Harold W. Blodgett, ed., Leaves of Grass: A Norton Critical Edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 1973) and Ted Genoways, Walt Whitman and the Civil War: America's Poet During the Lost Years of 1860–1862 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010). The poem also appeared on 21 September in the weekly newspaper the New York Leader, though it, too, was dated 28 September 1861. The poem was reprinted in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on 23 September 1861 and the Boston Daily Evening Transcript on 24 September 1861. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle printing includes the attribution, "From Harper's Weekly." In the following weeks, the poem appeared in numerous other newspapers throughout the United States. Whitman included the poem, with slight revision, in Drum-Taps (1865). [back]