The Civil War Begins: An Exhibition at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia

The horrors of the American Civil War, wrote Walt Whitman in 1863, “open a new world somehow to me, giving closer insights, new things, exploring deeper mines than any yet, showing our humanity … tried by terrible, fearfulest tests, probed deepest, the living soul’s, the body’s tragedies, bursting the petty bounds of art.”

A century and half after the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 sparked the conflict, Americans are still trying, as Whitman did, to comprehend our nation’s most “terrible, feafulest tests.”

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