Nonfiction > Walt Whitman > Prose Works > I. Specimen Days > 17. Opening of the Secession War
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Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Prose Works. 1892.
  
I. Specimen Days
17. Opening of the Secession War
  
NEWS of the attack on fort Sumter and the flag at Charleston harbor, S. C., was receiv’d in New York city late at night (13th April, 1861,) and was immediately sent out in extras of the newspapers. I had been to the opera in Fourteenth street that night, and after the performance was walking down Broadway toward twelve o’clock, on my way to Brooklyn, when I heard in the distance the loud cries of the newsboys, who came presently tearing and yelling up the street, rushing from side to side even more furiously than usual. I bought an extra and cross’d to the Metropolitan hotel (Niblo’s) where the great lamps were still brightly blazing, and, with a crowd of others, who gather’d impromptu, read the news, which was evidently authentic. For the benefit of some who had no papers, one of us read the telegram aloud, while all listen’d silently and attentively. No remark was made by any of the crowd, which had increas’d to thirty or forty, but all stood a minute or two, I remember, before they dispers’d. I can almost see them there now, under the lamps at midnight again.   1

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