Virginia had always prided herself on being "the mother of states and statesman." Not only had she
provided many of the most prominent political leaders and military men of the Revolutionary War era,
but many of those who moved further west as the new nation expanded its borders could boast of
roots in the Old Dominion as well. Whitman's poem points out the folly of Virginia's rebelling against
a government and a country that she herself had done so much to establish. Those who came from
Ohio, Indiana, and other Midwestern states to join the Union Army were, in a sense, returning to bear
arms against the one who had sent them forth to begin with -- an irony that was not lost on Whitman.
"Virginia -- The West"