Our Civil War Heroine
Clara Barton was born as Clarissa Harlowe Barton on Christmas Day, 1821 in North Oxford, Massachusetts and she lived to the age of ninety. Clara Barton lived a quiet life, first as teacher and then as clerk at the U.S. Patent Office. She suddenly became a national figure during the early years of the Civil War when she became a one-woman relief agency by not only securing supplies for soldiers and but also delivering them personally by going behind the lines of battle in the Eastern theatre. Although she had no formal nursing training, she became a battlefield nurse and by all reports, a dedicated, caring and courageous one. Her efforts earned her the nickname "Angel of the Battlefield" as she seemed to appear with relief and supplies at just the right moment at battlefields from Fredericksburg to Antietam. On the right is a photo of Clara Barton,
Towards the end of the war, Clara turned her efforts from battlefield relief to the massive task of identifying the missing soldiers of the war. She focused especially on the unknowns of Andersonville Prison. Through her efforts, some 13,000 Union dead from that prison were identified.
After the war, in addition to unrelenting efforts to identify the missing in action, Clara Barton continued her works regarding the horrors of war and its aftermath. One of her projects was to ensure the ratification by the U.S. government of the Geneva Conventions of 1864 which would guarantee neutrality to the sick and wounded and all hospital and medical staff. It was successfully ratified in 1882.
In 1881 Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross and was personally involved in battlefield Red Cross activity in Cuba during the Spanish American War in 1898. Clara Barton originated the idea of Red Cross response to natural disasters. At the advanced age of 79, she was personally on the scene for six weeks in Galveston, Texas following the 1900 hurricane and flood. She died on April 12, 1912 at her home in Glen Echo, Maryland.
Barton biography contributed by Rita E.
McSorley, Past Patriotic Instructor, Clara
Barton Detached Tent #3, Kerrville, Texas.
Photo: "From a portrait taken during the Civil War and authorized by her as the one she wished to be remembered by".
about Clara Barton please click here, National Park Service.
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last modified: June 15, 2017