Black Slave Owners

 

Clara Barton, 1821-1912
Civil War Nurse
Founder American Red Cross


 

Clara Barton's civil war work began in April 1861. After the Battle of Bull Run, she established an agency to obtain and distribute suppliesClara Barton Founder of the American Red Cross to wounded soldiers. In July 1862, she obtained permission to travel behind the lines, eventually reaching some of the grimmest battlefields of the war and serving during the sieges of Petersburg and Richmond. Barton delivered aid to soldiers of both the North and South.

After the war, she became a popular and widely respected lecturer. In 1881 she established the American Red Cross, and served as its director until her death.

When Clara Barton was sixteen, phrenologist Lorenzo Fowler advised her to become a teacher to cure her shyness. For ten years, Barton taught in a small Massachusetts town, where her brother owned a factory. After she was invited to teach in a private school in Bordentown, New Jersey, Barton recognized the community's need for free education, and despite opposition, set up one of the first free public schools in the state.

When officials appointed a male principal in her place, Barton resigned. In 1854, she moved to Washington, where she became the first woman to work at the Patent Office.


"In my feeble estimation, General McClellan, with all his laurels, sinks into insignificance beside the true heroine of the age, the angel of the battlefield."
Dr. James Dunn, surgeon at Antietam Battlefield.

Arriving at the northern edge of the infamous "Cornfield" at about noon, Clara Barton watched as harried surgeons dressed the soldiers' wounds with cornhusks. Army medical supplies were far behind the fast-moving troops at Antietam Battlefield. Miss Barton handed over to grateful surgeons a wagonload of bandages and other medical supplies that she had personally collected over the past year.

Then Miss Barton got down to work. As bullets whizzed overhead and artillery boomed in the distance, Miss Barton cradled the heads of suffering soldiers, prepared food for them in a local farmhouse, and brought water to the wounded men.

As she knelt down to give one man a drink, she felt her sleeve quiver. She looked down, noticed a bullet hole in her sleeve, and then discovered that the bullet had killed the man she was helping.

Undaunted, the unlikely figure in her bonnet, red bow, and dark skirt moved on--and on, and on, and on. Working nonstop until dark, Miss Barton comforted the men and assisted the surgeons with their work.

When night fell, the surgeons were stymied again--this time by lack of light. But Miss Barton produced some lanterns from her wagon of supplies, and the thankful doctors went back to work.

Miss Barton's timely arrival at the battlefield was no easy task. Only the day before, her wagon was mired near the back of the army's massive supply line. Prodded by Miss Barton, her teamsters drove the mules all night to get closer to the front of the line.

Within a few days after the battle, the Confederates had retreated and wagons of extra medical supplies were rolling into Sharpsburg. Miss Barton collapsed from lack of sleep and a budding case of typhoid fever. She returned to Washington lying in a wagon, exhausted and delirious. She soon regained her strength and returned to the battlefields of the Civil War.

Shy Tomboy

As Clara Barton moved briskly among the maimed and wounded soldiers at Antietam, few could imagine that she was once a shy, retiring child. Born in the central Massachusetts town of North Oxford on Christmas Day, 1821, Clarissa Harlowe Barton was the baby of the family. Her four brothers and sisters were all at least 10 years her senior.

When she was young, Clara's father regaled her with his stories of soldiering against the Indians. Her brothers and cousins taught her horseback riding and other boyish hobbies. Although she was a diligent and serious student, Clara preferred outdoor frolics to the indoor pastimes "suitable" for young ladies of that time.

Despite her intelligence, Clara was an intensely shy young girl, so much so that her parents fretted over it. At times, Clara was so overwrought she could not even eat. But the demure girl overcame her shyness in the face of a crisis--a pattern that would repeat itself during her lifetime. When her brother became ill, Clara stayed by his side and learned to administer all his medicine, including the "great, loathsome crawling leeches."

Trailblazer

"I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man's pay."

"What could I do but go with them [Civil War soldiers], or work for them and my country? The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins."

Throughout her life, Clara Barton led by example. In an era when travel was arduous, and many men and almost all women stayed close to home, Miss Barton traveled far and wide looking for new challenges. After teaching for several years in her home town, she opted for additional schooling.

After a year of formal education in western New York state, Miss Barton resumed teaching in Bordentown, NJ. Miss Barton taught at a "subscription school," where parents of the students chipped in to pay the teacher's salary. On her way to school, Miss Barton noticed dozens of children hanging around on street corners. Their parents could not afford the "subscription." Miss Barton offered to teach in a school for free if the town provided a building. The first day, six students showed up, the next day 20, and within a year there were several hundred students at New Jersey's first free public school.

Having lost her position as head of the school to a man simply because she was a woman, Miss Barton moved to Washington, D.C. She took a job as a clerk at the U.S. Patent Office, no mean feat for a woman in those days. Even more shocking, she earned the same salary as male clerks.

With the outbreak of war and the cascade of wounded Union soldiers into Washington, Miss Barton quickly recognized the unpreparedness of the Army Medical Department. For nearly a year, she lobbied the army bureaucracy in vain to bring her own medical supplies to the battlefields. Finally, with the help of sympathetic U.S. Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, Miss Barton was permitted to bring her supplies to the battlefield. Her self-appointed military duties brought her to some of the ugliest battlefields of 1862--Cedar Mountain, Va.; Second Manassas, Va.; Antietam, Md.; and Fredericksburg, Va.

An Idea Is Born

By 1863, the Army Medical Department was geared up for a major war, overwhelming any efforts made by a single individual such as Miss Barton. But she continued working at battlefields as the war dragged on. Miss Barton threw herself into her next project as the war ended in 1865.

She helped with the effort to identify 13,000 unknown Union dead at the horrific prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville, Ga. This experience launched her on a nationwide campaign to identify soldiers missing during the Civil War. She published lists of names in newspapers and exchanged letters with veterans and soldiers' families. The search for missing soldiers and years of toil during the Civil War physically debilitated Miss Barton. Her doctors recommended a restful trip to Europe.


Although still ailing, another crisis jolted Miss Barton into action. The outbreak of war in 1870 between France and Prussia (part of modern-day Germany) brought hardship to many French civilians. Miss Barton joined the relief effort, and in the process, was impressed with a new organization--the Red Cross. Created in 1864, the Red Cross was chartered to provide humane services to all victims during wartime under a flag of neutrality.

"Upon the porch stood four tables, with an etherized patient upon each, a surgeon standing over him with his box of instruments and a bunch of green corn leaves beside him."

"A ball had passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through the sleeve and passing through his chest from shoulder to shoulder. There was no more to be done for him and I left him to his rest. I have never mended that hole in my sleeve. I wonder if a soldier ever does mend a bullet hole in his coat?"

A Life's Work

Miss Barton returned to the United States and began her most enduring work--the establishment of the American Red Cross. A reluctant U.S. government could not imagine the country ever again being involved in armed conflict after the Civil War. Finally, by 1881 at age 60, she persuaded the government to recognize the Red Cross to provide aid for natural disasters.

Miss Barton continued to do relief work in the field until she was well into her 70s. But she was not a strong administrator, and political feuding at the American Red Cross forced her to resign as president in 1904.

Never married, Miss Barton was wedded to her convictions. She died in 1912 at age 90 in her Glen Echo home. She is buried less than a mile from her birthplace in a family plot in Oxford, Mass.




Clara Barton
Professional Angel

Elizabeth Brown Pryor eloquently told the story of Clara Barton digging deep into who exactly Clara Barton was and the many areas in which Clara was an agent for change in society





Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America, 1848-1869

In the two decades since Feminism and Suffrage was first published, the increased presence of women in politics and the gender gap in voting patterns have focused renewed attention on an issue generally perceived as nineteenth-century






Clara Barton
Civil War Nurse

Comments in Barton's own words from her thoughts and diaries. There were little known facts to keep the interest of the young adult reader, and these facts tied Barton to the historical background.






Clara Barton: Spirit of the American Red Cross

Ready To Read - Level Three
Clara Barton was very shy and sensitive, and not always sure of herself. But her fighting spirit and desire to help others drove her to become one of the world's most famous humanitarians. Learn all about the life of the woman who formed the American Red Cross.




Civil War
Young Reader Books


Clara Barton Picture Gallery


Civil War Medicine
Civil War Medicine

The staggering challenge of treating wounds and disease on both sides of the conflict. Written for general readers and scholars alike, this first-of-its kind encyclopedia will help all Civil War enthusiasts to better understand this amazing medical saga. Clearly organized, authoritative, and readable

Kindle Available

The Glory Cloak

A Novel of Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton





Head Quarters 2nd Div.
9th Army Corps-Army of the Potomac
Camp near Falmouth, Va.
December 12th, 1862 - 2 o'clock A.M.

My dear Cousin Vira:

Five minutes time with you; and God only knows what those five minutes might be worth to the many-doomed thousands sleeping around me.

It is the night before a battle. The enemy, Fredericksburg, and its mighty entrenchments lie before us, the river between - at tomorrow's dawn our troops will assay to cross, and the guns of the enemy will sweep those frail bridges at every breath.

The moon is shining through the soft haze with a brightness almost prophetic. For the last half hour I have stood alone in the awful stillness of its glimmering light gazing upon the strange sad scene around me striving to say, "Thy will Oh God be done."

The camp fires blaze with unwanted brightness, the sentry's tread is still but quick - the acres of little shelter tents are dark and still as death, no wonder for us as I gazed sorrowfully upon them.  I thought I could almost hear the slow flap of the grim messenger's wings, as one by one he sought and selected his victims for the morning.  Sleep weary one, sleep and rest for tomorrow toil. Oh! Sleep and visit in dreams once more the loved ones nestling at home.  They may yet live to dream of you, cold lifeless and bloody, but this dream soldier is thy last, paint it brightly, dream it well.  Oh northern mothers wives and sisters, all unconscious of the hour, would to Heaven that I could bear for you the concentrated woe which is so soon to follow, would that Christ would teach my soul a prayer that would plead to the Father for grace sufficient for you, God pity and strengthen you every one.

Mine are not the only waking hours, the light yet burns brightly in our kind hearted General's tent where he pens what may be a last farewell to his wife and children and thinks sadly of his fated men.

Already the roll of the moving artillery is sounded in my ears.  The battle draws near and I must catch one hour's sleep for tomorrow's labor.

Good night near cousin and Heaven grant you strength for your more peaceful and less terrible, but not less weary days than mine.

Yours in love,
Clara



1865
1905
Clara Barton Red Cross 1905

Clara Barton Picture Gallery
Women of the American Civil War
Women's Suffrage Civil Rights Movement
Women Subject Civil War Books
American Civil War Exhibits
Timeline of the Civil War
Civil War Cooking



American Stories Collection.
Civil War Nurse Barbie
She comes with her own storybook and wears a costume of the times. Go back to Gettysburg, (1863), where Barbie tends to the wounded soldiers. She comes with a nurse's cape, cap, bag, stand and small storybook.
  Blood, Sweat And Tears
An Oral History of the American Red Cross

The story of the modern-day Red Cross through the voices of twenty-nine current and former Red Cross paid and volunteer staff from all parts of the country. Stories range from that of a World War II veteran who credits the Red Cross packages with keeping him alive when he was a POW in Germany to Americans who became heroes simply because they signed up for a Red Cross course and were later able to save a life, to volunteers who spent an intense year in Vietnam cheering up soldiers. We hear from the staffer who pulled people from an automobile before the medics arrive; the mom who saved a neighbor's child when he was drowning, the nurse who took off from her job to go half-way around the world to distribute food and supplies to the victims of the Asian tsunami

Selected Titles Additional Civil War Reading Books


Sanctified Trial: The Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain, a Confederate Woman in East Tennessee

The Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain
Kindle Available

Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life:
A Biography

Travel with Tubman along the treacherous route of the Underground Railroad. Hear of her friendships with Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and other abolitionists.
Kindle Available
Rose O'Neale Greenhow Civil War Spy
Rose O'Neale Greenhow, Civil War Spy

Fearless spy for the Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover, Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life itself

Loving Mr. Lincoln: The Personal Diaries of Mary Todd Lincoln

Chronicles life, love, and daily struggles with Abraham in their 26 years together. In frank, haunting journal entries, Mary describes the pain she felt when Abraham left her at the altar, when her sons died, and when Abraham's political career seemed to be at an end

Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman

Harriet escaped North, by the secret route called the Underground Railroad. Harriet didn't forget her people. Again and again she risked her life to lead them on the same secret, dangerous journey.
Kindle Available

The Glory Cloak: A Novel of Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton

From childhood, Susan Gray and her cousin Louisa May Alcott have shared a safe, insular world of outdoor adventures and grand amateur theater -- a world that begins to evaporate with the outbreak of the Civil War. Frustrated with sewing uniforms and wrapping bandages, the two women journey to Washington, D.C.'s Union Hospital to volunteer as nurses.

Clara Barton Founder of the American Red Cross

Young Clara Barton is shy and lonely in her early days at boarding school. She is snubbed by the other girls because she doesn't know how to talk to them. But when she gets an opportunity to assist the local doctor, her shyness disappears, and Clara begins to discover her true calling as a nurse.

Grace's Letter to Lincoln

Many important details of the time period help to make the reader understand what life was like then. It also includes photos of the actual letters written between Grace and Mr. Lincoln

Clara Barton
Spirit of the American Red Cross

Ready To Read - Level Three
Clara Barton was very shy and sensitive, and not always sure of herself. But her fighting spirit and desire to help others drove her to become one of the world's most famous humanitarians. Learn all about the life of the woman who formed the American Red Cross.

Day Of Tears

Through flashbacks and flash-forwards, and shifting first-person points of view, readers will travel with Emma and others through time and place, and come to understand that every decision has its consequences, and final judgment is passed down not by man, but by his maker.
Kindle Available
The Civil War
The Civil War

Introduces young readers to the harrowing true story of the American Civil War and its immediate aftermath. A surprisingly detailed battle-by-battle account of America's deadliest conflict ensues, culminating in the restoration of the Union followed by the tragic assassination of President Lincoln
Kindle Available

A Yankee Girl at Fort Sumter

Tale of a girl and her family from Boston living in Charleston, SC during the months leading up to the beginning of the Civil War by the attack on Fort Sumter. The reader senses the inhumanity of slavery through Sylvia's experiences.

Turn Homeward, Hannalee

During the closing days of the Civil War, plucky 12-year-old Hannalee Reed, sent north to work in a Yankee mill, struggles to return to the family she left behind in war-torn Georgia. "A fast-moving novel based upon an actual historical incident with a spunky heroine and fine historical detail."--School Library Journal.

My Brothers Keeper

Virginia Dickens is angry. Her father and brother Jed have left her behind while they go off to Uncle Jack's farm to help him hide his horses from Confederate raiders. It's the summer of 1863 and Pa and Jed believe 9-year-old Virginia will be out of harm's way in the sleepy little town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina 1865

Not only is 12-year-old Patsy a slave, but she's also one of the least important slaves, since she stutters and walks with a limp. So when the war ends and she's given her freedom, Patsy is naturally curious and afraid of what her future will hold.

Numbering The Bones

The Civil War is at an end, but for thirteen-year-old Eulinda, it is no time to rejoice. Her younger brother Zeke was sold away, her older brother Neddy joined the Northern war effort,. With the help of Clara Barton, the eventual founder of the Red Cross, Eulinda must find a way to let go of the skeletons from her past.


Sources:
U.S. Library of Congress
U.S. National Park Service
Federal Citizen




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