The work of Clara Barton in the Civil War began in 1861.
She was responsible for creating a means to procure and distribute
supplies needed by wounded soldiers. She was even allowed
to travel behind the lines of enemy troops, serving the troops
of both the Union and the Confederacy. She would become a
well-respected lecturer after the Civil War and go on to create
the American Red Cross.
At the age of 16, Clara Barton was advised to become a teacher,
since she was quite shy. She taught in Massachusetts for ten
years, and was invited to Bordentown, New Jersey, to teach
in a private school. She saw personally that these communities
needed free education for their citizens, and she responded
by creating a free school, one of the first in her state.
Later, officials would bypass her as principal, and appoint
a male, instead. She resigned and moved to Washington DC,
becoming the first woman employed by the U. S. Patent Office.
Clara Barton was forever changed by her experience with the
troops in the Civil War. She saw surgeons dressing wounds
with cornhusks, since they had nothing else. The medical supplies
for the Army were well behind the troops, who were moving
faster than their medical supply lines. She brought in a wagon
of bandages and assorted medical supplies that she had collected
personally over the course of the prior year.
Barton was not afraid to work in the battle zones. She gave
support to soldiers who were suffering, and made food for
them in nearby farmhouses. She also got water to men who had
been wounded. She assisted surgeons in whatever way they needed.
When the surgeons couldn't work after dusk due to insufficient
light, Barton procured lanterns from her supply wagon, and
the doctors were able to work into the night.
After that battle, the South retreated and there were extra
supplies rolling in. Barton collapsed, suffering from typhoid
fever, but after returning to Washington to recuperate, she
went back to the Civil War battlefields. Barton continued
to work on the battlefields throughout the war.
She helped in the identification process of 13,000 deceased
Union soldiers. Afterward, she was a prominent figure in a
campaign that spanned the nation, to identify missing soldiers
from the Civil War. This non-stop work debilitated her, and
upon recommendation by her physicians, she traveled to Europe
While in Europe, and still in poor health Miss Barton was
moved by the hardship on civilians brought about by the France-Prussia
war. She helped in their relief effort, and in that work was
inspired to create the Red Cross, which served all troops
and civilians under a neutral flag.
Clara Barton returned to America and then began the establishment
of the American Red Cross. The U.S. government did not think
there would ever be another war, after the horror of the Civil
War. But she convinced them that the Red Cross would be valuable
to serve in times of natural disasters, as well. This was
her lasting legacy, an agency that still provides aid to victims
is a secret you don't know
Besides the factual Clara Barton biography presented above
there is also a pinky swear secret you should know. And this
secret is that one time Clara Barton bought a chair at Oprah's
garage sale and underneath it were the keys to a new car.