A lot of people got injured and even died, and a lot of blood was spilt during the Civil War. This war had lasted for four years from 1861 to 1865. There were plenty of people who were involved in the Civil War, as well as a female suffragist who goes by the name of Clara Barton. Clara Barton was an influential nurse who affected the war and the medical community in many ways. Her actions affected the modern world with her knowledge, the establishment of the Red Cross, and the healing of soldiers’ lives. Clara Harlowe Barton was born in 1821, in Oxford, Massachusetts and was the youngest out of five children.
During her childhood, she spent two whole years caring for her brother who fell off the rafters of a newly built barn at the age of eleven. This gave her a start of learning to heal others. All of her education was given to her by her older siblings. At age fifteen, she began a school at her father’s mill to pass her knowledge down to the children of the employees. She had continued teaching for fifteen more years (“Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield”). In 1851, Clara Barton had been asked to establish a school by a businessman in Bordentown, New Jersey. The school grew to have about six hundred kids enrolling.
Sadly, the city fathers chose to hire a capable principal for they assumed a woman wouldn’t be able to handle a single school herself with such a large amount of students. This disgusted Barton especially with her interest in women suffragism. She relinquished her role from the school when the city fathers thought she wasn’t competent for the job (“Clara Barton”) (“Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield”) (“Clara Barton | American Red Cross Founder | Who is Clara Barton”). Barton then moved south to Washington D. C. in 1854 for warmer climate. In that area, she had found a career as a clerk in the Patent Office.
It wasn’t until 1857 that her opinions about anti-slavery became too controversial that she was forced to quit. In early 1861, the first units of federal troops appeared into the city and the indications of the Civil War beginning had sprouted. Barton had the immediate need to provide for the fighting men in uniform who were already hungry and injured from the war (“Clara Barton”). Barton felt a need to help the soldiers in the war. She found that some soldiers were already wounded, some were starving, and most had no bedding nor any other clothes than their uniform.
She took action right away bringing supplies with her and nursing the men as if they were her own. She cooked, cleaned, performed first aid, and even gave away supplies. (“Clara Barton | American Red Cross Founder Who is Clara Barton”) She originally brought supplies to the young men of the Sixth Massachusetts Infantry. They had just been attacked by nearby Maryland Southern sympathizers. While she helped care for the sick and injured, she realized that she knew a lot of the men fighting. She grew up in the same neighborhood as some and even taught some of them.
This is when she started calling the soldiers ‘her boys’. (“Clara Barton | American Red Cross Founder Who is Clara Barton”) Her father died and she started to come to the realization that she was needed on the battlefield. She pestered military leaders for access to the battlefield. Eventually they said yes and she went to a field hospital with her wagon pulled by a four mule team. (“Clara Barton”) (“Clara Barton American Red Cross Founder Who is Clara Barton”) Surgeons during this time were often overworked and running out of resources.
In the battle of Antietam, surgeons ran low on bandages and began using corn husks to bandage soldiers. One soldier even said, “I thought that night if heaven ever sent out a(n… angel, she must be one – her assistance was so timely. “(“Clara Barton | American Red Cross Founder Who is Clara Barton”) (“Clara Barton”) Barton set to work right away, assisting injured men with her own two hands. She would care for the wounded like a mother would care for a sick child. She bought supplies with donations, but most were bought with money out of her own pocket.
She was known to many soldiers and field hospitals as “the Angel of the Battlefield”. (“Clara Barton”) Barton was an angel to many battlefields. She served troops at the battles of Fairfax Station, Chantilly, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Charleston, Petersburg, and Cold Harbor. She showed her sheer will and need to help people at each battle. But she wasn’t done quite yet. (“Clara Barton | American Red Cross Founder | Who is Clara Barton”) After Barton was confident in her team of nurses working in the battlefield, she left to union controlled coastal regions around Charleston, Carolina.
On July 14, 1863 she moved to Morris Island to help numerous injured soldiers. The soldiers would soon grow in numbers due to the failed assault on Fort Wagner. In the face of danger she wrote, “I always tried… to succor the wounded until medical aid and supplies would come up- I could run the risk; It made no difference to anyone if I were short or taken prisoner. ” (“Clara Barton American Red Cross Founder Who is Clara Barton”)(“Clara Barton”) Barton was brave and resilient, she cared for each individual deeply. She challenged danger, not worrying about the risks.
She just wanted to help save people and make sure that families didn’t lose their sons and husbands and fathers. She tried her best to keep from getting sick, but she eventually became dangerously ill and was removed from Morris Island. (“Clara Barton”) In January 1865, Barton went back up North. Her brother and Nephew died during the same amount of time. The war was on the verge of the end and Barton’s interest in ‘her boys’ would soon become very useful. She had great knowledge about which soldiers were in what regiment and where they were. (“Clara
Barton”) After the war, Clara Barton was asked by Abraham Lincoln to help in locating missing soldiers by setting up an office. For four years, she had ran “The Missing Soldiers’ Office” where she had answered more than 63,000 letters and held the fate of 22,000 men in her hands. It was when she suffered from another nervous breakdown in 1868 that her doctor had insisted her to rest. During that time, she decided to travel to Europe for a vacation (“Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield”). In 1869, the International Red Cross contacted Barton for assistance in persuading the United States to sign the 1864 Geneva Conventions.
Also awarded with the Iron Cross by Kaiser Wilhelm, Clara Barton had delivered supplies to Germany and France during the Franco-Prussian War she was asked to aid in 1870. At that time, she had already become a member of the International Red Cross committee (“Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield”) (“Clara Barton | American Red Cross Founder | Who is Clara Barton”). Clara Barton, in 1877, seeked to influence the Congress, made speeches, and wrote articles about having the Geneva Conventions being ratified and signed by the Senate and President.
It was a difficult battle she fought. It was especially hard when the Monroe Doctrine prohibited treaties and alliances made with Europe. Fortunately, President James Garfield made his word to sign it, but faced death by an assassination before he had the chance. Although, it was in 1882 when Chester Arthur, President Garfield’s successor, signed the treaty a few days before the Senate had ratified it (“Clara Barton | American Red Cross Founder Who is Clara Barton”) (“Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield”) (“Clara Barton”).
1880 was when Clara Barton established the American Red Cross and served as the first president until 1904. The flag of the American Red Cross was officially raised when Barton distributed funds and clothing to assist the victims of a Michigan forest fire in 1881. She continued to help the injured civilians in war, natural disasters, and many other causes. She encouraged the act of having the people look after themselves to what is now in modern time called “first aid” (“Clara Barton American Red Cross Founder Who is Clara Barton”) (“Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield”) (“Clara Barton”).
However, year 1904 was the last of Clara Barton’s time as the American Red Cross president. Her last words after she resigned were, “The government I thought I loved and loyally tried to serve has shut every door in my face. ” Even so, she still continued as a philanthropist during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. Her last breath was released in 1912 where she died at the age of ninety one from pneumonia. Her memories, accomplishments, and history resides in her household which is currently a National Historic Site located in Glen Echo, Maryland. Clara Barton impacted the war greatly.
She had nursed and relieved many soldiers in many battlefields, especially during the Civil War. Her significance to the war was serving plenty of injured men in the Civil War, granting her the worthy title, “The Angel of the Battlefield”. Her experiences led to the establishment of the American Red Cross where she and a great deal of volunteers aided the injured citizens throughout the various disasters and brawls. She had added drastic changes to the medical field throughout her lifetime, and changed the odds of men to an even fight in the Civil War.