Clara Barton

"Angel of the Battlefield"

  • Clarissa Harlowe Barton
  • born: December 25, 1821
  • died: April 12, 1912
  • was a nurse in the Civil War
  • started first free public school
  • started american red cross

Clara Barton was born on December 25, 1821, in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She was the youngest child of Stephen Barton, and his wife, Sarah. Barton acquired skills that would serve her well when, at age eleven, she helped look after a sick older brother. In return her brother taught her skills that young women did not usually learn, such as carpentry. In 1900 Congress reincorporated the Red Cross and demanded a review of its funds. Soon public pressures and conflict within the Red Cross itself became too much for Barton. She resigned from the organization in 1904. By this point Barton was a figure of international fame. She retired to Glen Echo, Maryland, and died there on April 12, 1912.

During the Civil War, Clara Barton sought to help the soldiers in any way she could. In the beginning, she collected and gave supplies for the Union Army. She sat on the sidelines, Barton served as an independent nurse and first saw combat in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1862. She also cared for soldiers wounded at Antietam. Barton was nicknamed "the angel of the battlefield" for her work.

After the war ended in 1865, Clara Barton worked for the War Department, helping to either reunite missing soldiers and their families or find out more about those who were missing. She also became a lecturer and crowds of people came to hear her talk about her war experiences.

When Clara Barton visited Europe in search of rest in 1869, she was introduced to a wider field of service through the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland. They called for international agreements to protect the sick and wounded during wartime without respect to nationality and for the formation of national societies to give aid voluntarily on a basis.

Written by Kaya Maree

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