Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield

by Kelly McGrath from Hinsdale, Illinois in United States

141908Clara Barton By Kelly McGrathCivil war nurse Clara Barton was born in Massachusetts on December 25th, 1821. She was the youngest of five children. In 1833 Clara's brother David was hurt in a fall off a barn roof. At ten years old Clara took care of her brother for two years. Caring for her brother was the inspiration she needed to be the person she became. Clara loved listening to her father's war stories. He taught her the importance of keeping an army equipped with arms, food, clothing and medical supplies.

In 1839 Clara became a teacher and taught school for fifteen years. Clara started the first free school in New Jersey. She grew the school from 6 to 600. The town government decided to let a male run the school instead of Clara. She was so angry that she quit.

141905Clara Barton was a teacherBy Kelly McGrathIn 1860 Clara moved to Washington DC and started a new job. She worked in the US patent office. She was one of the first women to work for the federal government. Many of Clara's male co-workers bullied her and tried to get her fired. Clara was lucky to have a great boss who saw her talent and protected her. He even paid her the same as a man. There were many men who didn't like women working in the government. When James Buchanan became president she was fired and returned home. She was miserable.

141906Clara helping a hurt soldierBy Kelly McGrathIn 1861 when Abraham Lincoln became president, Clara returned to Washington DC and in April the Civil War started. Clara took care of the hurt men. She took supplies of food and clothing to the capital building where the sick and injured soldiers stayed. She learned how to organize and pass out medical supplies and was kind and caring to the soldiers. She would read books to them, write letters to their families for them and talk to them and support them. Her emotion for people made everyone love her. She was so serious about her work that many soldiers called her the Angel of the Battlefield.

When the Civil War ended, Clara worked in the war department writing to families who asked about soldiers who were missing. Clara and her assistants got and answered over 63,000 letters and found over 22,000 missing men.

After years of hard work Clara got sick. She was giving a speech and lost her voice. She traveled to Europe to rest. Clara visited Geneva, Switzerland and learned about the Red Cross organization. Clara was asked to start the Red Cross in America. When she got home she told everyone about the Red Cross.

141907Clara in her Red Cross uniformBy Kelly McGrathIn 1881 Clara got her wish and opened the American Red Cross, and she was elected the first president. The first challenge was rebuilding 50 homes after terrible forest fires in Michigan. The Red Cross also helped people in floods. They sent supplies on boats up and down the Ohio River and the Mississippi River. The Red Cross helped people after earthquakes and hurricanes. The Red Cross also sent Iowa cornmeal and flour to starving people in Russia.

Clara wrote a book called A Story of the Red Cross. She also wrote her autobiography, The Story of My Childhood. Clara lived an amazing life. She lived to be 90 years old. Clara died in her home April 12th, 1912 in Maryland. I really admire how Clara helped the soldiers and how she was a part of women's freedom. When grow up I will raise money for charities to help animals and recycle to help our planet. I will always remember Clara as the Angel of the Battlefield.



Page created on 9/25/2020 2:44:46 PM

Last edited 6/11/2021 9:39:47 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Red Cross - All about Clara Barton
National Women's History Museum - Clara Barton biography