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LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 

CALIFORNIA 
SANTA CRUZ 





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THE LIFE OF CLARA BARTON 

IN TWO VOLUMES 

VOLUME I 



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THE LIFE OF 

CLARA BARTON 

FOUNDER OF 
THE AMERICAN RED CROSS 

BY 

WILLIAM E. BARTON 

AUTBOR OP " THE SOUL OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN " 
" THE PATERNITY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN," ETC. 

fFith Illustrations 

VOLUME I 




PRINTED IN 
U.S. A. 

BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
tSbe MUmstUft |to» ComMbBt 
1922 



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comiGHT, loaa* bt wiluam b. baxtom 

ALL BtGHTS EnB&VBD 



CAMBUDGB • IfASSACHUSETTS 
FRUCTKD in TBS V. S.Ji, 



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TO 
STEPHEN E, BARTON 

HER TRUSTED NEPHEW; MT KINSMAN AND FRIEND 



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CONTENTS 

VOLUME I 

Introduction xi 

I. Her First Attempt at Autobiography i 

11. The Birth of Clara Barton 6 

III. Her Ancestry 9 

IV. Her Parentage and Infancy i6 
V. Her Schools and Teachers 22 

VI. The Days of Her Youth 36 
VII. Her First Experience as a Teacher 50 
VIII. Leaves from Her Unpublished Autobi- 
ography 56 
IX. The Heart of Clara Barton 76 
X. From Schoolroom to Patent Office 89 
XI. The Battle Cry of Freedom 107 
XII. Home AND Country 131 

XIII. Clara Barton to thb Front 172 

XIV. Harper's Ferry to Antietam 191 
XV. Clara Barton's Change of Base 225 

XVI. The Attempt to Recapture Sumter 238 

XVII. From the Wilderness to the James 263 

XVIII. To THE End of the War 282 

XIX. Andersonvillb and After 304 

XX. On the Lecture Platform 328 



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ILLUSTRATIONS 

Clara Barton at thb Tdib of the Civil 
War Frontispiece 

Mother and Father of Clara Barton i6 

Birthplace of Clara Barton 22 

Stone Schoolhouse where she first Taught 22 

Clara Barton at Eighteen 52 

Miss Fannie Childs (Mrs. Bernard Vassall) 66 

The Schoolhouse at Bordentown . 66 

Facsimile of Senator Henry Wilson's Letter 
TO President Lincoln 298 

Facsimile of Letter of Clara Barton to Pres- 
ident Johnson with Indorsements by the 
President, General Grant, and Others 308 



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INTRODUCTION 

The life of Clara Barton is a story of unique and per- 
manent interest; but it is more than an interesting story. 
It is an important chapter in the history of our country, 
and in that of the progress of philanthropy in this 
country and the world. Without that chapter, some 
events of lai^ge importance can never be adequately 
understood. 

Hers was a long life. She lived to enter her tenth dec- 
ade, and when she died was still so normal in the sound- 
ness of her bodily organs and in the clarity of her mind 
and memory that it seemed she might easily have lived 
to see her hundredth birthday. Hers was a life spent 
largely in the Nation's capital. She knew personally 
every president from Lincoln to Roosevelt, and was 
acquainted with nearly every man of prominence in our 
national life. When she went abroad, her associates were 
people of high rank and wide influence in their res(>ective 
countries. No American woman received more honor while 
she lived, either at home or abroad, and how worthily 
she bore these honors those know best who knew her best. 

The time has come for the publication of a definitive 
biography of Clara Barton. Such a book could not earlier 
have been prepared. The "Life of Clara Barton," by 
Percy H. Epler, published in 1915, was issued to meet the 
demand which rose immediately after her death for a 
comprehensive biography, and it was published with the 
full approval of Miss Barton's relatives and of her literary 
executors, including the author of the present work. But, 



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xii INTRODUCTION 

by 2^;reement| the two laiige vaults cont^ing some tons 
of manuscripts which Miss Barton left, were not opened 
until after the publication of Mr. Epler's book. It was 
the judgment of her literary executors, concurred in by 
Mr. Epler, that this mine of information could not be 
adequately explored within any period consistent with 
the publication of a biography such as he contemplated. 
For this reason, the two vaults remained unopened until 
his book was on the market. The contents of these vaults, 
containing more than forty closely packed boxes, is the 
chief source of the present volume, and this abundant 
material has been supplemented by letters and personal 
reminiscences from Clara Barton's relatives and intimate 
friends. 

Clara Barton con^dered often the question of writing 
her own biography. A friend uiged this duty upon her 
in the spring of 1876, and she promised to consider the 
matter. But the incessant demands made upon her time 
by duties that grew more steadily imperative prevented 
her doing this. 

In 1906 the request came to her from a number of 
school-children that she would tell about her childhood; 
and she wrote a little volume of one hundred and twenty- 
five pages, published in 1907 by Baker and Taylor, en- 
titled, ** The Story of my Childhood." She was gratified by 
the reception of this little book, and seriously considered 
using it as the comer stone of her long contemplated auto*' 
biography. She wrote a second section of about fifteen 
thousand words, covering her girlhood and her experi- 
ences as a teacher at home and in Bordentown, New 
Jersey. This was never published, and has been utilized 
in this present biography. 



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INTRODUCTION xiu 

Beside these two formal and valuable contributicHis 
toward her biography, she left journals covering most of 
the years from her girlhood until her death, besides vast 
quantities of letters received by her and o^ies oi her 
replies. Her perscuial letters to her intimate friends were 
not o^ied, as a rule, but it has been possible to gather 
some hundreds of these. Letter-books, scrap-books, 
newq>aper dippings, magazine articles, records of the 
American Red Cross, and papers, official and perscHial, 
swell the volume of material for this book to prcq>ortions 
not simply embarrassing, but almost overwhelming. 

She appears never to have destroyed anything. Her 
temperament and the habits of a lifetime impelled her 
to save every scrap of material bearing upon her work and 
the subjects in which she was interested. She gathered, 
and with her own hand labeled, and neatly tied up her 
documents, and preserved them against the day when she 
should be aUe to sift and classify them and prepare them 
for such use as mis^t ultimately be made of them. It 
troubled her that she was leaving these in such great 
bulk, and she h<^>ed vainly for the time when she could 
go through them, box by box, and put them into shape. 
But they acctmiulated far more rapidly than she could 
have assorted them, and so they were left until her death, 
and still remained untouched, until December, 191 5, 
when the vaults were opened and the heavy task b^[an 
of examining thb material, selecting from it the papers 
that tell the whole story of her life, and preparing the 
present volumes. If this book b large, it is because 
the material compelled it to be so. It could easily have 
been ten times as thick. 

The will of Clara Barton named as her executor her 



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xiv INTRODUCTION- 

beloved and trusted nephew, Stephen E. Barton. It 
also named a committee of literary executors, to whom 
she entrusted the use of her manuscripts for such purpose, 
biographical or otherwise, as they should deem best. The 
author of these volumes was named by her as a member 
of that committee. The committee elected him as its 
chairman, and requested him to undertake the prepara- 
tion of the biography. This task was undertaken gladly, 
for the writer knew and loved his kinswoman and held her 
in honor and affection; but he knew too well the magni- 
tude of the task ahead of him to be altogether eager to 
accept it. The burden, however, has been measurably 
lightened by the assistance of Miss Saidee F. Riccius, a 
grand-niece of Miss Barton, who, under the instruction 
of the literary executors, and the immediate direction of 
Stephen E. Barton and the author, has rendered invalu- 
able service, without which the author could not have 
undertaken this work. 

In her will, written a few days before her death, Miss 
Barton virtually apologized to the committee and to her 
biographer for the heavy task which she bequeathed to 
them. She said: 

" I r^:ret exceedingly that such a labor should devolve 
upon my friends as the overlooking of the letters of a life- 
time, which should properly be done by me, and shall be, 
if I am so fortimate as to r^:ain a sufficient amount of 
strength to enable me to do it. I have never destroyed 
my letters, r^^arding them as the surest chronological 
testimony of my life, whenever I could find the time to 
attempt to write it. That time has never come to me, 
and the letters still wait my call." 

They still were there, undisturbed, thousands of them, 



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INTRODUCTION xv 

when the vaults were opened, and none of them have 
been destroyed or mutilated. They are of every sort, 
personal and official; and they bear their consistent and 
cumulative testimony to her indefatigability, her pa- 
tience, her heroic resolution, and most of all to her great- 
ness of heart and integrity of soul. 

Interesting and valuable in their record of every period 
and almost every day and hour of her long and eventful 
life, they are the indisputable record of the birth and 
development of the organization which almost single- 
handed she created, the American Red Cross. 

Among those who suggested to Miss Barton the de- 
sirability of her writing the story of her own life, was 
Mr. Houghton, senior partner in the firm of Houghton, 
Mifflin and Company. He had one or more personal con- 
ferences with her relating to this matter. Had she been 
able to write the story of her own life, she would have 
expected it to be published by that firm. It is to the author 
a gratifjring circumstance that this work, which must 
take the place of her autobiography, is published by the 
firm with whose senior member she first discussed the 
preparation of such a work. 

The author of this biography was a relative and friend 
of Clara Barton, and knew her intimately. By her re- 
quest he conducted her funeral services, and spoke the 
last words at her grave. His own knowledge of her has 
been supplemented and greatly enlarged by the personal 
reminiscences of her nearer relatives and of the friends 
who lived under her roof, and those who accompanied 
her on her many missions of mercy. 

In a work where so much compression was inevitable, 
some incidents may well have received scant mention 



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xvi INTRODUCTION 

which deserved fuller treatment. The question of pro- 
portion is never an easy one to settle in a work of this 
character* If she had given any directicm, it would have 
been that little be said about her, and much about the 
work she loved. That work, the founding of the Ameri- 
can Red Cross, must receive marked emphads in a Life 
of Clara Barton: for she was its mother. She conceived 
the American Red Cross, carried it under her heart for 
3^ears before it could be brought forth, nurtured it in its 
cradle, and left it to her country and the world, an or- 
ganization whose record in the great World War shines 
bright against that black doud of horrw, as the emblem 
of mercy and of hope. 

Wherever, in America or in lands beyond, the fl^^ of 
the Red Cross flies beside the Stars and Stripes, there 
the soul of Clara Barton marches on. 

FutsT Church Study 
Oak Park, J^y i6, 192 1 



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THE LIFE OF CLARA BARTON 



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THE LIFE OF 

CLARA BARTON 

CHAPTER I 

HER FIRST ATTEMPT AT AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

Though she had often been unportuned to furnish to 
the public some account of her life and work, Clara Bar- 
ton's first autobiographical outline was not written until 
September, 1876, when Susan B. Anthony requested her 
to prepare a sketch of her life for an encyclopaedia of 
noted women of America. Miss Barton labored long 
over her reply. She knew that the story must be short, 
and that she must clip conjunctions and prepositions and 
omit "all the sweetest and best things." When she had 
finished the sketch, she was appalled at its length, and 
still was unwilling that any one else should make it 
shorter; so she sent it with stamps for its return in case it 
should prove too long. "It has not an adjective in it/' 
she said. 

Her original draft is still preserved, and reads as fol- 
lows: 

For Susan B. Anthony 
Sketch for Cyclopaedia 

Sbptebcbbr, 1876 
Barton, Clara; her father, Capt. Stephen Barton, a 
non-commissioned officer under " Mad Anthony Wayne," 
was a farmer in Oxford, Mass. Clara, youngest child, 



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2 CLARA BARTON 

finished her education at Clinton, N.Y. Teacheft popu« 
larized free schools in New Jersey. 

First woman appointed to an independent clerkship 
by Government at Washington. 

On outbreak of Civil War, went to aid suffering sol- 
diers. Labored in advance and independent of commis- 
sions. Never in hospitals; selecting as scene of opera- 
tions the battie-field from its earliest moment, 'till the 
wounded and dead were removed or cared for; canying 
her own supplies by Government transportation. 

At the batties of Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, 
ChantiUy, South Mountain, Falmouth and *'01d Freder- 
icksburg," Siege of Charleston, Morris Island, Wagner, 
Wilderness, Fredericksburg, The Mine, Deep Bottom, 
through sieges of Petersburg and Richmond under But- 
ler and Grant. 

At Annapolis on arrival of prisoners. 

Established search for missing soldiers, and, aided by 
Dorence Atwater, enclosed cemetery, identified and 
marked the graves of Andersonville. 

Lectured on Incidents of the War in 1866-67. In 1869 
went to Europe for health. In Switzerland on outbreak 
of Franco-Prussian War; tendered services. Was invited 
by Grand Duchess of Baden, daughter of Emperor Wil- 
liam, to aid in establishing her hospitals. On fall of 
Strassburg entered with German Army, remained eight 
months, instituted work for women which held twelve 
hundred persons from beggary and clothed thirty 
thousand. 

Entered Metz on its fall. Entered Paris the day suc- 
ceeding the fall of Commune; remained two months, dis- 
tributing money and clothing which she carried. Met 
the poor of every besieged dty of France, giving help. 

Is representative of the "Comit6 International of the 
Red Cross'* of Geneva. Honorary and only woman mem- 
ber of Comit6 de Strasbourgoes. Was decorated with the 
Gold Cross of Remembrance by the Grand Duke and 



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FIRST ATTEMPT AT AUTOBIOGRAPHY 3 

Duchess of Baden and with the ''Iron Cross'' by the 
Emperor and Empress of Germany, 

Miss Anthony regarded the sketch with the horror of 
offended modesty. 

"For Heaven's sake, Clara," she wrote, "put some 
flesh and clothes on this skeleton!" 

Thus admonished, Miss Barton set to work to drape 
the bones of her first attempt, and was in need of some 
assistance from Miss Anthony and others. The work as 
completed was not wholly her own. The adjectives, 
which had been conspicuously absent from the first draft 
together with some characterizations of Miss Barton 
and her work, were supplied by Miss Anthony and her 
editors. It need not here be reprinted in its final form; 
for it is accessible in Miss Anthony's book. As it finally 
appeared, it is several times as long as when Clara Barton 
wrote it, and is more Miss Anthony's than Miss Barton's. 

In the foregoing account, mention is made of her being 
an official member of the International Committee of the 
Red Cross. In that capacity she did not at that time 
represent any American ot^ganization known as the Red 
Cross, for there was no such body. Although such an 
organization had been in existence in Europe from the 
time of our Civil War, and the Reverend Dr. Henry W. 
Bellows, late of the Christian Commission, had most 
earnestly endeavored to ot^ganize a branch of it in 
this country, and to secure official representation from 
America in the international body, the proposal had been 
met not merely by indifference, but by hostility. 

Clara Barton wrote her autobiographical sketch from 
a sanitarium. She had not yet recovered from the strain 
of her service in the Franco-Prussian War. One reason 



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4 CLARA BARTON 

why she did not recover more rapidly was that she was 
bearing on her heart the burden of this as yet unborn 
organization, and as yet had found no friends of suf- 
ficient influence and faith to afford to America a share 
in the honor of belonging to the sisterhood of nations 
that marched under that banner. 

The outbreak of the World War found America un- 
prepared save only in her wealth of material resources, 
her high moral purpose, and her ability to adapt her 
forms of organized life to changed and unwelcome con- 
ditions. The rapidity with which she increased her army 
and her navy to a strength that made it possible for her 
to turn the scale, where the fate of the world hung trem- 
bling in the balance, was not more remarkable than her 
skill in adapting her institutions of peace to the exigencies 
of war. Most of the agencies, which, under the direction 
of civilians, ministered to men in arms had either to be 
created out of hand or adapted from institutions formed 
in time of peace and for other objects. But the American 
Red Cross was already organized and in active service. 
It was a factor in the fight from the first day of the world's 
agony, through the invasion of Belgium, and the three 
years of our professed neutrality; and by the time of 
America's own entrance into the war it had assumed such 
proportions that everywhere the Red Cross was seen 
floating beside the Stars and Stripes. Every one knew 
what it stood for. It was the emblem of mercy, even as 
the flag of our Nation was the symbol of liberty and the 
hope of the world. 

The history of the American Red Cross cannot be 
written apart from the story of its founder, Clara Barton. 



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FIRST ATTEMPT AT AUTOBIOGRAPHY 5 

For years before it came into being, her voice almost 
alone pleaded for it, and to her persistent and almost sole 
endeavor it came at length to be established in America. 
For other years she was its animating spirit, its voice, its 
soul. Had she lived to see its work in the great World 
War, she would have been humbly and unselfishly grateful 
for her part in its beginnings, and overjoyed that it had 
outgrown them. The story of the founding and of the 
early history of the American Red Cross is the story of 
Clara Barton. 



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CHAPTER II 

THB BIRTH OP CLARA BARTON 

Clara Barton was a Christmas gift to the world. 
She was bom December 25, 1821. Her parents named 
her Clarissa Harlowe. It was a name with interesting 
literary associations. 

Novels now grow overnight and are forgotten in a day. 
The paper mills are glutted with the waste of yesterday's 
popular works of fiction; and the perishability of paper 
is all that prevents the stopping of all the wheels of prog- 
ress with the accumulation of obsolete "best-sellers." 
But it was not so in 1 821 . The noveb of Samuel Richard- 
son, issued in the middle of the previous century, were 
still popular. He wrote " Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded," 
a novel named for its heroine, a pure and simple-minded 
country girl, who repelled the dishonorable proposals of 
her employer until he came to respect her, and married 
her, and they lived happily ever after. The plot of this 
story lives again in a thousand moving-picture dramas, 
in which the heroine is a shop girl or an art student; but 
Richardson required two volumes to tell the story, and 
it ran through five editions in a year. He also wrote 
"Sir Charles Grandison," and it required six volumes to 
portray that hero's smug priggishness; but the Reverend 
Dr. Finney, president of Oberlin College, who was also 
the foremost evangelist of his time, and whose system of 
theolc^y wrought in its day a revolution, was not the 
only distinguished man who bore the name of Charles 
Grandison. 



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THE BIRTH OF CLARA BARTON 7 

But Richardson's greatest literary triumph was "Cla- 
rissa Harlowe." Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was not 
far wrong when she declared that the chambermaids of 
all nations wept over Pamela, and that all the ladies of 
quality were on their knees to Richardson imploring him 
to spare Clarissa. Clarissa was not a servant like Pamela : 
she was a lady of quality, and she had a lover socially her 
equal, but morally on a par with a considerable number 
of the gentry of his day. His name, Lovelace, became 
the popular designation of the gentleman profligate. 
Clarissa's sorrows at his hands ran through eight volumes, 
and, as the lachrymose sentiment ran out to volume after 
volume, the gentlewomen of the English-reading world 
wept tears that might have made another flood. Samuel 
Richardson wrote the story of "Clarissa Harlowe" in 
1748, but the story still was read, and the name of the 
heroine was loved, in 182 1. 

But Clarissa Harlowe Barton did not permanently bear 
the incubus of so long a name. Among her friends she 
was always Clara, and though for years she signed her 
name "Clara H. Barton," the convenience and rhythm 
of the shorter name won over the time-honored sentiment 
attached to the title of the novel, and the worid knows 
her simply as Clara Barton. 

He who rides on the electric cars from Worcester to 
Webster will pass Bartlett's Upper Mills, where a 
weather-beaten sign at the crossroads points the way 
"To Clara Barton's Birthplace." About a mile from 
the main street, on the summit of a rounded hill, the 
visitor will find the house where she was bom. It stands 
with its side to the road, a hall dividing it through the 
middle. It is an unpretentious home, but comfortablei 



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8 CLARA BARTON 

one story high at the eaves, but rising with the rafters to 
afford elevation for chambers upstairs. In the rear room, 
on the left side, on the ground floor, the children of the 
Barton family were bom. Clara was the fifth and young- 
est child, ten years younger than her sister next older. 
The eldest child, Dorothy, was bom October 2, 1804, 
and died April 19, 1846. The next two children were 
sons, Stephen, the third to bear the name, bom March 
29, 1806, and David, bom August 15, i8o8. Then came 
another daughter, Sarah, bom March 20, 181 1. These 
four children followed each other at intervals of a little 
more than two years; but Clara had between her and 
the other children the wide gap of more than a decade. 
Her brothers were fifteen and thirteen, respectively, and 
her sister was "going on eleven" when she arrived. She 
came into a world that was already well grown up and 
fully occupied with concerns of its own. Had there been 
between her and the other children an ascending series 
of four or five graduated steps of heads, the first a little 
taller than her own, and the others rising in orderly se- 
quence, the rest of the universe would not have been 
quite so formidable; but she was the sole representative 
of babyhood in the home at the time of her arrival. So 
she began her somewhat solitary pilgrimage, from a 
cradle fringed about with interested and affectionate ob- 
servers, all of whom had been babies a good while before, 
but had forgotten about it, into that vast and vague 
domain inhabited by the adult portion of the human race; 
and while she was not unattended, her journey had its 
elements of solitude. 



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CHAPTER III 

HER ANCESTRY 

The Bartons of America are descended from a number 
of immigrant ancestors, who have come to this country 
from England, Scotland, and Ireland. The name, how- 
ever, is neither Scotch nor Irish, but English. While the 
several families in Great Britain have not as yet traced 
their ancestry to a single source, there appears to have 
been such a source. The ancestral home of the Barton 
family is Lancashire. The family is of Norman stock, 
and came to Ejigland with William the Conqueror, de- 
riving their English surname from Barton Manor in 
Lancashire. From 1086, when the name was recorded in 
the Doomsday Book, it is found in the records of Lanca- 
shire. 

The derivation of the name is disputed. It is said that 
originally it was derived from the Saxon here, barley, 
and tun, a field, and to mean the enclosed lands imme- 
diately adjacent to a manor; but most English names 
that end with "ton" are derived from "town" with a 
prefix, and it is claimed that bar, or defense, and ton, or 
town, once meant a defended or enclosed town, or one 
who protects a town. The name is held to mean "de» 
fender of the town." 

In the time of Henry I, Sir Leysing de Barton, Knight, 
was mentioned as a feudal vassal of lands between the 
rivers Ribbe and Mersey, imder Stephen, Count of 
Mortagne, grandson of William the Conqueror, who later 
became King Stephen of England. Sir Leysing de Bar* 



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10 CLARA BARTON 

ton was the father of Matthew de Barton, and the grand- 
father of several granddaughters, one of whom was 
Editha de Barton, Lady of Barton Manor. She inherited 
the great estate, and was a woman of note in her day. 
She married Augustine de Barton, possibly a cousin, by 
whom she had two children, John de Barton, who died 
before his mothen and a daughter Cedlly. 

After the death of Augustine de Barton, his widow, 
Lady Editha, married Gilbert de Notton, a landed pro- 
prietor of Lincolnshire, who also had possessions in York- 
shire and Lancashire. He had three sons by a previous 
marriage, one of whom, William, married Cedlly de 
Barton, daughter of Editha and her first husband Augus- 
tine. Their son, named for his uncle, Gilbert de Notton, 
inherited the Barton Manor and assumed the surname 
Barton. 

t The Barton estate was lai^, containing several villages 
and settlements. The homestead was at Barton-on- 
Irwell, now in the municipality of Eccles, near the city 
of Manchester. 

Other Barton families in England are quite possibly 
descended from younger sons of the original Barton line. 

The arms of the Bartons of Barton were. Argent, three 
boars' heads, armed, or. 

In the Wars of the Roses the Bartons were with the 
house of Lancaster, and the Red Rose is the traditional 
flower of the Barton family. Clara Barton, when she 
wore flowers, habitually wore red roses; and whatever 
her attire there was almost invariably about it somewhere 
a touch of red, "her color," she called it, as it had been 
the color of her ancestors for many generations. 

In the seventeenth century there were several families 



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HER ANCESTRY ii 

of Bartons in the American colonies. The name is found 
early in Vii^ia, in Pennsylvania, in Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island, New Jersey, and other colonies. 

Salem had two families of Bartons, probably related, — 
those of Dr. John Barton, physician and chirurgeon, who 
came from Huntingdonshire, England, in 1672, and was 
prominent in the early life of Salem, and Edward Barton, 
who arrived thirty-two years earlier, but, receiving a grant 
of land on the Piscataqua, removed to Portsmouth, and 
about 1666 to Cape Porpoise, Maine. On account of 
Indian troubles, the homestead was deserted for some 
years, but Cape Porpoise continued to be the traditional 
home of this branch of the Barton family. 

Edward's eldest son, Matthew, returned to Salem, 
and lived there, at Portsmouth, and at Cape Porpoise. 
His eldest son, bom probably at Salem in or about 1664, 
was Samuel Barton, founder of the Barton family of 
Oxford. 

Not long after the pathetic witchcraft delusion of 
Salem, a number of enterprising families migrated from 
Salem to Framingham, among them the family of Samuel 
Barton. On July 19, 1716, as recorded in the Suffolk 
County Registry of Deeds in Boston, Jonathan Pro- 
vender, husbandman, of Oxford, sold to Samuel Barton, 
Sr., husbandman, of Framingham, a tract of land in- 
cluding about one-thirtieth of the village of Oxford, as 
well as a fourth interest in two mills, a sawmill and a 
gristmill. 

In 1720, Samuel Barton and a few of his neighbors met 
at the home of John Towne, where, after prayer, "they 
mutually considered their obligations to promote the 
kingdom of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,'* and 



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12 CLARA BARTON 

covenanted together to seek to establish and build a 
church of Christ in Oxford. On January 3, 1721, the 
church was formally constituted, Samuel Barton and his 
wife bringing their letters of dismission from the church 
in Framingham of which both were members, and uniting 
as charter members of the new church in Oxford. The 
Reverend John Campbell was their first pastor. For 
over forty years he led his people, and his name lives in 
the history of that town as a man of learning, piety, and 
rare capacity for spiritual leadership. Long after his 
death, it was discovered that he was Colonel John Camp- 
bell, of Scotland, heir to the earldom of Loudon, who had 
fled from Scotland for political reasons, and who became 
a soldier of Christ in the new world. 

Samuel Barton, son of Edward and Martha Barton, 
and grandson of Edward and Elizabeth Barton, died in 
Oxford September 12, 1732. His wife, Hannah Bridges, 
died there March 13, 1737. From them sprang the 
family of the Oxford Bartons, whose most illustrious 
representative was Clara Barton. 

The maternal side of this line, that of Bridges, began 
in America with Edmund Bridges, who came to Massa- 
chusetts from England in 1635, and lived successively at 
Lynn, Rowley, and Ipswich. His eldest son, Edmund, 
Jr., was bom about 1637, married Sarah Towne in 1659, 
lived in Topsfield and Salem, and died in 1682. The 
fourth of their five children was a daughter, Hannah, 
who, probably at Salem about 1690, married Samuel 
Barton, progenitor of the Bartons of Oxford, to which 
town he removed from Framingham in 1716. 

Edmund, youngest son of Samuel and Hannah Barton, 
was bom in Framingham, August 15, 1715. He married, 



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HER ANCESTRY 13 

April 9, 1739, Anna Flint, of Salem. She was bora June 9, 
1718, eldest daughter of Stephen Flint and his wife, 
Hannah Moulton. Anna Flint was the granddaughter 
of John Flint, of Salem Village (Danvers), and great- 
granddaughter of Thomas Flint, who came to Salem 
before i650, 

Edmund settled in Sutton, and owned lands there and 
in Oxford. He and his wife became members of the First 
Church in Sutton, and later transferred their membership 
to the Second Church in Sutton, which subsequently 
became the First Church in Millbury. He served in the 
French War, and was at Fort Edward in 1753. He died 
December 13, 1799, and Anna, his wife, died March 20, 

1795- 

The eldest son of Edmund and Anna Barton was 
Stephen Barton, bom June 10, 1740, at Sutton. He 
studied medicine with Dr. Green, of Leicester, and prac- 
ticed his profession in Oxford and in Maine. He had 
unusual professional skill, as well as great sympathy and 
charity. He married at Oxford, May 28, 1765, Dorothy 
Moore, who was bom at Oxford, April 12, 1747, daughter 
of Elijah Moore and Dorothy Learned. On her father's 
side she was the granddaughter of Richard, great-grand- 
daughter of Jacob, and great-great-granddaughter of 
John Moore. John Moore and his wife, Elizabeth, 
daughter of Philemon Whale, bought a home in Sudbury 
in 1642. Their son, Jacob, married Elizabeth Looker, 
daughter of Henry Looker, of Sudbury, and lived in 
Sudbury. Their son Richard, bom in Sudbury in 1670, 
married Mary Collins, daughter of Samuel Collins, of 
Middletown, Connecticut, and granddaughter of Edward 
Collins, of Cambridge. Richard Moore was one of the 



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14 CLARA BARTON 

most capable and trusted men in early Oxford. Dorothy 
Learned, wife of Elijah Moore, was the daughter of 
Colonel Ebenezer Learned, the largest landowner in 
Oxford, one of the original thirty proprietors. He was a 
man of superior personality, for thirty-two years one of 
the selectmen, for many years chairman of that body, 
and moderator of town meetings, a justice of the peace, 
a representative in the Great and General Court, and an 
officer in the militia from 1718 to 1750, beginning as 
Ensign and reaching the rank of Colonel. He was active 
in the affairs of the town, the church, and the military 
organization during his long and useful life. His wife 
was Deborah Haynes, daughter of John Haynes, of Sud- 
bury. He was the son of Isaac Learned, Jr., of Framing- 
ham, who had been a soldier in the Narraganset War, 
and his wife, Sarah Bigelow, daughter of John Bigelow, 
of Watertown. Isaac Learned was the son of Isaac 
Learned, Sr., of Wobum and Chelmsford, and his wife, 
Mary Steams, daughter of Isaac Steams, of Watertown. 
The parents of Isaac Learned, Sr., were William and 
Goditha Learned, members of the Charlestown Church 
in 1632, and of Wobum Church in 1642. 
• The Learned family shared with the Barton family in 
the formation of the English settlement in Oxford, and 
were intimately related by intermarriage and many 
mutual interests. Brigadier-General Ebenezer Learned, 
a distinguished officer in the Revolution, was a brother 
of Dorothy Learned Moore, the great-grandmother of 
Clara Barton. -^ -^ 

Dr. Stephen Barton and his wife, Dorothy Moore, had 
thirteen children. Their sons were Elijah Moore, bom 
October 12, 1765, and died June 13, 1769; Gideon, bom 



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HER ANCESTRY 15 

March 29, 1767, and died October 27, 1770; Stephen, 
bom August 18, 1774; Elijah Moore, bom August 10, 
1784; Gideon, bom June 18, 1786; and Luke, bom Sep- 
tember 3, 1791. The first two sons died at an early age; 
the four remaining s(ms lived to marry, and three of them 
lived in Maine. The daughters of Dn Stephen Barton 
and Dorothy, his wife, were Pamela, Clarissa Harlowe, 
Hannah, Parthena, Polly, and Dolly. 

It is interesting to note in the names of these daughters 
a departure from the conunon New England custom of 
seeking Bible names, and the naming of the first two 
daughters after the two principal heroines of Samuel 
Richardson. 

Of this family, the third son, and the eldest to survive, 
was Stephen Barton, Jr., known as Captain Stephen 
Barton, father of Clara Barton. 



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CHAPTER IV 

HER PARBNTAGB AND INFANCY 

Captain Stephen Barton won his military title by 
that system of post-bellum promotion familiar in all 
American communities. He was a non-commissioned 
officer in the wars against the Indians. He was nineteen 
when he enlisted, and marched on foot with his troop 
from Boston to Philadelphia, which at that time was the 
Nation's capital. The main army was then at Detroit 
wider command of General Wayne, whom the soldiers 
lovingly knew as "Mad Anthony." William Henry 
Harrison and Richard M. Johnson, later President and 
Vice-President of the United States, were then lieuten- 
ants, and Stephen Barton fought side by side with them. 
He was present when Tecumseh was slain, and at the 
signing of the treaty of peace which followed. His mili- 
tary service extended over three years. At the close of 
the war he marched home on foot through northern 
Ohio and central New York. He and the other officers 
were greatly charmed by the Genesee and Mohawk val- 
leys, and he purchased land somewhere in the vicinity of 
Rochester. He had some thought of establishing a home 
in that remote region, but it was so far distant from 
civilization that he sold his New York land and made 
his home in Oxford. 

In 1796, Stephen Barton returned from the Indian 
War. He was then twenty-two years of age. Eight years 
later he married Sarah Stone, who was only seventeen. 
They established their home west of Oxford, near Charl- 



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HER PARENTAGE AND INFANCY 17 

ton, and later removed to the farm where Clara Barton 
was bom. 

It was a modest home, and Stephen Barton was a hard- 
working man, though a man of influence in the conmiu- 
nity. He served often as moderator of town meetings 
and as selectman for the town. He served also as a mem- 
ber of the Legislature. But he wrought with his own 
hands in the tillage of his farm, and in the construction 
of most of the articles of furniture in his home, including 
the cradle in which his children were rocked. 

Stephen Barton combined a military spirit with a 
gentle disposition and a broad spirit of philanthrc^y. 
Sarah Stone was a woman of great decision of character, 
and a quick temper. She was a housewife of the good 
old New Ejigland sort, looking well to the ways of her 
household and eating not the bread of idleness. From 
her father Clara Barton inherited those humanitarian 
tendencies which became notably characteristic, and from 
her mother she derived a strong will which achieved 
results ahnost regardless of opposition. Her mother's 
hot temper found its restraint in her through the inherited 
influence of her father's poise and benignity. Of him 
she wrote: 

His'militaryhabitsand tastesneverlefthim. Thosewere 
also strong political days — Andrew Jackson Days — and 
very naturaJly my father became my instructor in mil- 
itary and political lore. I listened breathlessly to his war 
stories. Illustrations were called for and we made bat- 
tles and fought them. Every shade of military etiquette 
was regarded. Colonels, captains, and sergeants were 
given their proper place and rank. So with the political 
world; the President, Cabinet, and leading ofiicers of the 
government were learned by heart, and nothing grati- 



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i8 CLARA BARTON 

fied the keen humor of my father more than the parrot* 
like readiness with which I lisped these difficult names. 
I thought the President might be as lai^ as the meeting- 
house, and the Vice-President perhs^ the size of the 
school-house. And yet, when later I, like all the rest of 
our country's people, was suddenly thrust into the mys- 
teries of war, and had to find and take my place and part 
in it, I found myself far less a stranger to the conditions 
than most women, or even ordinary men for that matter. 
I never addressed a colonel as captain, got my cavalry on 
foot, or mounted my infantry 1 

When a little child upon his knee he told me that, as 
he lay helpless in the tangled marshes of Michigan the 
muddy water oozed up from the track of an officer's 
horse and saved him from death by thirst. And that a 
mouthful of a lean dog that had followed the march 
saved him from starvation. When he told me how the 
feathered arrow quivered in the flesh and the tomahawk 
swung over the white man's head, he told me also, with 
tears of honest pride, of the great and beautiful country 
that had sprung up from those wild scenes of suffering 
and danger.] How he loved these new States for which he 
gave the strength of his youth 1 

Two sons and two daughters were bom to Stephen and 
Sarah Barton in their early married life. Then for ten 
years no other children were bom to them. On Christ- 
mas, 1 82 1, their eldest daughter, Dorothy, was as old as 
her mother had been at the time of their marriage. Their 
eldest son, Stephen, was fifteen, the younger son, David, 
was thirteen, and the daughter, Sally, was ten. The 
family had long considered itself complete, when the 
household received Clara as a Christmas present. Her 
brothers and sisters were too old to be her playmates. 
They were her protectors, but not her companions. She 
was a little child in the midst of a household of grown-up 



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HER PARENTAGE AND INFANCY 19 

people, as they seemed to her. In her little book entitled 
''The Story of my Childhood/' she thus describes her 
brothers and asters: 

I became the seventh member of a household consist- 
ing of the father and mother, two sbters and two brothers, 
each of whom for his and her intrinsic merits and special 
characteristics deserves an individual history, which it 
shall be my conscientious duty to portray as far as pos- 
sible as these pages progress. For the present it is enough 
to say that each one manifested an increasing personal 
interest in the newcomer, and, as soon as developments 
permitted, set about instructing her in the various direc- 
tions most in accord with the tastes and pursuits of each. 

Of the two sbters, the elder was already a teacher. The 
younger followed soon, and naturally my book education 
became their first care, and under these conditions it is 
little to say, that I have no knowledge of ever learning to 
read, or of a time that I did not do my own story reading. 
I^e other studies followed very early. 

My elder brother, Stephen, was a noted mathemati- 
cian. He inducted me into the mystery of figures. Mul- 
tiplication, division, subtraction, halves, quarters, and 
wholes, soon ceased to be a mystery, and no toy equaled 
my little slate. But the younger brother had entirely 
other tastes, and would have none of these things. My 
father was a lover of horses, and one of the first in the 
vicinity to introduce blooded stock. He had large lands, 
for New England. He raised his own colts; and High- 
landers, Virginians, and Morgans pranced the fields in 
idle contempt of the solid old farm-horses. 

Of my brother, David, to say that he was fond of 
horses describes nothing; one could almost add that he 
was fond of nothing else. He was the Buffalo Bill of the 
surrounding coimtry, and here commences his part of my 
education. It was his delight to take me, a little girl of 
five years old, to the field, seize a couple of those beautiful 



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20 CLARA BARTON 

young creatures, broken only to the halter and bit, and 
gathering the reins of both bridles firmly in hand, throw 
me upon the back of one colt, spring upon the other him- 
self, and catching me by one foot, and bidding me ''ding 
fast to the mane," gallop away over field and fen, in and 
out among the other colts in wild glee like ourselves. 
They were merry rides we took. This was my riding- 
school. I never had any other, but it served me well. To 
this day my seat on a saddle or on the back of a horse 
is as secure and tireless as in a rocking-chair, and far 
more pleasurable. Sometimes, in later years, when I 
found myself suddenly on a strange horse in a trooper's 
saddle, flying for life or liberty in front of pursuit, I 
blessed the baby lessons of the wild gallops among the 
beautiful colts. 

One of the bravest of women, Clara Barton was a child 
of unusual timidity. Looking back upon her earliest 
recollections she said, "I remember nothing but fear." 
Her earliest memory was of her grief in failing to catch 
"a pretty bird" when she was two and a half years old. 
She cried in disappointment, and her mother ran to learn 
what was the trouble. On hearing her complaint, that 
"Baby" had lost a pretty bird which she had almost 
caught, her mother asked, "Where did it go, Baby?" 
" Baby" indicated a small round hole under the doorstep, 
and her mother gave a terrified scream. That scream 
awoke terror in the mind of the little girl, and she never 
quite recovered from it. The "bird" she had almost 
caught was a snake. 

Her next memory also was one of fear. The family 
had gone to a funeral, leaving her in the care of her 
brother David. She told of it afterward as follows: -r: 

I can picture the large family sitting-room with its 



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HER PARENTAGE AND INFANCY 21 

four open windows, which room I was not to leave, and 
my guardian was to remain near me. Some outside duty 
called him from the house and I was left to my own ob- 
servations. A sudden thunder-shower came up; massive 
rifts of clouds rolled up in the east, and the lightning 
darted among them like blazing fires. The thunder gave 
them language and my terrified imagination endowed 
them with life. 

Among the animals of the farm was a huge old ram, 
that doubtless upon some occasion had taught me to re- 
spect him, and of which I had a mortal fear. My terrors 
transformed those rising, rolling clouds into a whole 
heaven full of angry rams, marching down upon me. 
Again my screams aJarmed, and the poor brother, con- 
science-stricken that he had left his charge, rushed 
breathless in, to find me on the floor in hysterics, a con- 
dition of things he had never seen; and neither memory 
nor history relates how either of us got out of it. 

In these later years I have observed that writers of 
sketches, in a friendly desire to compliment me, have been 
wont to dwell upon my courage, representing me as per- 
sonally devoid of fear, not even knowing the feeling. 
However correct that may have become, it is evident 
I was not constructed that way, as in the earlier years 
of my life I remember nothing but fear. 



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CHAPTER V^ 

HBR SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 

Clara Barton's education began at her cradle. She 
was not able to remember when she learned to read. 
When three years old she had acquired the art of reading, 
and her lessons in spelling, arithmetic, and geography 
began in her infancy. Both of her sbters and her eldest 
brother were school-teachers. Recalling their efforts, she 
said: **l had no playmates, but in effect six fathers and 
mothers. They were a family of school-teachers. All 
took charge of me, all educated me, each according to 
personal taste. My two sisters were scholars and artistic, 
and strove in that direction. My brothers were strong, 
ruddy, daring young men, full of life and business.*' 

Before she was four years old she entered school. By 
that time she was able to read easily, and could spell 
words of three syllables. She told the story of her first 
schooling in an account which must not be abridged: 

My home instruction was by no means permitted to 
stand in the way of the "regular school," which consisted 
of two terms each year, of three months each. The winter 
term included not only the laiige boys and giris, but in 
reality the young men "and young women of the neigh- 
borhood. An exceptionally fine teacher often drew the 
daily attendance of advanced scholars for several miles. 
Our district had thb good fortune. I introduce with 
pleasure and with reverence the name of Richard Stone; 
a firmly set, handsome young man of twenty-six or seven, 
of commanding figure and presence, combining all the 
elements of a teacher with a discipline never questioned. 



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BIRTHPLACE OF CLARA BARTON 




STONE SCHOOLHOUSE WHERE SHE FIRST TAUGHT 



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HER SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 23 

His glance of disapproval was a reprimand, his frown 
something he never needed to go beyond. The love and 
respect of his pupils exceeded even their fear. It was no 
uncommon thing for summer teachers to come twenty 
miles to avail themselves of the winter term of "Colo- 
nel" Stone, for he was a high militia officer, and at that 
young age was a settled man with a family of four little 
children. He had married at eighteen. 

I am thus particular in my description of him, both be- 
cause of my childish worship of him, and because I shall 
have occasion to refer to him later. The opening of his 
first term was a signal for the Barton family, and seated 
on the strong shoulders of my stalwart brother Stephen, 
I was taken a mile through the tall drifts to school. I 
have often questioned if in this movement there might 
not have been a touch of mischievous curiosity on the 
part of these not at all dull youngsters, to see what my 
performance at school might be. 

I was, of course, the baby of the school. I recall no 
introduction to the teacher, but was set down among the 
many pupils in the by no means spacious room, with my 
spelling book and the traditional slate, from which noth- 
ing could separate me. I was seated on one of the low 
benches and sat very still. At length the majestic school- 
master seated himself, and taking a primer, called the 
class of little ones to him. He pointed the letters to each. 
I named them all, and was asked to spell some little 
words, "dog," "cat," etc., whereupon I hesitatingly in- 
formed him that I did "not spell there." "Where do you 
spell?" "I spell in 'Artichoke,*" that being the leading 
word in the three syllable column in my speller. He good 
naturedly conformed to my suggestion, and I was put 
into the " artichoke " dass to bear my part for the winter, 
and read and "spell for the head." When, after a few 
weeks, my brother Stephen was declared by the commit- 
tee to be too advanced for a common school, and was 
placed in charge of an important school himself, my 



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24 CLARA BARTON 

unique transportation devolved upon the other brother, 
David. 

No colts now, but solid wading through the high New 
England drifts. 

The Reverend Mr. Menseur of the Episcopal church 
of Leicester, Massachusetts, if I recollect aright, wisely 
comprehending the grievous inadaptability of the school- 
books of that time, had compiled a small geography and 
atlas suited to young children, known as Menseur's Ge- 
ography. It was a novelty, as well as a beneficence; 
nothing of its kind having occurred to makers of the 
schoolbooks of that day. They seemed not to have recog- 
nized the existence of a state of childhood in the intellec- 
tual creation. During the winter I had become the happy 
possessor of a Menseur's Geography and Atlas. It is 
questionable if my satisfaction was fiUly shared by others 
of the household. I required a great deal of assistance in 
the study of my maps, and became so interested that I 
could not sleep, and was not willing that others should, 
but persisted in waking my poor drowsy sister in the cold 
winter mornings to sit up in bed and by the light of a 
tallow candle, help me to find mountains, rivers, coun- 
ties, oceans, lakes, islands, isthmuses, channels, cities, 
towns, and capitals. 

The next May the summer school opened, taught by 
Miss Susan Torrey. Again, I write the name reverently, 
as gracing one of the most perfect of personalities. I was 
not alone in my childish admiration, for her memory re- 
mained a living reality in the town long years after the 
gentle spirit fled. My sisters were both teaching other 
schools, and I must make my own way, which I did, 
walking a mile with my one precious little schoolmate, 
Nancy Fitts. Nancy Fitts! The playmate of my child- 
hood; the "chum" of laughing girlhood; the faithful, 
trusted companion of young womanhood, and the beloved 
life friend that the relentless grasp of time has neither 
changed, nor taken from me. 



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HER SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 25 

On entering the wide-open door of the inviting school- 
house, armed with some most unsuitable reader, a spelling 
book, geography, atlas, and slate, I was seized with an 
intense fear at finding myself with no member of the 
family near, and my trepidation became so visible that 
the gentle teacher, relieving me of my burden of books, 
took me tenderly on her lap and did her best to reassure 
and calm me. At length I was given my seat, with a desk 
in front for my atlas and slate, my toes at least a foot 
from the floor, and that became my daily, happy home 
for the next three months. 

All the members of Clara Barton's household became 
her teachers, except her mother, who looked with in- 
terest, and not always with approval, on the methods of 
instructicm practiced by the others. Captain Barton 
was teaching her military tactics, David was teaching 
her to ride horseback, Sally, and later Dorothy, estab- 
lished a kind of school at home and practiced on their 
younger sister, and Stephen contributed hb share in 
characteristic fashion. Sarah Stone alone attempted 
nothing until the little daughter should be old enough to 
learn to do housework. 

"My mother, like the sensible woman that she was, 
seemed to conclude that there were plenty of instructors 
without her," said Miss Barton. **She attempted very 
little, but rather regarded the whole thing as a sort of 
mental conglomeration, and looked on with a kind of 
amused curiosity to see what they would make of it. 
Indeed, I heard her remark many years after that I came 
out of it with a more level head than she would have 
thought possible." 

Clara Barton's first piece of personal property was a 
sprightly, medium-sized white dog, with silky ears and a 



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26 CLARA BARTON 

short tail. His name was Button. Her affection for 
Button continued throughout her life. Of him she said; 

My first individual ownership was "Button." In per- 
sonality (if the term be admissible). Button represented 
a sprightly, medium-sized, very white dog, with silky 
ears, sparkling black eyes and a very short tail. His bark 
spoke for itself. Button belonged to me. No other claim 
was instituted, or ever had been. It was said that on my 
entrance into the family. Button constituted himself my 
guardian. He watched my first steps and tried to pick 
me up when I fell down. One was never seen without the 
other. He proved an apt and obedient pupil, obeying me 
precept upon precept, if not line upon line. He stood on 
two feet to ask for his food, and made a bow on receiving 
it, walked on three legs when very lame, and so on, after 
the manner of his crude instruction; went everywhere 
with me through the day, waited patiently while I said 
my prayers and continued his guard on the foot of the 
bed at night. Button shared my board as well as my 
bed. 

After her first year's instruction at the hands of Colonel 
Stone, that gentleman ceased his connection with the 
common schools, and established what was known as the 
Oxford High School, an institution of great repute in its 
day. This left the district school to be taught by the 
members of the Barton household. For the next three 
years Clara's sisters were her public school-teachers in 
the autumn and spring, and her brother Stephen had 
charge of the school in the winter terms. Two things 
she remembered about those years. One was her preter- 
natural shyness. She was sensitive and retiring to a de- 
gree that seemed to forbid all hope of her making much 
progress in study with other children. The other was 
that she had a fondness for writing verses, some of which 



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HER SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 27 

her brothers and sisters preserved and used to tease her 
with in later years. One thing she learned outside the 
schoolroom, and she never forgot it« That was how to 
handle a horse. She inherited her mother's sidesaddle, 
and though she protested against having to use it, she 
learned at an early age to lift and buckle it, and to ride 
her father's horses. 

Meantime her brothers grew to be men and bought 
out her father's two large farms. Her father purchased 
another farm of three hundred acres nearer the center of 
the town, a farm having upon it one of the forts used for 
security against the Indians by the original Huguenot 
settlers. She now became interested in history, and 
added that to her previous accomplishments. 

At the age of eight, Clara Barton entered what was 
called high school, which involved boarding away from 
home. The arrangement met with only partial success 
on account of her extreme timidity: 

During the preceding winter I began to hear talk of my 
going away to school, and it was decided that I be sent 
to Colonel Stone's High School, to board in his family 
and go home occasionally. This arrangement, I learned 
in later years, had a double object. I was what is known 
as a bashful diild, timid in the presence of other persons, 
a condition of things found impossible to correct at home. 
In the hope of overcoming this undesirable mauvais 
honte, it was decided to throw me among strangers. 

How well I remember my advent. My father took me 
in his carriage with a little dressing-case which I dignified 
with the appellation of " trunk" — something I had never 
owned. It was April — cold and bare. The house and 
schoolrooms adjoined, and seemed enormously large. 
The household was also large. The long family table 
with the dignified preceptor, my loved and feared teacher 



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28 CLARA BARTON 

ol three years, at its head, seemed to me something for- 
midable. There were probably one hundred and fifty 
pupils daily in the ample schoolrooms, of which I was 
perhaps the youngest, except the colonel's own children. 

My studies were diosen with great care. I remem- 
ber among them, ancient hbtory with charts. The les- 
sons were learned, to repeat by rote. I found difficulty 
both in learning the proper names and in pronouncing 
them, as I had not quite outgrown my lisp. One day I 
had studied very hard on the Ancient Kings of Egypt, 
and thought I had everything perfect, and when the 
pupil above me failed to give the name of a reigning king, 
I answered very promptly that it was "Potlomy." The 
colonel checked with a glance the rising laugh of the 
older members of the dass, and told me, very gently, that 
the P was silent in that word. I had, however, seen it all, 
and was so overcome by mortification for my mistake, 
and gratitude for the kindness of my teacher, that I burst 
into tears and was permitted to leave the room. 

I am not sure that I was really homesick, but the dajrs 
seemed very long, especially Sundays. I was in constant 
dread of doing something wrong, and one Sunday after- 
noon I was sure I had found my occasion. It was early 
spring. The tender leaves had put out and with them 
the buds and half-open blossoms of the little cinnamon 
roses, an unfailing ornamentation of a well-kept New 
England home of that day. The children of the family 
had gathered in the front yard, admiring the roses and 
daring to pick each a little bouquet. As I stood holding 
mine, the heavy door at my bade swung open, and there 
was the colonel, in his long, light dressing-gown and 
slippers, direct from his study. A kindly spoken, " Come 
with me, Clara," nearly took my last breath. I followed 
his strides through all the house, up the long flights of 
stairs, through the halls of the schoolrooms, silently 
wondering what I had done more than the others. I 
knew he was by no means wont to spare his own children. 



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HER SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 29 

I had my handful of roses — so had they. I knew it was 
very wrong to have picked them, but why more wrong for 
me than for the others? At length, and it seemed to me 
an hour, we reached the colonel's study, and there, ad- 
vancing to meet us, was the Reverend Mr. Chandler, the 
pastor of our Universalist Church, whom I knew well. 
He greeted me very politely and kindly, and handed 
the large, open school reader which he held, to the colonel, 
who put it into my hands, placed me a little in front of 
them, and pointing to a column of blank verse, very 
gently directed me to read it. It was an extract from 
Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope," commencing, "Un- 
fading hope, when life's last embers bum." I read it to 
the end, a page or two. When finished, the good pastor 
came quickly and relieved me of the heavy book, and I 
wondered why there were tears in his eyes. The colonel 
drew me to him, gently stroked my short cropped hair, 
went with me down the long steps, and told me I could 
"go back to the children and play." I went, much more 
easy in mind than I came, but it was years before I com- 
prehended anything about it. 

My studies gave me no trouble, but I grew very tired, 
felt hungry all the time, but dared not eat, grew thin and 
pale. The colonel noticed it, and watching me at table 
found that I was eating little or nothing, refusing every- 
thing that was offered me. Mistrusting that it was from 
timidity, he had food laid on my plate, but I dared not 
eat it, and finally at the end of the term a consultation 
was held between the colonel, my father, and our beloved 
family physician, Dr. Delano Pierce, who lived within a 
few doors of the school, and it was decided to take me 
home until a little older, and wiser, I could hope. My 
timid sensitiveness must have given great annoyance to 
my friends. If I ever could have gotten entirely over it, it 
would have given far less annoyance and trouble to myself 
all through life. 

To this day, I would rather stand behind the lines of 



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30 CLARA BARTON 

artillery at Antietamt or cross the pontoon bridge under 
fire at Fredericksbui^t than to be expected to preside at 
a public meeting. 

Again Clara's instruction fell to her brothers and 
sisters. Stephen taught her mathematics, her sisters in- 
creased her knowledge of the conunon branches, and 
David continued to give her lessons in horsemanship. 
Stephen Barton, her father, was the owner of a fine black 
stallion, whose race of colts improved the blooded stock 
of Oxford and vicinity. When she was ten years old she 
received a present of a Moiigan horse named Billy. 
Mounted on the back of this fine animal, she ranged the 
hills of Oxford completely free from that fear with which 
she was possessed in the schoolroom. 

When she was thirteen years of age, her education 
took a new start under the instruction of Lucian Bur* 
leigh, who taught her granunar, composition, English 
literature, and history. A year later Jonathan Dana 
became her instructor, and taught her philosophy, 
chemistry, and writing. These two teachers she remem- 
bered with unfaltering affection. 

While Clara Barton's brother Stephen taught school, 
his younger brother, David, gave himself to business. 
He, no less than Stephen, was remembered affectionately 
as having had an important share in her education. He 
had taught her to ride, and she had become hb nurse. 
When he grew well and strong, he took the little giri 
under his instruction, and taught her how to do things 
directly and with expedition. If she started anywhere 
impulsively, and turned back, he reproved her. She was 
not to start until she knew where she was going, and why, 
and having started, she was to go ahead and accomplish 



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HER SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 31 

what she had undertidcen. She was to learn the effective 
way of attaining results, and having learned it was to 
follow the method which promoted efficiency. He taught 
her to despise false motions, and to avoid awkward and 
ineffective attempts to accomplish results. He showed 
her how to drive a nail without splitting a board, and she 
never forgot how to handle the hanmier and the saw. He 
taught her how to start a screw so it would drive straight. 
He taught her not to throw like a girl, but to hurl a ball 
or a stone with an under swing like a boy, and to hit 
what she threw at. He taught her to avoid ''granny- 
knots" and how to tie square knots. All this practical 
instruction she learned to value as among the best fea- 
tures of her education. 

One of her earliest experiences, in accomplishing a 
memorable piece of work with her own hands, came to 
her after her father had sold the two hill farms to his sons 
and removed to the farm on the highway nearer the 
village. It gave her her opportunity to learn the art of 
painting. This was more than the ability to dip a brush 
in a prepared mixture and spread the liquid evenly over 
a plane surface; it involved some knowledge of the art of 
preparing and mixing paints. She found joy in it at the 
time, and it quickened within her an aspiration to be an 
artist. In later years and as part of her education, she 
learned to draw and paint, and was able to give instruc- 
tion in water-color and oil painting. It is interesting to 
read her own account of her first adventure into the field 
of art: 

The hill farms — for there were two — were sold to my 
brothers, who, entering into partnership, constituted the 
well-known firm of S. & D* Barton, continuing mainly 



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32 CLARA BARTON 

through their lives. Thus I became the occupant of two 
homes, my sisters remaining with my brothers, none of 
whom were married. 

The removal to the second home was a great novelty 
to me. I became observant of all changes made. One 
of the first things found necessary, on entering a house of 
such ancient date, was a rather extensive renovation, for 
those days, of painting and papering. The leading artisan 
in that line in the town was Mr. Sylvanus Harris, a 
courteous man of fine manners, good scholarly acquire- 
ments, and who, for nearly half a lifetime, filled the office 
of town clerk. The records of Oxford will bear his name 
and his beautiful handwriting as long as its records exist. 

Mr. Harris was engaged to make the necessary im- 
provements. Painting included more then than in these 
later days of prepared material. The painter brought his 
massive white marble slab, ground his own paints, mixed 
his colors, boiled his oil, calcined his plaster, made his 
putty, and did scores of things that a painter of to-day 
would not only never think of doing, but would often 
scarcely know how to do. 

Coming from the newly built house where I was bom, 
I had seen nothing of this kind done, and was intensely 
interested. I must have persisted in making myself very 
numerous, for I was constantly reminded not to ''get in 
the gentleman's way." But I was not to be set aside. 
My combined interest and curiosity for once overcame 
my timidity, and, encouraged by the mild, genial face 
of Mr. Harris, I gathered the courage to walk up in front 
and address him: "Will you teach me to paint, sir?" 
"With pleasure, little lady; if mamma is willing, I should 
very much like your assistance." The consent was forth- 
coming, and so was a gown suited to my new work, and 
I reported for duty. I question if any ordinary appren- 
tice was ever more faithfully and intelligently instructed 
in his first month's apprenticeship. I was taught how to 
hold my brushes, to take care of them, allowed to help 



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HER SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 33 

grind my paints, shown how to mix and blend them, how 
to make putty and use it, to jM-epare oils and dryings, and 
learned from experience that boiling oil was a great deal 
hotter than boiling water, was taught to trim paper 
neatly, to match and help to hang it, to make the most 
approved paste, and even varnished the kitchen chairs 
to the entire satisfaction of my mother, which was tri- 
umph enough for one little girl. So interested was I, that 
I never wearied of my work for a day, and at the end of a 
month looked on sadly as the utensils, brushes, buckets 
and great marble slabs were taken away. There was not 
a room that I had not helped to make better; there were 
no longer mysteries in paint and paper. I knew them all, 
and that work would bring calluses even on little hands. 
When the work was finished and everything gone, I 
went to my room, lonesome in spite of myself. I found 
on my candle stand a box containing a pretty little locket, 
neatly inscribed, " To a faithful worker." No one seemed 
to have any knowledge of it, and I never gained any. 

One other memory of these early days must be recorded 
as having an inunediate effect upon her, and a permanent 
influence upon her life. While she was still a little girl, 
she witnessed the killing of an ox, and it seemed so ter- 
rible a thing to her that it had much to do with her life- 
long temperance in the matter of eating meat. She never 
became an absolute vegetarian. When she sat at a table 
where meat was served, and where a refusal to eat would 
have called for explanation, and perhaps would have em- 
barrassed the family, she ate what was set before her 
as the Apostle Paul commanded, but she ate very spar- 
ingly of all animal food, and, when she was able to con- 
trol her own diet, lived almost entirely on vegetables. 
Things that grew out of the ground, she said, were good 
enough for her: 



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34 CLARA BARTON 

A small herd of twenty-five fine milch cows came 
faithfully home each day with the lowering of the sim, 
for the milking and extra supper which they knew awaited 
them. With the customary greed of childhood, I had 
laid claim to three or four of the handsomest and tamest 
of them, and believing myself to be their real owner, I 
went faithfully every evening to the yards to receive and 
look after them. My little milk pail went as well, and I 
became proficient in an art never forgotten. 

One afternoon, on going to the bam as usual, I found 
no cows there; all had been driven somewhere else. As 
I stood in the comer of the great yard alone, I saw three 
or four men — the farm hands — with one stranger 
among them wearing a long, loose shirt or gown. They 
were all trying to get a large red ox onto the bam floor, 
to which he went very reluctantly. At length they suc- 
ceeded. One of the men carried an axe, and, stepping a 
little to the side and back, raised it high in the air and 
brought it down with a terrible blow. The ox fell, I fell 
too; and the next I knew I was in the house on a bed, and 
all the family about me, with the traditional camphor bot- 
tle, bathing my head to my great discomfort. As I re- 
gained consciousness, they asked me what made me fall ? 
I said, "Some one stmck me.'* " Oh, no," they said, " no 
one stmck you.'' But I was not to be convinced, and 
proceeded to argue the case with an impatient putting 
away of the hurting hands, ''Then what makes my head 
so sore?" Happy ignorance! I had not then leamed the 
mystery of nerves. 

I have, however, a very dear recollection of the indig- 
nation of my father (my mother had already expressed 
herself on the subject), on his return from town and hear- 
ing what had taken place. The hired men were lined up 
and arraigned for ''cmel carelessness." They had ''the 
consideration to keep the cattle away," he said, "but 
allowed that little giii to stand in full view." Of course, 
each protested he had not seen me. I was altogether too 



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HER SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS 35 

friendly with the farm hands to hear them blamed, espe- 
cially on my account, and came promptly to their side, 
assuring my father that they had not seen me, and that 
it was "no matter," I was "all well now." But, singu- 
larly, I lost all desire for meat, if I had ever had it — and 
all through life, to the present, have only eaten it when 
I must for the sake of appearance, or as circumstances 
seemed to make it the more proper thing to do. The 
bountiful ground has always yielded enough for all my 
needs and wants. 



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CHAPTER VI 

THB DAYS OF HER YOUTH 

So laif^e a part of the schooling of Clara Barton was 
passed under the instruction of her own sisters and her 
brother Stephen that she ceased to feel in school the 
diffidence which elsewhere characterized her, and which 
she never fully overcame. Not all of her education, 
however, was accomplished in the schoolroom. While 
her mother refrained from giving to her actual instruc- 
tion as she received from her father and brothers and 
sisters, her knowledge of domestic arts was not wholly 
n^lected. When the family removed to the new home, 
her two brothers remained upon the more distant farm, 
and the older sisters kept house for them. Into the new 
home came the widow of her father's nephew, Jeremiah 
Lamed, with her four children, whose ages varied from 
six to thirteen years. She now had playmates in her own 
household, with frequent visits to the old home where her 
two brothers and two sisters, none of them married, kept 
house together. Although her mother still had older 
kitchen help, she taught Clara some of the m3rsteries of 
cooking. Her mother complained somewhat that she 
never really had a fair chance at Clara's instruction as a 
housekeeper, but Clara believed that no instruction of 
her youth was more lasting or valuable than that which 
enabled her, on the battle-field or elsewhere, to make a 
pie, "crinkly around the edges, with marks of finger- 
prints," to remind a soldier of home. 
Two notable interruptions of her schooling occurred. 



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THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH 37 

The first was caused by an alarming illness when she was 
five years of age. Dysentery and convulsions came very 
near to robbing Captain and Mrs. Barton of their baby. 
Of this almost mortal illness, she preserved only one 
memory, that of the first meal which she ate when her 
convalescence set in. She was propped up in a huge 
cradle that had been constructed for an adult invalid, 
with a little low table at the side. The meal consisted of 
a piece of brown bread crust about two inches square, 
a tiny glass of homemade blackberry cordial, and a wee 
bit of her mother's well-cured cheese. She dropped asleep 
from exhaustion as she finished this first meal, and the 
memory of it made her mouth water as long as she lived. 

The other interruption occurred when she was eleven. 
Her brother David, who was a dare-devil rider and fear- 
less climber, ascended to the ridge-pole on the occasion 
of a barn-raising. A board broke imder his feet, and he 
fell to the ground. He fell upon solid timbers and sus- 
tained a serious injury, especiaUy by a blow on the head. 
For two years he was an invalid. For a time he himg 
between life and death, and then was "a sleepless, nerv- 
ous, cold dyspeptic, and a mere wreck of his former self." 
After two years of suffering, he completely recovered 
under a new system of steam baths; but those two years 
did not find Clara in the schoolroom. She nursed her 
brother with such assiduity as almost permanently to 
injure her own health. In his nervous condition he clung 
to her, and she acquired something of that skill in the 
care of the sick which remained with her through life. 

Clara Barton was growing normally in her twelfth 
year when she became her brother's nurse. Not until 
that long vigil was completed was it discovered that she 



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38 CLARA BARTON 

had ceased to grow. Her height in her shoes, with 
moderately high heels, was five feet and three inches, and 
was never increased. In later life people who met her 
gave widely divergent reports of her stature. She was 
described as ''of medium height,'' and now and then she 
was declared to be talL She had a remarkable way of 
appearing taller than she was. As a matter of fact in her 
later years, her height shrank a little, and she measured 
in her stoddng-feet exactly sixty inches. 

Clara was an ambitious child. Her two brothers 
owned a doth-mill where they wove satinet. She was 
ambitious to learn the art of weaving. Her mother at 
first objected, but her brother Stephen pleaded for her, 
and she was permitted to enter the mill. She was not 
tall enough to tend the loom, so a raised platform was 
arranged for her between a pair of looms and she learned 
to manage the shuttle. To her great disappointment, the 
mill burned down when she had been at work only two 
weeks; but this brief vacational e3q>erience served as a 
basis of a pretty piece of fiction at which she always 
smiled, but which annoyed her somewhat — that she had 
entered a factory and earned money to pay off a mort- 
gage on her father's farm. The length of her service in 
the mill would not have paid a very large mortgage, but 
fortunately there was no mortgage to pay off. Her 
father was a prosperous man for his time, and the family 
was well to do, possessing not only broad acres, but 
adding to the family income by manufacture and trade. 
They were among the most enterprising, proq>erous, and 
respected families in a thrifty and self-respecting com- 
munity. 

One of the enterprises on the Barton farm afforded 



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THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH 39 

her great joy. The narrow French River ran through 
her father's farm. In places it could be crossed by a foot- 
log, and there were few days when she did not cross and 
recross it for the sheer joy of finding herself on a trem- 
Uing log suspended over a deep stream. This river ran 
the only sawmill in the neighborhood. Here she de- 
lighted to ride the carriage which conveyed thelogstothe 
old-fashioned up-and-down saw. The carriage moved 
very slowly when it was going forward and the saw was 
eating its laborious way through the log, but it came 
back with violent rapidity, and the little giri, who re- 
membered nothing but fear of her earliest childhood, was 
happy when she flaunted her courage in the face of her 
natural timidity and rode the sawmill carriage as she 
rode her high-stepping blooded Billy. 

She went to church every Sunday, and churches in that 
day had no fires. Her people had been brought up in the 
orthodox church, but, revolting at the harsh dogmatism 
of the orthodox theology of that day, they withdrew and 
became founders of the first Universalist Church in 
America. The meeting-house at Oxford, built for the 
Universalist Society, is the oldest building in existence 
erected for this communion. Hoeea Ballou was the first 
minister — a brave, strong, resolute man. Though the 
family liberalized their creed, they did not greatly modify 
the austerity of their Puritan living. They kept the 
Sabbath about as strictly as they had been accustomed 
to do before their break with the Puritan church. 

Once in her childhood Clara broke the Sabbath, and it 
brought a painful memory: 

One clear, cold, starlight Sunday morning, I heard a 
low whistle under my open chamber window. I realized 



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40 CLARA BARTON 

that the boys were out for a skate and wanted to com- 
municate with me. On going to the window, they in- 
formed me that they had an extra pair of skates and if I 
could come out they would put them on me and "learn" 
me how to skate. It was Sunday morning; no one would 
be up till late, and the ice was so smooth and "glare." 
The stars were bright; the temptation was too great. I 
was in my dress in a moment and out. The skates were 
fastened on firmly, one of the boy's wool neck "com- 
forters" tied about my waist, to be held by the boy in 
front. The other two were to stand on either side, and 
at a signal the cavalcade started. Swifter and swifter we 
went, until at length we reached a spot where the ice had 
been cracked and was full of sharp ^ges. These threw 
me, and the speed with which we were progressing, and 
the distance before we could quite come to a stop, gave 
terrific opportunity for cuts and wounded knees. The 
opportuni^ was not lost. There was more blood flowing 
than any of us had ever seen. Something must be done. 
Now all of the wool neck comforters came into requisi- 
tion; my wounds were bound up, and I was helped into 
the house, with one knee of ordinary r^pectable cuts 
and bruises; the other frightful. Then the enormity 
of the transaction and its attendant difficulties began 
to present themselves, and how to surround (for there 
was no possibility of overcoming) them was the ques- 
tion. 

The most feasible way seemed to be to say nothing 
about it, and we decided to all keep silent; but how to 
conceal the limp? I must have no limp, but walk well. 
I managed breakfast without notice. Dinner not quite 
so well, and I had to acknowledge that I had slipped down 
and hurt my knee a little. This gave my limp more lati- 
tude, but the next day it was so decided, that I was held 
up and searched. It happened that the best knee was 
inspected; the stiff wool comforter soaked off, and a 
suitable dressing given it. This was a great relief, as it 



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THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH 41 

afforded pretext for my limp, no one observing that I 
limped with the wrong knee. 

But the other knee was not a wound to heal by first 
intention, especially under its peculiar dressing, and fin- 
ally had to be revealed. The result was a surgical dressing 
and my foot held up in a chair for three weeks, during 
which time I read the Arabian Nights from end to end. 
As the first dressing was finished, I heard the surgeon say 
to my father: ''That was a hard case. Captain, but she 
stood it like a soldier.'* But when I saw how genuinely 
they all pitied, and how tenderly they nursed me, even 
walking lightly about the house not to jar my swollen 
and fevered limbs, in spite of my disobedience and de- 
testable deception (and persevered in at that), my Sab- 
bath-breaking and unbecoming conduct, and all the 
trouble I had caused, conscience revived, and my mental 
suffering far exceeded my physical. The Arabian Nights 
were none too powerful a soporific to hold me in reason- 
able bounds. I despised myself, and failed to sleep or 
eat. 

My mother, perceiving my remorseful condition, came 
to the rescue, telling me soothingly, that she did not 
think it the worst thing that could have been done, 
that other little girls had probably done as badly, and 
strengthened her conclusions by telling me how she once 
persisted in riding a high-mettled, unbroken horse in 
opposition to her father's commands, and was thrown. 
My supposition is that she had been a worthy mother of 
her equestrian son. 

The lesson was not lost on any of the group. It is very 
certain that none of us, boys or girls, indulged in further 
smart tricks. Twenty-five years later, when on a visit to 
the old home, long left, I saw my father, then a gray- 
haired grandsire, out on the same little pond, fitting the 
skates carefully to the feet of his little twin granddaugh- 
ters, holding them up to make their first start in safety, 
I remembered my wounded knees, and blessed the great 



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42 CLARA BARTON 

Father that progress and change were among the poe* 
sibilities of His people. 

I never learned to skate. When it became fashionable 
I had neither time nor opportunity. 

Another disappointment of her childhood remained 
with her. She wanted to learn to dance, and was not 
permitted to do so. It was not because her parents were 
wholly opposed to dancing, but chiefly because the 
dandng-school was organized while a revival of religion 
was in progress in the village, and her parents felt that 
her attendance at dandng-school at such a time would be 
unseemly. Of this she wrote: 

I recall another disappointment which, though not 
vital, was still indicative of the times. During the follow- 
ing winter a dandng-school was opened in the hall of the 
one hotel on Oxford Plain, some three miles from us. It 
was taught by a personal friend of my father, a polished 
gentleman, resident of a neighboring town, and teacher 
of English schools. By some chance I got a glimpse of 
the dandng-school at the opening, and was seized with a 
most intense desire to go and learn to dance. With my 
peculiar characteristics it was necessary for me to want a 
thing very much before mentioning it; but this overcame 
me, espedally as the cordial teacher took tea with us one 
evening before going to his school, and spoke very in- 
terestingly of his dasses. I even went so far as to beg 
permission to go. The dance was in my very feet. The 
violin haunted me. "Ladies change" and "All hands 
round*' sounded in my ears and woke me from my sleep 
at night. 

The matter was taken up in family coundl. I was 
thought to be very young to be allowed to go to a dandng- 
school in a hotel. Dancing at that time was at a very low 
ebb in good New England sodety, and, besides, there was 
an active revival taking place in both of the orthodox 



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THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH 43 

churcheG (or, rather, one a church and the other a society 
without a church), and it might not be a wise, nor even a 
courteous, thing to allow. Not that our family, with its 
well-known liberal proclivities, could have the slightest 
objection on that score; still, like Saint Paul, if meat were 
harmful to their brethren, they would not eat it, and thus 
it was decided that I could not go. The decision was per- 
fectly conscientious, kindness itself, and probably wise; 
but I have wondered, if they could have known (as they 
never did) how severe the disappointment was, the tears 
it cost me in my little bed in the dark, the music and the 
master's voice still sounding in my ears, if this knowledge 
would have weighed in the decision. 

I have listened to a great deal of music since then, 
interspersed with very positive orders, and which gener- 
ally called for ''All hands round,*' but the dulcet notes oi 
theviolinand the'^Ladies change" were missing. Neither 
did I ever learn to dance. 

As she looked back over her childhood, she was unable 
to recall many social events which could have been 
characterized as thrilling. By invitation she once wrote 
out for a gathering of women her recollection of a party 
which she attended on election day just after she was 
ten years old. It is worth reading, and may well remind 
us that happy childhood memories do not always gather 
about events which seem to be intrinsically great: 

A child's party 

It is the "reminiscence of a happy moment" which 
my beloved friends of the Legion of Loyal Women ask of 
me — some moment or event so happy as to be worth the 
telling. That may not be an easy thing in a life like mine, 
but there are few things the "L^on" could ask of me 
that I would not at least try to do. But, dear sisters, I 
fear I must ask of you patiently to travel far back with 



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44 CLARA BARTON 

me to the little childhood days which knew no care. Pa- 
tiently, I say, for that was long ago. 

I lived in the country, a mile or more from the village. 
Olivia Bruce, my favorite friend, lived in the village. 

Olivia had "made a party,'' and invited twelve little 
girls, schoolmates and playmates, herself making the 
thirteenth (we had never learned that there could be bad 
luck in numbers). 

It was May, and the party was to be held on "Old 
Election Day." Care and thought were given to the 
occasion. 

Each guest was to learn a little poem to recite for the 
first time, as a surprise to the others. 

There was some effort at costume. We were all to wear 
aprons alike, from the village store — white, with a 
pretty vine, and cozy, little, brown birds in the comers. 
Embroidered? Oh, no! just stamped; but what em- 
broidery has since ever borne comparison with that? 

Our ages must conform — no one under ten, or over 
twelve. How glad I was that I had been ten the Christ- 
mas before! 

At length arrangements were completed, and nothing 
to be wished for but a pleasant day. 

The morning came, heavy and dark. The thunder 
rolled, the clouds gathered and broke, and the lightning 
as if in cruel mockery darted in and out among them, 
lighting up their ragged edges, or enveloping the whole 
massin quivering flame. The rain came down in torrents, 
and I fear there were torrents of tears as well. Who could 
give comfort in a disappointment and grief like that? 
Who, but old Morgan, the gardener, with his poetic 
prophecy — 

"Rain before seven, be dear before *leven.** 

I watched the clouds, I watched the dock, but most of 
all I watched the hopeful face of old Morgan. How long 
and how dark^the morning was! At length, as the dock 
pointed half-past !ten, the douds broke^ again, but this 



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THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH 45 

time with the bright, dear sun behind them, and the high 
arching rainbow resting on the tree-tops of the western 
woods. 

It was long to wait, even for dinner, and the proper 
time to go. Finally, all traces of tears were washed away, 
the toilet made even to the apron and hat, the mother's 
kiss given upon the cheek of her restless child with the 
gentle admonition "Be a good girl!'' and, as I sprang 
from the doorstep striving hard to keep at least one foot 
on the ground, who shall say that the happiness and joy 
of that little bit of humanity was not as complete as ever 
falls to the lot of humanity to be? 

The party was a success. The thirteen little girls were 
there; each wore her pretty apron and the knot of rib- 
bon in her hair; each recited her little poem unknown 
to the others. 

We danced — played ring plays. 

•'The needle's eye that can supply 
The thread that runs so truly." 

''For no man knows 
Where oats, peas, beans, or barley grows.'* 

We "chased the squirrel," "hunted the slipper,** 
trinuned our hats with wild flowers and stood in awe 
before the great waterwheel of the busy mill. 

At five o'clock a pretty tea was served for us, and dark- 
eyed Olivia presided with the grace and gravity of a 
matron; and, as the sun was sinking behind the western 
hills, we bade good-bye, and each sped away to the home 
awaiting her, I to be met by a mother's approving kiss, 
for I had been "a good girl," and gladly sought the little 
bed, and the lon^r night of unbroken sleep that only a 
child may know. 

Long, long years ago the watchful mother went to that 
other world; one after another the guests of the little 
party followed her — some in girlhood, some in young 
womanhood, some in weary widowhood. One by one, 



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46 CLARA BARTON 

I believe, she has met and welcomed them — welcomed 
each of the twelve, and waits 

Clara Barton 

Another formative influence which must not be over- 
looked was that of phrenology. This now discredited 
science had great influence in the early part of the nine- 
teenth centiuy. Certain men, among whom the Fowler 
brothers were most conspicuous, professed to be able to 
read character and to portray mental aptitude by a 
tactual examination pf the head. The perceptive facul- 
ties, according to this theory, were located in the front 
part of the brain, the moral faculties in the top of it, and 
the faculties that governed the animal nature in the back* 
They professed to be able by feeling over the "bumps'* 
or "organs of the brain,** to discover what vocation a 
person was good for and what undesirable tendencies he 
ought to guard against. The mother of Clara Barton 
was greatly troubled by the abnormal sensitiveness of 
this little child. She asked L. W. Fowler, who was then 
staying at the Barton home, what this little girl ought 
to do in life. Mr. Fowler answered: "The sensitive na- 
ture will always remain. She will never assert herself for 
herself; she will suffer wrong first. But for others she will 
be perfectly fearless. Throw responsibility upon her.** 

He advised that she should become a school-teacher. 
School-teaching scarcely seemed a suitable vocation for 
a child of so shrinking a nature. Clara was fifteen at the 
time, and still diffident. She was lying in bed with the 
mumps, and overheard her mother's question and the 
answer. Her mother was impressed by it, and so was 
Clara. Years afterward she looked back upon that ex- 
perience as the turning-point in her life. Long after she 



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THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH 47 

had ceased to have very much faith in phrenolc^y, she 
Messed the day that sent a phrenologist into her home. 
When asked in later years what book had influenced her 
most, she wrote the following reply: 

THE BCK)K WHICH HAS MOST INFLUENCED MB 

Superlatives are difficult to deal with, the comparative 
Is always so near. 

That which interests most, may influence little. Most 
books interest in a greater or less degree, and possibly 
have a temporary influence. The yellow-covered litera* 
ture which the lx)y from twelve to sixteen reads, surely 
interests him, and only too often creates an involuntary 
influence, the results of which mark his entire life. He 
adopts methods and follows courses which he otherwise 
would not have done, and reaps mbfortune for a harvest. 

And so with the girl of like age who pores and weeps 
over some tender, unwholesome, love-lorn picture of 
impossible personages, until they become real to her, 
and, while she can never personate them, they stand in 
the way of so much which she really does need, it may 
well be said that the results influence her entire life. 

Not alone the character of what is read, but the period 
in life of the reader, may and will have much to do with 
the potency of results. The little girl who is so fortunate 
as to clasp her child fingers around a copy of "Little 
Women," or "Little Men" (Bless the memory of my 
friend and co-worker Louisa M. Alcott!), is in small dan- 
ger from the effects of the literature she may afterwards 
meet. Her tastes are formed for wholesome food. 

And the boy! Ah, well; it will require a great deal of 
prodding to curb and root the wild grass out of his nature ! 
But what a splendid growth he makes, once it is done! 

All of these conditions of character, circumstances, and 
time may be said to have found place in the solution of 
the little problem now before me; viz: "What book 
most influenced me?" If it had read "interested" rather 



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48 CLARA BARTON 

than ''influenced/' I should have made a mde range — 
"The Fables of JEsop^ "Pilgrim's Progress," "Arabian 
Nights/' "The Ballads of Scott," "The Benign Old 
\^car," "The Citizens of the World," and mainly the 
mass of choice old English classics — for who can select? 
— The glorious " Idylls of the King." In fancy I should 
have sat at the round table with Arthur's knights, 
searched for the Holy Grail with Sir Galahad, roamed 
Africa with Livingstone and Stanley, breakfasted with 
the Autocrat, and dropped the gathering tear for the 
loved Quaker poet, so dear to us all. 

How grateful I am for all this; and to these writers 
immortal! How they have sweetened life! But they 
really changed no course, formed no character, opened 
no doors, "influenced" nothing. 

In a little children's booklet I have explained my own 
nature — timid, sensitive, bashful to awkwardness — 
and that at this period of a dozen years or so I chanced, 
to make the acquaintance of L. W. Fowler, of the 
"Fowler Brothers," the earliest, and then only, expo- 
nents of Phrenology in the country. 

I had at that time read much of the literatures above 
cited which then ^sted. Mr. Fowler placed in my hands 
their well-written book and brochures on Phrenology, 
"The Science of the Mind." This carried me to another 
class of writers, Spurzheim, and Combe — "The Con- 
stitution of Man." These became my exemplars and 
" Know thyself" became my text and my study. A long 
life has passed, and so have they, but their influence has 
remained. In every walk of life it has gone with me. It 
has enabled me to better comprehend the seeming mys- 
teries about me; the course of those with whom I had to 
deal, or come in contact; not by the studying of their 
thoughts, or intentions, for I abhor the practice of read- 
ing one's friends; but to enable me to excuse, without 
offense, many acts which I could in no other way have 
accounted for. It has enabled me to see, not only that. 



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THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH 49 

but why it was their nature, and could not be changed. 
They "could no other, so help them God." It has en- 
riched my field of charitable judgment; enlarged my 
powers of forgiveness, made those things plain that 
would have been obscure to me, easy, that would have 
been hard, and sometimes made possible to endure, 
without complaint, that which might otherwise have 
proved unendurable. "Know thyself" has taught me in 
any great crisis to put myself under my own feet; bury 
enmity, cast ambition to the winds, ignore complaint, 
despise retaliation, and stand erect in the consciousness 
of those higher qualities that made for the good of hu- 
man kind, even though we may not clearly see the way. 

"I know not where His Islands lift 
Their fronded palms in air; 
I only know I cannot drift 
Beyond His love and care/* 

Even though phrenology be now regarded as a scien- 
tific error, it must not be supposed that all the men who 
practiced it were conscious charletans, or that all who 
believed in it were ignorant dupes. It was in its day 
what popularized psychology has become in the present 
day. Apart from the exploded idea that the brain con- 
tains separate "oi^ans" which act more or less inde- 
pendently in the development and manifestation of 
character, it dealt with the study of the human mind in 
more nearly practical fashion than anything which up 
to that time had become popularly available. The 
phrenologist would now be called a psychologist, and 
would make no pretense of reading character by manip- 
ulating the skull. But some of those men taught people 
to consider their own mental possibilities, and to deter- 
mine to realize all that was potentially best within them. 
This was the effect of phrenology upon Clara Barton. 



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CHAPTER VII 

HER FIRST BXPBRIBNCB AS A TEACHER 

The avenues which open into life are many now, and 
the feet of young people who leave home or school are set 
at the intersection of many highways. But it was not so 
in the early part of the nineteenth century. For those 
who had aspirations for something else than the farm 
or shop, the most conunon and convenient path to larger 
knowledge and a professicmal career lay through the 
teaching of the district school. When Mr. Fowler ad- 
vised that responsibility be laid upon Clara to develop 
her self-reliance and overcome her shyness, there were 
not many kinds of work which could easily have been 
reconmiended. School-teaching followed almost inevi- 
tably, and as something foreordained. She belonged to 
a generation of teachers, and to a family which was quite 
at home in the schoolroom. Her elder sbter Dorothy 
developed symptoms of invalidbm, never married, and in 
time had to give up teaching, and her younger sister 
Sally married and became Mrs. Vassall. Her brother 
Stephen had graduated from the work of teaching, and 
he and David were associated in farm, gristmill, sawmill, 
doth-mill, and other enterprises. There was no difficulty 
in securing for Clara the opportunity to teach in the 
district where her married sister lived. Bearing in mind 
the advice of Mr. Fowler, she did up her hair, lengthened 
her skirts, and prepared for her first work as a teacher. 

At the close of the second term of school, the ad- 
vice was acted upon, and it was arranged that I teach 

I 



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FIRST EXPERIENCE AS A TEACHER 51 

the school in District No. 9. My sbter resided within the 
dbtrict. How well I remember the preparations — 
the efforts to look larger and older, the examination by 
the learned committee of one clergyman, one lawyer, and 
one justice of the peace; the certificate with "excellent'' 
added at the close; the bright May morning over the 
dewy, grassy road to the schoolhouse, neither lai^ nor 
new, and not a pupil in sight. 

On entering, I found my little schobl of forty pupils all 
seated according to their own selection, quietly waiting 
with folded hands. Bright, rosy-cheeked boys and girls 
from four to thirteen, with the exception of four lads, as 
tall and nearly as old as myself. These four boys natu- 
rally looked a little curiously at me, as if forming an 
opinion of how best to dispose of me, as rumor had it 
that on the preceding summer, not being en rapport with 
the young lady teacher, they had excluded her from the 
building and taken possession themselves. All arose as I 
entered, and remained standing until requested to sit. 
Never having observed how schools were opened, I was 
compelled, as one would say, to " blare my own way." 
I was too timid to address them, but holding my Bible, I 
said they might take their Testaments and turn to the 
Sermon on the Mount. All who could read, read a verse 
each, I reading with them in turn. This opened the way 
for remarks upon the meaning of what they had read. I 
found them more ready to express themselves than I had 
expected, which was helpful to me as well. I asked them 
what they supposed the Saviour meant by saying that 
they must love their enemies and do good to them that 
hated and misused them? This was a hard question, and 
they hesitated, until at length a little bright-eyed girl with 
great earnestness replied: "I think He meant that you 
must be good to everybody, and must n't quarrel or make 
nobody feel bad, and I'm going to try." An ominous 
smile crept over the rather hard faces of my four lads, 
but my response was so prompt, and my approval so 



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52 CLARA BARTON 

hearty, that it disappeared and they listened attentively, 
but ventured no remarks. With this moderate beginning 
the day progressed, and night found us social, friendly, 
and classed for a school. Country schools did not admit 
of home dinners. I also remained. On the second or 
third day an accident on their outside field of rough play 
called me to them. They had been playing unfairly and 
dangerously and needed teaching, even to play well. I 
must have thought they required object lessons, for al- 
most imperceptibly, either to them or to myself, I joined 
in the game and was playing with them. 

My four lads soon perceived that I was no stranger to 
their sports or their tricks; that my early education had 
not been neglected, and that they were not the first boys 
I had seen. When they found that I was as agile and as 
strong as themselves, that my throw was as sure and as 
straight as theirs, and that if they won a game it was 
because I permitted it, their respect knew no bounds. 
No courtesy within their knowledge was neglected. 
Their example was sufficient for the entire school. I have 
seen no finer type of boys. They were faithful to me in 
their boyhood, and in their manhood faithful to their 
country. Their blood crimsoned its hardest fields, and 
the little bright-eyed g^l with the good resolve has made 
her whole life a blessing to others, and still lives to follow 
the teaching given her. Little Emily has ''made nobody 
feel bad." 

My school was continued beyond the customary length 
of time, and its only hard feature was our parting. In 
memory I see that pitiful group of children sobbing their 
way down the hill after the last good-bye was said, and I 
was little better. We had all been children together, and 
when, in accordance with the then custom at town 
meetings, the grades of the schools were named and No. 9 
stood first for discipline, I thought it the greatest injus- 
tice, and remonstrated, affirming that there had been no 
discipline, that not one scholar had ever been disciplined. 



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CLARA BARTON AT EIGHTEEN 



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FIRST EXPERIENCE AS A TEACHER 53 

Child that I was, I did not know that the surest test of 
discipline is its absence. 

Clara Barton was now embarked upon what seemed 
likely to be a life vocation. Her success in teaching was 
marked, and her reputation increased year by year. For 
twenty years the schoolroom was her home. She taught 
in district schools near Oxford, and established a school 
of her own, which she conducted for ten years. Then she 
stopped teaching for a time, in order to complete her own 
education, as completion then was accepted and under- 
stood. She did a memorable piece of school work in 
Bordentown, New Jersey, and, but for the failure of her 
voice, might have continued a teacher to the end of her 
life. 

Her experiences during the years when she was teach- 
ing and pursuing further studies were recorded by her in 
1908, in a manuscript which has never been published. 
She had already written and printed a little^book entitled 
"The Story of my Childhood," which was well received 
and brought her many expressions of pleasure from its 
readers. She thought of continuing her autobiography 
in sections, and publishing these separately. She hoped 
then to revise and unify them, supplement them with 
adequate references to her record, and make a complete 
biography. But she got no farther than the second in- 
stallment, which must appear as a chapter in this present 
work. 

Before turning to this narrative which marks the be- 
ginning of her life away from the parental roof, we may 
listen to the story of her first journey away from home. 
It occurred at the end of her first term of school, when 
her brother David set out on a journey to the State of 



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54 CLARA BARTON 

Maine to bring home his bride, and asked her to accom* 
pany hinu 

One day, early in September, my brother David, now 
one of the active, popular business men of the town, 
nearly took my breath away by inviting me to accom- 
pany him on a journey to the State of Maine, to be pres- 
ent at his wedding and with him bring back the wife who 
was to grace his home and share his future life. 

There was now more lengthening of skirts, and a rush 
of dressmaking such as I had never known before; and 
when, two weeks later, I found myself with my brother 
and a rather gay party of ladies and gentlemen, friends 
of his, at one of the most elegant hotels in Boston (where 
I had never been), waiting the arrival of a delayed 
steamer, I was so overcome by the dread of committing 
some impropriety or indiscretion which might embarrass 
my brother that I begged him to permit me to go back 
home. I was not distressed about what might be thought 
ofm^. I did not seem to care much about that; but how 
it might reflect upon my brother, and the mortification 
that my awkwardness could not fail to inflict on him. 

I had never set foot on a vessel or seagoing craft of any 
kind, and when, in the glitter of that finely equipped 
steamer, I really crossed over a comer of the great At- 
lantic Ocean, the very waves of which touched other 
continents as well, I felt that my world was miraculously 
widening. 

It was another merry party, and magnificent spans of 
horses that met and galloped away with us over the 
country to our destination. 

But the crowning astonishment came when I was in- 
formed that it was the desire and decision of all parties, 
that I act as bridesmaid; that I assist in introducing the 
younger of the guests, and stand beside the tall, handsome 
young bride who was to be my sister, while she pledged 
her troth to the brother dearer to me than my own life. 



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FIRST EXPERIENCE AS A TEACHER 55 

This responsibility seemed to throw the whole world 
wide open to me. How well I remember the tearful reso- 
lution with which I pledged myself to try to overcome 
my troublesome propensities and to strive only for the 
courage of the right, and for the fearlessness of true 
womanhood so much needed and earnestly desired, and 
80 painfully lacking. 

November found us home again. Under the circum- 
stances, there must naturally be a share of social gayeties 
during the winter, and some preparations for my new 
school duties; and I waited with more or less apprehen- 
sion for what would be my first life among strangers, and 
the coming of my anticipated "First of May." With 
slight variation I could have ioined truthfully in the dear 
old child refrain: 

" Then wake and call me early, 
Call me early, mother dear,** 
For that will be the veriest day 
" Of aU the glad New Year." 



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CHAPTER VIII 

LEAVES FROM HER UNPUBUSHBD AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

When Clara Barton began to teach school, she was only 
a little girl. To her family, she seemed even younger 
and more tiny than she was. But she had taken the 
words of Dr. Fowler to heart, and she determined to 
teach and to teach successfully. Mrs. Stafford, formerly 
Mamie Barton, remembers hearing her mother tell how 
seriously Clara took the edict of the phrenologist. To 
her it was nothing less than predestination and prophecy. 
In her own mind she was already a teacher, but she 
realized that in the mind of her household she was still a 
child. She stood beside the large stone fireplace, looking 
very slender and very small, and with dignity asked, 
''But what am I to do with only two little old waifish 
dresses?** 

Julia, David Barton's young bride, was first to discern 
the pertinence of the question. If Clara was to teach 
school, she must have apparel suitable for her vocation. 
The ''two little old waifish dresses,'* which had been 
deemed adequate for her home and school life, were re- 
placed by new frocks that fell below her shoe-tops, and 
Clara Barton began her work. 

She was a quick-tempered little teacher, dignified and 
self-possessed. Little and young though she was, she was 
not to be trifled with. She flogged, and on occasion ex- 
pelled, but she won respect at the outset and very soon 
affection. Then floggings ceased almost altogether. 

At first she was teacher only of the spring and autumn 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 57 

school nearest her home; then she taught in districts in 
Oxford farther away; then came the incontrovertible 
certificate of success in her invitation to teach the winter 
school, which according to predecent must be managed 
by a man capable of whipping the entire group of big 
boys. And in all this experience of teaching she suc- 
ceeded. 

In 1908 she wrote the second installment of her auto- 
biography, and in that she related how she finished her 
teaching in Oxford and went for further education to 
Clinton Institute: 

Hard, tiresome years were these, with no advancement 
for me. Some, I hoped, for others. Little children grew 
to be large, and mainly "well behaved." Boys grew to 
manhood, and continued faithfully in their work, or went 
out and entered into business, seeking other vocations. 
A few girls became teachers, but more continued at their 
looms or set up housekeeping for themselves, but what- 
ever sphere opened to them, they were all mine, second 
only to the claims and interests of the real mother. 
And so they have remained. Scattered over the world, 
some near, some far, I have been their confidant, stand- 
ing at their nuptials if possible, lent my name to their 
babies, followed their fortunes to war's gory fields, 
staunched their blood, dressed their wounds, and closed 
their Northern eyes on the hard-fought fields of the 
Southland; and yet, all this I count as little in compari- 
son with the faithful, grateful love I hold to-day of the 
few survivors of my Oxford schools. 

I shall have neglected a great, I could almost say a 
holy, duty, if I fail to mention the name, and connect the 
presence, of the Reverend Horatio Bardwell with thb 
school. Reverend Dr. Bardwell, an early India mission- 
ary, and for over twenty years pastor of the Congrega- 
tional Church of Oxford, where his memory lovingly 



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58 CLARA BARTON 

lingers to-day, as if he had passed from them but yester- 
day, or indeed had not passed at all. 

Dr. Bardwell was continuously on the School Board of 
the town, and hb custom was to drop in upon a school, 
familiarly, at a most unexpected moment. I recall the 
amusing scenes, when, by some unusual sound behind me, 
my attention would be odled from the class I had before 
me, to see my entire school, which had risen unbidden, 
standing with hands resting on the desk before them, 
heads reverently bent, and Dr. Bardwell midway of the 
open door, with hands upraised in mute wonder and ad- 
miration. At length he would find voice, with, "What 
a sight, what a multitude!" The school reseated itself 
when bidden and prepared for the visit of a half-hour of 
pleasant conversation, anecdotes, and advice that even 
the smallest would not willingly have missed. It was the 
self-reliant, self-possessed, and unbidden courtesy of 
these promiscuous children that won the Doctor's ad- 
miration. He saw in these something for a future to 
build upon. 

It is to be remembered that I am not writing romance, 
nor yet ancient history, where I can create or vary my 
models to suit myself. It is, in fact, semi-present history, 
with most notable characters still existing, who can, at 
any moment, rise up and call me to order. To avoid such 
a contingency, I may sometimes be more explicit than I 
otherwise would be at the risk of prolixity. This possi- 
bility leads me to state that a few times in the years I was 
borrowed, for a part of a winter term, by some neighbor- 
ing town, where it would be said there was trouble, and 
some school was "not getting on well.'* I usually found 
that report to have been largely illusive, for they got on 
very well with me. Probably it was the old adage of a 
"new broom," for I did nothing but teach them. I re- 
call one of these experiences as transpiring in Millbury, 
the grand old town where the lamented and honored 
mother of our President-elect Judge Taft has just passed 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 59 

to a better land. That early and undeserved reputation 
for ''discipline" always clung to me. 

Most of this transpired during years in which I should 
have been in school myself, using time and opportunities 
for my own advancement which could not be replaced. 
This thought grew irresistibly upon me, until I decided 
that I must withdraw and find a school, the object of 
which should be to teach me something. The number of 
educational institutions for women was one to a thousand 
as compared with to-day. I knew I must place myself 
so far away that a " run of bad luck*' in the home sdiool 
could not persuade me to return — it would be siu^ to 
have one. 

Religiously, I had been educated in the liberal thought 
of my family, and preferring to remain in that atmos- 
phere, I decided upon the ''Liberal Institute," of Clin- 
ton, New York. 

I recall with pain even now the regret with which my 
family, especially my brothers, heard my announcement. 
I had become literally a part, if not a psutner, of them in 
school and office. My brother Stephen was school super- 
intendent, thus there was no necessity for making my 
intentions public, and I would spare both my school and 
mj^self the pain of parting. I closed my autumn term, 
as usual, on Friday night. On Monday night the jin- 
gling cutter of my brothers (for it was early sleighing), 
took me to the station for New York. This was in reality 
going away from home. I had left the smothered sighs, 
the blessings, and the memories of a little life behind me. 
My journey was made in silence and safety, and the third 
day found me installed as a guest in the "Clinton 
House" of Clinton, Oneida County, New York — a typi- 
cal old-time tavern. My hosts were Mr. and Mrs. Samuel 
Bertram— and again the hand rests, and memory pauses, 
to pay its tribute of grateful, loving respect to such as 
I shall never know again thb side the Gates Eternal. 

It was holiday season. The Institute was undergoing 



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6o CLARA BARTON 

a transfer from old to new buildings. These changes 
caused a delay of some weeks, while I became a part and 
parcel of the family I had so incidentally and fortunately 
fallen among. 

Clinton was also the seat of Hamilton College. The 
sbters and relatives of the students of Hamilton con- 
tributed largely to the personnel of the Institute. Rev- 
erend Dr. Sawyer presided over Hamilton, and Miss 
Louise Barker with a competent corps of assistants 
presided over the Institute. 

It was a cold, blustering winter day that assembled us 
in the almost as cold schoolrooms of the newly finished 
and sparsely furnished building. Even its dean new 
brick walls on its stately eminence looked cold, and the 
two-plank walk with a two-foot space between, leading 
up from town, was not suggestive of the warmest degree 
of sociability, to say the least of it My introduction to 
our Preceptress, or President, Miss Barker, was both a 
pleasure and a surprise to me. I found an unlooked-for 
activity, a cordiality, and an irresistible charm of manner 
that none could have foreseen — a winning, indescrib- 
able grace which I have met in only a few persons in a 
whole lifetime. Those who remember the eminent Dr* 
Lucy Hall Brown, of Brookl3m, who only a year ago 
passed out through California's "Golden Gate,'* will be 
able to catch something of what I mean, but cannot 
describe. Neither could they. To no one had I men- 
tioned anything of myself, or my past. No "certificate 
of character" had been mentioned, and no reconunenda- 
tion from my "last place" been required of me. There 
was no reason why I should volunteer my history, or 
step in among that crowd of eager pupils as a "sdiool- 
marm," expected to know everything. 

The easiest way for me was to keep silent, as I did, 
and so well kept that I left that Institute at the close 
without a mbtrust on the part of any one that I had 
ever taught school a day. 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 6i 

The difficulty to be met lay mainly in the assignment 
of studies. The prescribed number was a cruel limit. I 
was there for study. I required no rudiments, and 
wanted no allowance for waste time; I would use it all; 
and diffidently I made this fact known at the head, asking 
one more and one more study imtil the limit was stretched 
out of all reasonable proportions. I recall, with amuse- 
ment, the last evening when I entered with my request* 
The teachers were assembled in the parlor and, divining 
my errand, as I had never any other, Miss Barker broke 
into a merry laugh — with "Miss Barton, we have a 
few studies left; you had better take what there are, 
and we will say nothing about it.'' This broke the ice, 
and the line. I could only join in the laugh, and after 
this studied what I would, and "nothing was said." 

I would by no means be understood as crediting myself 
with superior scholarship. There were doubtless far 
more advanced scholars there than I, but I had a drilled 
rudimentary knowledge which they had never had, and 
I had the habit of study, with a burning anxiety to make 
the most of lost time. So true it is that we value our 
privil^ies only when we have lost them. 

Miss Barton spent her vacations at the Institute. A 
few teachers were there, and a small group of students; 
and she pursued her studies and gave her reading wider 
range. She wanted to go home, but the distance seemed 
great, and she was there to learn. 

Her mother died while she was at Clinton. Her death 
occurred in July, but before the term had ended. Clara 
could not reach home in time for the funeral and her 
family knew it and sent her word not to undertake the 
journey. - 

She finished her school year and her course, made a 
visit to her home, and then journeyed to Bordentown, 



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62 CLARA BARTON 

New Jersey, to visit her friends, the Norton family. 
There the opportunity came to her of teaching the winter 
term of the Bordentown school. 

"Public schools of that day," she wrote, "ceased with 
the southern boundary of New England and New York. 
Each pupil was assessed a certain fee, the aggregate of 
which formed the teacher's salary/' 

She undertook the school on the fee basis, but in a 
short time changed it to a public school, open to all the 
children of school age in Bordentown. It was that 
town's first free school. The School Board agreed to give 
her the opportunity to try the experiment. She tells 
how it came about. She looked over the little group who 
attended her subscription school, and then saw the much 
larger number outside, and she was not happy: 

But the boys! I foimd them on all sides of me. Every 
street comer had little knots of them idle, listless, as if 
to say, what shall one do, when one has nothing to do? 
I sought every inconspicuous occasion to stop and talk 
with them. I saw nothing unusual in them. Much like 
other boys I had known, imusually courteous, showing 
special instruction in that line, and frequently of unusual 
intelligence. They spoke of their banishment or absence 
from school with far less of bravado or boasting than 
would have been expected, under the circumstances, and 
often with regret. "Lady, there is no school for us," 
answered a bright-faced lad of fourteen, as he rested his 
foot on the edge of a little park fountain where I had ac- 
costed him. "We would be glad to go if there was one." 
I had listened to such as this long enough, and, without 
returning to my hotel, I sought Mr. Suydam, as chairman 
of the School Committee, and asked for an interview. 

By this time, in his capacity of postmaster, we had 
formed a tolerable acquaintance. Now, for the first time, 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 63 

I made known my desire to open a public school in 
Bordentown^ teaching it myself. 

Surprise, discouragement, resistance, and sympathy 
were all pictured on his manly face. He was troubled for 
terms in which to express the mental conflict, but in 
snatches something like this. 

These boys were renegades, many of them more fit 
for the penitentiary than school — a woman could do 
nothing with them. They would n't go to school if they 
had the chance, and the parents would never send them 
to a ^^ pauper school." I would have the respectable 
sentiment of the entire community against me; I could 
never endure the obloquy, not to call it disgrace that I 
should meet; and to crown all, I should have the bitter 
opposition of all the present teachers, many of whom 
were ladies of influence in society and would contend 
vigorously for their rights. A strong man would quail 
and give way imder what he would be compelled to meet, 
and what could a woman — a yoimg woman, and a 
stranger — do? 

He spoke very kindly and appredatingly of the in* 
tention, acknowledging the necessity, and commending 
the nature of the effort, but it was ill-timed, and had 
best be at once abandoned as impracticable. 

With this honest effort, and, wiping the perspiration 
from his forehead, he rested. After a moment's quiet and 
seeing that he did not resume, I said with a respect, which 
I most sincerely felt, '^ Thank you, Mr. Suydam, shall I 
speak?" "Certainly, Miss Barton," and with a little 
appreciative laugh, '^I will try to be as good a listener 
as you have been." 

I thanked him again for the evident sincerity of his 
objections, assuring him that I believed them drawn 
entirely in my interest, and his earnest desire to save me 
from what seemed to him an impossible imdertaking, 
with only failure and humiliation as sure and logiod 
results. A few of these I would like to answer, and 



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64 CLARA BARTON ' 

throwing off the mask I had worn since Clinton, told him 
plainly that I was, and had been for years, a teacher of 
the public schools of New England. That was my pro- 
fession, and that, if entered in the long and honored com- 
petitive list of such, I did not suppose that in either 
capacity, experience, or success I should stand at the 
foot. I had studied the character of these boys, and had 
intense pity for, but no fear of, them. As for exclusion 
from society, I had not sought society, and could easily 
dispense with it, if they so willed ; I was not here for that. 
As for reputation, I had brought with me all I needed, 
and that of a character that a bit of village gossip could 
not affect. With all respect for the prejudices of the 
people, I should try not to increase them. My only 
desire was to open and teach a school in Bordentown, to 
which its outcast children could go and be taught; and 
I would emphasize that desire by adding that I wished 
no salary. I would open and teadi such a school without 
remuneration, but my effort must have the majesty of 
the law, and the power vested in its offices behind it or 
it could not stand. If I secured a building and proceeded 
to open a school, it would be only one more private 
school like the score they already had; that the School 
Board, as officers of the law, with accepted rights and 
duties, must so far connect themselves with the effort as 
to provide quarters, the necessary furnishings, and to 
give due and respectable notice of the same among the 
people. In fact, it must stand as by their order, leaving 
the work and results to me. 

I was not there for necessity. Fortunately I needed 
nothing of them — neither as an adventuress. I had no 
personal ambitions to serve, but as an observer of unwel- 
come conditions, and, as I thought, harmful as well, to 
try, so far as possible, the power of a good, wise, benefi- 
cent, and established state law, as against the force of 
ignorance, blind prejudice, and the tyranny of an obsolete, 
outlived public opinion. I desired to see them both 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 65 

fairly placed upon their merits before an intelligent com- 
munity, leaving the results to the winner. If the law, 
after trial, were not acceptable, or of use to the people 
serving their best interest, abolish or change it — if it 
were, enforce and sustain it. 

My reply was much longer than the remarks that had 
called for it, but the pledge of good listening was faith- 
fully kept. 

When he spoke again, it was to ask if I desired my 
proposition to be laid before the School Board? I 
surely did. He would speak with the gentlemen this 
evening, and call a meeting for to-morrow. Our inter- 
view had consumed two hours, and we parted better 
friends than we commenced. 

The following afternoon, to my surprise, I was most 
courteously invited to sit with the School Board in its 
deliberations, and I made the acquaintance of two more, 
plain, honest-minded gentlemen. The subject was fairly 
discussed, but with great misgivings, a kind of tender 
sympathy running through it all. At length Mr. Suy- 
dam arose, and, addressing his colleagues, said, '' Gentle- 
men, we feel alike, I am sure, regarding the hazardous 
nature of this experiment and its probable results, but 
situated as we are, officers of a law which we are sworn to 
obey and enforce, can we legally decline to accede to this 
proposition, which is in every respect within the law. 
From your expressed opinions of last evening I believe 
we agree on this point, and I put the vote." 

It was a unanimous yea, with the decision that the 
old closed schoolhouse be refitted, and a school com- 
menced. 

The school speedily outgrew its quarters, and Clara 
sent word to Oxford that she must have an assistant. 
Her brother Stephen secured the services of Miss Frances 
Childs, who subsequently became Mrs. Bernard Barton 
Vassall. Frances had just finished her first term as 



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66 CLARA BARTON 

teacher of a school in Oxford, and she proved a very 
capable assistant. Letters from, and personal interviews 
with, her have brought vividly before me the conditions 
of Clara's work in Bordentown. 
She thus writes me of her happy memories: 

When Clara's school in Bordentown had become so 
pronounced a success that she could . not manage it 
alone, she sent for me. I had a separate schoolroom, the 
upstairs room over a tailor shop. I had about sixty 
pupils. Clara and I boarded and roomed together. The 
editor of the Bordentown "Gazette" roomed at the same 
place. He frequently commented on the fact that when 
Clar^ and I were in our room together, we were always 
talking and laughing. It was a constant wonder to him. 
He could not imderstand how we found so much to laugh 
at. 

Clara was so sensitive, she felt it keenly when any pupil 
had to be punished, or any parent was disappointed, but 
she did not indulge very long in mourning or self-reproach, 
she knew she had done her best and she laughed and 
made the best of it. Clara had an unfailing sense of 
humor. She said to me once that of all the qualities she 
possessed, that for which she felt most thankful was her 
sense of humor. She said it helped her over many hard 
places. 

Clara had quick wit, and was very ready with repartee 
and apt reply. I remember an evening when she brought 
to a dose a rather lengthy discussion by a quick reply 
that set us all to laughing. We spent an evening at the 
home of the Episcopalian minister, who was one of the 
Sdiool Committee. The discussion turned to phrenology. 
Clara had great faith in it. The minister did not believe 
in it at all. They had quite an argument about it. He 
tdd Clara of a man who had suffered an injury to the 
brain which had resulted in the removal of a considerable 
part of it. He argued that if there was anything in 



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MISS FANNIE CHILDS 
(MRS. BERNARD VASSALL) 

At the time she taught school 
with Miss Barton at Bordentown, N.J. 




THE SCHOOLHOUSE AT BORDENTOWN 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 67 

phrenology, that man would have been deprived of a 
certain group of mental capabilities, but that he got on 
very well with only a part of a brain. Clara replied 
quickly, ''Then there's hope for me." So the discussion 
ended in a hearty laugh. 

As a school-teacher, Clara Barton was a pronounced 
success. We are not dependent wholly upon her own 
account of her years as a teacher. From many and dis- 
tant places her pupils rose up and called her blessed. 
Nothing pleased her more than the letters which she 
received from time to time, in after years, from men and 
women who had been pupils of hers and who wrote to 
tell her with what satisfaction and gratitude they re- 
membered her instruction. Some of these letters were 
received by her as early as 1851, when she was at Clinton 
Institute. Her answers were long, appreciative, and pains- 
taking. In those days Clara Barton was something of 
an artist, and had taught drawing and painting. One 
or two of her letters of this period have ornamented let* 
terheads with birds and other scroll work. Her letters 
always abounded in good cheer, and often contained 
wholesome advice, though she did not preach to her 
pupils. Some of these letters from former pupils con- 
tinued to reach her after she had become well known. 
Men in business and in political life wrote reminding her 
that they had been bad boys in her school, and telling 
of her patience, her tact, and the inspiration of her ideals. 

Her home letters in the years before the war are the 
letters of a dutiful daughter and affectionate sister. 
She wrote to her father, her brothers, and especially to 
Julia, the wife of David Barton, who was perhaps the 
best correspondent in the family. She bore on her heart 



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68 CLARA BARTON 

all the family anxieties. If any member of the family was 
sick, the matter was constantly on her mind. She wanted 
to know every detail, in what room were they keeping 
him? Was the parlor chinmey drawing well? And was 
every possible provision made for comfort? She made 
many suggestions as to simple remedies, and more as 
to nursing, hygiene, and general comfort. Always when 
there was sickness she wished that she were there. She 
wanted to assist in the nursing. She sent frequent mes- 
sages to her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. 
The messages were always considerate, affectionate, and 
unselfish. She was not often homesick; in general she 
made the best of her absences from home, and busied 
herself with the day's task. But whenever there was 
anything at home which suggested an occasion for 
anxiety or an opportunity for service, then she wished 
herself home. She visualized the home at such times, 
and carried a mental picture of the house, the room, the 
bedside of the patient. One of these letters, written from 
Washington to Julia Barton, when her father was 
dangerously ill, may here be inserted as an illustration 
of her devotion to her parents and to all members of her 
family: 

Washington, D.C, 29th Dec, i860 
Dear Sister: 

I don't know what to say or how to write you, I am so 
uncertain of the scenes you may be passing through. In 
thought and spirit I am in the room with you every mo- 
ment — that it is sad and painful, or sad and desolate I 
know; I can almost see, and almost hear, and almost 
know, how it all is — between us seems to be only the 
"veil so thin so strong," there are moments when I think 
I can brush it away with my hand and look upon that 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 69 

dear treasured form and face, the earliest loved and latest 
mourned of all my life. Sometimes I am certain I hear 
the patient's feeble moan, and at others above me the 
clouds seem to divide, and, in the opening up among the 
blue and golden, that loved face, smiling and pleasant, 
looks calmly down upon me; then I think it is all past, 
and my poor father is at rest. Aye! more that he has 
learned the password to the Mystic Lodge of God and 
entered in: that the Providences and mysteries he has 
loved so much to contemplate are being made plain to 
him; that the inquiries of his intelligent soul are to be 
satisfied and that the God he has always worshiped he 
may now adore. 

And in spite of all the grief, the agony of parting, there 
is pleasure in these reflections, and consolation in the 
thought that while we may have one the less tie upon 
earth, we shall have one more treasure in Heaven. 

And yet again, when I look into my own heart, there 
b underlying the whole a little of the old-time hope — 
hope that he may yet be spared to us a little longer; 
that a few more months or years may be given us in 
which to prove the love and devotion of our hearts; that 
we may again listen to his wise counsels and kind ad- 
monitions, and hourly I pray Heaven that, if it be con- 
sistent with Divine arrangement, the cup may pass from 
him. But God's will, not mine, be done. 

If my father still lives and realizes, will you tell him 
how much I love him and regret his sufferings, and how 
much rather I would endure them myself if he could be 
saved from them? 

With love and sympathy to all, 

I am, your affectionate sister 

Clara 

Her letters to members of her family are seldom of 
great importance. They concern themselves with the 
trivial details of her and their daily life; thoughtful an- 



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70 CLARA BARTON 

Bwers to all their inquiries, and expresdons of affection 
and interest in all their concerns* In some respects the 
letters are more interesting which she wrote when she 
was temporarily in Oxford. One of these was addressed 
to her brother David, who had gone South to visit 
Stephen, then a resident of North Carolina. It was 
written at the time when she had been removed from her 
position in the Patent Office, and for a while was at home. 
David had written Julia in some concern lest he should 
not have provided in advance for her every possible want 
before his leaving her to go South. Clara replied to this 
letter, making merry over the "destitute" condition in 
which David had left his wife, and giving details about 
business affairs and home life. It is a thoroughly charac- 
teristic letter, full of fun and detail and neighborhood 
gossip and sisteriy good-will. If her brothers were to 
stay in the South in hot weather, she wanted to be with 
them. She had already proposed to Stephen that he let 
her go South and look after him, and Stephen had sought 
to dissuade her, telling her that the conditions of life 
were uncomfortable, and that she would be shocked by 
seeing the almost nude condition of the negro laborers. 
None of these things frightened her. The only things she 
was afraid of were things about which she had told David, 
and we cannot help wishing we knew what they were. It 
is good to know that by this time the objects of her fear 
made rather a short list, for she was by nature timid and 
easily terrified, but had become self-reliant and strong. 

NoKTH OxFOBD, June 17th, 1858 

Dbar Brother: 

This is an excessively warm day, and Julia scarcely 
thinks she can get her courage up to the sticking point 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 71 

to sit down to letter-writing, but I will try it, for the 
weather is all alike to me, only just comfortably warm, 
and I can as well scribble letters as anything* We are 
rejoiced to hear such good reports from Stephen. It 
cannot be, however, that he was ready to return with 
you? For his sake I hope he could, but should be fright* 
ened if I knew he attempted it. We are all well; received 
your short letter in due time. Julia has discoursed con- 
siderably upon the propriety of that word "destitute'' 
which you made use of. She says you left her with a bar* 
rel and a half of flour, a barrel and a half of crackers, a 
good new milch cow, fish, ham, dried beef, a barrel of 
pork, four good hogs in the pen, a field of early potatoes 
just coming on, a good garden, plenty of fowls, a good 
grain crop in and a man to take care of them, a good 
team, thirty cords of wood at the door and a horse and 
chaise to ride where she pleased. This she thinks is one 
of the last specimens of destitution. Can scarcely sleep 
at night through fear of immediate want — and beside 
we have not mentioned the crab apples. I should n't 
wonder if we have fifty bushels of them ; this only depends 
upon the size they attain, there are certainly enough in 
number. The hoeing is all done once, and the piece out 
by Mr. Baker's gone over the second time. Uncle Joe 
helped. The taxes are paid, yours. Colonel Davis's, and 
Brine's. The two latter I have charged to them and 
pasted the receipts in the books. I have put down 
Brine's ^ time for last week and made out a new time page 
for July. Brine has gone to Worcester with old Eb 
to-day, and I have put that down and carried his account 
to a new page. Whitlock has not paid yet, but the 2'-4o'' 
man on the hill has paid .75. Old Mrs. Collier is going to 
pay before she gets herself a new pair of shoes, and Sam 
avers that she is not only in need of shoes, but stockings, 
to which fact he is a living eye-witness. Johnson " has n't 
a cent — will pay next week — " This, I believe, finishes 

} Brine Murphy, a faithful hired num. 



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72 CLARA BARTON 

up the schedule of money matters until we report next 
time. Mr. Samuel Smith is dead. Was buried Thurs- 
day, I think. I have just written to the Colonel at Boston 
and to Cousin Ira ^ the intelligence from Stephen when we 
first learned that he was really better, and had hardly 
sent the letters away before the Judge came in. He was 
anxious to hear from us and also to attend the funeral, so 
took the morning train and came out, took dinner, and 
then he and father took Dick and the chaise and went 
to the funeral, came back, stayed to supper, and I went 
and carried him to the depot. We had a most delightful 
visit from him. Every time I see Cousin Ira, I think he 
is a better and better cousin. It is hardly possible for 
us to esteem him enough. I forgot to tell you about the 
garden. Julia has hoed it all over, set out the cabbage 
plants, waters them almost every day; they are looking 
finely. She has weeded all the beds, and Sam says he 
will help her some about the garden. Brine does n't seem 
to take an interest in the fine arts. Julia says she hopes 
you will not take a moment's trouble about us, for we are 
getting on finely and shall do so, but you must take care 
of yourself. We — i.e. Julia and I — shall ride down to 
the Colonel's this evening after sundown. I should like 
to see him and know he would like to hear from you again. 
I have not heard where Stephen is or how since you 
wrote, but trust he is no worse, and I also hope you may 
be able to favor and counsel him so as to keep him up 
when he gets back. I feel as much solicitude on your 
account as his, for I know how liable you are to get out 
of fix. I wish every day that I was there to see that both 
of you had what you needed to take and to be done for 
you. I was earnest in what I wished you to say to 
Stephen, that I was ready to go to Carolina or anywhere 
else if I could serve him; not that I want a job, as I should 
insist on putting my labor against my board, but earnestly 
if you are both going to try to summer there and Stephen 

^ Judge Ira M. Barton of Worcester. 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 73 

so feeble as he is, I shall be glad to be with you. Stilly 
if not proper or acceptable, I, of course, shall not urge 
myself or feel slighted, but I feel afraid to have you both 
there by yourselves; while you go away on business, he 
will be obliged to do something at home to get sick, and 
maybe I could do it for him if I were there, or at least 
take care of him in time. I am not afraid of naked ne- 
groes or rough houses, and you know the only things in 
all the world I should fear, for I told you — nothing else 
aside from these. I have no precaution or care for any- 
thing there could be there, but I have said enough and 
too much. Stephen may think I am willing to make 
myself more plenty than welcome, but I have obeyed 
the dictates of my feelings and judgment and can do no 
more, and I could not have done it and done less, so I 
leave it. If I can serve you, tell me. I have seen neither 
of the Washington tourists yet, and I went to the depot 
this morning to meet Irving ^ if he was there, but he did 
not come. Please tell me if Mr. Vassall talks of going to 
Carolina this summer, or will he come North? I have 
c^ered Julia this space to fill up, but she says I have told 
all the news and declines, and it is almost time to get 
ready to ride; so good-bye, and write a word or two 
often. Don't trouble to send long letters, it is hot work 
to write. Sleep all 3^u can, don't drink ice water, be 
careful about grease, don't expose yourself to damp 
evenings or mornings if too misty, or you will get the 
chills. Love to Stephen. Will he ever write me, I 
wonder? 

From your affectionate sister 

Clara 

Great as was Clara Barton's success in Bordentown, 

she did not move forward without opposition. Although 

she had built up the public school to a degree of efficiency 

which it had not before known, she met the resolute 

> Irving S. VasBall, her nephew. 



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74 CLARA BARTON 

opposition of those who objected to a woman's control of 
a school as important as this had now grown to be. It 
was rather pathetic that her very success should have 
been used as an occasion of opposition. The school was 
alleged to be too large for a woman to manage. A 
woman had made it large and had managed it while it 
was in process of becoming large, and was continuing to 
manage it very well. However, the demand for a male 
principal grew very strong, and, against the wishes of a 
large majority of the pupils, a male principal was chosen. 
Clara Barton would not remain and occupy a second 
place. Moreover, it was time for her to leave the school- 
room. For almost twenty years she had been constantly 
teaching, and her work at Bordentown, never easy, had 
ended in a record of success which brought its own reac- 
tion and disappointment. Suddenly she realized that her 
energy was exhausted. Her voice completely failed. A 
nervous collapse, such as came to her a number of times 
later in life, laid her prostrate. She left her great work 
at Bordentown and went to Washington to recuperate. 
She did not know it, but she was leaving the schoolroom 
behind her forever. 

In those days Clara Barton was much given to writing 
verse. She never entirely gave it up. The most of her 
poetical writing during this period b of no especial 
interest, but consists of verses for autograph albums, and 
other ephemeral writing. Once, T^iile she was at Borden- 
town, she tried a rhymed advertisement. At least twice 
while she was teaching in that village, she made a round 
trip to Philadelphia on the steamboat John Stevens. On 
the second occasion the steamboat had been redecorated, 
and she scribbled a jingle concerning its attractions in 



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LEAVES FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 75 

the back of her diary. She may have had some idea that 
her Pegasus could be profitably harnessed to the chariot 
of commercCi and it is possible that she offered this little 
jingle to the proprietors of the boat or to the editor of 
the Bordentown '^ Gazette/' who roomed at the house 
where she boarded. The files of that enterprising publi- 
cation have not been searched, but they probably would 
show that now and then Clara Barton handed to the 
editor some poetical comment on passing events. So far 
as b known, however, these lines about the beauty of 
the rejuvenated John Stevens have not appeared in print 
before, and it is now too late for them to be of value in 
increasing the business of her owners. It is pleasant, 
however, to have this reminder of her occasional outings 
while she was teaching school, and to know that she en- 
joyed them as she did her river journey to Philadelphia 
and back: 

ADVERTISEMENT 

Written on hoard the John Stevens between Bordentown and Philadelphia 
March 12, 1853 

You've not seen the John Stevens since her new dress 

she donned? 
Why, you'd think she'd been touched by a fairy's wand! 
Such carpets, such curtains, just sprang into light, 
Such mirrors bewildering the overcharged sight. 
Such velvets, such cushions, such sofas and all. 
Then the polish that gleams on her glittering wall. 
Now if it be true that you've not seen her yet, 
We ask you, nay! urge you, implore and beset. 
That you will no longer your interests forget, 
But at once tahe a ticket as we have to-day, 
And our word as a warrant — 

You'll find it will pay. 



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CHAPTER IX 

THE HEART OF CLARA BARTON 

When Clara Barton left the schoolroom for the life of 
a clerk in Washington, she was well past thirty years of 
age. When the war broke out, and she left the Patent 
Office for the battle-field, she was forty. Why was not 
she already married? Her mother married at seventeen; 
her sister married early : why was she single and teaching 
school at thirty, or available for hospital service at 
forty? And why did she not marry some soldier whom 
she tended? Did any romance lie behind her devotion to 
what became her life-work? Had she suffered any dis- 
appointment in love before she entered upon her career? 

The question whether Clara Barton was ever in love 
has been asked by every one who has attempted any- 
thing approaching a sketch of her careen Mr. Epler's 
biography contained a chapter on this subject, but later 
it was found so incomplete and unsatisfactory it was 
thought best to omit it and to await the opening of her 
personal and official papers. These now are available, as 
well as the personal recollections of those of her relatives 
^ose knowledge of her life includes any possibility of 
affairs of the heart. 

On the subject of her personal affections, Claio Barton 
was very reticent. To the present writer she said that 
she chose, somewhat early in life, the course which 
seemed to her more fruitful of good for her than matri- 
mony. In her girlhood she was shy, and, when she found 
her life vocation, as she then esteemed it, as a teacher, 



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THE HEART OF CLARA BARTON 77 

she was so much interested in her school that she gave 
little thought to matrimony, and was satisfied that oii 
the whole it would be better in her case if she lived un- 
married. She had little patience, however, with women 
who affect to despise men. Always loyal to her own sex, 
and proud of every woman who accomplished anything 
notable, she was no man-hater, but, on the contrary, en- 
joyed the society of men, trusted their judgment, and 
liked their companionship. 

Her nephewi Stephen E. Barton, furnishes me this 
paragraph: 

My aunt said to me at one time that I must not think 
she had never known any experience of love. She said 
that she had had her romances and love affairs like other 
girls; but that in her young womanhood, though she 
thought of different men as possible lovers, no one of them 
measured up to her ideal of a husband. She said to me 
that she could think of herself with satisfaction as a wife 
and mother, but that on the whole she felt that she had 
been more useful to the world by being free from matri- 
monial ties. 

So far as her diaries and letters show, she remained 
heart-whole through the entire period of her girlhood in 
Oxford. There was, however, a young man of about her 
own age, bom in Oxford, and a very distant relative 
between whom and herself there existed something ap- 
proaching affection. The families were long-time friends, 
and the young people had interests in common. A lady 
who remembers him well sajrs: "She was fond of him and 
he of her. He was a handsome young fellow, and Clara 
once said to me that she should not want the man to have 
all the good looks in the family/' 



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78 CLARA BARTON 

This friendship continued for many years, and de* 
veloped on the part of the young man a very deep affec- 
tion, and on Clara's part sincere respect. He visited her 
when she was a student in Clinton Institute, and was of 
real service to her there, making fine proof of his faithful 
friendship, but she could not be sure that she loved him. 

She had another ardent admirer in Oxford, who fol* 
lowed her to Bordentown and there pressed his suit. 
Clara had long corresponded with him, and for a time 
was uncertain how much she cared for him. This young 
man had come to know her while she was a teacher in 
Oxford and she was boarding in the family where he lived. 
In 1849 he went to California in search of gold, and on his 
return was eager to take her out of the schoolroom and 
establish her in a home. For this purpose he visited 
her in Bordentown. She welcomed him, and sincerely 
wished that she could love him, but, while she held him 
in thorough respect, she did not see in him the possibili- 
ties of a husband, such as she would have chosen. He 
pressed his suit, and she sorrowfully declined. They re- 
mained firm friends as long as he lived. 

A third young man is known to have made love to her 
while she was at Clinton Institute. He was the brother 
of one of the young women in the school whom she 
cherished as a dear friend. He was a young man of fine 
character, but her heart did not respond to him. 

Two or more of these affairs lay heavy on her heart and 
conscience about the time of her leaving Clinton Insti- 
tute and of her teaching in Bordentown. She was then 
in correspondence with three young men who loved her, 
and in a state of some mental uncertainty. If letters were 
delayed she missed them, and recorded in her diary: 



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THE HEART OF CLARA BARTON 79 

Rather melancholy. Don't know why. I received no 
intelligence from certain quarters. 

In the spring of 1852 she had a brief period of de- 
pression, growing, in part at least, out of her uncertainty 
in these matters. On Tuesday, March 2, 1852, she wrote 
in her diary: 

Morning cold and icy. Walked to school. Dull day 
and unpleasant, cheerless indoors and out. Cannot see 
much in these days worth living for; cannot but think it 
will be a quiet resting-place when all these cares and 
vexations and anxieties are over, and I no longer give or 
take offense. I am badly organized to live in the world, 
or among society; I have participated in too many of its 
unpleasant scenes; have alwajrs looked on its most un- 
happy features and have grown weary of life at an age 
when other people are enjojdng it most. 

On Thursday, March 13, she wrote: 

I have found it extremely hard to restrain the tears to- 
day, and would have given almost anjrthing to have been 
alone and undisturbed. I have seldom felt more friend- 
less, and I believe I ever feel enough so. I see less and 
less in the world to live for, and in spite of all my resolu- 
tion and reason and moral courage and every thing else, I 
grow weary and impatient. I know it is wicked and per- 
haps foolish, but I cannot help it. There is not a living 
thing but would be just as well off without me. I contrib- 
ute to the happiness of not a single object; and often to 
the unhappiness of many and always of my own, for I am 
never happy. True, I laugh and joke, but could weep 
that very moment, and be the happier for it. 

'There 's many a grief lies hid, not lost, 
And smiles the least befit who wear them most** 

How long I can endure such a life I do not know, but 
often wish that more of its future path lay on the other 



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80 CLARA BARTON 

8ide of the present. I am grateful when so many of the 
days pass away. But thb repining is of no use, and I 
would not say or write it for any ear or eye but my own. 
I cannot help thinking it, and it is a relief to say it to 
myself; but I will indulge in such useless complaints no 
more, but ccxnmence once more my allotted task* 

The mood did not last long. Its immediate occasion 
had been a not very cheerful letter from friends in Ox- 
ford, and a discussion with the mother of a dull pupil 
who was troubled because her daughter was not learning 
faster. Three days later she was seeking to account for 
her depression by some possible telepathic influence from 
home; for she had word of the burning of Stephen's 
factory. Far from being the more depressed by this 
really bad news, she was much relieved to know that he 
had not rushed into the burning building, as would have 
been just like him, and have been killed or injured in 
trying to save the property or to help some one else. 

On Friday night she had finished a reasonably good 
week, and had a longer letter than usual from the lover 
whom she had known longest. It ''of course pleased me 
in proportion to its length.'* She adds, ''I am puzzled 
to know how I can manage one affair, and fear I cannot 
do it properly." 

The reader of these yellow pages, after seventy years 
and more, knows better than she knew then what was 
troubling her most, and can smile at what caused her so 
much concern. 

By the following Tuesday she resolved to "begin to 
think earnestly of immediate future. Have not made any 
definite plans." 

This necessity of planning for the immediate future 



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THE HEART OF CLARA BARTON 8i 

brought back her bad feelings. She wrote on Wednesday, 
March 24: 

Think I shall not write as much in future. Grow dull 
and I fear selfish in my feelings and care less what is 
going on. Not that I think less of others, but less of my- 
self, and am more and more certain every day that there 
is no such thing as true friendship, at least for me; and I 
will not dupe and fool myself with the idle, vain hobby 
any longer. It b all false; in fact, the whole world is 
false. This brings me to my old inquiry again, what is 
the use of living in it? I can see no possible satisfaction 
or benefit arising from my life; others may from theirs. 

A week later she wrote that she had no letters, but 
had ''grown indifferent and did not care either to write 
or to receive letters.'* 

She had resolved not to write so much, but she went on : 

I am thinking to-night of the future, and what my 
next move must be. Wish I had some one to advise me, 
or that I could speak to some one of it. Had ever one 
poor girl so many strange, wild thoughts, and no one to 
listen or share one of them, or even to realize that my 
head contains one idea beyond the present foolish mo- 
ment? 

But she resolves to stop this vain and moody intro- 
spection: 

I will not allow myself any more such grumbling! I 
know it is wicked. But how can I make myself happy 
and contented under such circumstances as I am ever 
placed in? 

Her diary then grew irregular, with no entries between 
April 20 and May 25. Within that time she solved a 
part of her love-problem: 



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82 CLARA BARTON 

Have kept no journal for a month or more. Had 
nothing to note, but some things are registered where they 
will never be effaced in my lifetime. 

But she finished her school successfully; went to 
Trenton and bought a silk dress. She filled the back of 
this book with a list of the English poets with the dates 
of their birth and death, and a sentence or two descrip- 
tive of each of the more prominent. She had this habit 
of writing, in the back of her journal, things that be- 
longed to no one day. The volume previous contained 
a sentimental poem of a tragic parting of lovers, and a 
lachrymose effusion entitled "A Prayer for Death." 

These entries and incidents are cited because they are 
wholly exceptional. While she was ever morbidly sen- 
sitive, to the day of her death, and under strain of criti- 
cism or lack of appredadcMi given to great and wholly 
disproportionate depression of spirits, these entries, made 
when she had no less than three possible matrimonial en- 
tanglements in prospect, and was not sure whether she 
wanted any, must be the sole documentary evidence of a 
strain from which both she and the men concerned wholly 
recovered. All of the men are known by name, and they 
married and left families, and were little if any the worse, 
and quite possibly were the better, for having loved Clara 
Barton. Nor, though the perplexities of having too many 
lovers, mingled as these perplexities were with the daily 
problems of the schoolroom and a long absence from 
home, during which her home letters made her homesick, 
did the experience do her any permanent harm. Not long 
did she wish to die. 

Indeed, her mood was soon a very different one. The 
entries that have been dted were made at Hightstown* 



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THE HEART OF CLARA BARTON 83 

Next year she was at Bordentown, and there she throve 
so well she had to send back to her home town for an 
assbtant. She still had one love affair, already referred 
to, but it had ceased to depress her seriously. 

A young woman of thirty is not to be blamed for 
stopping to consider that she may not always be bothered 
by three simultaneous offers of marriage. On the other 
hand, while all of these were worthy men, there was not 
one of them so manifestly stronger than she that she felt 
she was safe in giving her heart to him. The vexations 
of the schoolroom suggiested the quiet of a home as a 
pleasant contrast, but which should she choose, and were 
there any of the men to whom she could forever look up 
with affection and sustained regard? 

For each one of these three young men she appears to 
have had a genuine regard. She liked them, all of them, 
and it was not easy for her to see them go out of her life. 
The time came when each of them demanded to know 
where he stood in her affections; and each time this oc* 
curred she had a period of heart-searching, and thought 
herself the most miserable young woman alive. In each 
case, however, she came to the sane and commendable 
decision, not to bestow her hand where her heart could 
not go utterly. 

From one who knew her intimately in those days I have 
this statement: 

Clara Barton had many admirers, and they were all 
men whom she admired and some whom she almost loved. 
More men were interested in her than she was ever in- 
terested in; some of them certainly interested her, yet 
not profoundly. I do not think she ever had a love af- 
fair that stirred the depths of her being. The truth is» 



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84 CLARA BARTON 

Clara Barton was herself so much stronger a character 
than any of the men who made love to her that I do not 
think she was ever seriously tempted to marry any of 
them. She was so pronounced in her opinions that a 
man who wanted a submissive wife would have stood 
somewhat in awe of hen However good a wife she might 
have made to a man whom she knew to be her equal, and 
for whom she felt real admiration, she would not have 
been an ideal wife for a man to whom she could not look 
up, not only in regard to moral character, which in every 
case was above reproach, but also as to intellect* educa- 
tion, and ambition* 

Clara Barton's diaries did not ordinarily hidulge in 
self-analysis. She recorded the events of the day briefly, 
methodically, and without much comment. She indi- 
cated by initials the young men to whom she wrote and 
from whom she received letters, relatives being spoken 
of by their first names. The passages quoted from her 
diaries are exceptional. While she was highly sensitive, 
and morbidly conscientious, her usual moods were those 
of quiet and sensible performance of her day's work. 

For ten years after she began to teach, she was shut 
out from any real opportunity for love. Her elevation 
to the teacher's platform, while still a child, shut out her 
normal opportunity for innocent flirtation. Love hardly 
peeped in at her during her teens, or in her early twenties. 
By the time it came to her, other interests had gained a 
long start. She was ambitious, she was determined to 
find out what she was good for, and to do something 
worth while in life. Had some young man come into 
her life as worthy as those who made love to her, and 
who was her equal or superior in ability and educa- 
tkm, she might have learned to love hinu As it was, 



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THE HEART OF CXARA BARTON 85 

she decided wisdy both for heraelf and (or the men who 
sought her hand. 

Having thus choeen, she did not mourn her fate. She 
enjoyed her friendships with men and with women, and 
lived her busy, successful, and happy life. She did not 
talk of these aflfairs, nor did she write c^ them. She re- 
tained the personal friendship c^ the men whom she 
reused; and two of them, who lived not far from her 
in New England, made their friendship manifest in later 
years. Few people knew that they had ever been re- 
jected lovers of hers; they were esteemed and lifelong 
friends. 

There were times when her heart cried out fcH* scune* 
thing more than this. From the day c^ her birth she was 
too isolated. Her public career began before her shy 
childhood had ended. She was too solitary; she had 
*' strange, wild thoughts,'' and no <me to whom to confide 
them. She could have welcomed the love of a strong, 
true man. She was always over-sensitive. She was cut 
to the very heart by experiences which she ought to 
have treated as almost negligible. She met opposition, 
criticism, injustice with calm demeanor, but she bled 
within her armor, and covered herself with undeserved 
reproaches and unhappy refiecticms that she seemed 
doomed to give and to suffer pain. In some respects she 
was peculiarly unfitted to meet the world alone. But 
she met it and conquered it. She turned her loneliness 
into a rich companionship of friendships; she forgot her 
solitude in imselfish ministry. Spite of her shrinking 
nature, her natural timidity, her over-sensitiveness, she 
lived a full and happy life. Those who knew her re- 
member few laments and fewer tears, but many a con- 



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86 CLARA BARTON 

8tant smilet a quick and unfailing sense of humor, a 
healthy and hearty laugh, a ready sympathy and a 
generous spirit. The love which she was forbidden to 
bestow upon any one man, she gave to the world at large, 
and the world loved her in return. 

The most direct reference to affairs of the heart which 
Clara Barton appears to have made in her letters is in a 
letter written by her to her cousin, Judge Robert Hale, 
on August i6, 1876. 

When Clara Barton went abroad in search of health 
in 1869, she hardly expected to return. She took two 
thousand dollars' worth of bonds which belonged to her 
and deposited them with a friend, with instructions that 
if she died, the money was to be used for the improvement 
of the Barton lot in the Oxford cemetery. It was a large 
lot on the brow of a hill, and had been heavily washed 
by the rains. She wished it properly graded and cared 
for, and this was likely to be, and proved to be, an ex- 
pensive undertaking. 

This friend did not keep the bonds separate from hb 
own property, and in time of financial stress he sold them 
and applied the money to his own needs. When she re- 
turned and learned of this, she was displeased. To her it 
seemed hardly less than a criminal action. She had no 
purpose of prosecuting him, but, on the other hand, she 
wished him to realize that this was something more than 
an ordinary debt. She put the matter in the hands of her 
cousin. Judge Hale, who accepted a note in lieu of the 
bonds. This did not please her, and she wrote her cousin 
a letter which caused him to chide her as being a rather 
importunate creditor. 

She replied that this was not true, but that she herself 



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THE HEART OF CLARA BARTON 87 

had kept all her money for French relief separate from 
her own money, and she always kept trust funds sep- 
arate from her own money, and she expected people 
dealing with her to do the same. She said : 

I am not, as I seem to you, a "relentless creditor." 
On the contrary, I would give him that debt rather than 
break him down in his business, or if the gift would keep 
him from going down. I am less grieved about the loss 
than I am about the manner of his treating my trust* 
I was his teacher and he was one of my boys. I have al« 
ways dealt straight and plain with my boys. I am not a 
lawyeress, nor a diplomat, only a woman artless to sim- 
plicity; but I am as square as a brick, and I expect my 
boys to be square. 

In some way Judge Hale had gotten the idea that this 
former pupil of hers had been a youthful lover, and that 
that fact had influenced her in the loan of the money. It 
b in reply to this suggestion that she said : 

It seems very ludicrous to me, the idea which has 
fastened itself upon you, relative to my supposed love 
affair. I, poor I, who never had a love affair in all my 
bom days, and really don't much expect one after this 
date! My dear cousin, I trust this letter will show you 
clearly that my pecuniary affairs and my heart affairs are 
not at all mixed; and I beg you to believe that, if in 
the future I should be stricken by the tender malady, I 
shall never attempt to facilitate or perpetuate the matter 
by the loaning of money. My observation has not been 
favorable to such a course of procedure. 

Whether she ultimately recovered the two thousand 
doHars or not, her biographer does not know, but she 
lived to put the cemetery lot in good order, and in her 
will she left a fund of sixteen hundred dollars for its per- 



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88 CLARA BARTON 

petual maintenance. She also kept her finandal trans- 
actions free from any heart complications. Her letter 
is a pretty certain indication that no love affair had ever 
taken very strong hold of her in the first fifty years of her 
life. 

The war might easily have brought to Clara Barton a 
husband if she had inclined toward one, but she found 
other interests, and was happy in them. Later in life she 
had on more than one occasion to consider the possibility 
ot a home; and we shall have occasion to mal^ brief 
mention of one or two of these incidents. What is essen- 
tial now is to know that Qara Barton did not enter upon 
her life-work by reason of a broken heart. Her relations 
with men were wholesome and enjoyable, but none of 
them brought her such complete assurance of a happy 
home as to win her from what she came to feel was 
her life-work. Some possibilities of matrimony gave her 
deep concern at the time; but she was able to tell Judge 
Hale in 18761 when she was fifty-five years of age, that 
she had never had a love affair, and did not expect 
to have one; but that if she had, she would keep it 
wholly separate from her financial interests; which was 
a very sensible resolution, and one to which she lived up 
faithfuUy. 



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CHAPTER X 

FROM SCHCX>LRCX>M TO PATENT OFFICE * 

Clara Barton's work in Bordentown was a marked 
success. But it involved strenuous labor and not a little 
mental strain. When it was over, she found her reserve 
force exhausted. In the latter part of 1854 her voice 
gave outf and she gave up teaching, for a time as she 
supposed, and went to Washington. 

She did not know it, but she was leaving the school- 
room forever. Yet she continued to think of herself as a 
teacher, and to consider her other work as of a more or 
less temporary character. Twenty years latef, she still 
reminded herself and others that ''fully one fifth of my 
life has been passed as a teacher of schoc^'* The school- 
room had become temporarily impracticable, and she 
wanted to see Washington and to spend time enough in 
the capital of the Nation to know something about it. 
Washington became her home and the center of her life 
plans for the next sixty years. 

Clara Barton did not long remain idle in Washington. 
At the request of Colonel Alexander De Witt, the repre- 
sentative in Congress from her home district, she re- 
ceived an appointment as clerk in the Patent Office at a 
salary of $1400 a year. She was one of the first, and 
believed herself to have been the very first, of women 
appointed to a r^:ular position in one of the departments, 
with work and wages equal to that of a man. Her ap- 
pointment was made under President Pierce, in 1854. 
The records when searched in later years were found to 



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90 CLARA BARTON 

be imperfect, but the following letter from the Hon- 
orable Alexander DeWitt to the Honorable Robert 
McClelland, Secretary of the Interior, shows clearly her 
status at the time of its date, September 22, 1855: 

Having understood the Department had decided to 
remove the ladies in the Patent Office on the first of 
October, I have taken the liberty to address a line on 
behalf of Miss Clara Bartcm, a native of my town and 
district, who has been employed in the past year in the 
Patent Office, and I trust to the entire satisfaction of the 
Commissioner. 

She had, indeed, performed her work to the entire 
satisfaction of the Commissioner. There had been seri- 
ous leaks in the Patent Office, some dishcmest clerks sell- 
ing secrets to their own financial advantage and to the 
scandal of the department and injury of owners of pa- 
tents. She became confidential derk to the Honorable 
Charles Mason, — "Judge Mason** he was called, — the 
Superintendent of Patents. That official himself had a 
hard time under the Secretary of the Interior, Robert 
McClelland. 

At different periods in her life, Clara Barton had sev- 
eral different styles of handwriting. There is a marked 
contrast between the clear, strong penmanship which 
she used when she left the schoolroom and the badly de- 
teriorated form which she employed after her more 
serious nervous breakdowns. When she was lecturing, 
she wrote a very large hand, easy to read from manu- 
script, and that affected her correspondence. Some of 
her lectures are written in characters nearly a half- 
inch in height. Then she reverted to the "copper- 
plate*' style of her young womanhood, and in that clear, 



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SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE 91 

fine, strong penmanship she wrote till the end of her 
life. 

Handwriting such as hers was a joy to the head of the 
Patent Department. It was dear, regular, easily read, 
and accurate. The characters were well formed, and the 
page, when she had done with it, was dean and dear as 
that of an old missal. 

She was not long in rousing the jealousy of men in the 
department who loafed and smoked and drew their pay. 
Some of them were anything but polite to her. They 
blew smoke in her face, and otherwise affronted her. 
But she attended strictly to her business. She was re- 
moved, but Judge Mason gave her a "temporary ap- 
pointment," and she worked, sometimes in the office, 
and sometimes, when political affairs were such that her 
presence there gave rise to criticism, at home. She waded 
through great volumes and filled other great volumes. 
A letter to her brother Stephen in the autunm of 1856 
gives some idea of what was happening in Washington: 

Monday Morning, Sept 28, 1856 

Dear Brother: 

I don't know why I have not written you before, only 
I suppose I thought you had enough to occupy your 
attention without my uninteresting scrawls. I have been 
hearing of late that you were better than when you first 
came home, but I have not heard a word when you 
expect to return. 

We are having a remarkably fine fall, cool and clean, 
and I have not seen more than a dozen mosquitoes this 
summer. 

The dty has just been somewhat disturbed, i.e., the 
offidal portions of it (and this is the greater portion at 
this particular time), in consequence of the resignation of 
Judge Mason, which was tendered to the President some 



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92 CLARA BARTON 

eight days ago» and no notice whatever taken of it until 
day before yesterday morning, the Judge in the mean- 
time drawing his business to a dose, packing his library, 
and Mrs. Mason packing their wardrobes, and on Friday 
evening, when I called on them, they were all ready 
to leave for Iowa next Tuesday at three o'clock. They 
both explained particulariy the nature of the circum- 
stances which induced them to leave. You have known 
before that Congress guaranteed to the Conmiissioner of 
Patents the exclusive right of making all temporary ap- 
pointments in his department, and that Secretary Mc- 
Clelland had previously interfered in and claimed the 
same. He commenced upon the most vulnerable points, 
something likeayear ago, when he removed us ladies, and, 
partially succeeding in his attempts, has been enlarging 
his grasp ever since, and a few weeks ago sent a note to 
Judge Mason forbidding him to appoint any temporary 
clerk unless subject to his decision and concurrence, 
giving to the Judge the right to nominate, reserving 
to himself the privilege of appointing. Then Congress 
having voted some $70,000 to be used by the Commis- 
sioner of Patents in procuring sugar-cane slips (if so they 
might be termed) from South America for the purpose 
of restoring the tone of the sugar growth in the South, 
which is becoming exhausted, and the Conmiissioner 
having procured his agent to go for them, the Secretary 
interfered, said it was all useless to send an agent, the 
military could attend to it; he had the agent discharged, 
and delayed the matter until it was too late to obtain 
the cuttings this year, and the Commissioner, being thus 
deprived of the privilege of complying with the directions 
received from Congress, and thereby unable to acquit 
himself creditably, resigned, but at the last moment the 
President came to hb room, and invested him with power 
to act as he pleased in all matters over which the law 
gave him jurisdiction, and he promised to remain until 
the Secretary should return from Michigan, and see 



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SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE 93 

how he behaved then. The Secretary is making himself 
extremely odious; he may have, and doubtless has, 
friends and admirers, but I never met with one of them. 

Fannie writes me that little Mary has burned her arm; 
is it badly burned? Does father still think of coming 
South this winter? Hobart was a slippery stick, wasn't 
he, and what did he mean? How do you arrange with 
Fisher? Some way I hope that will last so that he can't 
slip his halter and leave poor Dave to chase after him, 
with a measure of oats in one hand and a cudgel in the 
other, as he has all summer. You will come to Washing- 
ton, I am surCf on your way to Carolina; it is best that 
you should — I want so mudi to see you. I want to talk 
a good long talk with you that I cannot write. I have 
so.many things to say, all very important, of course. But 
write me soon and tell me when you will return. I must 
go over to the dty and look what I can do to make ready 
for the comers. 

Please give my love to all inquiring friends; write and 
come and see us. 

Your affectionate sister 

Clara 

How stand politics, and who is going to be President? 
The Democrats are looking pale in this quarter. 

Buchanan was elected, and Clara Barton continued in 
the Patent Office for a time unmolested. But the election 
lost her one of her best friends in Washington, Colonel 
De Witt, a resident of Oxford, and representative from 
her home district, through whom her first appointment 
had come, and who had been her constant friend. Just 
before the inauguration of President Buchanan, she 
wrote her home letter to Julia, and sent it by the hand of 
the retiring representative, who volunteered to take her 
letter to her home: 



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94 CLARA BARTON 

Washington, D.C.» Mar. 3rd, 1857 
Dear Sister Juua: 

Our good friend Colonel De Witt has kindly offered to 
become the bearer and deliverer of any despatches which 
I may wish to send to Yankee Land, and knowing from 
good authority that a call upon you might not be a hard 
medicine for him to take, I avail myself of the oppor- 
tunity to tell you that we are all engaged in making a 
president; intend, if no bad luck follow, to finish him off 
and send him home to-morrow. I hope he may finally 
give satisfaction, for there has been a great deal of pains 
taken in fitting and making him up, but there are so 
many in the family to wear him that it is scarcely possible 
that he should be an exact fit for them all. . . • 

We are at our same old tricks yet here in the capitol, 
i.e., killing off everybody who doesn't just happen to 
suit us or our peculiar humor at the moment; we have 
indeed some shocking occurrences at times. You have 
probably seen some account of the homicide which took 
place in the Pension Office the other day; if not I think 
the Colonel will be so kind as to give you some of the first 
points and relieve me from the disagreeable task of re- 
citing so abrupt and melancholy a matter. My opinion 
of the matter is that the man who gave the offense, and 
from whom the apology was due, remained doggedly at 
his office, armed, and shot down his adversary who came 
to make the very explanation which the offender should 
have sought. Colonel Lee (I think), instead of sitting 
there at his desk hugging a concealed pistol to his un- 
christian and unmanly breast, should at that very mo- 
ment have been on his way to Alexandria to apologize 
to Mr. House for the previous night's offense. The . 
man may perhaps meet the sympathy of the world at 
large, but at present he has not mine. 

And last night a terrible thing occurred within the 
district. It appears that the almshouse and workhouse 
are, or rather were, both the same building, very large. 



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, SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE 95 

new and fine. Last night, curiosity or something else 
equally powerful caused the keepers of the establishment 
all to leave the premises and come up to the dty, a dis- 
tance of three miles, I suppose, locking the building very 
securely, fastening in all the inmates, I have no idea how 
many, but the house took fire, and burned down, am- 
suming a great portion of its inhabitants, old, lame, and 
dck men and women and helpless infants. Only such 
were saved as could force an escape through the barred 
windows — was not that horrible? Now it would seem to 
me that in both these cas^ there was room left for reflec- 
tion on the part of some one. I think there would be for 
me if I were in either of their places 

I would attempt to tell you something how sorry I am 
that the Colonel is going home to return to us no more, 
but if I wrote all night I dhould not have half expressed it. 
I am sorry for myself, that I shall have no good friend left 
to whom I can run with all my annoyances, and find 
always a sympathizer and benefactor, and especially am 
I sorry for our (generally) old State. I pity their folly; 
they have cut off their own hands after having blocked 
all their wheels; they cannot stir a peg after the Colonel 
leaves; they have not a man on the board they can move; 
and who is to blame but their own poor foolish selves? 
Well, I am sorry, and if crying would do any good I 
would cry a week, steadily. I don't know but I shall as 
it is. . . . 

Remember me especially to "Grandpa,*' and tell Dave 
I like him a leetle particularly since he did n't sign that 
petition. 

From your affectionate sister 

Clara 

For a time after the election, political matters settled 
down, and Clara continued her work unmolested. She 
was home for a time in the spring of 1857, but back in 
Washington through the summer, and in that time went 



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96 CLARA BARTON 

through huge volumes of tedinical descriptioii and 
copied the essential parts into record books for the pur- 
pose of reference and preservation. 

It would make this volume more consecutive in its 
connections if out of her letters were culled only such 
items as related to particular topics; but her letters must 
be read as she wrote them, with news, gossip, inquiry 
about home matters, answers to questions, and all just 
as she thought of them and wrote about them. In the 
early autunm of 1857 she wrote to Julia: 

Washington, D.C, Sept 6th, 1857 
Dear Sister Julia: 

I dare not ask you to excuse me for neglecting jrou so 
badly, but still I have a kind of indefinable hope that you 
will do so, when you remember how busy I am and that 
this b summer with its long weary days and short sleepy 
nights; and then the **skeeterst** Just as soon as you try 
to write a letter in the evening to anybody, they must 
come in flocks to ''stick their bills/* In vain have I 
placarded myself all over on every side of me, "Stick no 
bills here" — it does n*t do a bit of good, and but for 
the gallant defense of a couple of well-fitted nets at 
my windows, I should long ere this have been pasted, 
scarred, and battered as the wooden gateway to an old 
thea' r, or the brick wall adjacent to an eleven-penny- 
bit lecture-room. I should, however, have written out 
of selfishness just to hear from you, only that by some 
means intelligence gets to us that father is better, and the 
rest of you well. My health is much better than when I 
was at home. I have been gaining ever since Miss Has- 
kell came. She relieves me many ways. The yellow has 
almost gone off of my forehead, else it has grown yellow 
all alike; but it looks better , let it be which way it may; 
it isn't so spotted. Bernard has been home and got 
cured of the chilb and fever, and gone back again; expect 



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SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE 97 

Vest, home soon. I am not much better settled than 
ever; liable to pick up my tn^ and start any day. I am 
glad you found my mits, for I began to think I must have 
had a crazy fit and destroyed my things while I was at 
home. To pay for losing my parasol, I made myself 
carry one that cost fifty-six centsi Did you ever hear of 
such a thing? Well, it is the best I have had all summer» 
and I walked to church under it to-day; so much to pay 
for carelessness. I also left a large bottle of some Idnd 
of drugs, I guess in your parlor cupboard. Please give 
it closet room awhile, and I will come sometime between 
this and the middle of January at farthest and relieve 
you of it« I may spend Christmas with you, cannot tell 
yet, but I shall be home while the snow is on the ground 
if I live, and maybe before it comes, but if I do I shall 
stay until it b there, for I am determined to have a 
sleigh-ride with old Dick. Oh, I am so glad every time I 
think of it, that he beat Dr. Newton, blast his saucy 
picture! Will try it again when the snow comes. 

I have written ''a heap" since my return; let me see, 
seven large volumes, the size of ledgers, I have read all 
through and collected and transferred something off of 
every page — 3500 pages of dry lawyer writing is some- 
thing to wade through in three months; and out of them 
I have filled a great volume almost as heavy as I can lift. 
My arm is tired, and my poor thumb is all calloused 
holding my pen. I begin to feel that my Washington life 
is drawing to a close, and I think of it without regret, 
not that I have not prized it, not that it has not on the 
whole been a great blessing to me. I realize all this, but 
if I could tell you in detail all I have gone through along 
with it, you would agree with me that it had not been 
all sunshine. I look back upon it as a weary pilgrimage 
which it was necessary for me to accomplish. I have 
nearly done, so it has been a sturdy battle, hard-fought, 
and I trust well won. 

But how do you all do? How are Grandfather and 



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98 CLARA BARTON 

Dave, and the little ones? How I do want to see you 
all! Has father's leg got so he can use it well again? 
Does it pain him? Do the children go to school? How 
are Mary's^ congress gaiters? — a perfect fit, I hope. 
Tell her to be a good girl and learn to read, for I shall 
want to hear her when I come home. Wadi Bubby's' 
eyes in bluing water; it may improve the colon Please 
give my love to Cousin Vira, Mrs. Abom, and after this 
according to discretion. Is Martha in New Worcester? 
I should like to see her. We have had a fine sunmier 
thus far — very few hot days. 

Please tell father that I was not silent so long because 
I had forgotten him, but I had scarce time to write, and 
I get so tired of writing. Please write me soon and tell 
me all the news. I will bring your jewelry when I come. 
I feel guilty to have taken it away. 

Your sbter, most affectionately &c &c &c 

Clara 

The Democrats had some reason to look pale, for no 
one could predict just how well John C. Fremont would 
run. But he was not elected. The Democrats returned 
to power, with James Buchanan as their successful can- 
didate. As the election approached, it became evident 
that this was to be the result, and the Democratic chief 
clerk of the Pension Office, certain that^e was to succeed 
Judge Mason, desired Clara Barton to be as good a 
Democrat as possible that she might not fail to be his 
confidential derk: but she was already a ''Black Repub- 
lican/' Her father had been an old-time Jackson Dem- 
ocrat, and the administration under which she was 
appointed was Democratic; but she heard Charles Sum- 
ner's great speech on the ''Crime Against Kansas'' and 

> Mary — Mrs. Mamie Barton Stafford, daughter of David. 
^Bubby — Stephen £• Barton, ion of David, Miaa Barton's brother. 



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SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE 99 

she was convinced. '' Freedom is national; slavery is 
sectional/' he said, and she believed hint 

She was not yet sure that slavery ought to be inter- 
fered with where it was, but she was with the party that 
opposed its further extension, and this imperiled her 
future as a derk if James Buchanan was elected. Just 
before the November election, she wrote to Julia, David's 
wife: 

Washdigton, D.C, Nov. and, 1856 
Sunday Evening 

Dear Sister Julia: 

Your looked-for letter came safe to hand ; you may well 
suppose we were anxious to hear from you considering 
the alarming nature of the one which had preceded it. 
Stephen must have had a very distressing time, but I am 
so glad to know that he is relieved and has decided to let 
some one else be his judge in reference to getting out. 
I hope he will continue firm in the faith and venture 
fiothing; it is of no use to strive against nature; he must 
have time to recruit and he has no idea of the time and 
care it will require to rid his system of the troublesome 
disease which has fastened upon him. I am glad you 
have found a physician there who knew how to name his 
disease. I have known all the time, since the first time 
he wrote me of his illness in Carolina, what the trouble 
was, and said when I was at home that he had the dumb 
chills, but no one would believe an ignoramus like me. 
I have no doubt but he had had his ague fits regularly 
since hb first attack without ever once mistrusting the 
real cause of his bad feelings. People say there are two 
classes of community that the shaking ague never at- 
tacks, viz., those who are too lazy to shake and those who 
will not stop. Stephen belongs to the latter and I to the 
former, so we must have dumb ague if any. I am glad 
that father is better, and hope I shall not hear of David's 
getting down again this winter; he must keep well enough 



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100 CLARA BARTON 

to come out and see us. We are all very well, only that 
I have a slight cold, which will wear off, I guess. The 
weather is delightful, but getting quite cooL We saw 
a few flakes of snow last Friday, but one would never 
mistrust it by the Indian sunmier haze which is spread 
over the city this evening. 

We are aJl dreading the confusion of day after to- 
morrow night, when the election returns are made. 
There will be such an excitement, but the Democrats 
are the most certain set of men that I ever saw; their 
confidence of success in the approaching contest is un- 
bounded. Judge Mason has gone to Iowa to vote, and 
Mr. Stugert (our chief clerk) will leave the city to- 
morrow night in order to reach Pennsylvania in time the 
next day. He is one of Mr. Buchanan's most intimate 
friends. He called to take me to Georgetown one evening 
last week, and during the evening he conversed respect- 
ing the approaching election. His spirits were unbounded, 
and his confidence in the right results of the election as 
unbounded. He wished me to say I would be commis- 
sioner and chief derk for him until his return, but I de- 
clined the honor, declaring myself a Freemanter. This 
he would not hear a word of and walked all around the 
parlors in company with the Reverend Mr. Halmead 
assuring all the company that I was an ''old school 
N^ Loco," "dyed in the wool," and my father before me was 

the same, and requested them to place no confidence in 
anything I might say on the present occasion, as the 
coffee was exceedingly strcmg and he passed my cup up 
five times. I thought this latter three fifths of a mistake, 
but could not quite tell. 

Lo, Bubby [Stephen, her nephew] says he will come 
to Washington. Well, he must go and ask Colonel De 
Witt to make him a page, and if the Colonel can do it, 
Bub can come and stay; he b large enough to carry let- 
ters and papers about the House, and do little errands 
for the Members. I guess he had best ask the Colonel 



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SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE loi 

and see what he says about it. Irving is getting ready to 
take our mail to the office and I must hasten to dose 
my scrawl for the present. I had intended to write to 
Stephen to-day, but it is rather late; I may get time the 
first of the week, although I have a heavy week's business 
in contemplation. How I wish I could drop in and see 
you all to-night, but that cannot be just yet. Please 
give my love to "Grandpa'* [her father] and then all the 
others in succession as they come along, down to Dick 
[the horse] ; is he as nice as ever? I want to see him too. 
Please remember me to Elvira and Mrs. Abom, and 
write me soon again. 

Tell Stephen he is a nice fellow to mind so well, and he 
must keep doing so. Irving is ready. 

So good-bye. 

Your affectionate sister 

Clara 

The country was steadily drifting toward war, and 
Clara Barton felt the danger of it. Although she was 
convinced that slavery ought not to be extended further, 
she was not yet an abolitionist, and she felt that violent 
agitators were taking upon themselves a serious risk in 
bringing the Nation to th^ very brink of bloodshed. She 
did not approve of the John Brown raid, and she was 
greatly concerned about the meetings that were held 
that seemed to her calculated to induce riot. She had 
her convictions, and was never afraid to speak them 
boldly, but she said, ** It will be a strange pass when the 
Bartons get fanatical, and cannot abide by and support 
the laws they live under." A neighbor who had been with 
Stephen in Carolina was driven away on account of 
utterances that followed the John Brown raid. She wrote 
to her brother Stephen at this time — the letter is not 
dated — and gave the fullest account of her own feelings 



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102 CLARA BARTON 

and convictions concerning the issues then before the 
country, having in special mind the duty of Northern 
people resident in the South to be considerate of the con- 
ditions under which Southern people had to live. It is 
a very interesting letter, and the author of this volume 
could wish that it had been in his possession while Clara 
Barton was living, that he might have asked her to what 
extent her views changed in the years that followed: 

I have not seen Mr. Seaver since his return, and regret 
exceedingly that there should have been any necessity 
for such a termination to his residence in the South. I 
should not have supposed that he would have felt it his 
duty to uphold such a cause as "Harper's Ferry," and 
if he did not, it is a pity he had the misfortune to make 
it appear so. Of course I could not for a moment believe 
him a dangerous man, hostile to either human life, rights, 
or interests, or antagonistic to the community among 
whom he resided, but if they felt him to be so, I do not 
by any means blame them for the course they took. 
Situated as they are, they have a right to be cautious, 
and adopt any measures for safety and quiet which their 
own judgment may suggest. They have a right even to 
be afraid, and it is not for the North, who in no way 
share in the danger, to brand them as cowards; they are 
the same that people the world over are and would be 
under the circumstances. Unorganized men everywhere 
are timid, easy and quick to take alarm. It is only when 
bodies of men are organized and disciplined, and pre- 
pared to defend themselves against expected dangers, 
that they stand firm and unshrinking, and face death 
unmoved. Occasionally we hear that you have been or 
will be requested to leave — this amuses me. It would 
be singular, indeed, if in all this time your Southern 
friends had not learned you well enough to tolerate you. 
It will be a strange pass when the Bartons get fanatical, 



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SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE 103 

and cannot abide by and support the laws they live 
under, and mind their own business closely enough to 
remain anywhere they may chance to be. I am grieved 
and ashamed of the course which our Northern people 
have taken relative to the John Brown affair. Of their 
relief societies, and mass meetings and sjonpathetic 
gatherings, I can say nothing, for I have never witnessed 
one, and never shall. From the first they seemed to me 
to be wrong and ill-advised, and had a strained and 
forced appearance; and the longer they are persisted 
in, and the greater extent to which they are carried, 
the more ridiculous they become in my sig^t. If they 
represented the true sentiments and feeling of the ma- 
jority of candid thinking men at the North, it would 
savor more of justice, but this I believe to be very far 
from the facts. Their gatherings and speechlfyings serve 
the purpose of a few loud-mouthed, foaming, eloquent 
fanatics, who would be just as ready in any other 
cause as this. They preach for notoriety and oratorical 
praise, fearlessly and injudiciously, with characters long 
stamped and nothing to lose. It matters little to them 
that every rounded sentence which falls from their 
chiseled lips, every burst of eloquence which "brings 
down the house," drives home one more rivet in slavery's 
chain; if slavery be an evil, they are but helping it on; 
it is only human nature that it should be so, and so plain 
a fact "that the wayfaring man cannot err therein." 
Nature, and cause and effect, are, I suppose, much the 
same the world over, and if 6ur Southern neighbors clasp 
their rights all the firmer, when assailed, and plant the 
foot of resistance toe to toe with the foot of aggression, it 
is not for us to complain of it; what differently should we 
ourselves do? That slavery be an evil I am neither going 
to affirm nor deny; let those pass judgment whom greater 
experience and observation have made capable of judg- 
ing; but allowing the affirmative in its most exaggerated 
form, could it possibly be equal to the pitiful scene of 



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104 CLARA BARTON 

confusion, distrust, and national paralysis before and 
around us at the present hour, with the prospect of all the 
impending danger threatening our vast Republic? Men 
talk flippantly of dissolving the Union. This may hap- 
pen, but in my humble opinion never till our very horses 
gallop in human blood« 

But I must hold or I shall get to writing politics to 
you, and you might tell me, as old Mr. Perry of New 
Jersey did Elder Lampson when he advised him to leave 
oR drinking whiskey and join the Temperance Society. 
After listening long and patiently until the Elder had 
finished his remarks, he looked up very, very benignly 
with, "Well, Elder, your opinions are very good, and 
probably worth as much to yourself as anybody/' 

Lincoln was elected and duly inaugurated. Clara 
heard the inauguration address and liked it. She wit- 
nessed nothing in the ceremony of inauguration which 
seemed immediately threatening. So far as she could 
discover, no one present had any objection to permitting 
the new President to live. There were rumors that Eli 
Thayer, of Worcester, who had done more than any 
other man to make Kansas a free State, was to be Com- 
missioner of Patents. That was delightful news for her« 
It meant not only an assured position, but an opportu- 
nity of service undisturbed by needless annoyances. She 
had an invitation to the inauguration ball, but had to 
decline that dreary fimction on account of a cold. On 
the day following the inauguration, she wrote to Annie 
Childs, sister of Frances, her account of the day's events: 

WAsmNGTON Cmr, March 5th, 1861 
My Dear Annib: 

I have just a few minutes before dinner for which I 
have no positive call, and I am going to inflict them on 
you. Of course you will not expect an elaborate letter, 



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SCHOOLROOM TO PATENT OFFICE 105 

for I by no means feel competent to the task to-day if 
I had the time. 

The 4th of March has come and gone, and we have a 
live Republican President, and, what is peiiiaps singular, 
during the whole day we saw no one who appeared to 
manifest the least didike to his living. We had a crowd, 
of coiuise, but not so utterly overwhelming as had been 
anticipated; everywhere seemed to be just full, and no 
more, which was a very pleasant state of affairs. The 
ceremony was performed upon the East Capitol steps 
facing Capitol Hill, you remember. The inaugural ad*- 
dress was first delivered in a loud, fine voice, which 
was audible to many, or a majority of the assemblage. 
Only a very few of the United States troops were brought 
to the Capitol at all, but were in readiness at their 
quarters and other parts of the dty; they were probably 
not brought out, lest it lode like menace. Great pains 
appeared to be taken to avoid all such appearances, and 
indeed a more orderly crowd I think I never saw and 
general satisfaction expressed at the trend and spirit of 
the Address. Of course, it will not suit your latitude 
quite as well, but I hope they may find it endurable. 

It is said that the Cabinet is formed and has been or 
will be officially announced to-day. And there b some 
prospect of the Honorable Eli Thayer being appointed 
Commissioner of Patents. Only think of it! Is n't it 
nice if it is true? Mr. Suydam has been spending the 
week with us; left this morning. Mrs. Suydam b better, 
he says. Mr. Starr is here. 

We have had the most splendid spring weather you 
ever saw for two weeks past, no rain, but bright sunshine; 
it has been frightfully dusty some of the time and this 
day is one apparently borrowed from Arabia, by the 
clouds of sand. 

I hear from you sister sometimes, but not until I have 
almost lost trace of her each time, but I am, of course, 
most to blame. I hope your business has revived with 



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io6 CLARA BARTON 

the approach of spring, as it doubtless has. You will not 
be surprised if I tell you that I am in a hopeless state of 
semi-nudity, just clear the law and nothing more. Sally 
told me on her return that you would have come out and 
stayed with us some this winter if you had thought it 
could have been made to pay, but as usual I knew nothing 
of this until it was too near spring to think of your leaving 
your business. How glad I should have been to have had 
you here a month or two, and I think I could have re- 
lieved you of the most of expense to say the least of it, 
if you were not doing much at home, and what a comfort 
it would have been to me to get right in the clothing line. 
Will there ever be another time that you would think 
you could leave, and come to Washington if I should 
remain? 

Where is Fannie? Is she having a vacation now? 
Please give my love to her, and all inquiring friends, re- 
serving a large share for yourself, and believe me, 
As ever, your loving friend 

Clara 

Everybody would send love if they knew I were writ* 
ing. I cannot report the Inauguration Ball personally, as 
I was not present; after a delightful invitation could not 
go. I have been having a very bad cold for a few days 
and a worse cough than I ever had, but I hope to get 
over it soon. I did not attend the last Levee. 



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CHAPTER XI 

THB BATTLB CRY OF FREEDOM 

The unit of Massachusetts history is eighty-six years. 
As a considerable part of American history relates to 
Massachusetts, or traces its origin from there, the same 
unit measures much of the life of the Nation itself. It 
begins in the year 1603 when Queen Elizabeth died, and 
King James came to the throne, and the season was the 
spring. It was King James who determined to make the 
Puritans conform or to harry them out of his kingdom. 
He did not succeed in making them conform, but he 
harried the Pilgrims into Holland whence they came to 
Plymouth Rock. For eighty-six years Massachusetts was 
managed under a colonial government, whose last days 
were those of a province with a royal governor in control. 
It was on the 19th of April, 1689, that this royal governor, 
whose name was Andros, looked out through the port- 
hole of the ship on which he was a prisoner, and saw the 
sun rise over Boston Harbor prior to his enforced return 
to England. That was the end of provincial governors 
in New England, and the beginning of the assertion of 
the doctrine of independence. Eighty-six years later to 
a day, a little band of Massachusetts soldiers stood in a 
line on the green at Lexington, and on the same day a 
larger company mustered by the bridge in Concord, and 
the Revolutionary War began. Eighty-six years later 
to a day, the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, hastening 
through Baltimore in response to President Lincoln's 
call for troops, was fired upon, and the first blood was 



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io8 CLARA BARTON 

shed in a long and cruel war which did not end until it 
was decided that the house which was divided against 
itself was no longer to be divided ; that this was to be one 
nation and that nation a free nation. 

If one had been privileged to visit the Senate Cham- 
ber of the United States in three days after the assault 
upon the Massachusetts troops, he might have beheld 
an interesting sight. Behind the desk of the President 
of the Senate stood a little woman reading to the Massa*^ 
chusetts soldiers who were quartered there from their 
home paper, the Worcester "Spy." Washington had 
need of these troops. Had they and their comrades in 
arms arrived a few days later, the capital would have 
been in the hands of the Confederates. They came 
none too soon; Washington had no place to put them, 
nor was the War Department adequately equipped with 
tents or other supplies. The Capitol building itself be* 
came the domicile of some of the first regiments, and the 
Senate Chamber was the habitation of the boys frcwn 
Worcester County. A few of the boys Clara Barton 
knew personally. 

Already the war had become a reality to these Yankee 
lads. Lincoln's call for men was issued on April 15, 
1 861. Massachusetts had four regiments ready. The 
first of these reached Baltimore four days after the Pres- 
ident's Proclamation. Three men were killed by a mob, 
and thirty were injured as they mardied through Balti- 
more. The regiment fought its way to the' station, re- 
gained possession of their locomotive and train, and 
moved on to Washington. 

Clara Barton's first service to the soldiers was only 
incidentally to the wounded. There were only thirty 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 109 

of them, and they were adequately cared for. But she, 
in company with other women, visited the regiment at 
the Capitol, and she performed her first service to the 
armies of her country by reading to the homesick boys 
as they gathered in the Senate Chamber, and she stood 
in the place that was ordinarily occupied by the Vice- 
President of the United States. Her own account of 
this proceeding is contained in a letter to her friend, 
B. W. Childs: 

WAsmNGTON, April 25th, 1861 
My Dear Will: 

As you will perceive, I wrote you on the 19th, but have 
not found it perfectly convenient to send it until now, but 
we trust that "navigation is open now" for a little. As 
yet we have had no cause for alarm, if indeed we were 
disposed to feel any. The city is filling up with troops. 
The Massachusetts regiment is quartered in the Capitol 
and the 7th arrived to-day at noon. Almost a week in 
getting from New York here; they looked tired and warm, 
but sturdy and brave. Oh! but you should hear them 
praise the Massachusetts troops who were with them, 
"Butler's Brigade." They say the "Massachusetts 
Boys" are equal to anything they undertake — that 
they have constructed a railroad, laid the track, and 
built an engine since they entered Maryland. The 
wounded at the Infirmary are all improving — some of 
them recovered and joined the regiment. We visited 
the regiment yesterday at the Capitol; found some old 
friends and acquaintances from Worcester; their baggage 
was all seized and they have nothing but their heavy 
woolen clothes — not a cotton shirt — and many of 
them not even a pocket handkerchief. We, of course, 
emptied our pockets and came home to tear up old sheets 
for towels and handkerchiefs, and have filled a large 
box with all manner of serving utensils, thread, needles, 
thimbles, scissors, pins, buttons, strings, salves, tallow, 



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HO CLARA BARTON 

etCf etc., have filled the largest market, basket hi the 
house and it will go to them in the next hour. 

But don't tell us they are not determined — just fight- 
ing mad; they had just one Worcester "Spy" of the 
22d, and all were so anxious to know the contents that 
they begged me to read it aloud to them, which I did. 
You would have smiled to see im and my audience in the 
Senate Chamber of the United States. Oh! but it was 
better attention than I have been accustomed to see 
there in the old time. ''Ber*' writes his mother that 
Oxford is raising a company. God bless her, and the 
noble fellows who may leave their quiet, happy homes 
to come at the call of their coimtry! So far as our poor 
efforts can reach, they shall never lack a kindly hand or a 
sister's sympathy if they come. In my opinion this dty 
will be attacked within the next sixty days. If it must 
be, let it come ; and when there is no longer a soldier's arm 
to raise the Stars and Stripes above our Capitol, may 
God give strength to mine. 

Write us and tell our friends to write and I will answer 
when I can. Love to all. 

C. H. Barton 

Several things are of interest in this letter. One is the 
place where her work for the soldiers began. It was the 
Government's poverty in the matter of tents and bar- 
racks which caused the soldiers to be quartered in the 
Capitol, but it was certainly an interesting and signifi- 
cant thing that her great work had its beginning there. 
Washington was still expecting to be attacked; she be- 
lieved that the attack would occur shortly. It was rather 
a fine sentence with which her letter closed, — " If it must 
be, let it come; and when there is no longer a soldier's 
arm to raise the Stars and Stripes above our Capitol, may 
God give strength to mine." 

She was still signing her formal letters Clara H. Barton 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM in 

She was no longer Clarissa, and before very long she 
dropped the middle name and letter entirely, and, from 
the Civil War on, was simply Clara Barton. 

This letter which deals entirely with her military ex- 
periences is the first of many of this general character. 
To a large extent personal matters from this time on 
dropped out of sight. It will be of interest to go back a 
few weeks and quote one of her letters to her brother 
David, in which there is no mention of political or mill- 
tary matters. It is a letter of no great importance in 
itself, but shows her concern for her father, who had 
partially recovered from his serious illness, for her niece 
Ida, her nephew Bub, as she still called Stephen E., 
though he was now a lad of some size, and for home 
affairs generally. For her father she had adopted the 
name given him by her nephews and nieces, and called 
him "Grandpa": 

Feb. 2nd, 1861 

Dear Brother: 

I enclose in this a draft for twelve dollars, and will send 
you another for the remaining fifteen on the first of 
next month, i.e., provided Uncle Sam is not bankrupt, 
which he nearly is now and his payments have been 
very irregular. I have only received a part of my salary 
for this month — but all right in the end. I have been 
very sorry that I took the money of you lest you might 
have wanted it when I might just as well have drawn upon 
myself, only for the trouble of getting at the Colonel. 
Another time I should do so, however, for I believe I am 
the poorest hand in all the world to owe anything. I 
never rest a moment until all is square. And now, if you 
have the least need of the remaining fifteen dollars just 
say so to the Colonel and he will honor your draft so 
quick you will never know you made it. You may want 



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112 CLARA BARTON 

it for something about the house, or to make out a pay- 
ment, and if so don't wait, I pray you, but just call over 
when you get your draft changed and get the remainder 
of the Colonel, and tell him in that case he will hear from 
me very soon. Perhaps Julia or the children have wanted 
something, and if I have been keeping them out of any 
comfort I am Jtery sorry. 

As it is my intention to keep a strict account with my- 
self of all my expenditures and profits from this time 
henceforth, you may, if you please, sign the receipt at 
the top of this sheet, and hand it to Sally to bring to me. 

I had thought I should get a line, or some kind of word 
from you, perhaps, but I suppose you are too busy. Well, 
this is a very busy world. You will be glad to know that 
I am very happily situated here; the winter is certainly 
passing very pleasantly. I find all my old friends so 
numerous, and so kind, and, unless they falsify grossly, 
so glad to have me back among them again; I could not 
have believed that there was half so much kind feeling 
stored away for me here in this big dty of comers and 
goers. The office and my business relations are all right, 
and they say I am all right too. The remainder of the 
winter will be very gay, and I must confess that I fear 
I am getting a little dissipated, not that I drink cham- 
pagne and play cards, — oh, no, — but I do go to levees 
and theaters. I don't know that I should own up so 
frankly, only that I am afraid "Mr. Grover" will show 
me up if I try to keep still and dark. Now, if he does, just 
tell him that it gets no better, but rather worse if any- 
thing, and that he ought to have stayed to attend Mr. 
Buchanan's hig party. It was splendid — General Scott 
and the military; in fact, we are getting decidedly mili- 
tary in this region. But we have no winter. Mr. J. S. 
Brown, of Worcester, came to us in the theater last night 
at eleven and said a dispatch from Worcester declared 
the snow to be six feet deep in Massachusetts. We de- 
cided to put it down at a foot and a half, and did n*t know 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 113 

but that was big! We could n't realize even that, for we 
have only now and then a little spot of snow, and this 
morning a monster fog has come and settled down on 
that, and in two hours we shall forget how snow looks, 
and in two days, if it does n't rain, the dust will blow; 
but no fears but that it will rain, though. 

But I have n't said a word about Grandpa. I am so 
glad to know that he is better and even gets into the 
kitchen; that is splendid, and besides he has had com- 
pany as well as you all. Ah, ha, I found it out, if none of 
you told me! Ben Porter came at last! ! Please give my 
congratulations to Grandpa, and you too Julia, for I am 
writing to you just as much as to Dave, only I don't 
know as I said so before. I forgot to tell you — and now 
if you don't write me how Adeline and Viola are, I will 
do some awful thing to come up to you. I don't justly 
know what, for if Frank wrote a week he never would tell 
me. Oh, I had a letter from him last night; said he was 
over his boots in snow, was going "down east " to Bangor, 
Dr. Porter's, etc. 

I am afraid my trunk and other things are in your way, 
and I would ask Sally to take the trunk, only that it 
seems to me that I had best wait until I see what the 
4th of March brings about, and find where I am in the 
new administration, or at least if we have one. If we are 
to have a war, I have plenty of traps and trunks in this 
region, and if all comes right and I remain, it may be 
that some one will be coming South pretty soon without 
much baggage who would take something for me. 

How are all the children? I must write to somebody 
soon; I guess it will be Bub, but Ida isn't forgotten. 
She was a faithful little correspondent to tell me how 
Grandpa was. I shall not forget it of Ida. Can she skate 
yet? Now, are n't you going to write me and tell me all 
the news? And you must remember me to Mrs. Wadding- 
ton, Mrs. Abom, and family, and, Jule, you must give 
my regards to Silas and Mr. Smith, for I don't wish to be 



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114 CLARA BARTON 

lost sight of by my old-time friends, among all the new 
ones here. And don't forget to give my love to Mrs. 
Kidder and tell me how she is. You had best clap your 
hands for joy that I have no more room, only to say I am 
Your a£Fectionate sister 

Clara 

I forgot to cut my draft loose until I had written on 
the back of it, and then I cut it loose without thinking 
that I had written; so much for doing things in a hurry, 
and I can't stop to rewrite a single word to anybody, so 
patch up and read if you can. 

The Sixth Massachusetts left Washington and moved 
farther south. She tells of her feelings with regard to 
these men in a letter written May 19, 1861, to Annie 
Childs. The letter to which she referred as having been 
written on the same day to Frances Childs, and contain* 
ing war news, has not been found : 

Washington, D.C, May 19, 1861 
My dear Annib: 

I am very sorry that it will be in my power to write 
you so little and no more, but these are the busy days 
which know no rest, and there are at this moment thirty 
unanswered letters lying by my side — besides a perfect 
rush of ordinary business, and liable to be interrupted by 
soldier calls any moment. I wish I could tell you some- 
thing of the appearance of our city, grand, noble, true, 
and brave. I wish you could see it just as it is, and if it 
were not that at this season of the year I had no thought 
that you could leave your business, I would say to you 
come, — and indeed I will say this much, hopeless as I 
deem it, aye, know it to be, — but this, — if you have the 
least curiosity to witness the events of our city as they 
are transpiring or enough so that you could come, you 
shall be doubly welcome, have a quiet nook to stay in, 
and I will find you all you want to do while you will stay. 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 115 

longer or shorter, and pay you all you ask for your 
services. If it were winter I should hope you would 
think well enough of it to come, but at this season of the 
year, I dare not, but rest assured nothing would please 
me as much, and Sally too. We often wish you would 
come, and I am in a most destitute condition. I cannot 
get a moment to sew in and can trust no one here. I 
know I must not urge you, but only add that I mean just 
what I say. If you care to come, you shall not lose your 
time, although I feel it to be preposterous in me to say 
such a thing at this time of the year, but I have said it at 
a venture and cannot retract. I saw your friend Mr. 
Parker before he left the dty for the Relay House, and we 
had a long talk about you. I had never met him before, 
but was much pleased with his easy, pleasant manners 
and cordial ways. Allow me to congratulate you upon 
the possession of such friends. 

For war news I must refer you to a letter I have writ- 
ten your sister to-day; she will show it to you. 

I was sorry when the Sixth Regiment left us, but 
nothing could have delighted them more than the 
thought of nearing Baltimore again, and how success- 
fully they have done it. I wept for joy when I heard of 
it sdl, and they so richly deserved the honor which is 
meted out to them — noble old regiment they; every one 
admires, and no one envies ; there seems to be no jealousy 
towards them, all yield the precedence without a word, 
and their governor! I have no words good enough to talk 
about him with. Will this little scrap be better than 
nothing from your 

Loving Coz 

Clara 

I have not forgotten my debt, but have nothing small 
enough to enclose. I will pay it. 

How deeply stirred Clara Barton was by the events, 
which now were happening thick and fast, is shown by a 



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ii6 CLARA BARTON 

portion of a letter in which she describes the funeral of 
Colonel Elmer Ellsworth. The death of this young man 
affected the Nation as that of [no other who perished in 
the early days of the war. When Alexandria, which was 
practically a suburb of Washington, was occupied by the 
Federal troops, this yoimg soldier was in command. 
After the troops had taken possession of the town, the 
Confederate' flag was still flying from the roof of the 
hotel. Ellsworth ascended the stairs, tore down the flag, 
and was descending with it when he was shot by the 
proprietor of the hotel. Elmer Ellsworth was a fine and 
lovable man, and had been an intimate friend of Presi- 
dent Lincoln in whose house he lived for a time. His 
theory of military organization was that a small body of 
men thoroughly disciplined was more effective than a 
large body without discipline. The Zouaves were largely 
recruited from volunteer fire companies. They were 
soldiers expert in climbing ladders and in performing 
hazardous deeds. Their picturesque uniform and their 
relatively high degree of discipline, as well as the death 
of their first commander, attracted great attention to 
them. Just after the fimeral of Colonel Ellsworth, whose 
death Lincoln mourned as he would have mourned for a 
son, Clara Barton wrote a letter containing this descrip- 
tion of his fimeral: 

Our sympathies are more enlisted for the poor bereaved 
Zouaves than aught else. They who of all men in the 
land most needed a leader and had the best — to lose him 
now in the very beginning; if they commit excesses upon 
their enemies, only their enemies are to blame, for they 
have killed the only man who ever thought to govern 
them, and now, when I read of one of them breaking over 
and conunitting some trespass and is called to account 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 117 

and punished for it, my blood rises in an instant I would 
not have them punished. I know I am wrong in my con- 
clusions, and do not desire to be justified, but I am not 
accountable for my feelings. The funeral of the lamented 
Ellsworth was one of the most imposing and touching 
sights I ever witnessed or perhaps ever shall. First 
those broad sidewalks from the President's to the Capi- 
tol, two impossible lines of living beings, then company 
after company and whole regiments of sturdy soldiers 
with arms reversed, drums muffled, banners furled and 
draped, following each other in slow, solemn procession, 
the four white horses and the gallant dead, with his 
Country's flag for a pall; the six bearers beside the 
hearse, and then the little band of Zouaves (for only a 
part could be spared from duty even to bury their leader), 
clad in their plain loose uniform, entirely weaponless, 
heads bowed in grief, eyes fixed on the coffin before them, 
and the great tears rolling down their swarthy cheeks, 
told us only too plainly of the smothered grief that would 
one day burst into rage and wreak itself in vengeance on 
every seeming foe; the riderless horse, and the rent and 
blood-stained Secession flag brought up the rear of the 
little band of personal mourners; then followed an official 
"train" led by the President and Cabinet — all of whom 
looked small to us that day; they were no, longer digni- 
taries, but mourners with the throng. I stood at the 
Treasury, and with my eye glanced down the Avenue to 
the Capitol gate, and not one inch of earth or space 
could I see, only one dense living, swaying, moving mass 
of humanity. Surely it was great love and respect to be 
meted out to the memory of one so young and from the 
common ranks of life. I thought of it long that day and 
wondered if he had not sold himself at his highest price 
for his Country's good — if the inspiration of ^'Ellsworlh 
dead'' were not worth more to our cause than the life of 
any man could be. / could not tell, but He who knows all 
things and ruleth all in wisdom hath done all things well* 



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ii8 CLARA BARTON 

How deeply she felt the sorrow of the soldier, and the 

atudety of his loved ones at home, is shown in a letter 

which she wrote in June before there had been a decisive 

battle, but while the boys were rallying to the flag, 

"Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom." The most of 

her letters of this period are descriptive of events which 

she witnessed, but this one is a meditation on a Simday 

afternoon while the Nation was waiting for a great battle 

which every one felt was impending: 

Washington, June 9th, 1861 
Sunday afternoon 

My dear Cousin Vira: 

We have one more peaceful Sabbath, one more of God's 
chosen days, with the sun shining calmly and brightly 
over the green, quiet earth as it has always looked to us, 
the same green fields, and limpid waters; and but that 
the long lines of snow-white tents flashed back the rays 
I might forget, on such an hour as this, the strange con* 
fusion and unrest that heaves us like a mighty billow, 
and the broad, dark, sweeping wing of war hovering over 
our heads, whose flap and crash is so soon to blacken our 
fair land, desolate our hearths, crush our mothers' sacri- 
ficing hearts, drape our sisters in black, still the gleesome 
laugh of childhood, and bring down die doting father's 
gray hair with sorrow to the grave. For however cheer- 
fully and bravely he has given up his sons and sent them 
out to die on the altar of Liberty, however nobly and 
martyr-like he may have responded, they are no longer 
**mine*' when their Country calls. Still has he given 
them up in hope, — and somewhat of trust, — that one 
day his dim eyes shall again rest on that loved form, his 
trembling voice be raised and his hand rest in blessing 
on the head of his darling soldier boy returned from the 
wars; and when he shall have sat and waited day by 
day, and trained his time-worn ear to catch the faintest, 
earliest lisp of tidings, and strained his failing eye, and 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 119 

cleared away the mist to read over day by day "the 
last letter/' until its successor shall have been placed in 
his trembling hands to be read and blotted in its turn; 
and finally there shall come a long silence, and then an- 
other letter in a strange handwriting — then, and not 
till then, shall the old patriot know how much of the 
great soul strength, that enabled him to bear his cher- 
ished offering to the altar, was loyalty, patriotism, and 
principle, and how much of it was hope. 

The battle of Bull Run was fought on Sunday, July 21, 

1861. Clara Barton witnessed the preparations for it, 

and saw its results. The boys marched so bravely, so 

confidently, and they came back in terror leaving 481 

killed, loii wounded, and 1460 missing. The next night 

she began a letter to her father, but stopped at the. 

end of the first page, and waited until near the end of the 

week before resuming. Unfortunately, the latter part 

of this letter is lost. She undertook to give somewhat in 

detail a description of the battle, and what she saw before 

it and after. That part of the letter which has been 

preserved is as follows: 

WAsmNGTON, D.C., July 22nd, 1861 
Monday evening, 6 o'clock, p.m. 

My dear Father: 

It becomes my painful duty to write you of the dis- 
aster of yesterday. Our army has been unfortunate. 
That the results amount to a defeat we are not willing to 
admit, but we have been severely repulsed, and our troops 
returned in part to their former quarters in and around 
the dty. This has been a hard day to witness, sad, pain- 
ful, and mortifying, but whether in the aggregate it shall 
sum up a defeat, or a victory, depends (in my poor judg- 
ment) entirely upon circumstances; viz. the tone and 
spirit in which it leaves our men ; if sad and disheartened, 
we are defeated, the worst and sorest of defeats ; if roused 



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120 CLARA BARTON 

to madness, and revenge, it will yet prove victory. But 
no mortal could look in upon this scene to-night and 
judge of effects. How gladly would I dose my eyes to it 
if I could. I am not fit to write you now, I shall do you 
more harm than good. 

July 26th, Friday noon 
You mil think it strange that I commenced so timely a 
letter to you and stopped so suddenly. But I did so upon 
more mature reflection. You could not fail to know all 
that I could have told you so soon as I could have got 
letters through to you, and everything was so unreliable, 
vague, uncertain, and I confidently hoped exaggerated, 
that I deemed it the part of prudence to wait, and even 
now, after all this interval of time, I cannot tell you with 
certainty and accuracy the things I would like to. It is 
certain that we have at length had the ** Forward Move- 
ments^ which has been so loudly clamored for, and I am a 
living witness of a corresponding Backward one. I know 
that our troops continued to go over into Virginia from 
Wednesday until Saturday, noble, gallant, handsome 
fellows, armed to the teeth, apparently lacking nothing. 
Waving banners and plumes and bristling bayonets, 
gallant steeds and stately riders, the roll of the drum, 
and the notes of the bugle, the farewell shout and martial 
tread of armed men, filled our streets, and saluted our 
ears through all those days. These were all noble sights, 
but to me never pleasant; where I fain would have given 
them a smile and cheer, the bitter tears would come; for well 
I knew that, though the proudest of victories perch upon 
our banner, many a brave boy marched down to die; 
that, reach it when, and as they would, the Valley of 
Manassas was the Valley of Death. 

Friday brought the particulars of Thursday's en- 
counter. We deplored it, but hoped for more care, and 
shrewder judgment next time. Saturday brought rumors 
of intended battle, and most conflicting accounts of the 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 121 

enemy's strength; the evenmg and Sunday morning pa- 
pers told us reliably that he had eighty thousand men, 
and constantly reinforced. My blood ran cold as I read 
it, lest our army be deceived; but then they knew it, the 
news came from them; surely they would never have the 
madness to attack, from open field, an enemy of three 
times their number behind entrenchments fortified by 
batteries, and masked at that. No, this could not be; 
then we breathed freer, and thought of all the humane 
consideration and wisdom of our time-honored, brave 
commanding general, that he had never needlessly sac- 
rificed a man. 

Clara Barton went immediately to the Washington 
hospitals to render assistance after the battle of Bull Run. 
But it did not require all the women in Washington to 
minister to a thousand wounded men. Those of the 
wounded who got to Washington were fairly well cared 
for; but two things appalled her, the stories she heard of 
suffering on the part of the wounded before they could 
be conveyed to the hospitals, and the almost total lack 
of facilities for the care of the wounded. She thought of 
the good dean doth in New England homes that might 
be used for bandages; of the fruits and jellies in Northern 
farm homes which the soldiers would enjoy. She began 
advertising in the Worcester "Spy*' for provisions fo^^ 
the wounded. She had inmiediate responses, and soon 
had established a distributing agency. 

I am very glad to have first-hand testimony as to the 
establishment which she now set up. Mrs. Vassall, who, 
as Miss Frances Maria Childs, had been her assistant 
teacher in Bordentown, has described the home of Clara 
Barton during the Civil War. She said: 

The rooms she took were in a business block. It was 



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122 CLARA BARTON 

not an ideal place for a home-loving woman. Originally 
there had been one large room, but she had a wooden 
partition put through, and she made it convenient and 
serviceable. She occupied one room and had her stores 
in the other. It was a kind of tent life, but she was happy 
in it and made it a center from which she brought cheer 
toothers. 

Before the end of 1861 the Worcester women had 
begun to inquire whether there was any further need of 
their sending supplies to her. They had sent so much, 
they thought the whole army was provided for, and for 
the period of the war. We have her letter in reply: 

WASBmGTON, D.C, December 16, 1861 
Mrs. Miller, Sec., 

Ladies' Relief Committeet 
Worcester, Mass. 
Dear Madam: 

Your letter, mailed to me on the nth, came duly to 
hand at a moment when I was more than busy, and, as 
I had just written Mrs. Dickensen (of whom I received 
the articles) a detailed account of their history and final 
destination, I have ventured with much regret to allow 
your letter to remain unanswered for a day, that I might 
find time to write you at greater length. You must before 
this have learned from my letter to Mrs. D. the occasion 
of the delay (viz., uncertain orders, rainy weather, and 
Maryland roads), and decided with me that the (anxious) 
package has long before this accomplished its mission of 
charity and love. The bundles were all packed together 
in a stout box, securely nailed, and given to the sutler 
of the 15th Regiment, who promised to deliver them 
safely at Headquarters. I have no doubt but it has all 
been properly done. A box for the 25th I had delivered 
to Captain Atwood's Company, and heard with much 
satisfaction the gratification it afforded the various redp- 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 123 

ients. The men were looking splendidly, and I need not J 
tell you that the 25th is a '*Hve'' regiment from its Colonel 
and Chaplain down. Worcester County has just cause / 
for pride. 

I come now to the expressions in your excellent letter 
which I had all along feared, — "Are our labors needed, 
are we doing any good, shall we work, or shall we for- 
bear?'* From the first I have dreaded lest a sense of 
vague uncertainty in regard to matters here should dis- 
courage the efforts of our patriotic ladies at home; it was 
this fear and only this which even gave me courage to 
assemble the worthy ladies of your Committee (so vastly 
my superiors) to confer upon a matter with which they 
seemed perfectly familiar, while I knew so little. And 
even now I scarce know how to reply. It is said, upon 
proper authority, that "our army is supplied.'' Well, 
this may be so, it is not for me to gainsay, and so far as 
our New England troops are concerned, it may be that 
in these days of quiet idleness they have really no pressing 
wants, but in the event of a battle who can tell what their 
necessities might grow to in a single day? They would 
want then faster than you could make. But only a small 
portion of our army, comparatively speaking, are New 
England troops, — New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indi- 
ana, and Missouri have sent their hundreds of thousands, 
and I greatly fear that those States lack somewhat the 
active, industrious, intelligent organizations at home 
which are so characteristic of our New England circles. 
I think I discern traces of this in this camp. I feel, while 
passing through them, that they could be better supplied 
without danger of enervation from luxuries. Still it is 
said that "our army is supplied." It is said also, upon 
the same authority, that we "need no nurses," either 
male or female, and none are admitted. 

I wished an hour ago that you had been with me. In 
compliance with a request of my sister in this dty I went 
to her house and found there a young Englishman, a 



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124 CLARA BARTON , 

brother of one of their domestics who had enlisted dur- 
ing the summer in a regiment of Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
They are stationed at Camp Pierpont; the sister heard 
that her brother was sick» and with the energetic habit 
of a true Englishwoman crossed the country on foot nine 
miles out to his camp and back the same day, found him 
in an almost dying condition and b^;ged that he be sent 
to her. He was taken shortly after in an ambulance, and 
upon his arrival his condition was found to be most 
deplorable; he had been attacked with ordinary fever six 
weeks before, and had lain unmoved until the flesh upon 
all parts of the body which rested hard upon whatever 
was under him had decayed, grown perfectly black, and 
was falling out; his heels had assumed the same appear- 
ance; his stockings had never been removed during all 
his illness and his toes were matted and grown together 
and are now dropping off at the joint; the cavities in his 
back are absolutely frightful. When intelligent medical 
attendance was summoned from the dty, the verdict 
rendered upon examination was that his extremities were 
perishing for vxint of nourishment. He had been neglected 
until he was literally starving; too little nourishment had 
been taken into the system during his illness to preserve 
life in the extremities. This conclusion seems all the 
more reliable from the famished appearance which he 
presents. I am accustomed to see people hungry when 
recovering from a fever, but I find that hunger and star- 
vation are two distinct conditions. He can lie only on his 
face with his insteps propped up with hair pillows to 
prevent his toes from touching the bed (for with the life 
engendered by food and care, sensation b returning to 
them), and asks only for "something to eat." Food is 
placed by him at night, and with the earliest dawn of 
day commence his bowb of broths and soups and a little 
meat, and he eats and begs for "more," and sleeps and 
eats and begs. Three of his toes are to be amputated to- 
day. The surgeon of the regiment comes to see him, but 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 125 

had no idea of his condition; said that their assistant 
surgeon was killed and that it ^'was true that the men 
had not received proper care; he was very sorry." With 
the attention which this young man is now receiving, he 
will probably recover, but had it been otherwise? Only 
thus, that not far from this time the dty papers under 
caption of ''Death of Soldiers" would have contained 
the paragraph — "Benjamin (or Berry) Pollard, private^ 
Camp Pierpont," and this would have been the end. 
Whoever could have mistrusted that this soldier had 
started to death through lack of proper attendance? Ah, 
me, all of our poor boys have not a sister within nine 
miles of them. And still it is said, upon authority, '' we 
havetwneedof nurses** and*' our army is supplied.'' How 
this can be so I fail to see; still again it is not for me 
to gainsay. We are loyal and our authority must be 
spected, diough our men perish. I only mention such 
facts as come under my own observation, and only a frac- 
tion of those. This is not by any means in accordance 
with our home style of judging. If we New England 
people saw men lying in camp uncared for until their toes 
rotted from their feet, with not persons enough about 
them to take care of them, we should think they needed 
more nurses; if with plenty of persons about who failed 
to care for them we should think they needed better. I 
' can only repeat that I fail to see clear. I greatly fear that 
the few privileged, elegantly dressed ladies who ride over 
and sit in their carriages to witness "splendid services" 
and "inspect the Army of the Potomac" and come away 
"delighted," learn very little of what lies there under 
canvas. 

Since receiving your letter I have taken occasion to 
converse with a number of the most intelligent and com- 
petent ladies who are or have been connected with the 
hospitals in this city, and all agree upon one point, viz., 
that our army cannot afford that our ladies lay down 
their needles and fold their hands; if their contributions 



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126 CLARA BARTON 

are not needed just today, they may be to-morrow, and 
somewhere they are needed to-day. And again all agree 
in advising that whatever be sent be gotten as nearly 
direct as possible from the hands of the donors to the very 
spot for which it is designed, not to pass through too 
general distribution, strengthening their advice by many 
reasons and circumstances which I do not feel at liberty 
to lay before you. No one can fail to perceive that a 
house of general receipts and distribution of stores of all 
descriptions from the whole United States must be a 
mammoth concern, abounding in confusion which always 
involves loss and destruction of property. I am confident 
that this idea cannot be incorrect, and therefore I will 
not hesitate to advance it upon my own responsibility, 
viz., that every State should have, in the vicinity of her 
greatest body of troops, a d6pdt of her own where all her 
contributions should be sent and dispersed; ff her own 
soldiers need it all, to them; if not, then let her share 
generously and intelligently with those who do need; but 
know what she has and what she gives. We shall never 
have any other precise method of discovering the real 
wants of our soldiers. When the storehouse of any State 
should be found empty, it would be safe to conclude that 
her troops are in need ; then let the full gamers render the 
required assistance. Thb would systematize the whole 
matter, and do away with all necessary confusion, doubt, 
and uncertainty; it would preclude all possibility of loss, 
as it would be the business of each house to look to its 
own property. There is some truth in the old maxim that 
"what is everybody's business is nobody's business." I 
believe that as long ago as the early settlement of our 
country it was found that the plan, general labor, general 
storehouse, and general distribution, proved ineffective 
and reduced our own little colony to a state of confusion 
and almost ruin; there were one hundred persons then, 
one hundred thousand now. If, pecuniarily I were able, 
Massachusetts should have her d6pdt in this city and I 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 127 

should have no fear of unreliability; this to me would be 
no experiment, for however dimly and slowly I discern 
other points, this has been clear to me from the first, 
strengthened by eight months' daily observation. 

While I write another idea occurs to me, — has it been 
thought of to provide each of our regiments that are to 
accompany the next expedition with some strong, well- 
filled boxes of useful articles and stores, which are not 
to be opened until some battle, or other strong necessity 
renders supplies necessary. These necessities are sure to 
follow, and, unless anticipated and guarded against, no 
activity on the part of friends at home can prevent the 
suffering which their absence will create. With regard 
to our 23d, 25th, and 27th Regiments, I cannot speak, 
but our 2 1st I know have no such provisions, and will 
not have unless thought of at home, and the consequence 
of neglect will be that by and by our very hearts will be 
wrung by accounts of our best officers and dearest friends 
having their limbs amputated by the light of two inches 
of tallow candle in the midst of a battle, and pitchy dark- 
ness close down upon men bleeding to death, or since 
essaying to stanch their wounds with husks and straw. 

A note just now informs me that our four companies 
of surgeons from Fort Independence, now stationed at 
the arsenal in this city (some two miles from me), in 
waiting for their supplies from Boston, were compelled to 
sleep in low, damp places with a single blanket and are 
taking severe colds and coughing fearfully. My ingenu- 
ity points no way of relief but to buy sacking, run up 
many ticks to be filled with hay to raise them from the 
drafts a little, and to this the remainder of my day must 
be devoted; they are far more exposed than they would 
be on the ground under a good tent. I almost envy you 
ladies where so many of you can work together and ac- 
complish so much, while my poor labors are so single- 
handed.4 The future often looks dark to me, and it seems - 
sometimes that the smiles of Heaven are almost with- 



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128 CLARA BARTON 

drawn from our poor, rent, and distracted country; and 
yet there is everything to be grateful for, and by no 
means the least b this strangely mild winter. 

But I must desist and crave pardon for my (perhaps 
unpardonably) long letter, for if you have followed me 
thus far, and especially at comparatively as rapid a rate 
as I have written, you must be weary. I did not intend 
to say so much, but let my interest be my apology. And 
with one more final word in answer to your rational ques- 
tion I have done. Ladies, remember that the call for 
your organized efforts in behalf of our army was not from 
any commission or committee, but from Abraham Lin- 
coln and Simon Cameron, and when they no longer need 
your labors they will tell you. 

But all this preliminary work bore in upon the mind 
of Clara Barton two important truths. The first was a 
necessity for organization. People were ready to give if 
they knew where to give and how their gifts would be 
made effective. The problem was one of publicity, and 
then of effective organization for dbtribution. But the 
other matter troubled her yet more. Supplies distributed 
from Washington and relief given to men there reached 
the wounded many hours or even days after the beginning 
of their needs. What was required was not simply good 
nurses in hospitals and adequate food and medicine for 
the soldiers who were conveyed thither, but some sort 
of provision on the battle-field itself. In later years she 
described her own misgivings as she considered the kind 
of service that ought to be rendered, and of the difficul- 
ties, including those of social duties, which might stand 
in the way: 

I was strong and thought I might go to the rescue of the 
men who fell. The first regiment of troops, the old 6th 



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THE BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM 129 

Massachusetts that fought its way through Baltimore 
brought my playmates and neighbors, the partakers of 
my childhood ; the brigades of New Jersey brought scores 
of my brave boys, the same solid phalanx; and the strong- 
est legions from old Herkimer, brought the associates of 
my seminary days. They formed and crowded around 
me. What could I do but go with them, or work for them 
and my country? The patriot blood of my father was 
warm in my veins. The country which he had fought for, 
I might at least work for, and I had offered my service to 
the Government in the capacity of a double clerkship at 
twice $1600 a year, upon discharge of two disloyal clerks 
from its employ — the salary never to be given to me, 
but to be turned back into the United States Treasury, 
then poor to beggary, with no currency, no credit. But 
there was no law for this, and it could not be done, and 
I would not draw salary from our Government in such 
peril, so I resigned and went into direct service of the sick 
and wounded troops wherever found. 

But I struggled long and hard with my sense of propri- 
ety — with the appalling fact that I was only a woman 
whispering in one ear, and thundering in the other, the 
groans of suffering men dying like dogs, unfed and un- 
sheltered, for the life of every institution which had 
protected and educated me! 

I said that I struggled with my sense of propriety and 
I say it with humiliation and shame. I am ashamed that 
I thought of such a thing. 

The thing that became increasingly plain to Clara 
Barton was that every hour that elapsed after a man 
was wounded before relief reached him was an hour on 
which might easily hang the issues of life and death. 
Somehow she must get relief to men on the battle-field 
itself. 

In later years people used sometimes to address her in 



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130 CLARA BARTON 

terms which implied that she had nursed with her own 
hands more soldiers than any other American woman who 
labored in military hospitals; that her hands had bound 
up more wounds than those of other nurses and sanitary 
leaders. She always tried to make it plain that she put 
forth no such claim for herself. Her distinctive contribu- 
tion to the problem was one of organization and distri- 
bution, and especially of the prompt conveyance of relief 
to the places of greatest need and of greatest danger. 
In this she was soon to organize a system, and, indeed, 
had already effected the beginning of an organization 
which was to constitute her distinctive work in the Civil 
War and to lay the foundation for her great contribution 
to humanity, the American Red Cross. 



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CHAPTER XII 

HOME AND COUNTRY 

The family 'and home life of Clara Barton occupy of 
necessity a smaller place in this narrative than they 
rightfully deserve. Reference has been made in the early 
pages of thb work to Clara Barton's advent into a home 
which for several years had believed itself complete. It 
must not be inferred on that account that the little late 
arrival was other than heartily welcome. Nor must the 
fact that her more than normal shyness and introspec- 
tion during her childhood made her a problem be under- 
stood as indicating any lack of sympathy between her 
and any member of her household. On the contrary, her 
childhood memories were happy ones, and her affection 
for every member of the household was sincere and almost 
unbounded. Nor yet again must it be supposed that her 
long absences from home weaned her heart away from 
those who were entitled to her love. Love of family and 
pride of family and sincere affection for every member of 
the home group were manifest in all her correspondence. 
She left her home and went out into the world while she 
was still a child in her own thought and in the thought 
of her family. She became a teacher while she was still 
wearing the 'Mittle waifish" dresses of her childhood. 
She had to do a large part of her thinking and planning 
apart from the companionship of those she loved best. 
But she loved them deeply and sincerely. The members 
of her family receive only incidental mention in this nar- 
rative, and, with her advent into wider fields of service, 



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132 CLARA BARTON 

they must drop increasingly into the background and out 
of view. In order, however, that we may have in mind 
their incidental mention, let us here record the condition 
of her immediate family at the time of the outbreak of the 
Civil War. • 

Her eldest sister Dorothy, bom October 2, 1804, be- 
came an invalid and died unmarried April 19, 1846, aged 
forty-one. 

Her brother Stephen, bom March 20, 1806, married 
November 24, 1833, Elizabeth Rich, and died in Wash- 
ington, March 10, 1865, aged fifty-nine years. At the 
outbreak of the Civil War he was living in Hertford 
County, North Carolina, whither he had gone in 1854. 
He had established a large sawmill there, and gathered 
about it a group of industries which by 1861 had become 
the most important concem in the village. Indeed, the 
village itself had grown up about his enterprise, and took 
its name, Bartonville, from him. When the war broke 
out, he was past the age for military service. At the be- 
ginning of the stmggle, however, he had no mind to leave 
the South. While he was a Union man, and every one 
knew it, he had been long enough in the South to appre- 
ciate the position of the Southern people and had no mind 
needlessly to wound their feelings. His mill, his store, 
his blacksmith shop, his lands, his grain, his cattle, had 
been accumulated by him through years of toil, and he 
desired to stay where he was and protect his property. 
He did not believe — no one believed — that the war 
was going to last so long. There was no service which at 
the beginning he could render to the Northem cause. 
So he remained. As the war went on, his situation grew 
less and less tenable, and, in time, dangerous. He sent 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 133 

his helpers North, some twenty of them. They made 
their way amid perils and hardship, reached Washington 
where Clara Barton rendered them assistance, and ulti- 
mately the most of them entered the Union army. But 
earlier than thb, in 1861 and at the beginning of 1862, 
his family was growing increasingly anxious about him, 
and very desirous, if possible, that he should get away. 
He was warned and threatened; at one time he suffered 
a night assault by a mob. Bruised and battered though 
he was, he fought them off single-handed and remained 
in the South. 1 

Her younger brother David, bom August 15, 1808, 
married, September 30, 1829, Julia Ann Maria Porter, 
lived to the age of eighty, and died March 12, 1888. At 
the outbreak of the war David and Julia Barton had 
four children — their twin daughters Ada and Ida, bom 
January 18, 1847, the one son, Stephen Emery, bom 
December 24, 1848, and in 1861 a lad of twelve, and the 
daughter Mary, bora December 11, 1851. 

With her brother David, his vnie Julia and his four 
children, Clara was in continuous correspondence. His 
family lived in the old home, and she kept in constant 
touch with them. Her sister-in-law Julia was very dear 
to her, and perhaps the best correspondent in the family. 

Her sister Sarah, bom March 20, 181 1, married, 
April 17, 1834, Vester Vassall, and died in May, 1874. 
At the outbreak of the war both the children of this 
marriage were living. The younger son Irving, died 
April 9, 1865. The elder son, Bernard Barton Vassall, 
bora October 10, 1835, married, October 26, 1863, 
Frances Maria Childs, and died March 23, 1894. Mrs. 
Vassall b still living. 



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134 CLARA BARTON 

With this family Clara's relations were those of pecul* 
iar intimacy. Her sister and her sister's children were 
very dear to her. Irving was a young man of fine Chris- 
tian character, not physically strong enough to bear 
arms, and was in Washington in the service of the 
Government during the war. Bernard married Clara's 
dear friend and assistant at Bordentown. He was a 
soldier and during the war his wife Fannie lived for a 
considerable time in Washington. 

Clara Barton's mother, Sarah or Sally Stone, bom 
November 13, 1783, died July 10, 1851, aged sbcty-eight. 
Her death occurred while Clara was studying at Clinton, 
and the expressions of solitude in Clara's diary at the 
time of her perplexities over her love affairs, were induced 
in part, though perhaps unconsciously, by her loneliness 
after her mother's death. 

Clara's relations to her father were always those of 
peculiar nearness and sympathy. In her childhood he 
was more constantly her companion than her mother 
ever was. When Clara was away from home, nothing 
more surely gave her concern than news from her brother 
or sister that "father," or from her nieces and nephews 
that "grandpa," was not as well as usual. Her diaries 
and her letters are burdened with her solicitude for him. 
In the latter part of 1861 his health gave occasion for 
some concern, but he seemed to recover. She made a 
journey to Worcester and Oxford in December, but re- 
turned to Washington before Christmas, taking with her 
boxes and trunks of provisions for the soldiers which she 
wished to deliver if possible at Arlington, so as to be 
closer to the place of actual need. Her nephew, Irving 
Vassall, was with her on the return journey. The letter 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 135 

which preserves the account of this expedition is in- 
teresting as recording her account of a Sunday spent 
with the army. What took her there was her determina- 
tion to deliver her goods to the place of need before she 
returned to her home in Washington. She was still 
learning military manners and the ways of camp life, and 
was giving herself unsparingly to the collection of sup- 
plies. She was assisting in hospital work in Washington, 
and definitely planning to have a hospital there assigned 
to herself. As yet, apparently, she had no definite plan 
to go herself directly to the battle-field. 

November and the early part of December were mild. 
Day by day she thanked God for every ray of sunshine, 
and night by night she lifted up her heart in thanksgiving 
that the boys, who were sleeping on the bare ground with 
only single threads of white canvas above them, were not 
compelled to suffer from the rigors of cold. On Decem- 
ber 9, 1861, she wrote the following which was a kind of 
prayer of thanksgiving for mild weather: 

December 9, i86r 
The streets are thronged with men bright with tinsel, 
and the clattering hoofs of galloping horses sound con- 
tinually in our ears. The weather is bright and warm as 
May, for which blessing I feel hourly to thank the great 
Giver of all good gifts, that upon this vast army lying 
like so many thousand herds of cattle on every side of our 
bright, beleaguered city, with only the soil, for which they 
peril life, beneath, and the single threads of white canvas 
above, watching like so many faithful dogs, held by bonds 
stronger than death, yet patient and uncomplaining. A 
merciful God holds the warring, pitiless elements in his 
firm, benignant grasp, withholds the rigors of early win- 
ter, and showers down upon their heads the genial rays 



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136 CLARA BARTON 

of untimely wannth changing the rough winds of De- 
cember to the balmy breezes of April. Well may we 
hold thanksgiving and our army unite in prayer and 
songs of praise to God. 

Her diary at this period is irregular, and I have not 
3^t discovered a definite record of her journey from 
Washington and back, except in her letter to the wife 
of an army surgeon, which she wrote on the day before 
Christmas, 1861: 

Washington, D.C, December 24th, 1861 
My darling Cousin: 

How naughtily I have neglected your cheering little 
letter, but it has been all my hands and none my heart 
which have done the naughty thing. I have wanted so 
to write you all the time, and intruders would come be- 
tween us and would have all my time. It was not always 
people. Oh, no, — work and care, and an o'ergrown cor- 
respondence intruded upon me, but I always solace my- 
self with the thought that, if my friends will only have a 
HUle patience with me, it will all come right, and their 
turn will come at last, and after a time the best of them 
learn me, and then in my easy, hurrying, slipshod way 
we come to be correspondents for aye. In the course of a 
year I say a great deal of nonsense to my correspondents, 
but I cannot always say it when my head and heart are 
the fullest of it. But first let me hapten to tell you what 
cannot fail of being exceedingly gratifying to you, viz., that 
I am in a ** habit'* of receiving daily visits from your 
husband. But I was a long time in getting about it, how- 
ever. I sent twice to his hotel, the great Pandemonium 
wherein he is incarcerated, before Sunday, but could 
get no tidings all the time. I was fearful he xvas here and 
I missing him, and then I was almost certain that he was 
not able to be here; but at length I could risk it no longer 
and wrote a hurried little note and dropped in the office 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 137 

for him, and sure enough it brought him. I was so glad 
to see him and so much better too, it is splendid; but then 
he had been trying to find me, and I in the meantime 
had, along with all Washington, removed! Just think 
of it, but I removed out of a burden of care to perfect 
ease and yet can command just as much room as I desire 
in case I need, and if I have no need of it am not troubled 
with it — only that I have the trouble of furnishing, at 
which Doctor may inform you I am making very slow 
progress. I have so many things in Massachusetts now 
that I want; my walls are perfectly bare, not a picture, 
and I have plenty to furnish them. It is vexatious that 
I did n't "know to take them" when I was there. I fear 
to allow others to pack them. 

I suspect that, after the daily letter of your husband, 
inimitable correspondent and conversationist that he is, 
there is nothing left for me to relate of our big city, grown 
up so strangely like a gourd all in a night; places which 
never before dreamed of being honored by an inhabitant 
save dogs, cats, and rats, are converted into "elegantly 
furnished rooms for rent," and people actually live in 
them with all the city airs of people really living in re- 
spectable houses, and I suspect many of them do not 
know that they are positively living in sheds, but we, who 
have become familiar with every old roof years agone, 
know perfectly well what shelters them. Well, the pres- 
ent aspect of our capital is a wide, fruitful field for 
description, and I will leave it for the Doctor; he will 
clothe it in a far richer dress than I could do. 

Perhaps you wish to know somewhat about my jour- 
ney with my big trunks. Well, it was perfectly quiet; 
nothing like an adventure to enliven until we reached 
Baltimore, to which I had checked my baggage as the 
nearest point to Annapolis, for which place I could not 
get checks, but to which I had determined to go before 
proceeding to Washington. I delivered my checks to the 
expressman, took receipts, and gave every conductor on 



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138 CLARA BARTON 

the train to understand that my baggfige was to be taken 
through the city in the same train with myself (for we 
disconnect and come through Baltimore in horse-cars); 
but just imagine my vexation when, as our train com- 
menced to move off, I saw my baggage just moving by 
slow teams up the street in the direction of our train. 
It had no checks, and I must not become long separated 
from it; the train was in motion and I could not leave 
it I had no idea what would be done with it, whether 
retained in Baltimore, sent to Annapolis junction, or 
forwarded to Washington. I had to think fast, and you 
remember it was Saturday night. Relay House was the 
nearest station. I left the train there (Irving went on 
to Washington), and proceeded directly to the telegraph 
office and telegraphed back to Baltimore describing the 
baggage and directing it to come on the next train one 
hour later. They had just time to get it aboard, and on 
the arrival of the train I found it in the baggage car, took 
that train, and proceeded "nine miles to the junction," 
stopped too late for Annapolis that night, chartered the 
parlor and sofa, — every room in the house filled with 
officers, — and as good luck would have it a train (special) 
ran down from Annapolis the next day about eleven, for 
a regiment of Zouaves, and I claimed my seat, and went, 
too, and the first any one knew I presented myself at 
the Headquarters of the 21st. You will have to imagine 
the cordial, affable Colonel springing from his seat with 
both hands extended, the extremely polite Lieutenant- 
Colonel Maggie, always in full dress with the constantly 
worn sword, with eyes and hair so much blacker than 
night, going through a succession of bows and formali- 
ties, which /, a simple, home-bred, unsophisticated 
Yankee did n't know what upon earth to do with, com- 
pletely confounded! — till the clear, appreciative, know- 
ing twinkle of our "cute" Major Clark's eyes set things 
right again; and almost the last, our honest, modest 
"Cousin" Fletcher coming up away round on the other 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 139 

side for his word, and not one among them all to whom I 
could extend a more cordial greeting. Please tell Grandma 
that he has n't broken a limb; his horse fell with him and 
hurt his shoulder, but it is nearly well now. I was just in 
time for a seat between the Colonel and Lieutenant- 
Colonel at dinner, and accompanjdng them to the Chapel 
to listen to the opening discourse of their newly arrived 
chaplain, Rev. Mr. Ball, Unitarian. He addressed the 
men with great kindness of manner, beseeching them to 
come near to him with all their trials, burdens, and 
temptations, and let him help to bear them. He was 
strong to bear, patient to hear, and willing to do, and his 
arm, and his ear, and his heart were theirs for all good 
purposes. There was many a glistening eye among that 
thousand waiting men, still as the night of death; for a 
regiment of soldiers can be the stillest living thing I ever 
looked at. The 21st are in the main good, true men, and 
I was glad that a man of gentle speech and kind and 
loving heart had come among them. 

Next morning brought some of our good Worcester 
ladies from the 25th to our Camp, among whom was the 
daughter-in-law of your neighbor Mr. Denny. A beauti- 
ful coach and span of horses were found, and a cozy, but 
rather gay, party of us started for the Camp of the 25th, 
and here we found your excellent pastor, Mr. James, the 
best specimen of a true soldier that I ever saw; nothing 
too vast for his mind to grasp, nothing too trivial (if 
needful) to interest him, cheerful, brave, and tireless, 
watching like a faithful sentry the wants of every soldier, 
and apparently more than equal to every emergency. 
What a small army of such men were sufficient to over- 
come all our present difficulties! You should see his 
tent; it was a cold, raw day, more so than any which has 
followed it, but the moment I was inside I found myself 
so warm and my feet grew warm as if I were standing 
over a register, and I could not see where the heat came 
from; but my curiosity was irrepressible, and I had to 



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140 CLARA BARTON 

ask an explanation of the mystery, — ^^when Mr. James 
raised a little square iron lid, like the door of a stove 
(which I believe it was), almost hidden in the ground, in 
among the dried grass, and to my astonishment revealed 
a miniature volcano blazing beneath our very feet. The 
whole ground beneath his tent seemed to be on fire, with 
currents of air passing through which fed the flame, and 
took away the smoke. There was, of course, no damp- 
ness in the tent, and I could see no reason why it should 
be less healthy, or comfortable indeed (excepting small 
space), than any house, and such piles of letters and 
books and Neddy's picture over the table, and the quiet 
little boy, following close and looking up in his master's 
face, like any pet, all presented a scene which I wished 
his intelligent and appreciative wife, at least, could have 
looked in upon. Oh, yes, I must not "forget" to mention 
the conspicuous position which Grandma's mittens occu- 
pied upon the table. Mr. James put them on to show 
what a nice fit they were and wondered what "Grand- 
ma" would say if she were to look in upon him in his 
tent 

Clara Barton was still in Washington through January 
and apparently through February, 1862. Not always was 
she able to include pleasant weather among the occasions 
of her thanksgiving. Every now and again a pitiless 
storm beat down upon the soldiers, who were poorly 
provided with tents and blankets. Frequently she met 
among the soldiers in Washington some of her old pupils. 
She was never able to look upon armies as mere masses of 
troops; she had to remember that they were individual 
men, each capable of suffering pain in his own person, 
and each of them carrying with him to the front the 
anxious thought of loved ones at home. This was the 
burden of a letter which she wrote on January 9, 1862: 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 141 

Washington, D.C, Jan'y 9th, 1862 
Thursday morning 

My darling Sis Fannie: 

In spite of everything, I shall this moment commenoe 
this note to you» and I shall finish it as soon as I can, 
and when it is finished, I shall send it. In these days of 
** Proclamations," this is mine. 

I am truly thankful for the institution of ghosts, and 
that mine haunted you until you felt constrained to cry 
out for "relief" — not that I would have invoked dis- 
comfort upon 5rou, or welcomed it when it should come, 
but your letter was so welcome, how could I in mortal 
weakness be so unselfish as not to hail with joy any 
"provoking cause",? You perceive that my idea of 
ghosts is not limiteid to graveyards and tombs, or the 
tenants thereof; indeed, so far from it, the most trouble- 
some I have ever known were at times the inmates of 
living and moving bodies habiting among other people, 
coming out only occasionally like owb and bats to 
frighten the weaJc and discourage the weary. I am re- 
joiced to know that you are comfortable and happy, and 
that your school is not wearing you — you are perfectly 
right, never let another school be a burden of care upon 
you ; you will do all your duty without any such soul-vex- 
ing labors. I envy you and Miss Bliss your long social 
intellectual evenings; please play I am there sometimes. 
I will be so quiet, and never disturb a bit, but, dear me, 
I am in rougher scenes, if in scenes at all. My head is j ust 
this moment full to aching, bursting with all the thoughts 
and doings of our pet expedition. A half-hour ago came 
to my room the last messenger from them, the last I shall 
have in all probability until the enemy's galling shot shall 
have raked through the ranks of my dear boys, and 
strewn them here and there, bleeding, crippled, and 
dying. Only think of it! the same fair faces that only a 
few years ago came every morning, newly washed, hair 
nicely combed, bright and cheerful, and took their places 



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142 CLARA BARTON 

quietly and happUy among my scholars, — the same fair 
heads (perhaps now a few shades darker) that I have 
smoothed and patted in fond approval of some good deed 
or well-learned task, so soon to lie low in the Southern 
sands, blood-matted and tangled, trampled under foot 
of man and horse, buried in a common trench "unwept, 
uncoflined, and unknown/' For the last two weeks my 
very heart has been crushed by the sad thoughts and 
little touching scenes which have come in my way. It 
tires me most when one would get a few hours' leave 
from his regiment at Annapolis, and come to me with 
some little sealed package, and perhaps his "warrant" 
as a non-commissioned officer, and ask me to keep it for 
him, either until he returns for it, or — when I should 
read his name in the ** Black Ldst,'* send it home. And by 
the time his errand were well done, his little hour would 
be up and, with a hearty grasp of the hand, an earnest, 
deep-toned "good-bye," he stepped from my presence, 
marching cheerfully, bravely out — "To die," I said to 
myself, as my soul sunk within me, and the struggling 
breath would choke and stop, until the welcome shower 
of tears came to my relief. Oh, the hours I have wept 
alone over scenes like these, no mortal knows! To any 
other friend than you, I should not feel like speaking so 
freely of such things, but you, who know how foolishly 
tender my friendships are, and how I loved "my boys," 
will pardon me, and not think me strange or egotistical. 
But I must forget myself, and tell you what the messenger 
said. It was simply that they were all on board; that, 
when he left, the harbor was full, literally crammed with 
boats and vessels, covered with men, shouting from every 
deck. At every breeze that lifted the drooping flag aloft, 
a shout went up that deafened and drowned every other 
sound, save the roar of the cannon, following instantly, 
drowning them in return. The . . . 

Well, just as I knew it would be when I commenced 
twenty days ago to write you, some one interrupted me, 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 143 

and then came the returning hours of tedious labor, and 
a thrice-told quantity has held me fast until now. I 
have been a great deal more than busy for the past three 
weeks, owing to some new arrangements in the office, 
mostly, by which I lead the Record, and hurry up the 
others who lag. 

Our city has known very little change, since I com- 
menced my first sheet, although everybody but the wise 
people have looked intently for something new, and 
desperately dreadful, some "forward movement" or 
backward advance, but nothing of the kind has hap- 
pened, doubtless much to our credit and comfort. No 
private returns from the "expedition" yet, but the Com- 
mandant of the Post at Annapolis, who just left me a 
moment ago, says that the Baltic will leave there this 
P.M. to join them in their landing wherever it may be. 

Colonel Allen's death was a most sad affair: his regi- 
ment was the first to embark at Annapolis, a splendid 
regiment 1200 strong. But a truce to wars, so here 's my 
white flag, only I suppose you "don't see it," do you? 
By this time you are reveling in the February number of 
the "Atlantic." So am I. I have just laid down "A. C." 
after a hurried perusal; not equal to "Love and Skates," 
though; what a capital thing that is! But the "Yankee 
Idyll" caps all that has yet been done or said. I cannot 
lay that down, and keep it there; it will come up again, 
the thoughts to my mind, and the pages to my hand. 

"Old Uncle S, — says he, I guess, 
God's price is high, says he."^ 

Who ever heard so much, so simply and so quaintly 
expressed? — there are at least ten volumes of good 
sound Orthodoxy embodied just there in that single 
stanza. But "Port Royal" mustn't be eclipsed. The 
glories of that had been radiating through my mind, 
however, since its first appearance in the "Tribune" 

> From James Russell Lowell's second series of "Big^ow Papers," then 
appearing in the AtlatUie. 



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144 CLARA BARTON 

(if that were the first; it was the first I saw of it), and I 
thought it so beautiful that I should n't be able to relish 
another poem for at least six weeks, and here it is, so soon 
bedimmed by a rival. Oh, the fickleness of human nature, 
and human loves, a beautiful pair they are, surmounted 
by the Godlike " Battle Hynm " ^ tossing over all. What 
did our poets do for subjects before the war? It 's a God- 
send to them, I am certain, and they equally so to us; 
sometimes I think them the only bright spot in the whole 
drama. 

Well, here I am at war again. I knew 't would be so 
when I signed that treaty on the previous page. I'm 
as bad as England; the fight is in me, and I will find a 
pretext. 

I have not seen our North Oxford " Regulars" for some 
time owing to the fact that a sea of mud has lain between 
me and them for the last three weeks, utterly impassable. 
A few weeks ago Cousin Leander called me to see a mem- 
ber of his "mess" who was just attacked with pleuritic 
fever. I went, and found him in hospital. He was cheer- 
ful (a fine young man) and thought he should be out soon. 
Work and storm kept me from him three days, and the 
fourth we bought him a grave in the Congressional Bury- 
ing Ground. Poor fellow, and there he lies all alone. A 
soldier's grave, a sapling at the head, a rough slab at the 
foot, nine shots between, and all is over. He waits God's 
bugle to summon him to a reSnlistment in the Legion of 
Angels. 

Well, it's no use, I've broken the peace again, and I 
canH keep it. I hope you live in a more peaceful com- 
munity than I do, and are consequently more manage- 
able and less belligerent. . . • 

Clara 

The foregoing letter dealt almost wholly with national 

affairs. Family matters were giving her little concern 

1 A reference to Julia Ward Howe's ''Battle Hymn of the Republic," 
then new. 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 145 

during the twenty days in which this unfinished missive 
lay on her desk. But scarcely had she mailed it when she 
received this letter concerning her father; 

NoKTH OxFOBD, Mass., January 13, 1862 

Mt dear Clara: 

I sat up with Grandpa last night and he requested me 
to write to you and tell how he was. Some one has to sit 
up with him to keep his fire regulated. He takes no medi- 
cine, and says he shall take no more. He is quite low- 
spirited at times, and last night very much so. Complains 
of pains in his back and bowels; said he should not stop 
long with us, and should like to see you once more before 
he died. He spoke in high terms of Julie and of the ex- 
cellent care she had taken of him, but said after all there 
was no one like you. I think he fails slowly and is gradu- 
ally wearing out. A week ago he was quite low; so feeble 
that he was unable to raise himself in bed ; now he is more 
comfortable and walks out into the sitting-room 'most 
every day. He cannot be prevailed upon to go to bed, 
but sits in his great chair and sleeps on the lounge. When 
he was the sickest I notified Dr. Darling of his situation 
and he called. Grandpa toM him his medicine did not 
help or hurt him. Doctor left him some drops, but said 
he had no confidence in his medicine and he did not 
think it would help him. His appetite is tolerably good 
for all kinds of food, and what he wants he will have. I 
hardly know what to write about him. I do not wish to 
cause unnecessary alarm, and at the same time I want 
you to fully understand his case. As I said before, he 
gets low-spirited and disconsolate, but I think he may 
stand by us some months longer, and yet, he may be 
taken away at any moment. Of course every new at- 
tack leaves him feebler and more childish. He wants to 
see you again and seems quite anxious about it, but 
whether about anything in particular he did not say. . . . 

Sam Barton 



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146 CLARA BARTON 

Thus, at the beginnmg of February, 1862, she was 
called back to Oxford. Her father, who had several 
times seemed near to death, but who had recovered again 
and again, was now manifestly nearing the end. She was 
with him more than a month before he died. His mind 
was dear, and they were able to converse about all the 
great matters which concerned them and their home and 
country. He made his final business arrangements; he 
talked with the children who were there, and about the 
children who were away. He was greatly concerned for 
Stephen, at that time shut in by the Confederate army. 
Even if the Northern armies could reach him, as they 
seemed likely to do before long, neither Clara nor her 
father felt sure that he would leave. There was an ele- 
ment of stubbornness in the Barton family, and Stephen 
was disposed to stand his ground against all threats and 
all entreaties. Clara and her father felt that the situation 
was certainly more serious than even Stephen could 
realize. To invite him to return to Oxford and sit down in 
idleness was worse than useless, and he could not render 
any military service. Not only was he too old, but he had 
a hernia. But she felt sure that if he were in Washington 
there would be something that he could do; and, as was 
subsequently proved, she was right about it. There were 
no mails between Massachusetts or Washington and the 
place of his residence, but Clara had opportunity to send 
a letter which she hoped would reach him. She wrote 
guardedly, for it was not certain into whose hands the 
letter might fall. Sitting by her father's bedside she 
wrote the following long epistle: 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 147 

North Oxford, March ist, 1862 
Mt dear Exiled Brother: 

I trust that at length I have an opportunity of speak- 
ing to you without reserve. I only wish I might talk with 
you face to face, for in all the shades of war which have 
passed over us, we must have taken in many different 
views. I would like to compare them, but as this cannot 
be, I must tell you mine, and in doing so I shall endeavor 
to give such opinions and facts as would be fully endorsed 
by every friend and person here whose opinions you would 
ever have valued. I would sooner sever the hand that 
pens this than mislead you, and you may depend upon 
the strict fact of everj^thing I shall say, remembering that 
I shall overcolor nothing. 

In the first place, let me remove the one great error, 
prevalent among all (Union) people at the South, I pre- 
sume, — viz., that this is a war of "Abolitionism" or 
abolitionists. This is not so; our Government has for its 
object the restoration of the Union as it was^ and will do 
so, unless the resistance of the South prove so obstinate 
and prolonged that the abolition or overthrow of slavery 
follow as a consequence — never an object. Again, the 
idea of ^^subjugation.** This application never originated 
with the North, nor is it tolerated there, for an instant; 
desired by no one unless, like the first instance, it follows 
as a necessity incident upon a course of protracted war- 
fare. Both diese ideas are used as stimulants by the 
Southern (mis) leaders, and without them they could 
never hold their army together a month. The North are 
fighting for the maintenance of the Constitutional Gov- 
ernment of the United States and the defense and honor 
of their country's flag. This accomplished, the army are 
ready to lay down their arms and return to their homes 
and peaceable pursuits, and our leaders are willing to dis- 
band them. Until such time, there will be found no 
willingness on the part of either. We have now in the 
field between 500,000 and 600,000 soldiers; more cavalry 



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148 CLARA BARTON 

and artillery than we can use to advantage, our navy 
growing to a formidable size, and all this vast body of 
men, clothed, fed, and paid, as was never an army on the 
face of the earth before, perfectly uniformed, and hospital 
stores and clothing lying idly by waiting to be used; we 
feel no scarcity of money. I am not saying that we are 
not getting a large national debt, but I mean to say that 
our people are not feeling the pinchings of ** war-time.'' 
The people of the North are as comfortable as you used 
to see them. You should be set down in the streets of 
Boston, Worcester, New York, or Philadelphia to-day, 
and only by a profusion of United States flags and oc- 
casionally a soldier home on a furlough would you ever 
mistrust that we were at war. Let the fire bells ring in 
any of those cities, and you will never miss a man from 
the crowds you have ordinarily seen gather on such oc- 
casions. We can raise another army like the one we have 
in the field (only better men as a mass)^ arm and equip 
them for service, and still have men and means enough 
left at home for all practical purposes. Our troops are 
just beginning to be effective, only just properly drilled, 
and are now ready to commence work in earnest or just 
as ready to lay down their arms when the South are 
ready to return to the Union, as "loyal and obedient 
States"; not obedient to the North, but obedient to the 
laws of the whole country. Our relations with foreign 
countries are amicable, and our late recent victories must 
for a long time set at rest all hope or fears of foreign 
interference, and even were such an event probable, the 
Federal Government would not be dismayed. We are 
doubtless in better condition to meet a foreign foe, along 
with all our home difficulties to-day, than we should 
have been all together one year ago to-day. Foreign 
powers stand off and look with wonder to see what the 
Americans have accomplished in ten months; they will 
be wary how they wage war with "Yankees" after this. 
I must caution here, lest you think there is in all I say 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 149 

something of the spirit of "brag." There is not a ves- 
t^ of it. I am only stating plain facts, and not the 
hundredth part of them. I do not feel exultant, but 
humble and grateful that under the blessing of God, my 
country and my people have accomplished what they 
have; and even were I eiailting, it would he for you, and 
not over, or against you, for "according to the straightest 
of your sect," have you lived a " Yankee." And this brings 
me to the point of my subject; here comes my request, 
my prayer, supplication, entreaty, command — call it 
what you will, only heed it, at once. Comb home, not 
home to Massachusetts, but home to my home; I want 
you in Washington. I could cover pages, fill volumes, in 
telling you all the anxiety that has been felt for you, all 
the hours of anxious solicitude that I have known in the 
last ten months, wondering where you were, or if you 
were at all, and planning ways of getting to you, or get- 
ting you to me, but never until now has any safe or suit- 
able method presented itself, and now that the expedi- 
tion has opened a means of escape, I am tortured with 
the fear that, under the recent call of the State, you may 
have been drafted into the enemy's service. If you are 
still at your place and this letter reaches you, I desire, 
and most sincerely advise, you to make ready, and, when 
the opportunity shall present (which surely will), place 
yourself, with such transportable things as you may 
desire to take, on board one of our boats, under protec- 
tion of our officers, and be taken to the landing at Roa- 
noke, and from thence by some of our transports up to 
Annapolis, where either myself or friends will be waiting 
for you, then go with me to Washington and call your 
days of trial over; — for so it can be done. If we could 
have known when General Bumside's expedition left, 
that it was destined for your place, Sam would have 
accompanied them, and made his way to you on the first 
boat up your river; as it is, he is coming now, hoping that 
he may be in time to reach you, and have your company 



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150 CLARA BARTON 

back. I want in some way that this and other letters 
reach you before he does, that you may make such 
preparations as will be necessary, and be ready, whenever 
he shall appear, to step on board and set your face toward 
a more peaceful quarter. You will meet a welcome from 
our officers such as you little dream of, unless perchance 
you have already met them. If you have, you have 
found them gentlemen and friends; you will find scores 
of old friends in that expedition, all anxious to see you, 
would do anything to serve you if you were with them, 
but don't know where to find you. There are some down 
on the Island, among General Bumside's men, who have 
your address, but they would scarcely be on our gun- 
boats. There are plenty of men there who have not only 
your name in their pockets, but your memory in their 
hearts, and would hail you with a brother's welcome. 
General Butler came in at Hatteras with a long letter in 
his possession relating to you, and if he had advanced so 
far, he would have claimed you. I don't know how many 
of our prominent Worcester men have come or sent to 
me for your address, to make it known among our troops 
if ever they reached you, that they might offer you any 
aid in their power. No one can bear the idea of our 
forces going near you without knowing all about you, 
and claiming and treating you as a brother; you were 
never as near and dear to the people of Worcester County 
as you are to-day. I have seen the tears roll over more 
than one man's face when told that Sam was going to see 
and take something to you, and bring you away if you 
would come. "God grant he may" is the hearty ejacu- 
lation which follows. I want to tell you who you will 
find among the officers and men composing the Expedi- 
tion near you; Massachusetts has five regiments — 21st, 
23rd, 24th, 25th, 27th; the 2 1st and 25th were raised in 
Worcester, the former under Colonel Augustus Morse, 
of Leominster, formerly Major-General Morse, of the 
3rd Division, State Militia: he is detached from the 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 151 

regiment and is commandant (or second in command 
now) of the post at Annapolis. It is he who will send 
Sam free of cost to you. He is a good, true friend of mine, 
and teiis me to send Sam to him, and he will put him on 
the track to you. He will also interest both General 
Bumside and Commander Goldsburgh in both of you 
and leave nothing undone for your comfort and interest. 
In the meantime he is waiting to grasp your hand, and 
share his table and blanket with you at Annapolis. So 
much for him; the other officers of the regiment are 
Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi, Major Clark (of Amherst 
College, Professor of Chemistry), Dr. Calvin Cutter as 
surgeon (you remember Cutter's Physiology), Adjutant 
Steams, Chaplain Ball, etc. etc. all of whom know me, 
are my friends, and will be yours in an instant; among 
the men are scores of boys whom you know. You can't 
enter that regiment without a shout of welcome, unless 
you do it very slyly. Then for the 25th, Colonel Upton, 
of Fitchburg, Lieutenant-Colonel Sprague, of Worces- 
ter, Major Caffidy, of W., Chaplain Reverend Horace 
James, of the Old South, Cousin Ira's old minister, one 
of the bravest men in the regiment, one of my best 
friends, and yours too; Captain I. Waldo Denny, son 
of Denny the insurance agent. The Captain has been 
talking about you for the last six months, and if he once 
gets hold of you will be slow to release you unless you set 
your face for me; the old gentleman (his father) has been 
very earnest in devising plans all through the difficulties 
to reach, aid, or get you away as might be best. He 
came to me in Washington for your address and all par- 
ticulars long months ago, hoping that he could reach 
you through just some such opening as the present. I 
state all this because it is due you that you should know 
the state of feeling held towards you by your old friends 
and acquaintances whether you choose to come among 
them or not. Even old Brine was in here a few minutes 
ago, and is trying to have Sam take a hundred dollars of 



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152 CLARA BARTON 

his money out to you, lest you should need it and cannot 
get it there; the old fellow urged it upon me with the 
tears running down his cheeks. There is no bitterness 
here, even towards the Southerners themselves, and men 
would give their lives to save the Union men of the South. 
The North feel it to be a necessity to put down a rebel- 
lion, and there the animosity ends. Now, my advice to 
you would be this; if you do not see fit to follow it, you 
will promise not to take offense or think me conceited in 
presuming to advise you; under ordinary circumstances 
I would not think of the thing, as you very well know. 
I get my privilege merely from the different standpoint 
I occupy. No word or expression has ever come from 
you, and you are regarded as a Union man closed in and 
unable to leave, standing by your property to guard it. 
This expedition is supposed to have opened the way for 
your safe exit or escape to your native land, friends, and 
loyal Government, and if now you should take the first 
opportunity to leave and report yourself at your own 
Government you would find yourself a hundred times 
more warmly received than if you had been here natu- 
rally, all the time. So far as lay in the power of our troops 
your property would be sacredly protected, far more so 
than if you remained cm it in a manner a little hostile or 
doubtful. I am not certain but the best thing for Mr. 
Riddick would be for you to leave just in this way, and 
surely I would have his property harmed no more than 
yours. I have understood Mr. Riddick to be a Union 
man at heart like hundreds of other men whom our 
Government desires to protect from all harm and secure 
against all loss. This being the case, the best course for 
both of you which could be adopted, in my judgment, is 
for you to leave with our troops. This will secure the 
property against them; they would never harm a hair 
of it intentionally knowing it to belong to you, a Union 
man who had come away with them, and you could so 
represent the case of Mr. Riddick that his rights and 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 153 

property would be respected by them. He would he in- 
finUely more secure for such a move on your part, while his 
connection with you would, I trust, be sufficient to secure 
your property from molestation by his neighbors, who 
would be slow to oflFend or injure him. If you leave and 
your property be unofficially injured by our troops, the 
Federal Government must be held responsible for it, and 
if, after matters are settled, and business revives, you 
should find your attachment to your home so strong as 
to desire to return, I trust you could do so, as I would 
by no means have you do anything to weaken the goodly 
feeling between you and your friend, Mr. Riddick, for 
whom we have all learned to feel the utmost degree of 
grateful respect, and I cannot for a moment think that 
he would seriously disagree with my conclusions or ad- 
vice. At all events, I am willing he should know them, 
or see or hear any portions of this letter which might be 
desired. I deal perfectly fairly and honestly with all, and 
I have written or said nothing that I am or shall be un- 
willing to have read by either side. I am a plain Northern 
Union woman, honest in my feelings and counsels, de- 
siring only the good of all, disguising nothing, covering 
nothing, and so far my opinions are entitled to respect, 
and will, I trust, be received with confidence. If you 
will do this as I suggest and come at once to me at Wash- 
ington, you need have no fears of remaining idle. This 
Sam will tell you of when you see him, better than for 
me to write so much. Washington had never so many 
people and so much business as now. Some of it would 
be for you at once. 

You must not for a moment suppose that you would 
be offered any position which would interfere with any 
oath you may have given, for all know that you must have 
done something of this nature to have remained in that 
country through such times, unharmed, and all know 
you too well to approach you with any such request, as 
that you shall forfeit your word. Now, what more can 



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154 CLARA BARTON 

I say, only to repeat my advice, and desire you to con« 
suit Mr. Riddick in relation to the matter (if you think 
best) and leave the result with you, and you with the 
good God, whom I daily desire and implore to sustain, 
guide, keep, and protect you in the midst of all your trials 
and isolation. 

I sent a short letter to you some weeks ago, which I 
rather suppose must have reached you, in which I told 
you of the failing condition of our dear old father. He 
is still failing and rapidly; he cannot remain with us 
many days, I think (this calls me home); his appetite 
has entirely failed ; he eats nothing and can scarcely bear 
his weight, growing weaker every hour. He has talked 
a hundred volumes about you; wishes he could see you, 
knows he cannot, but hopes you will come away with 
Sam until the trials are ended which distress our beloved 
country. Samuel will tell you more than I can write. 

Hoping to see you soon I remain 

Ever your affectionate sister 

Clara 

It was beside her father's death-bed that Clara Barton 
consecrated herself to work at the battle-front. She 
talked the whole problem over with him. She told him 
what she had seen in the hospitals at Washington, and 
that was none too encouraging. But the thing that dis- 
tressed her most of all was the shocking loss of life and 
increase of suffering due to the transportation of soldiers 
from the battle-field to the base hospitals in Washing- 
ton. She saw more of this later, but she had seen enough 
of it already to be appalled by the conditions that ex- 
isted. After Fredericksburg she wrote about it in these 
terms: 

I went to the 1st Division, 9th Corps Hospital; found 
eight officers of the 57th lying on the floor with a blanket 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 155 

under them, none over; had had some crackers once that 
day. About two hundred left of the regiment. Went to 
the Old National Hotel, found some hundreds (perhaps 
four hundred) Western men sadly wounded, all on the 
floors; had nothing to eat. I carried a basket of crackers, 
and gave two apiece as far as they went and some pails 
of coffee; they had had no food that day and there was 
none for them. I saw them again at ten o'clock at night; 
they had had nothing to eat; a great number of them 
were to undergo amputation sometime, but no surgeons 
yet; they had not dippers for one in ten. I saw no straw 
in any hospital, and no mattresses, and the men lay so 
thick that gangrene was setting in, and in nearly every 
hospital there has been set apart an erysipelas ward. 

There is not room in the city to receive the wounded, 
and those that arrived yesterday mostly were left lying 
in the wagons all night at the mercy of the drivers. It 
rained very hard, many died in the wagons, and their 
companions, where they had sufficient strength, had 
raised up and thrown them out into the street. I saw 
them lying there early this morning; they had been 
wounded two and three days previous, had been brought 
from the front, and after all this lay still another night 
without care, or food, or shelter, many doubtless fam- 
ished after arriving in Fredericksburg. The city is full of 
houses, and this morning broad parlors were thrown 
open and displayed to the view of the rebel occupants the 
bodies of the dead Union soldiers lying beside the wag- 
ons in which they perished. Only those most slightly 
wounded have been taken on to Washington; the roads 
are fearful and it is worth the life of a wounded man to 
move him over them. A common ambulance is scarce 
sufficient to get through. We passed them this morning 
four miles out of town, full of wounded, with the tongue 
broken or wheels crushed in the middle of a hill, in mud 
from one to two feet deep; what was to be done with the 
moaning, suffering occupants God only knew. 



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156 CLARA BARTON 

Dr. Hitchcock most strongly and earnestly and in- 
dignantly remonstrates against any more removals of 
broken or amputated limbs. He declares it little better 
than mmxler, and says the greater proportion of them 
will die if not better fed and afforded more room and 
better air. The surgeons do all they can, but no provi- 
sion had been made for such a wholesale slaughter on the 
part of any one, and I believe it would be impossible to 
comprehend the magnitude of the necessity without wit- 
nessing it* 

Clara Barton knew these matters better in 1863 than 
she did at the beginning of 1862, but she knew some- 
thing about them when she reached her father's bedside, 
and he entered intelligently and with sympathy into the 
recital of her story. He had been a soldier and he under- 
stood exactly the conditions which she described. Her 
old friend Colonel De Witt, formerly a member of Con- 
gress from her home district, also appreciated what she 
had to say. On a day when her father was able to be left, 
she went with Colonel De Witt to Boston to call on 
Governor John A. Andrew. She had much to tell him 
about conditions and life in the hospitals, and also some- 
thing concerning leaks which she knew to be occurring in 
Washington and vicinity, and of treasonable organiza- 
tions operating close to the capital, in constant communi- 
cation with the enemy. A few days after this call the 
Washington papers contained an account of the arrest 
of twenty-five or thirty Secessionists at Alexandria, and 
the disclosure of just such a "leak" and plot as she had 
related to Governor Andrew: 

Sunday Chronicle, March 3nd, i86a 
Important Arrests at Alexandria. — Quite a sensation 
was produced in Alexandria on last Thursday evening 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 157 

by the arrest of some twenty-five or thirty alleged seoes- 
sionists, who are charged with being concerned in a se- 
cret association for the purpose of giving aid and comfort 
to the rebels. The conspiracy, it seems, was organized 
under the pretended forms of a relief association, and 
comprised all the treasonable objects of affording relief 
to tlie enemy. It is further stated that a fund was 
obtained from rebel sjmipathizers for the purpose of 
supporting the families of soldiers in the service of the 
'Confederate States," on the identical plan of the noble 
Relief Commission of Philadelphia, established with such 
different motives. It has also been engaged in the manu- 
facture of rebel uniforms, which were distributed among 
the subordinate female associations. The purpose of the 
plotters was also to furnish arms and munitions of war. 
A considerable quantity has been discovered packed for 
shipment, consisting of knapsacks and weapons. Letters 
were found acknowledging the receipt through the agency 
of the association of rifles and pistols in Richmond. . • • 

Among the papers secured are many letters implicat- 
ing persons heretofore unsuspected. 

The parties were brought to this dty on Friday, and 
lodged in the old Capital prison. As they passed along 
the avenue, under the guard of soldiers, they appeared 
to be quite indifferent as to their fate and the enormity 
and baseness of the crime with which they are charged. 
The majority of them presented a very respectable ap- 
pearance, and were followed to jail by an anxious crowd 
of men and boys. 

Clara Barton asked her father his opinion of the feasi- 
bility of her getting to the front. He did not discourage 
the idea. He knew his daughter and believed her capable 
of accomplishing what she set out to do. Moreover, he 
knew the American soldier. He felt sure that Clara 
would be protected from insult, and that her presence 
would be welcome to the soldiers. 



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158 CLARA BARTON 

Having thus been favorably introduced to Governor 
Andrew, and her story of the secret operations of Seces- 
sionists near Washington having been confirmed, she felt 
that she could write the Governor and ask him for per- 
mission to go to the very seat of war. She had been send- 
ing supplies to Roanoke, and Newbem, North Carolina, 
and she wished very much that, as soon as her father 
should have passed away, she might be permitted to go 
with her supplies and perform her own work of distribu- 
tion. From her father's bedside she wrote the following 
letter to Governor Andrew: 

North Oxford, Mar. 20, 1862 
To His Excellency John A. Andrew, Governor 
of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Governor Andrew will perhaps recollect the writer as 
the lady who waited upon him in company with Hon. 
Alexander De Witt, to mention the existence of certain 
petitions from the officers of the Massachusetts Regi- 
ments of Volunteers, relating to the establishment of an 
agency in the City of Washington. 

With the promise of Your Excellency to **look after 
the leak" came a "lessening of my fears," and the im- 
mediate discovery of the truly magnificent rebel organi- 
zation in Alexandria, and the arrest of twenty-five of 
the principal actors, including the purchasing committee, 
brought with it not only entire satisfaction, but a joy I 
had scarce known in months. Since September I had 
been fully conscious in my own mind of the existence of 
something of this kind, and in October attempted to warn 
our Relief Societies, but, in the absence of all proof, 
I must perforce say very little. I should never have 
brought the subject before you again, only that I inci- 
dentally learned that our excellent Dr. Hitchcock has 
taken back from Roanoke other papers relating to the 
same subject, which will doubtless be laid before you, 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 159 

and, as I have an entirely different boon to crave, I find 
it necessary to speak. 

I desire Your Excellency's permission to go to Roa- 
noke. I should have proffered my request weeks earlier, 
but I am called home to witness the last hours of my old 
soldier father, who is wearing out the renmant of an oak 
and iron constitution, seasoned and tempered in the 
wild wars of "Mad Anthony." His last tale of the Red 
Man is told; afew more suns, and the old soldier's weary 
march is ended, — honorably discharged, he is journey- 
ing home. 

With this, my highest duties close, and I would fain 
be allowed to go and administer comfort to our brave 
men, who peril life and limb in defense of the priceless 
boon the fathers so dearly won. 

If I know my own heart, I have none but right motives. 
I ask neither pay nor praises, simply a soldier's fare and 
the sanction of Your Excellency to go and do with my 
might, whatever my hands find to do. 

In General Bumside's noble command are upwards of 
forty young men who in former days were my pupils. 
I am glad to know that somewhere they have learned 
their duty to their country, and have come up neither 
cowards nor traitors. I think I am safe in saying that I 
possess the entire confidence and respect of every one of 
them. For the officers, their signatures are before you. 

If my request appear unreasonable, and must be 
denied, I shall submit, patiently, though sorrowfully, 
but trusting, hoping better things. I beg to submit 
myself 

With the highest respect, 

Yours truly 

Clara H. Barton 

John A. Andrew was one of the great war governors. 
Massachusetts is one of the States that can always be 
proud of the record of its chief executive during the dark 



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i6o CLARA BARTON 

days of the Civil War. He reqxxided jMromptly to Clara 
Barton's appeal. On the day of her father's funeral she 
received the fdlowing letter from Governor Andrew: 

CQMMQKWBALTH OF MASSAOroSBTTS 
EZBCUnVB DBPARTIfENT 

BosiOM, March 24th9 1862 

Miss Clara H. Bartok, 
North Oxford, Mass. 
I beg to assure you, Miss Barton, of my cordial sym- 
pathy with your most worthy sentiments and wishes; 
and that if I have any power to promote your design in 
aid of our soldiers I will surely use it. Whenever you 
may be ready to visit General Bumside's division I will 
cheerfully give you a letter of introduction, with my 
hearty approval of your visit and my testimony to the 
value of the service to our sick and wounded it will be in 
your power to render. 
With high respect I am. 

Your ob. servant 

John A. Andrew 

This letter seemed a practical assurance that Clara 
Barton was to be permitted to go to the front. She had 
the Governor's virtual promise, conditioned, of course, 
upon recommendations from proper authorities, and she 
thought she had sufficient influence with the surgeon, 
Dr. Hitchcock, to secure the required recommendation. 
Through an official friend she took up the matter with 
Dr. Hitchcock, but in a few days his letter to the Doctor 
came back to Clara by way of the Governor. Dr. Hitch- 
cock did not believe that the battle-field was a suitable 
place for women. Among Clara Barton's papers the let- 
ter to Dr. Hitchcock is found bearing his comment and 
the Governor's brief reference with which the letter was 



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HOME AND COUNTRY i6i 

forwarded to Clara Barton. This dosed, for the time 
being, her prospect of getting to the front: 

Boston, March 22, 1862 
Dr. Hitchcock, 
Dear Sir: 

A friend of mine, Miss Clara H. Barton, is very de- 
sirous of doing what she can to aid our sick and wounded 
men at Roanoke, or Newbem, and I to-day presented 
a letter from her to Governor Andrew asking that she 
might be sent there by the State. Governor Andrew said 
he would confer with you relative to the matter. I pre- 
sume Miss Barton will write to you. She has been a resi- 
dent of Washington and the petitions you brought for 
me to present to the Governor were for her appointment 
as an agent at Washington. She now desires to go to the 
Bumside expedition. 

I need not say that she would render efficient service to 
our sick and wounded and would not be an encumbrance 
to the service. 

Truly yours 

J. W. Fletcher 

This letter bears written on its back these endorse- 
ments by Dr. Alfred Hitchcock and Governor Andrew: 

I do not think at the present time Miss Barton had 
better undertake to go to Bumside's Division to act as a 
nurse. 

Alfred Hitchcock 

March 25th, 1862. 

Respectfully referred for the information of Miss Barton. 

J. A. Andrew 

March 25, /62. 

Old Captain Stephen Barton died at last, aged almost 
eighty-eight. The entries in Clara Barton's diary on 
these days are brief and interesting: 



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i62 CLARA BARTON 

Thursday, March 20, 1862. Wrote Governor Andrew, 
and watched by poor, suffering Grandpa. Sent a letter 
to Irving by the morning mail. 

Friday,' March 21, 1862. At 10.16 at night, my poor 
father breathed his last. By him were Misses Grover, 
Hollendrake, Mrs. Vial, David, Julia, and I. 

Saturday, March 22, 1862. David and Julia went to 
Worcester. Mrs. Rich here. Sent letters to Irving, 
Judge, Mary, Dr. Darling. 

Sunday, March 23, 1862. Call from Deacon Smith. 

Monday, March 24, 1862. Mrs. Rich went to Worcester 
for me. Left a note for Arba Pierce to make a wreath 
for poor Grandpa's cofiin. 

Tuesday, March 25, 1862. At two P.M., commenced the 
services of the burial, Rev. Mr. Holmes of Charlton offi- 
ciating. House and grounds crowded. Ceremony solemn 
and impressive. At evening Cousin Jerry Stone came 
and brought me a letter from Governor J. A. Andrew. 

This was all she found time to write in the diary. Of 
the letters she wrote to her cousin. Corporal Leander A. 
Poor, relating to her father's death, one has been re- 
covered: 

North Oxford, March 37th, 1862 
Thursday Afternoon 

My dear Cousin Leander: 

Your welcome second letter came to me this noon — 
doubtless before this you have learned the answer to 
your kind inquiry, " How is Grandsire? ** But if not, and 
the sentinel post is mine, I must answer, "All is well/' 
Down under the little pines, beside my mother, he rests 
quietly, sleeps peacefully, dreams happily. The old sol- 
dier's heavy march is ended, for him the last tattoo has 
sounded, and, resting upon the unfailing arms of truth, 
hope, and faith, he awaits the "reveille of the eternal 
morning." 

"Grandsire" had been steadily failing since I came 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 163 

home. For more than thirty days he did not taste a mor- 
sel of food, and could retain nothing stronger or more 
nourishing than a little milk and water — for over ten 
of the last days not that, simply a little cold water, which 
he dared not swallow. And still he lived and moved 
himself and talked strongly and sensibly and wisely as 
you had always heard him. Who ever heard of such con- 
stitutional strength? 

You will be gratified to know that he arranged all his 
business to his entire satisfaction some days previous to 
his death. After being raised up and writing his name, 
he said to me, ''This is the last day I shall ever do any 
business; my work in this world is done." 

He remained until Friday, the 21st [of March], sixteen 
minutes past ten o'clock at night. He spoke for the last 
time about five o'clock, but made us understand by signs 
until the very last, when he straightened himself in bed, 
closed his mouth firmly, gave one hand to Julia, and the 
other to me, and left us. 

Clara Barton's hopes of going to the front received a 
severe disappointment when Governor Andrew returned 
Dr. Hitchcock's communication with the refusal to en- 
dorse her application. But she was nothing if not per- 
sistent. Almost immediately after her receipt of the 
Governor's letter, she began again seeking to bring in- 
fluence to bear on a Massachusetts captain (Denney), 
whose wife she had come to know. In this she gives more 
detail of the so-called "leak" in stores, which had been 
sent more or less recklessly for the benefit of troops, and 
without the prepaying of express charges. An organi- 
zation of Confederate sympathizers had been formed to 
purchase these goods from the express company, and slip 
them through the lines. In some way she had found this 
out, and so as to be morally certain of it before the ex- 



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i64 CLARA BARTON 

posure and arrest of the conspirators, she had relied upon 
advance information that she possessed of this system to 
commend her to Governor Andrew, and he was, evi- 
dently, favorably impressed. But she encountered the 
red tape of the surgeons who were not willing that she 
should go to the battle-field. 

No immediate results came from her continued efforts 
to secure permission to go to the front. She still re- 
mained in New England through the month of May, but 
in June returned to Washington and remained there until 
the i8th of July. 

She had already been receiving supplies from her 
friends in New Jersey as well as from Massachusetts. 
She now went to Bordentown and from there to New 
York, Boston, Worcester, and Oxford. This journey 
was made for the purpose of ensuring a larger and con- 
tinuous supply of provisions, for she had now obtained 
what she long had coveted, her permission to go to the 
front. Authority, when it finally came, was direct from 
the Surgeon-General's office, and it gave her as large 
liberty as she could well have asked. The following 
passes and authorizations were all issued within twenty- 
four hours. Just how she obtained them, we do not 
know. In some way her persistence triumphed over all 
official red tape, and when she secured her passes they 
were practically unlimited either as to time or destina- 
tion. The following are from the official records: 

Susgbon-Genbral's QpncB 
July II, 1862 

Miss C. H. Barton has permission to go upon the sick 
transports in any direction — for the purpose of distrib- 
uting comforts for the sick and. wounded — and nursing 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 165 

them, always subject to the directioii of the surgeon in 

charge. 

William A. Hammond 
Suigeon-General, U.S.A. 

Surgbon-Grnbkal's Office 
Washington Cmr, July 11, 1862 

Sir: 

At the request of the Surgeon-General I have to re- 
quest that you give every facility to Miss Barton for the 
transportation of supplies for the comfort of the sick. 
I refer you to the accompanying letter. 
Very respectfully 

R. C. Wood, A.S. Gen'l. 

Majok D. H. Rucebr, A.Q.M. 
Washington. D.C 

Office of Depot Quartermaster 
Washington, July 11, 1862 

Respectfully referred to General Wadsworth, with the 
request that permission be given this lady and friend to 
pass to and from Acquia Creek on Government trans- 
ports at all times when she may wish to visit the sick 
and hospitals, etc., with such stores as she may wish to 
take for the comfort of the sick and wounded. 

D. H. RucKER, Quartermaster and Col. 

H'd Qrs. Mil. Div. ot Va. 
Washington, D.C, July 11, 1862 

The within mentioned lady (Miss Barton) and friend 
have permission to pass to and from Fredericksburg by 
Government boat and railroad at all times to visit sick 
and wounded and to take with her all such stores as she 
may wish to take for the sick, and to pass anywhere 
within the lines of the United States forces (excepting 
to the Army of the Potomac), and to travel on any 
military railroad or Government boat to such points as 



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i66 CLARA BARTON 

she may desire to visit and take such stores as she may 
wish by such means of transportation. 
By order of Brig.-Gen'l Wadsworth, Mil. Gov. D.C. 
T. E. Ellsworth, Capt. and A.D.C. 

Inspbctor-Gekbral's Oppicb, Auct op Virgiku 
Washingtqk» D.C, August 12, 1863 
No. 83 
To Whom it may Concern: 

Know ye, that the bearers, Miss Barton and two 
friends, have permission to pass within the lines of this 
army for the purpose of supplying the sick and wounded. 
Transportation will be furnished by Government boat 
and rsiil. 

By command of Major-General Pope 
R. Jones, Asst. Inspector-General 

It is said that when Clara Barton finally succeeded in 
getting permission to go to the front, she broke down and 
burst into tears. That is possible, but her diary shows 
no sign of her emotion. Nor is it true, as has been af- 
firmed, that, as soon as she received her passes, she 
rushed immediately to the front. Her self-possession and 
deliberate action at this moment of triumph are thor- 
oughly characteristic of her. Instead of going to the 
front, she went to New Jersey and New England, as has 
already been intimated. She had no intention of going 
to the front until she had assurance of supplies which she 
could take with her and could continue to receive. She 
was no love-lorn, sentimental maiden, going with un- 
reckoning and hysterical ardor into conditions which she 
did not understand. She was forty years old, and she 
knew what hospitals were. She also knew a good deal 
about official red tape and the reasonable unwillingness 
of surgeons to have any one around the hospital unless 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 167 

she could earn her keep. With a pocket full of passes 
which she now possessed, she could go almost anywhere. 
To be sure, it was necessary to get special passes for par- 
ticular objects, but in general all she had to do was to 
present these blanket credentials, and particular per- 
mission for a specific journey was promptly forthcoming. 
Indeed, she seldom needed that when her lines of opera- 
tion were definitely established, but at the beginning 
she took no chances. Among the other friends whom 
she gained while she was procuring these certificates 
was Assistant Quartermaster-General D. H. Rucker. He 
proved an unfailing friend. Never thereafter did she go 
to him in vain with any request for transportation for 
herself or her goods. 

Her first notable expedition in supplies started from 
Washington on Sunday, August 3, 1862, just as the 
people were going to church. Frequent mention has been 
made of the fact that this occurred on Sunday, and some 
incorrect inferences have been drawn from it. Clara 
Barton had two large a conception of the sacredness of 
her task to have waited until Monday for a thing that 
needed to be done on Sunday. On the other hand, she 
had too much religion of her own, and too much regard 
for other people's religion, to have chosen deliberately 
the day and hour when people were going to church as 
that on which she would mount a loaded truck and con<- 
spicuously take her journey to the boat. She began her 
arrangements to go to Fredericksburg on Wednesday, 
July 30th, as her diary shows. But it was Friday after- 
noon before her arrangements were complete, including 
the special passes which she had to procure from General 
Polk's headquarters. Saturday she started, but the 



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168 CLARA BARTON - 

boat was withdrawn, and it was due to this delay that 
she rode on top of her load on Sunday morning. She was 
taking no chances concerning her load of provisions; she 
knew that her welcome at the front and her efficiency 
there depended upon her getting her supplies there as well 
as herself. So she climbed over the wheel and sat beside 
the mule-driver as he carted her provisions to the dock. 
The boat conveyed her to Acquia Creek where she 
stayed all night, being courteously treated by the quar- 
termaster. On Monday she went on to Fredericksbui^g, 
where she visited the general hospital, located in a woolen 
factory. There she witnessed her first amputation. The 
next day she visited the camp of the 2ist Massachusetts. 
She distributed her supplies, and found where more were 
needed. Returning, she reached Washington at six 
o'clock Tuesday night. The next few days she had con- 
ferences with the Sanitary Conmiission, and suggested 
some improvement in the methods of supplying the 
hospitals. 

She found the Sanitary Commission quite ready to 
co6perate with her, and obtained from them without 
difficulty some stores for the 8th and nth Connecticut 
Regiments. She took time to write the story of her visit 
to Fredericksburg, and to secure its full value in addi- 
tional supplies. 

This was the way she spent her time for a full month 
after she secured her passes. She visited the friends who 
were to supply her with the articles she was to need; she 
visited the front and personally oversaw the method of 
distributing supplies; she placed herself in sympathetic 
relationship with the Sanitary Commission, whose work 
was next of kin to her own, and she wrote letters that 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 169 

were to bring her a still larger volume of resources for 
her great work. A more businesslike, methodical, or 
sensible method of procedure could not be imagined than 
that which her diary and letters disclose. 

How she felt about going to the front at this time is 
finely set forth in a letter to her cousin, Corporal Leander 
A. Poor, who was sick in a hospital at Point Lookout, 
Maryland, and whom she succeeded in getting trans- 
ferred to a hospital in Washington. She did not expect 
to be there when he arrived, for she was committed to 
her plan of getting to the front. Not that she expected 
to stay continuously; it was her purpose to come and go; 
to get relief directly where it was needed, and to keep 
her lines of communication open. This letter shows that 
she labored under no delusion concerning the difficulties 
of transportation. She was going in with her eyes open. 

Washington, D.C, Aug. 2, 1863 
Saturday pji. 

Oh, my dearest Couz: 

Can you believe it! that this afternoon's mail takes 
an order from the Surgeon-General for you to report in 
Washington (provided the state of your health will per- 
mit)? I have just seen the order written. 

You are to report to Dr. Campbell, Medical Director, 
and he is to assign you to some hospital. Now I want 
you assigned near me, but am not certain that I can in- 
fluence it in the least, — but Til try ! I can tell you the 
ropes and you can help pull them when you go to report. 

At the Medical Director's, I have an especial friend 
in the person of Dr. Sheldon, one of the chargSs des 
affaires of the Institution. I will acquaint him with the 
facts before your arrival either by a personal interview 
or a note, and then, when you go to report to Dr. Camp- 
bell, see first, if possible, Dn Sheldon, and ask him if he 



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170 CLARA BARTON 

can assist you in getting assigned to some hospital near 
me (7th Street) or in the vicinity of the Post-Office, he 
knows my residence, having called upon me. 

My choice would be the "Armory Square/* a new 
hospital on 7th Street a few rods the other side of the 
Avenue from me, on the way to the Arsenal, you will 
recollect, just opposite the Smithsonian Institute, on 
the east side of 7th. This is designed as a model hos- 
pital, but perhaps one difficulty will be that it is in- 
tended more exclusively for extreme cases, or desperately 
wounded who can be conveyed but little distance from the 
boat. There are in it now, however, some very slight 
cases, some whom I visit every day. The chaplain, 
E. W. Jackson, is from Maine, near Portland, — and I 
would not be surprised if more Maine men were in charge 
there, too. 

After this I have not much choice in any of the hospi- 
tals near me. E Street Church is near, and so many of 
the churches, and perhaps being less in magnitude they 
are less strict. I don't even know if you will be allowed 
to see me before making your report to the Medical 
Director, and there is one bare possibility that I may be 
out on a scout when you arrive. Lord knows the condi- 
tion of our poor wretched soldiers down in the army; all 
communication cut off to and from, they must be dying 
from want of care, and I am promised to go to them the 
first moment access can be had, but this would not dis- 
courage you, for I should come home again when the 
poor fellows were a little comfortable. 

I am not certain when you can come, probably not 
until some Government boat comes up; one went down 
yesterday, and if I had had your order then, I should have 
come for you, but to start in one now after this I might 
miss you, as they only go some once a week or so. 

All sorts of rumors in town, — that we are whipping 
the rebels, they are whipping us, Jackson defeated. Pope 
defeated. But one thing I do suppose to be true, viz.. 



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HOME AND COUNTRY 171 

that our army is isolated, cut off from supplies of food, 
and that we cannot reach them with more until they 
fight their way out. This is not generally believed or 
understood, but your cousin both understands and be- 
lieves it. People talk like children about ^^transporting 
supplies** as if it were the easiest thing imaginable to 
transport supplies by wagon thirty miles across a country 
scouted by guerrilla bands. Our men must be on part 
rations, tired and hungry, fighting like tigers, and dy- 
ing like dogs. There! Doesn't that sound impatient. I 
won't speak again. 

Of course you will write me instantly and tell me if you 
are able to come, and when as nearly as possible, etc., etc 

I will enclose $5.00 lest you may need and not have. 
Yoiu" affectionate Cousin 

Clara H. Barton 

Washington, D.C. 

Thus did Clara Barton at her father's death-bed con- 
secrate herself to a work more difficult than any woman 
had at that time undertaken for the relief of suffering 
caused by the war. Other women were equally brave; 
others, equally tender in their personal ministrations; 
but Clara Barton knew the difficulties of transportation 
and the awful agonies and loss of life endured by men 
through neglect and delay and the distance of the hos- 
pital from the battle-field. She was ready to carry relief 
right behind the battle lines. She had not long to wait 
for her opportunity. 



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CHAPTER XIII 

CLARA BARTON TO THB FRONT 

When the author of this volume was a schoolboy, the 
advanced readers in the public schools partook largely 
of a patriotic character, and the rhetorical exercises of 
Friday afternoons contained recitations and declama- 
tions inspired by the great Civil War, The author re- 
members a Friday when he came upon the platform with 
his left arm withdrawn from his coat-sleeve and concealed 
inside the coat, while he recited a poem of which he still 
remembers certain lines: 

My arm? I lost it at Cedar Mountain; 

Ah, litde one, that was a dreadful fight; 
For brave blood flowed tike a summer fountain. 

And the cannon roared till the fall of night. 

Nay, nay! Your question has done me no harm, dear. 

Though it woke for the moment a thrill of pain; 
For whenever I look at my stump of an arm here, 

I seem to be living that day again. 

The poem went on to relate the scenes of the battle, 
the desperate charge, the wound, the amputation, and 
now the necessity of earning a livelihood by the peddling 
of needles, pins, and other inexpensive household neces- 
sities. It was a poem with rather large dramatic possi- 
bilities, and the author utilized them according to the 
best of his then ability. Since that Friday afternoon in 
his early boyhood he has always thought of Cedar Moun- 
tain as a battle in which he had something of a share. 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT 173 

If he had really been there and had lost an arm in the 
manner which the poem described, one of the things he 
would have been almost certain to remember would 
have been the presence there of Clara Barton. She after- 
ward told of it in this simple fashion: 

When our armies fought on Cedar Mountain, I broke 
the shackles and went to the field. Five days and nights 
with three hours' sleep — a narrow escape from capture 
— and some days of getting the wounded into hospitals 
at Washington brought Saturday, August 30. And if you 
chance to feel that the positions I occupied were rough 
and unseemly for a woman — I can only reply that they 
were rough and unseemly for men. But under all, lay the 
life of the Nation. I had inherited the rich blessing of 
health and strength of constitution — such as are seldom 
given to woman — and I felt that some return was due 
from me and that I ought to be there. 

The battle of Cedar Mountain, also called Cedar Run 
and Culpeper, was fought on Saturday, August 9, 1862. 
Stonewall Jackson, as directed by General Lee, moved to 
attack Pope before McClellan could reinforce him. The 
corps attack was under command of General Banks, and 
the Confederates were successful. The Federal losses 
were 314 killed, 1465 wounded, and 622 missing. News 
of the battle reached Washington on Monday. Clara 
Barton's entry for that day contains no suggestion of the 
heroic; no appearance of consciousness that she was be- 
ginning for herself and her country, and the civilized 
world, a new epoch in the history of woman's ministra- 
tion to men wounded on the battle-field: 

Monday, August 11, 1862. Battle at Culpeper reached 
us. Went to Sanitary Commission. Concluded to go to 
Culpeper. Packed goods. 



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174 CLARA BARTON 

The next day she went to General Pope's headquarters 
and got her pass, General Rucker accompanying her. The 
remainder of the day she spent in completing her arrange- 
ments and in conference with Gardiner Tufts, of Massa- 
chusetts, an agent sent by the State to look after Massa- 
chusetts wounded. That night she went to Alexandriat 
which was as far as she could get, and the next morning 
she resumed her journey and arrived at Culpeper at 
half-past three in the afternoon. 

The next days were busy days. It is interesting to find 
in her diary that she ministered not only to the Union, 
but also to the Confederate wounded. For several days 
she had little rest. When she returned to Washington 
later in the month, she was not permitted to remain. 
She learned that her cousin. Corporal Poor, had been 
brought to a hospital in the dty, but she was unable to 
visit him, being called to minister to the wounded who 
were being brought to Alexandria as the result of the 
fighting that followed Cedar Mountain. Her hastily 
written note is not dated, but the time is in the latter 
part of August, 1862: 

My own darling Cousin: 

I was almost (aU-but) ready to come to you, and then 
came this bloody fight at Culpeper and the State agent 
for Massachusetts comes and claims me to go to Alex- 
andria where 600 wounded are to be brought in to-day, 
and I may have to go on further. I hope to be back yet 
in time to come to you this week; if not I will write you. 

I am distressed that I cannot come to you to-morrow 
as I had intended. 

I hope you are as well as when I last heard. I should 
have written, but I thought to come so soon. 

I must leave now. My wagon waits for me. 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT 175 

God bless you, my poor dear Cousin, and I will see you 
if the rebels don't catch me. 
Good-bye, 

Yoiu: affec. cousin 

Clara 

Whether she was able to visit her cousin or not on her 
return from Alexandria, we do not know. Her diary fcMr 
the latter part of the year 1862 ceases to be consecu- 
tive. It contains not the record of her own comings 
and goings, but names of wounded soldiers, memoranda 
of letters to write for men who had died, and other data 
of this character. Her entry for Saturday, August 30, 
1862, is significant. It reads: 

Visited Armory Hospital. Took comb to Sergeant 
Field, of Massachusetts 21st. On my way saw every- 
body going to wharf. I went. 

That was her last record for more than a week. We 
know what was taking the people to the wharf. We know 
what sad sights awaited those who made their way to the 
Potomac. We know the sad procession that came over 
the long bridge; the second battle of Bull Run had been 
fought. After the first battle of Bull Run there was 
nothing she could do but stay in Washington and write 
her father such distracting news that she had to stop. 
The situation was different now; Clara Barton knew 
where she was needed, and she had authority to go. No 
time was wasted now in special passes. She had proved 
the value of her worth at Cedar Mountain. 

That very night she was in a box car on her way to the 
battle-field. 

Shortly after the second battle of Bull Run, Clara 



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176 CLARA BARTON 

Barton wrote the following account to a friend, and later 
revised it as a part of one of her war lectures. It is, in 
some respects, the most vivid of all her recitals of ex- 
periences on battle-fields: 

Our coaches were not elegant or commodious; they had 
no windows, no seats, no platforms, no steps, a slide door 
on the side was the only entrance, and this higher than 
my head. For my manner of attaining my elevated posi- 
tion, I must beg of you to draw on your own imaginations 
and spare me the labor of reproducing the boxes, barrels, 
boards, and rails, which, in those days, seemed to help 
me up and on in the world. We did not criticize the un- 
sightly helpers and were only too thankful that the stiff 
springs did not quite jostle us out. This description need 
not be limited to this particular trip or train, but will 
suffice for all that I have known in army life. This is the 
kind of conveyance by which your tons of generous gifts 
have reached the field with the precious freights. These 
trains, through day and night, sunshine and rain, heat 
and cold, have thundered over heights, across plains, 
through ravines, and over hastily built army bridges 
ninety feet across the rocky stream beneath. 

At ten o'clock Sunday (August 31) our train drew up 
at Fairfax Station. The ground, for acres, was a thinly 
wooded slope — and among the trees, on the leaves and 
grass, were laid the wounded who were pouring in by 
scores of wagonloads, as picked up on the field under the 
flag of truce. AH day they came, and the whole hillside 
was covered. Bales of hay were broken open and scat- 
tered over the ground like littering for cattle, and the 
sore, famishing men were laid upon it. 

And when the night shut in, in the mist and darkness 
about us, we knew that, standing apart from the world 
of anxious hearts, throbbing over the whole country, we 
were a little band of almost empty-handed workers liter- 
ally by ourselves in the wild woods of Virginia, with three 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT 177 

thousand suffering men crowded upon the few acres 
within our reach. 

After gathering up every available implement or con- 
venience for our work, our domestic inventory stood, 
two water buckets, five tin cups, one camp kettle, one 
stewpan, two lanterns, four bread knives, three plates, 
and a two-quart tin dish, and three thousand guests to 
serve. 

You will perceive, by this, that I had not yet learned 
to equip myself, for I was no Pallas, ready armed, but 
grew into my work by hard thinking and sad experience. 
It may serve to relieve your apprehension for the future 
of my labors if I assure you that I was never caught so 
again. 

You have read of adverse winds. To realize this in its 
full sense you have only to build a camp-fire and attempt 
to cook something on it. 

There is not a soldier within the sound of my voice 
but will sustain me in the assertion that, go whichsoever 
side of it you will, wind will blow the smoke and flame 
directly in your face. Notwithstanding these difficulties, 
within fifteen minutes from the time of our arrival we 
were preparing food and dressing wounds. You wonder 
what, and how prepared, and how administered without 
dishes. 

You generous thoughtful mothers and wives have not 
forgotten the tons of preserves and fruits with which you 
filled our hands. Huge boxes of these stood beside diat 
railway track. Every can, jar, bucket, bowl, cup or 
tumbler, when emptied, that instant became a vehicle 
of mercy to convey some preparation of mingled bread 
and wine or soup or coffee to some helpless, famishing 
sufferer, who partook of it with the tears rolling down his 
bronzed cheeks and divided his blessings between the 
hands that fed him and his God. I never realized until 
that day how little a human being could be grateful for, 
and that day's experience also taught me the utter worth- 



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178 CLARA BARTON 

lessness of that which could not be made to contribute 
directly to our necessities. The bit of bread which would 
rest on the surface of a gold eag^e was worth more than 
the coin itself. 

But the most fearful scene was reserved for the night. 
I have said that the ground was littered with dry hay 
and that we had only two lanterns, but there were plenty 
of candles. The wounded were laid so dose that it was 
impossible to move about in the dark. The slightest 
misstep brought a torrent of groans from some poor 
mangled fellow in your path. 

Consequently here were seen persons of all grades, 
from the careful man of God who walked with a prayer 
upon his lips to the careless driver hunting for his lost 
whip — each wandering about among this hay with an 
open flaming candle in his hand. 

The slightest accident, the mere dropping of a light could 
have enveloped in flames this whole mass of helpless men. 

How we watched and pleaded and cautioned as we 
worked and wept that night! How we put socks and 
slippers upon their cold damp feet, wrapped your blan-* 
kets and quilts about them, and when we had no longer 
these to give, how we covered them in the hay and left 
them to their rest! 

On Monday (September i) the enemy's cavalry ap- 
peared in the wood opposite and a raid was hourly ex- 
pected. In the afternoon all the wounded men were sent 
of! and the danger became so imminent that Mrs. Fales 
thought best to leave, although she only went for stores. 
I begged to be excused from accompanying her, as the 
ambulances were up to the fields for more, and I knew I 
should never leave a wounded man there if I were taken 
prisoner forty times. At six o'clock it commenced to 
thunder and lighten and all at once the artillery began 
to play, joined by the musketry about two miles distant. 
We sat down in our tent and waited to ste them break in, 
but Reno's forces held them back. The old 2ist Massa* 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT 179 

chusetts lay between us and fhe enemy and they could 
not pass. God only knows who was lost, I do not, for 
the next day all fell back. Poor Kearny, Stephen, and 
Webster were brought in, and in the afternoon Kearny's 
and Heintzelman's divisions fell back through our camp 
on their way to Alexandria. We knew this was the last. 
We put the thousand woimded men we then had into 
the train. I took one carload of them and Mrs. M. an- 
other. The men took to the horses. We steamed off, 
and two hours later there was no Fairfax Station. We 
reached Alexandria at ten o'clock at night, and, oh, the 
repast which met those poor men at the train. The people 
of the island are the most noble I ever saw or heard of. 
I stood in my car and fed the men till they could eat no 
more. Then the people would take us home and feed us, 
and after that we came home. I had slept one and one 
half hours since Saturday night and I am well and strong 
and wait to go again if I have need. 

Immediately after the second Bull Run, or Manassas, 
followed the battle of Chantilly. It was a woeful battle 
for the Federal cause. The Confederates were com- 
pletely successful. Pope's army retreated to Washington 
in almost as great a state of panic as had characterized 
the army of McDowell in the previous year. Nothing 
saved Washington from capture but the fact that the 
Confederate forces had been so reduced by continuous 
fighting that they were unable to take advantage of their 
success. But they had captured the Federal wagon trains; 
had inflicted far greater losses than they had themselves 
endured, and were in so confident a frame of mind that 
Lee immediately prepared to cross the Potomac, invade 
the North, and bring the war, as he hoped, to a speedy 
end. It was under these conditions that Clara Barton 
continued her education at the battle-front. 



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i8o CLARA BARTON 

Among many other experiences on the field of Chan* 
tilly, Miss Barton recalled these incidents: 

The slight, naked chest of a fair-haired lad caught my 
eye, and dropping down beside him, I bent low to draw 
the remnant of his torn blouse about him, when with a 
quick cry he threw his left arm across my neck and, 
burying his face in the folds of my dress, wept like a child 
at his mother's knee. I took his head in my hands and 
held it until his great burst of grief passed away. "And 
do you know me?" he asked at length; "I am Charley 
Hamilton who used to carry your satchel home from 
school!" My faithful pupil, poor Charley. That man- 
gled right arm would never carry a satchel again. 

About three o'clock in the morning I observed a sur- 
geon with his little flickering candle in hand approaching 
me with cautious step far up in the wood. "Lady," he 
said as he drew near, "will you go with me? Out on the 
hills is a poor distressed lad, mortally wounded and dy- 
ing. His piteous cries for his sister have touched all our 
hearts and none of us can relieve him, but rather seem 
to distress him by our presence." 

By this time I was following him back over the bloody 
track, with great beseeching eyes of anguish on every 
side looking up into our faces saying so plainly, "Don't 
step on us." 

"He can't last half an hour longer," said the surgeon 
as we toiled on. "He is already quite cold, shot through 
the abdomen, a terrible wound." By this time the cries 
became plainly audible to me. 

" Mary, Mary, sister Mary, come, — oh, come, I am 
wounded, Mary! I am shot. I am dying — oh, come 
to me — I have called you so long and my strength is 
almost gone — Don't let me die here alone. Oh, Mary, 
Mary, come!" 

Of all the tones of entreaty to which I have listened — 
and certainly I have had some experience of sorrow — I 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT i8i 

think these, sounding through that dismal night, the 
most heart-rending. As we drew near, some twenty per- 
sons, attracted by his cries, had gathered around and 
stood with moistened eyes and helpless hands waiting 
the change which would relieve them all. And in the 
midst, stretched upon the ground, lay, scarcely full 
grown, a young man with a graceful head of hair, tangled 
and matted, thrown back from a forehead and a face of 
livid whiteness. His throat was bare. His hands, bloody, 
clasped his breast, his large, bewildered eyes turning 
anxiously in every direction. And ever from between his 
ashen lips pealed that piteous cry of "Mary! Mary! 
Come.*' 

I approached him unobserved, and, motioning the 
lights away, I knelt by him alone in the darkness. Shall 
I confess that I intended if possible to cheat him out of 
his terrible death agony? But my lips were truer than 
my heart, and would not speak the word "Brother," I 
had willed them to do. So I placed my hands upon his 
neck, kissed his cold forehead, and laid my cheek against 
his. 

The illusion was complete; the act had done the false- 
hood my lips refused to speak. I can never forget that 
cry of joy. "Oh, Mary! Mary! You have come? I 
knew you would come if I called you and I have called 
you so long. I could not die without you, Mary. Don't 
cry, Darling, I am not afraid to die now that you have 
come to me. Oh, bless you. Bless you, Mary." And he 
ran his cold, blood-wet hands about my neck, passed 
them over my face, and twined them in my hair, which 
by this time had jfreed itself from fastenings and was 
hanging damp and heavy upon my shoulders. He gath- 
ered the loose locks in his stiffened fingers and holding 
them to his lips continued to whisper through them, 
"Bless you, bless you, Mary!" And I felt the hot tears 
of joy trickling from the eyes I had thought stony in 
death. This encouraged me, and, wrapping his feet 



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i82 CLARA BARTON 

closely in blankets and giving him such stimulants as 
he could take, I seated myself on the ground and lifted 
him on my lap, and drawing the shawl on my own 
shoulders aiso atx>ut his I bade him rest. 

I listened till his blessings grew fainter, and in ten 
minutes with them on his lips he fell asleep. So the gray 
morning found us; my precious charge had grown warm, 
and was comfortable. 

Of course the morning light would reveal his mistake. 
But he had grown calm and was refreshed and able to 
endure it, and when finally he woke, he seemed puzzled 
for a moment, but then he smiled and said : '' I knew be- 
fore I opened my eyes that this could n't be Mary. I 
know now that she could n't get here, but it is almost as 
good. You Ve made me so happy. Who is it?" 

I said it was simply a lady who, hearing that he was 
wounded, had come to care for him. He wanted the 
name, and with childlike simplicity he spelled it letter 
by letter to know if he were right. " In my pocket," he 
said, ''you will find mother's last letter; please get it and 
write your name upon it, for I want both names by me 
when I die." 

"Will they take away the wounded?" he asked. 
"Yes," I replied, " the first train for Washington is nearly 
ready now." "I must go," he said quickly. "Are you 
able? " I asked. " I must go if I die on the way. I 'U tell 
you why; I am poor mother's only son, and when she 
consented that I go to the war, I promised her faithfully 
that if I were not killed outright, but wounded, I would 
try every means in my power to be taken home to her 
dead or alive. If I die on the train, they will not throw 
me off, and if I were buried in Washington, she can get 
me. But out here in the Virginia woods in the hands of 
the enemy, never. I must go!" 

I sent for the surgeon in charge of the train and re- 
quested that my boy be taken. 

"Oh, impossible, madam, he is mortally wounded and 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT 183 

will never reach fhe hospital! We must take those who 
have a hope of life/' "But you must take him." "lean- 
not" — "Can you, Doctor, guarantee the lives of all you 
have on that train?" "I wish I could," said he sadly. 
"They are the worst cases; nearly fifty per cent must die 
eventually of their wounds and hardships." 

"Then give this lad a chance with them. He can only 
die, and he has given good and sufficient reasons why he 
must go — and a woman's word for it. Doctor. You take 
him. Send your men for him." Whether yielding to ar- 
gument or entreaty, I neither knew nor cared so long as 
he did yield nobly and kindly. And they gathered up 
the fragments of the poor, torn boy and laid him carefully 
on a blanket on the crowded train and with stimulants 
and food and a kind-hearted attendant, pledged to take 
him alive or dead to Armory Square Hospital and tell 
them he was Hugh Johnson, of New York, and to mark 
his grave. 

Although three hours of my time had been devoted to 
one sufferer among thousands, it must not be inferred 
that our general work had been suspended or that my 
assistants had been equally inefficient. They had seen 
how I was engaged and nobly redoubled their exertions 
to make amends for my deficiencies. 

Probably not a man was laid upon those cars who did 
not receive some personal attention at their hands, some 
little kindness, if it were only to help lift him more 
tenderly. 

This finds us shortly after daylight Monday morning. 
Train after train of cars was rushing on for the wounded, 
and hundreds of wagons were bringing them in from the 
field still held by the enemy, where some poor sufferers 
had lain three days with no visible means of sustenance. 
If immediately placed Upon the trains and not detained, 
at least twenty-four hours must elapse before they could 
be in the hospital and properly nourished. They were 
already famishing, weak and sinking from loss of blood. 



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i84 CLARA BARTON 

and they could ill afford a further fast of twenty-four 
hours. I felt confident that, unless nourished at once, all 
the v/eaker portion must be past recovery before reaching 
the hospitals of Washington. If once taken from the 
W2^[ons and laid with those already cared for, they would 
be overlooked and perish on the way. Something must 
be done to meet this fearful emergency. I sought the 
various officers on the grounds, explained the case to 
them, and asked permission to feed all the men as they 
arrived before they should be taken from the wagons. 
It was well for the poor sufferers of that field that it was 
controlled by noble-hearted, generous officers, quick to 
feel and prompt to act. 

They at once saw the propriety of my request and 
gave orders that all wagons should be stayed at a certain 
point and only moved on when every one had been seen 
and fed. This point secured, I commenced my day's 
work of climbing from the wheel to the brake of every 
wagon and speaking to and feeding with my own hands 
each soldier until he expressed himself satisfied. 

Still there were bright spots along the darkened lines. 
Early in the morning the Provost Marshal came to ask 
me if I could use fifty men. He had that number, who 
for some slight breach of military discipline were under 
guard and useless, unless I could use them. I only re- 
gretted there were not five hundred. They came, — 
strong, willing men, — and these, added to our original 
force and what we had gained incidentally, made our 
number something over eighty, and, believe me, eighty 
men and three women, acting with well-directed purpose, 
will accomplish a good deal in a day. Our fifty prisoners 
dug graves and gathered and buried the dead, bore man- 
gled men over the rough ground in their arms, loaded 
cars, built fires, made soup, and administered it. And I 
failed to discern that their services were less valuable 
than those of the other men. I had long suspected, and 
have been since convinced, that a private soldier may be 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE fRONT 185 

placed under guard, court-martialed, and even be im- 
prisoned without forfeiting his honor or manliness; that 
the real dishonor is often upon the gold lace rather than 
the army blue. 

At three o'clock the last train of wounded left. All 
day we had known that the enemy hung upon the hills 
and were waiting to break in upon us. . . . 

At four o'clock the clouds gathered black and murky, 
and the low growl of distant thunders was heard while 
lightning continually illuminated the horizon. The still 
air grew thick and stifled, and the very branches ap- 
peared to droop and bow as if in grief at the memory of 
the terrible scenes so lately enacted and the gallant lives 
so nobly yielded up beneath their shelter. 

This was the afternoon of Monday. Since Saturday 
noon I had not thought of tasting food, and we had just 
drawn around a box for that purpose, when, of a sudden, 
air and earth and all about us shook with one mingled 
crash of God's and man's artillery. The lightning played 
and the thunder rolled incessantly and the cannon roared 
louder and nearer each minute. Chantilly with all its 
darkness and horrors had opened in the rear. 

The description of this battle I leave to those who saw 
and moved in it, as it is my purpose to speak only of 
events in which I was a witness or actor. Although two 
miles distant, we knew the battle was intended for us, 
and watched the firing as it neared and receded and 
waited minute by minute for the rest. 

With what desperation our men fought hour after 
hour in the rain and darkness! How they were overborne 
and rallied, how they suffered from mistaken orders, and 
blundered, and lost themselves in the strange mysterious 
wood. And how, after all, with giant strength and vet- 
eran bravery, they checked the foe and held him at bay, 
is an all-proud record of history. 

And the courage of the soldier who braved death in the 
darkness of Chantilly let no man question. 



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186 CLARA BARTON 

The rain continued to pour in torrents, and the dark- 
ness became impenetrable save from the lightning leap* 
ing above our heads and the fitful flash of the guns, as 
volley after volley rang through the stifled air and lighted 
up the gnarled trunks and dripping branches among 
which we ever waited and listened. 

In the midst of this, and how guided no man knows, 
came still another train of woimded men, and a waiting 
train of cars upon the track received them. This time 
nearly alone, for my worn-out assistants could work no 
longer, I continued to administer such food as I had left. 

Do you begin to wonder what it could be? Army 
crackers put into knapsacks and haversacks and beaten 
to crumbs between stones, and stirred into a mixture of 
wine, whiskey, and water, and sweetened with coarse 
brown sugar. 

Not very inviting you will think, but I assure you it 
was always acceptable. But whether it should have been 
classed as food, or, like the Widow Bedott's cabbage, 
as a delightful bevers^, it would puzzle an epicure to 
determine. No matter, so it imparted strength and 
comfort. 

The departure of this train cleared the grounds of 
wounded for the night, and as the line of fire from its 
plunging engines died out in the darkness, a strange sen- 
sation of weakness and weariness fell upon me, almost- 
defying my utmost exertion to move one foot before the 
other. 

A little Sibley tent had been hastily pitched for me in a 
slight hollow upon the hillside. Your imaginations will 
not fail to picture its condition. Rivulets of water had 
rushed through it during the last three hours. Still I 
attempted to reach it, as its white surface, in the dark- 
ness, was a protection from the wheels of wagons and 
trampling of beasts. 

Perhaps I shall never forget the painful effort which 
the making of those few rods and the gaining of the tent 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT 187 

cost me. How many times I fell, from sheer exhaustion, 
in the darkness and mud of that slippery hillside, I have 
no knowledge, but at last I grasped the welcome canvas, 
and a well-established brook, which washed in on the 
upper side at the opening that served as door, met me on 
my entrance. My entire floor was covered with water, 
not an inch of dry, solid ground. 

One of my lady assistants had previously taken train 
for Washington and the other, worn out by faithful la- 
bors, was crouched upon the top of some boxes in one 
comer fast asleep. No such convenience remained for 
me, and I had no strength to arrange ohe. I sought the 
highest side of my tent which I remembered was grass- 
grown, and, ascertaining that the water was not very 
deep, I sank down. It was no laughing matter then. But 
the recollection of my position has since afforded me 
amusement. 

I remember myself sitting on the ground, upheld by 
my left arm, my head resting on my hand, impelled by 
an almost uncontrollable desire to lie completely down, 
and prevented by the certain conviction that iif I did, 
water would flow into my ears. 

How long I balanced between my desires and cautions, 
I have no positive knowledge, but it is very certain that 
the former carried the point by the position from which 
I was aroused at twelve o'clock by the rumbling of more 
wagons of wounded men. I slept two hours, and oh, 
what strength I had gained! I may never know two 
other hours of equal worth. I sprang to my feet drip- 
ping wet, covered with ridges of dead grass and leaves, 
wrung the water from my hair and skirts, and went forth 
again to my work. 

When I stood again under the sky, the rain had ceased, 
the clouds were sullenly retiring, and the lightning, as if 
deserted by its boisterous companions, had withdrawn 
to a distant comer and was playing quietly by itself. 
For the great volleying thunders of heaven and earth 



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i88 CLARA BARTON 

had settled down on the fields. Silent? I said so. And 
it was, save the ceaseless rumbling of the never-ending 
train of army wagons which brought alike the wounded, 
the dying, and the dead. 

And thus the morning of the third day broke upon us, 
drenched, weary, hungry, sore-footed, sad-hearted, dis- 
couraged, and under orders to retreat. 

A little later, the plaintive wail of a single fife, the slow 
beat of a muffled drum, the steady tramp, tramp, tramp 
of heavy feet, the gleam of ten thousand bayonets on the 
hills, and with bowed heads and speechless lips, poor 
Kearny's leaderless men came marching through 

This was the signal for retreat. All day they came, 
tired, hungry, ragged, defeated, retreating, they knew 
not whither — they cared not whither. 

The enemy's cavalry, skirting the hills, admonished 
us each moment that we must soon decide to go from 
them or with them. But our work must be accomplished, 
and no wounded men once given into our hands must be 
left. And with the spirit of desperation, we strugs:led on. 

At three o'clock an officer galloped up to me, with 
"Miss Barton, can you ride?" "Yes, sir," I replied. 

"But you have no lady's saddle — could you ride 
mine?" 

"Yes, sir, or without it, if you have blanket and sur- 
cingle." 

"Then you can risk another hour," he exclaimed, and 
galloped off. 

At four he returned at a break-neck speed, and, leaping 
from his horse, said, "Now is your time. The enemy is 
already breaking over the hills; try the train. It will go 
through, unless they have flanked, and cut the bridge 
a mile above us. In that case I 've a reserve horse for 
you, and you must take your chances to escape across the 
country." 

In two minutes I was on the train. The last wounded 
man at the station was also on. The conductor stood 



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CLARA BARTON TO THE FRONT 189 

with a torch which he applied to a pile of combustible 
material beside the track. And we romided the curve 
which took us from view and we saw the station ablaze, 
and a troop of cavalry dashing down the hill. The bridge 
was uncut and midnight found us at Washington. 

You have the full record of my sleep — from Friday 
night till Wednesday morning — two hours. You will 
not wonder that I slept during the next twenty-four. 

On Friday (the following), I repaired to Armory Square 
Hospital to learn who, of all the hundreds sent, had 
reached that point. 

I traced the chaplain's record, and there upon the last 
page freshly written stood the name of Hugh Johnson 

Turning to Chaplain Jackson, I asked — "Did that 
man live until to-day?" 

"He died during the latter part of last night," he re- 
plied. "His friends reached him some two days ago, and 
they are now taking his body from the ward to be con- 
veyed to the depot." 

I looked in the direction his hand indicated, and there, 
beside a coffin, about to be lifted into a wagon, stood a 
gentleman, the mother, and Sister Mary! 

"Had he his reason?" I asked. 

"Oh, perfectly." 

"And his mother and sister were with him two days." 

"Yes." 

There was no need of me. He had given his own mes- 
sages; I could add nothing to their knowledge of him, and 
would fain be spared the scene of thanks. Poor Hugh, thy 
piteous prayers reached and were answered, and with 
eyes and heart full, I turned away, and never saw Sister 
Mary. 

These were days of darkness — a darkness that might 
be felt. 

The shattered bands of Pope and Banks! Bumside's 
weary legions! Reenforcements from West Virginia — 
and all that now remained of the once glorious Army of 



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190 CLARA BARTON 

the Peninsula had gathered for shelter beneath the re- 
doubts and guns that girdled Washington. 

How the soldiers remembered these ministrations is 
shown in letters such as this: 

' Chablks £. SnocoNS, Secretary, 2ist Regt Mass. VoL 
Chablbs £. Fryb, President 

7 Jaqubs Avbnub, 
WoRCBSTBR, Mass. 

Sq>tember 13th, 191 1 

To Clara Barton- 

The survivors of the Veteran 21st Massachusetts 
Regiment, assembled in "Odd Fellows Temple in the 
City of Worcester," wish to put on record the day of 
your coming to us at Bull Run and Chantilly, when we 
were in our deepest bereavement and loss; how your 
presence and deeds brought assurance and comfort; and 
how you assisted us up the hot and rugged sides of South 
Mountain by your ministry forty-nine years ago to-day, 
at and over the "Bumside Bridge" at Antietam, then 
through Pleasant Valley, to Falmouth, and in course of 
time were across the Rappahannock and storming the 
heights of Fredericksburg; were with us, indeed, when 
we recrossed the river and found shelter in our tents — 
broken, bruised, and sheared. With us evermore in body 
and spirit, lo, these fifty years. The prayer of the 21st 
Regiment is, God bless our old and tried friend. It was 
also voted that we present to Clara Barton a bouquet of 
flowers. 

Charles E. Simmons, Secretary 



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CHAPTER XIV 
harper's ferry to antietam 

Clara Barton had now definitely settled the method 
of her operations. She had demonstrated the practica- 
bility of getting to the front early, and had begun to 
learn what equipment was necessary if she were to per- 
form her work successfully. Washington was still to be 
her headquarters, her base of supplies, but from Wash- 
ington as a center she would radiate in any direction where 
the need was, going by the most direct route and arriving 
on the scene of conflict as soon as possible after authen- 
tic news of the battle. This was in contravention of all 
established custom, which was for women, if they as- 
sisted at all, to remain far in the rear until wounded sol- 
diers were conveyed to them, or until the retreat of the 
opposing army made it safe for them to come upon the 
field where the conflict had been. It disheartened her to 
have to remain in Washington where there was no lack 
of willing assistance, and wait till it was safe to stir. 

Moreover, she did not find her service in the Washing- 
ton hospitals wholly cheerful. It depressed her to move 
among the wounded and witness the after effects of the 
battle, the gangrene, the infection of wounds, and the 
slow fevers, and to think how much of this might have 
been avoided if the men could have had relief earlier. 
An extract from a letter to her sister-in-law, written in 
the summer of 1862, indicates something of her feeling 
at this time: 



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192 CLARA BARTON 

Washington, D.C, June 36di, 1863 
My dear Sister Julia: 

I cannot make a pleasant letter of this; everything is 
sad; the very pain which is breathed out in the atmos- 
phere of this dty is enough to sadden any human heart. 
Five thousand suffering men, and room preparing for 
eight thousand more, — poor, fevered, cut-up wretches, 
it agonizes me to think of it. I go when I can ; to-day am 
having a visit from a little Massachusetts (Lowell) boy, 
seventeen, his widowed mother's only child, whom I 
found recovering from fever in Mount Pleasant Hospital. 
It had left him with rheumatism. He was tender, and, 
when I asked him ''what he wanted," burst in tears 
and said, " I want to see my mother. She did n't know 
when I left." I appealed to the chief surgeon and ap* 
plied for his discharge as a native of Massachusetts. It 
was promised me, and, when the astonished little fellow 
heard it, he threw himself across the back of his chair and 
sobbed so he could scarcely get his breath. He had been 
ordered to another hospital next day; the order was 
checked; this was a week ago, and yesterday he came to 
me discharged^ and with forty-three dollars and some 
new clothes. I send him on to-night to his mother as a 
Sunday present. She knows nothing of it, only that he 
is suffering in hospital. I am ungrateful to be heavy- 
hearted when I have been able to do only that litde. 
His name is William Diggles, nephew of Jonas Diggles, 
tailor of New Sharon, Maine. 

Authentic news of battles reached Washington slowly. 
At first there was no certainty whether a battle was a 
battle or only a skirmish. Then, when it became certain 
that a battle had been fought, the first news was almost 
always unreliable. It would have been a great advantage 
if Clara Barton could have known where a battle was 
to be fought. Manifestly, she could not always know. 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 193 

The generals in command did not always know. But 
there were times when official Washington had premoni- 
tory information. She sought to establish relationship 
with sufficiently high authority to enable her to know in 
advance where such battles were to be fought as were 
brought on by a Union offensive. On Saturday night, 
September 13, 1862, she had secret information that a 
great battle was about to be fought. A small battle had 
been fought the day before and it had been disastrous. 
There had been an engagement at Harper's Ferry in 
which the Union army had 44 killed, 173 wounded, and 
the amazing number of 12,520 missing or captured. She 
already suspected, and a little later she knew, that that 
long list of men missing and captured, was more ominous 
than an added number killed or wounded: 

"Our army was weary," she said, "and lacked not 
only phjrsical strength, but confidence and spirit. And 
why should they not? Always defeated! Always on the 
retreat! I was almost demoralized myself! And I had 
just commenced." 

She "had just commenced"; that was characteristic 
of her. She had been ministering to the soldiers ever 
since the day when the first blood was shed on the 19th 
of April, 1861, and had been at it without rest or stint 
ever since. But she had just commenced; she had just 
learned how to do it in the way that was hereafter to 
characterize her methods. 

The defeat at Harper's Ferry threw Washington into 
a panic. But it moved McClellan to a long-deferred en- 
gagement with the Union forces in the offensive. 

The long maneuvering and skirmishing [she wrote], had 
yielded no fruit. Pope had been sacrific^ and all the 



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194 CLARA BARTON 

blood shed from Yorktown to Malvern Hill seemed to 
have been utterly in vain. But the minor keys, upon 
which I played my infinitesimal note in the great an- 
them of war and victory which rang through the land 
when these two fearful forces met and dosed, with gun- 
lock kissing gun-lock across the rocky bed of Antietam, 
are yet known only to a few. Washington was filled with 
dismay, and all the North was moved as a tenpest stirs 
a forest. 

Maryland lay temptingly in view, and Lee and Jack- 
son with the flower of the rebel army marched for its 
ripening fields. Who it was that whispered hastily on 
Saturday night, September 13, — ^'Harper's Ferry, not 
a moment to be lost'* — I have never dared to name. 

In thirty minutes I was waiting the always kindly 
spoken **Come in,'' of my patron saint, Major, now 
Quartermaster-General, Rucker. 

"Major," I said — "I want to go to Harper's Ferry; 
can I go?" 

''Perhaps so," he replied, with genial but doubtful 
expression. "Perhaps so; do you want a conveyance?" 

"Yes," I said. 

"But an army wagon is the only vehicle that will 
reach there with any burden in safety. I can send you 
one of these to-morrow morning." 

I said, "I wiU be ready." 

But here was to begin a new experience for me. I was 
to ride eighty miles in an army wagon, and straight into 
battle and danger at that. 

I could take no female companion, no friend, but the 
stout working-men I had use for. 

You, who are accustomed to see a coach and a pair of 
fine horses with a well-dressed, gentlemanly driver draw 
up to your door, will scarcely appreciate the sensation 
with which I watched the approach of the long and high, 
white-covered, tortoise-motioned vehicle, with its string 
of little, frisky, long-eared animals, with the broad- 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 195 

shouldered driver astride, and the eternal jerk of the 
single rein by which he navigated his craft up to my doon 

The time, you will remember, was Sunday; the place, 
7th Street, just off Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington 
City. 

Then and there, my vehicle was loaded, with boxes, 
bags, and parcels, and, last of all, I found a place for my* 
self and the four men who were to go with me. 

I took no Saratoga trunk, but remembered, at the 
last moment, to tie up a few articles in my handkerchief. 

Thus equipped, and seated, my chain of little uneasy 
animals commenced to straighten itself, and soon brought 
us into the center of Pennsylvania Avenue, in full gaze 
of the whole city in its best attire, and on its way to 
church. 

Thus all day we rattled on over the stones and dikes, 
and up and down the hills of Maryland. 

At nightfall we turned into an open field, and, dis- 
mounting, built a camp-fire, prepared supper, and re* 
tired, I to my work in my wagon, the men wrapped in 
their blankets, camping about me. 

All night an indistinct roar of artillery sounded upon 
our ears, and waking or sleeping, we were conscious of 
trouble ahead; but it was well for our rest that no mes- 
senger came to tell us how death reveled among our 
brave troops that night. 

Before daybreak, we had breakfasted, and were on our 
way. You will not infer that, because by ourselves, we 
were alone upon the road. We were directly in the midst 
of a train of army wagons, at least ten miles in length, 
moving in solid column — the Government supplies and 
ammunition, food, and medicine for an army in battle. 

Weary and sick from their late exposures and hard- 
ships, the men were falling by the wayside, faint, pale, 
and often dying. 

I busied myself as I rode on hour by hour in cutting 
loaves of bread in slices and passing ^em to the pale, 



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196 CLARA BARTON 

haggard wrecks as they sat by the roadside, or staggered 
on to avoid capture, and at each little village we entered, 
I purchased all the bread its inhabitants would sell. 

Horses as well as men had suffered and their dead 
bodies strewed the wayside. 

My poor words can never describe to you the con- 
sternation and horror with which we descended from our 
wagon, and trod, there in the mountain pass, that field 
of death. 

There, where we now walked with peaceful feet, twelve 
hours before the ground had rocked with carnage. There 
in the darkness God's angels of wrath and death had 
swept and, foe facing foe, the souls of men went out. 
And there, side by side, stark and cold in death mingled 
the Northern Blue and the Southern Gray. 

To such of you as have stood in the midst or followed 
in the track of armies and witnessed the strange and 
dreadful confusion of recent battle-grounds, I need not 
describe this field. And to you who have not, no de- 
scription would ever avail. 

The giant rocks, hanging above our heads, seemed to 
frown upon the scene, and the sighing trees which hung 
lovingly upon their rugged edge drooped low and wept 
their pitying dews upon the livid brows and ghasdy 
wounds beneath. 

Climbing hills and clambering over ledges we sought 
in vain for some poor wretch in whom life had still left 
the power to suffer. Not one remained, and, grateful 
for tills, but shocked and sick of heart, we returned to 
our waiting conveyance. 

So far as Harper's Ferry was concerned, her advance 
information appeared to have come too late to be of any 
value. The number of wounded was not large, and these 
had all been taken to Frederick, Maryland. Only the 
day before, Stonewall Jackson and his men had passed 
through, and Barbara Frietchie had refused to haul 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 197 

down her flag. There had not been many wounded, any- 
way; the Federal army simply had failed to fight at 
Harper's Ferry. The word "morale" was not then in 
common use, but that was what the Union army had 
lost. On Monday, September 15, 1862, was fought the 
battle of South Mountain, Maryland. There Hooker 
and Franklin and Reno were defeated with a loss of 
325 men killed, 1403 wounded, and 85 prisoners. There 
were few prisoners as compared with Harper's Ferry, 
but that was partly because the mountainous country 
gave the defeated Union soldiers a better chance to 
escape. The defeat was beyond question, and General 
Reno was killed. While Clara Barton was driving from 
Harper's Ferry where she had expected to find a battle, 
she came suddenly upon a battle-field, that of South 
Mountain. There she did her ministering work. But 
Harper's Ferry and South Mountain were both prelimi- 
nary to the real battle of which she had had her Wash- 
ington warning. And now she made a discovery. If she 
was ever to get to the front in time to be of the great- 
est possible service, she must short-circuit the ordi- 
nary military method which would have put her and 
her equipment among the baggage-wagons. For her the 
motto from this time on was, "Follow the cannon." 
This gave her something approaching an open road, and 
afforded her the opportunity which she was just learning 
how to utilize with greatest efficiency. 

The increase of stragglers along the road [Miss Barton 
recalled] was alarming, showing that our army was 
weary, and lacked not only physical strength, but con- 
fidence and spirit. 

And why should they not? Always defeated! Always 



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198 CLARA BARTON 

on the retreat! I was almost demoralized myself! And 
I had just commenced. 

I have already spoken of the great length of the army 
train, and that we could no more change our position than 
one of the planets. Unless we should wait and fall in the 
rear, we could not advance a single wagon. 

And for the benefit of those who may not understand, 
I may say that the order of the train was, first, ammuni* 
tion; next, food and clothing for well troops; and finally, 
the hospital supplies. Thus, in case of the battle the 
needed stores for the army, according to the slow, cau- 
tious movement of such bodies, must be from two to 
three days in coming up. 

Meanwhile, as usual, our men must languish and die. 
Something must be done to gain time. And I resorted to 
strategy. We found an early resting-place, supped by our 
camp-fire, and slept again among the dews and damps. 

At one o'clock, when everything was still, we arose, 
breakfasted, harnessed, and moved on past the whole 
train, which like ourselves had camped for the night. At 
daylight we had gained ten miles and were up with the 
artillery and in advance even of the ammunition. 

All that weary, dusty day I followed the cannon, and 
nightfall brought us up with the great Army of the Poto- 
mac, 80,000 men resting upon their arms in the face of a 
foe equal in number, sullen, straitened, and desperate. 

Closely following the guns we drew up where they did, 
among the smoke of the thousand camp-fires, men has- 
tening to and fro, and the atmosphere loaded with nox- 
ious vapors, till it seemed the very breath of pestilence. 
We were upon the left wing of the army, and this was 
the last evening's rest of Bumside's men. To how many 
hundred it proved the last rest upon the earth, the next 
day's record shows. 

In all this vast assemblage I saw no other trace of 
womankind. I was faint, but could not eat; weary, but 
could not sleep; depressed, but could not weep. 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 199 

So I climbed into my wagon, tied down the cover, 
dropped down in the little nook I had occupied so long, 
and prayed God with all the earnestness of my soul to 
stay the morrow's strife or send us victory. And for 
my poor self, that He impart somewhat of wisdom and 
strength to my heart, nerve to my arm, speed to my feet, 
and fill my hands for the terrible duties of the coming day. 
Heavy and sad I awaited its approach. 

The battle of Antietam occurred on September 16 and 
17, 1862. It was the first battle in the East that roused 
to any considerable degree the forlorn hope of the friends 
of the Union. It was the first real Eastern victory for the 
Union army. It was not as decided a victory as it ought 
to have been, but it was a victory. It put heart into 
Abraham Lincoln and certified to his conscience that the 
time had come to redeem the promise he had made to 
God — that if He would give victory to the Union arms 
Lincoln would free the slaves. McClellan did not follow 
up his advantage as he should have done and make that 
victory triumphant. But he did something other than 
delay and retreat, and he put some heart into the Union 
army when it discovered that it need not forever be on 
the defensive, nor always suffer defeat. In this great, 
and, in spite of its limitations, victorious, battle, Clara 
Barton was on the ground before the first gun was fired, 
and she did not leave the field until the last wounded 
man had been cared for. At the outset she watched the 
battle, but almost immediately she laid down her field- 
glasses, went to the place where the wounded were being 
brought in, and was able to perform her work of ministra- 
tion without a single hour's delay. 

She told her story of the conflict as she saw it: 



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200 CLARA BARTON 

The battle commenced on the right and already with 
the aid of field-glasses we saw our own forces, led by 
"Fighting Joe" [Hooker], overborne and falling back. 

Bumside commenced to send cavalry and artillery to 
his aid, and, thinking our place might be there, we fol- 
lowed them around eight miles, turning into a cornfield 
near a house and bam, and stopping in the rear of the last 
gun, which completed the terrible line of artillery which 
ranged diagonally in the rear of Hooker's army. That 
day a garden wall only separated us. The infantry were 
already driven back two miles, and stood under cover of 
the guns. The fighting had been fearful. We had met 
wounded men, walking or borne to the rear for the last 
two miles. But around the old bam there lay, too badly 
wounded to admit of removal, some three hundred thus 
early in the day, for it was scarce ten o'clock. 

We loosened our mules and commenced our work. 
The com was so high as to conceal the house, which stood 
some distance to the right, but, judging that a path which 
I observed must lead to it, and also that surgeons must 
be operating there, I took my arms full of stimulants 
and bandages and followed the opening. 

Arriving at a little wicker gate, I found the dooryard 
of a small house, and myself face to face with one of the 
kindest and noblest surgeons I have ever met, Dr. Dunn, 
of Conneautville, Pennsylvania. 

Speechless both, for an instant, he at length threw up 
his hands with "God has indeed remembered us! How 
did you get from Virginia here so soon? And again to 
supply our necessities! And they are terrible. We have 
nothing but our instruments and the little chloroform 
we brought in our pockets. We have torn up the last 
sheets we could find in this house. We have not a band- 
age, rag, lint, or string, and all these shell-wounded men 
bleeding to death." 

Upon the porch stood four tables, with an etherized 
patient upon each, a surgeon standing over him with his 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 201 

box of instruments, and a bunch of green com leaves 
beside him. 

With what joy I laid my precious burden down among 
them, and thought that never before had linen looked so 
white, or wine so red. Oh! be grateful, ladies, that God 
put it in your hearts to perform the work you did in 
those days. How doubly sanctified was the sacred old 
household linen woven by the hands of the sainted mother 
long gone to her reward. For you arose the tender bless- 
ings of those grateful men, which linger in my memory as 
faithfully to-night as do the bugle notes which called 
them to their doom. 

Thrice that day was the ground in front of us con- 
tested, lost, and won, and twice our men were driven back 
under cover of that JFearful range of guns, and each time 
brought its hundreds of wounded to our crowded ground* 

A little after noon, the enemy made a desperate at- 
tempt to regain what had been lost; Hooker, Sedgwick, 
Dana, Richardson, Hartsuff, and Mansfield had been 
borne wounded from the field and the command of the 
right wing devolved upon General Howard. 

The smoke became so dense as to obscure our sight, 
and the hot, sulphurous breath of battle dried our 
tongues and parched our lips to bleeding. 

We were in a slight hollow, and all shell which did not 
break over our guns in front came directly among or 
over us, bursting above our heads or burying themselves 
in the hills beyond. 

A man lying upon the ground asked for a drink; I 
stopped to give it, and, having raised him with my right 
hand, was holding him. 

Just at this moment a bullet sped its free and easy 
way between us, tearing a hole in my sleeve and found 
its way into his body. He fell back dead. 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? 



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202 CLARA BARTON 

The patient endurance of these men was most astonish- 
ing. As many as could be were carried into the bam, as 
a slight protection against random shot. Just outside 
the door lay a man wounded in the face, the ball having 
entered the lower maxillary on the left side and lodged 
among the bones of the right cheek. His imploring look 
drew me to him, when, placing his finger upon the sharp 
protuberance, he said, ''Lady, will you tell me what this 
is that bums so?" I repli^ that it must be the ball 
which had been too far spent to cut its way entirely 
through. 

"It is terribly painful/' he said. "Won't you take it 
out?" 

I said I would go to the tables for a sui^geon. ''No! 
No!" he said, catching my dress. "They cannot come 
to me. I must wait my turn, for this is a little wound. 
You can get the ball. There is a knife in your pocket. 
Please take the ball out for me." 

This was a new call. I had never severed the nerves 
and fibers of human flesh, and I said I could not hurt 
him so much. He looked up, with as nearly a smile as 
such a mangled face could assume, saying, "You cannot 
hurt me, dear lady, I can endure any pain that your hands 
can create. Please do it. It will relieve me so much." 

I could not withstand his entreaty and, opening the 
best blade of my pocket-knife, prepared for the operation. 
Just at his head lay a stalwart orderly sergeant from 
Illinois, with a face beaming with intelligence and kind- 
ness, and who had a bullet directly through the fleshy 
part of both thighs. He had been watching the scene 
with great interest and, when he saw me commence to 
raise the poor fellow's head, and no one to support it, 
with a desperate effort he succeeded in raising himself to 
a sitting posture, exclaiming as he did so, " I will help 
do that." Shoving himself along the ground he took the 
wounded head in his hands and held it while I extracted 
the ball and washed and bandaged the face. 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 203 

I do not think a surgeon would have pronounced It a 
scientific operation, but that it was successful I dared to 
hope from the gratitude of the patient. 

I assisted the sergeant to lie down again, brave and 
cheerful as he had risen, and passed on to others. 

Returning in half an hour, I found him weeping, the 
great tears rolling diligently down his manly dheeks. I 
thought his effort had been too great for his strength and 
expressed my fears. "Oh! No! No! Madam,*' he replied. 
" It is not for myself. I am very well, but,'* pointing to 
another just brought in, he said, ''this is my comrade, 
and he tells me that our regiment is all cut to pieces, that 
my captain was the last officer left, and he is dead." 

Oh, God ! what a costly war! This man could laugh at 
pain, face death without a tremor, and yet weep like a 
child over the loss of his comrades and his captain. 

At two o'clock my men came to tell me that the last 
loaf of bread had been cut and the last cracker pounded. 
We had three boxes of wine still unopened. What should 
they do? 

"Open the wine and give that," I said, "and God help 
us." 

The next instant an ejaculation from Sergeant Field, 
who had opened the first box, drew my attention, and, 
to my astonished gaze, the wine had been packed in 
nicely sifted Indian meal. 

If it had been gold dust it would have seemed poor in 
comparison. I had no words. No one spoke. In silence 
the men wiped their eyes and resumed their work. 

Of twelve boxes of wine which we carried, the first 
nine, when opened, were found packed in sawdust, the 
last three, when all else was gone, in Indian meal. 

A woman would not hesitate long under circumstances 
like these. 

This was an old farmhouse. Six large kettles were 
picked up and set over fires, almost as quickly as I can 
tell it, and I was mixing water and meal for gruel. 



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204 . CLARA BARTON 

It occurred to us to explore the cellar. The chimney 
rested on an arch, and, forcing the door, we discovered 
three barrels and a bag. "They are full," said the ser- 
geant, and, rolling one into the light, found that it bore 
the mark of Jackson's army. These three barreb of 
flour and a bag of salt had been stored there by the rebel 
army during its upward march. 

I shall never experience such a sensation of wealth 
and competency again, from utter poverty to such riches. 

All that night my thirty men (for my corps of workers 
had increased to tiiat number during the day) carried 
buckets of hot gruel for miles down the line to the 
wounded and dying where they fell. 

This time, profiting by experience, we had lanterns to 
hang in and around the bam, and, having directed it to 
be done, I went to the house and found the surgeon in 
charge, sitting alone, beside a table, upon which he rested 
his elbow, apparently meditating upon a bit of tallow 
candle which flickered in the center. 

Approaching carefully, I said, "You are tired, Doc- 
tor." He started up with a look almost savage, "Tired! 
Yes, I am tired, tired of such heartlessness, such careless- 
ness!" Turning full upon me, he continued: "Think of 
the condition of things. Here are at least one thousand 
wounded men, terribly wounded, five hundred of whom 
cannot live till daylight, without attention. That two 
inches of candle is all I have or can get. What can I do? 
How can I endure it?" 

I took him by the arm, and, leading him to the door, 
pointed in the direction of the bam where the lanterns 
glistened like stars among the waving com. 

"What is that?" he exclauned. 

"The bam is lighted," I said, "and the house will be 
directly." 

"Who did it?" 

"I, Doctor." 

"Where did you get them?" 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 205 

"Brought them with me/* 

"How many have you?" 

"All you want — four boxes." 

He looked at me a moment, as if waking from a dream, 
turned away without a word, and never alluded to the 
circumstances, but the deference which he paid me was 
almost painful. 

During a lecture in the West, Miss Barton related this 
incident, and as she closed a gentleman sprang upon the 
stage, and, addressing the audience, exclaimed: "Ladies 
and gentlemen, if I never have acknowledged that favor, 
I will do it now. I am that surgeon.'* 

Darkness [Miss Barton continues] brought silence and 
peace, and respite and rest to our gallant men. As they 
had risen, regiment by regiment, from their grassy beds 
in the morning, so at night the fainting remnant again 
sank down on the trampled blood-stained earth, the 
weary to sleep, and the wounded to die. 

Through the long starlit night we wrought and hoped 
and prayed. But it was only when in the hush of the 
following day, as we glanced over that vast Aceldama, 
that we learned at what a fearful cost the gallant Union 
army had won the battle of Antietam. 

Antietam! With its eight miles of camping armies, 
face to face; 160,000 men to spring up at dawn like the 
old Scot from the heather! Its miles of artillery shaking 
the earth like a chain of iEtnas! Its ten hours of unin- 
terrupted battle! Its thunder and its fire! The sharp, 
unflinching order, — "Hold the Bridge, boys, — always 
the Bridge." At length, the quiet! The pale moonlight 
on its cooling guns! The weary men, the dying and the 
dead! The flag of truce that buried our enemies slain, 
and Antietam was fought, and won, and the foe turned 
back! 

Clara Barton remained on the battle-field of Antietam 



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206 CLARA BARTOIf 

until her supplies were exhausted and she was completely 
worn out. Not only fatigue but fever came upon her, and 
she was carried back to Washington apparently sick. 
But the call of duty gave her fresh strength, and she was 
soon wondering where the next battle was to be and 
planning to be on the field. Almost the only entry in her 
diary in the autumn of 1862, aside from memoranda of 
wounded men and similar entries relating to people other 
than herself, is one of October 23, which she began in 
some detail, but broke off abruptly. She records that 
she "left Washington for Harper's Ferry expecting to 
meet a battle there. Have taken four teams of Colonel 
Rucker loaded at his office, traveled and camped as usual, 
reaching Harper's Ferry the third day. At the first end 
of the pontoon bridge one of Peter's mules ran off and 
we delayed the progress of the army for twenty minutes 
to be extricated." 

The rest of the entry contains the names of her drivers, 
details of the overturned wagon, and other memoranda. 
Two things are of interest in this fragmentary record. 
One is the definiteness of the method which she now had 
adopted of going where she "expected to meet a battle." 
The other is the fact that a delay of twenty minutes, 
caused by an accident to one of her wagons on the pon- 
toon bridge, illustrates a reason why, in general, armies 
cannot permit even so necessary things as supplies for 
the wounded to get in the way of the free movement of 
troops. However, this delay was quite exceptional. She 
did not usually cause any inconvenience of this sort, nor 
did it in this instance result in any serious harm. On 
this occasion she was provided with an ambulance for 
her own use. That thoughtful provision for her con- 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 207 

venience and means of conserving her energy, was pro- 
vided for her by Quartermaster-General Rucken 

On this journey the question was decided who was 
really in command of her part of the expedition. In one 
of her lectures she described her associates on this and 
subsequent expeditions: 

There may be those present who are curious to know 
how eight or ten rough, stout men, who knew nothing of 
me, received the fact that they were to drive their teams 
under the charge of a lady. 

This question has been so often asked in private that 
I deem it proper to answer it publicly. 

Well, the various expressions of their faces afforded 
a study. They were not soldiers, but civilians in Gov- 
ernment employ. Drovers, butchers, hucksters, mule- 
breakers, probably not one of them had ever passed an 
hour in what coidd be termed "ladies' society," in hb 
life. But every man had driven through the whole pen- 
insular campaign. Every one of them had taken his team 
unharmed out of that retreat, and had sworn an oath 
never to drive another step in Virginia. 

They were brave and skillful, understood their busi- 
ness to perfection, but had no art. They said and looked 
what they thought; and I understood them at a glance. 

These teamsters proposed to go into camp at four 
o'clock in the afternoon, and start when they got ready 
in the morning, but she first established her authority 
over them, and then cooked them a hot supper, the first 
and last she ever cooked for army teamsters, and they 
came to her later in the evening, apologized for their 
obstinacy, and were ready to drive her anywhere. 

"We come to tell you we are ashamed of ourselves" 
[their leader said]. 



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208 CLARA BARTON 

I thought honest confession good for the soul, and did 
not interrupt him. 

"The truth is," he continued, "in the first place we 
did n't want to come. There's fighting ahead and weVe 
seen enough of that for men who don't carry muskets, 
only whips; and then we never seen a train under charge 
of a woman before and we could n't understand it, and 
we did n't like it, and we thought we 'd break it up, and 
we've been mean and contrary all day, and said a good 
many hard things and you've treated us like gentlemen. 
We had n't no right to expect that supper from you, a 
better meal than we 've had in two years. And you've 
been as polite to us as if we'd been the General and 
his staff, and it makes us ashamed. And we've come 
to ask your forgiveness. We shan't trouble you no 
more. 

My forgiveness was easily obtained. I reminded them 
that as men it was their duty to go where the country 
had need of them. As for my being a woman, they would 
get accustomed to that. And I assured them that, as 
long as I had any food, I would share it with them. That, 
when they were hungry and supperless, I should be ; that 
if harm befell them, I should care for them; if sick, I 
should nurse them; and that, under all circumstances, I 
should treat them like gentlemen. 

They listened silently, and, when I saw the rough, 
woolen coat-sleeves drawing across their faces, it was one 
of the best moments of my life. 

Bidding me "good-night" they withdrew, excepting 
the leader, who went to my ambulance, hung a lighted 
lantern in the top, arranged the few quilts inside for 
my bed, assisted me up the steps, buckled the canvas 
down snugly outside, covered the fire safely for morn- 
ing, wrapped his blanket around him, and lay down a few 
feet from me on the ground. 

At daylight I became conscious of low voices and 
stifled sounds, and soon discovered that these men were 



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HARPER^S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 209 

endeavoring to speak low and feed and harness their 
teams quietly, not to disturb me. 

On the odier side I heard the crackling of blazing 
chestnut rails and the rattling of dishes, and George came 
with a bucket of fresh water, to undo my buckle door 
latches, and announce that breakfast was nearly ready. 

I had cooked my last meal for my drivers. These men 
remained with me six months through frost and snow and 
march and camp and battle; and nursed the sick, dressed 
the wounded, soothed the dying, and buried the dead; 
and if possible grew kinder and gentler every day. 

There was one serious difficulty about following ad- 
vance information and attempting to be on the battle- 
field when the battle occurred. The battle does not 
always occur at the time and place expected. The battle 
at Harper's Ferry in October, 1862, did not take place 
as planned. General Lee may have received the same 
advance information which was conveyed to Clara 
Barton. At all events, he was not among those present 
when the battle was scheduled to take place. He with- 
drew his army and waited until he was ready to fight. 
McClellan decided to follow Lee, and Clara Barton 
moved with the army. As she moved, she cared for the 
sick, supplying them from her own stores, returning to 
Washington with a body of sick men about the first of 
December. She was suffering from a felon on her hand 
from the first of November until near the end of that 
month. Her hand was lanced in the open field, and she 
suffered from the cold, but did not complain. 

She did not remain long in Washington, but returned 
by way of Acquia Creek and met the army at Falmouth. 
From Falmouth she wrote a letter to some of the women 
who had been assisting her, and sent it by the hand of 



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210 CLARA BARTON 

the Reverend C. M. Wells, one of her reliable associates. 
It contains references to her sore finger and to the 
nature of accommodations: 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 
Hbadquartbrs General Sturgis, 2nd Divisioif 

December 8tfa, 1869 

Messrs. Brown & Co. 
Dear Friends: 

Mr. Wells returns to-morrow and I improve the oppor- 
tunity to send a line by him to you, not feeling quite cer- 
tain if posted matter reaches directly when sent from the 
army. 

We reached Acquia Creek safely in the time antici- 
pated, and to my great joy learned immediately that our 
old friend Captain (Major) Hall (of the 21st) was Quar- 
termaster. As soon as the boat was unloaded, he came 
on board and spent the remainder of the evening with 
me. — We had a home chat, I assure you. Remained till 
the next day, sent a barrel of apples, etc., up to the Cap- 
tain's quarters, and proceeded with the remainder of our 
luggage, for which it is needless to say ready transportO' 
tion was found, and the Captain chided me for having 
left anything behind at the depot, as I told him I had 
done. On reaching Falmouth Station we found another 
old friend. Captain Bailey, in charge, who instituted 
himself as watch over the goods until he sent them 
all up to Headquarters. My ambulance came through 
that P.M., but for fear it might not. General Sturgis had 
his taken down for me, and had supper arranged and a 
splendid serenade. I don't know how we could have had 
a warmer "welcome home," as the officers termed it. 

Headquarters are in the dooryard of a farmhouse, one 
room of which is occupied by Miss G. and myself. My 
wagons are a little way from me, out of sight, and I am 
wishing for a tent and stove to pitch and live near them. 
The weather is cold, and the ground covered with snow» 
but I could make me comfortable with a good tent, floor, 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 211 

and stove, and should prefer it to a room in a rebel house 
and one so generally occupied. 

The 2 1st are a few rods from me; many of the officers 
call to see me every day. Colonel Clark is very neigh- 
borly; he is looking finely now; he was in this P.M., and 
was going in search of Colonel Morse whom he thought 
to be a mile or two distant. I learned to-night that the 
15th are only some three miles away; the 36th I cannot 
find yet. I have searched hard for them and shall get on 
their track soon, I trust. 

Of army movements nothing can be said with cer- 
tainty; no two persons, not even the generals, agree in 
reference to the future programme. The snow appears 
to have deranged the plans very seriously. I have re- 
ceived calls from two generals to-day, and in the course 
of conversation I discovered that their views were 
entirely different. General Bumside stood a long time 
in front of my door to-day, but to my astonishment he 
did not express his opinion — strange! 

I have not suffered for want of the boots yet, but should 
find them convenient, I presume, and shall be glad to see 
them. The sore finger is much the same; not very trou- 
blesome, although somewhat so. If you desire to reach 
this point, I think you would find no difficulty after 
getting past the guard at Washington — at Acquia you 
would find all right I am sure. 

I can think of a host of things I wish you could take 
out to me. 

In spite of her wish that she might have had a tent, 
and so have avoided living in a captured house, her resi- 
dence was the Lacy house on the shore of the Rappa- 
hannock and close to Fredericksburg. There was nothing 
imcertain about her information this time. She knew 
when the battle was to occur, and at two o'clock in the 
morning she wrote a letter to her cousiui Vira Stone, just 
before the storm of battle broke: 



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212 CLARA BARTON 

HbADQUARTBRS 2ND DiVISIOK 

Army of thb Potomac 
Camp near Faucouth, Va. 

December 12, 1862, 2 o'dodc ajl 

Dear Cousin Vira: ... 

Five minutes' time with you, and God only knows 
what that five minutes might be worth to the — may 
be — doomed thousands sleeping around me. It is the 
night before a " battle." The enemy, Fredericksburg, and 
its mighty entrenchments lie before us — the river be- 
tween. At to-morrow's dawn our troops will essay to 
cross and the guns of the enemy will sweep their 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, O God, be done." 
The camp-fires blaze with imwonted brightness, the 
sentry's tread is still but quick, the scores of little shelter 
tents are dark and still as death; no wonder, for, 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 morn- 
ing's sacrifice. 

Sleep, weary ones, sleep and rest for to-morrow's 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 peril 
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 all! God 
pity and strengthen you every one. 

Mine are not the only waking hours; the light yet 
bums brightly in our kind-hearted General's tent, where 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 213 

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 b sounding in my ears. The 
battle draws near and I must catch one hour's sleep for 
to-day's labor. 

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

Clara 

All her apprehensions were less than the truth. It was 
a terrible battle, and a disheartening disaster. The Un- 
ion army lost 1284 in killed, 9600 wounded, and 1769 
missing. The memories of Fredericksburg remained with 
her distinct and terrible to the day of her death. She 
described the battle and the events which followed it in 
her war lectures: 

We found ourselves beside a broad, muddy river, and 
a little canvas city grew up in a night upon its banks. 
And there we sat and waited "while the world won- 
dered." Ay, it did more than wonder! It murmured, it 
grumbled, it cried shame, to sit there and shiver under 
the canvas. "Cross over the river and occupy those 
brick houses on the other shore!" The murmurs grew 
to a clamor! 

Our gallant leader heard them and hb gentle heart 
grew sore as he looked upon his army that he loved as it 
loved him and looked upon those fearful sights beyond. 
Carelessness or incapacity at the capital had baffled his 
best-laid plans till time had made his foes a wall of ada- 
mant. Still the country murmured. You, friends, have 
not forgotten how, for these were the dark days of old 
Fredericksburg, and our little canvas city was Falmouth. 

Finally, one soft, hazy winter's day the army prepared 
for an attack; but there was neither boat nor bridge, and 
the sluggish tide rolled dark between. 



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214 CLARA BARTON 

The men of Hooker and Franklin were right and left, 
but here in the center came the brave men of the silvery- 
haired Sumnen 

Drawn up in line they wait in the beautiful grounds of 
the stately mansion whose owner, Lacy, had long sought 
the other side, and stood that day aiming engines of de- 
struction at the home of his youth and the graves of his 
household. 

There on the second portico I stood and watched the 
engineers as they moved forward to construct a pontoon 
bridge. It will be remembered that the rebel army oc- 
cupying the heights of Fredericksburg previous to the 
attack was very cautious about revealing the position of 
its guns. 

A few boats were fastened and the men marched 
quickly on with timbers and planks. For a few rods 
it proved a success, and scarcely could the impatient 
troops be restrained from rending the air with shouts 
of triumph. 

On marches the little band with brace and plank, but 
never to be laid by them. A rain of musket balls has 
swept their ranks and the brave fellows lie level with the 
bridge or float down the stream. 

No living thing stirs on the opposite bank. No enemy 
is in sight. Whence comes this rain of death? 

Maddened by the fate of their comrades, others seize 
the work and march onward to their doom. For now, 
the balls are hurling thick and fast, not only at the bridge, 
but over and beyond to the limit of their range — crash- 
ing through the trees, the windows and doors of the Lacy 
house. And ever here and there a man drops in the wait- 
ing ranks, silently as a snowflake. And his comrades 
bear him in for help, or back for a grave. 

There on the lower bank under a slouched hat stands 
the man of honest heart and genial face that a soldier 
could love and honor even through defeat. The ever- 
trusted, gallant Bumside. Hark — that deep-toned or- 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 215 

der rising above the heads of his men: ''Bring the guns 
to bear and shell them out/' 

Then rolled the thunder and the fire. For two long 
hours the shot and shell hurled through the roofs and 
leveled the spires of Fredericksburg. Then the little 
band of engineers resumed its work, but ere ten spaces 
of the bridge were gained, they fell like grass before the 
scythe. 

For an instant all stand aghast; then ran the murmurs: 
''The cellars are filled with sharp-shooters and our shell 
will never reach them." 

But once more over the heads of his men rose that 
deep-toned order: "Man the boats.** 

Into the boats like tigers then spring the 7th Michigan. 

"Row! ! Row! ! Ply for your lives, boys." And they 
do. But mark! They fall, some into the boats, some out. 
Other hands seize the oars and strain and tug with might 
and main. Oh, how slow the seconds drag! How long 
we have held our breath. 

Almost across — under the bluffs — and out of range! 
Thank God — they '11 land ! 

Ah, yes; but not all. Mark the windows and doors of 
those houses above them. See the men swarming from 
them armed to the teeth and rushing to the river. 

They've reached the bluffs above the boats. Down 
point the muskets. Ah, that rain of shot and shell and 
flame! 

Out of the boats waist-deep in the water; straight 
through the fire. Up, up the bank the boys in blue! 
Grimly above, that line of gray! 

Dpwn pours the shot. Up, up the blue, till hand to 
hand like fighting demons they wrestle on the edge. 

Can we breathe yet? No! Still they struggle. Ah, 
yes, they break, they fly, up through the street and out of 
sight, pursuer and pursued. 

It were long to tell of that night crossing and the next 
terrible day of fire and blood. And when the battle broke 



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2i6 CLARA BARTON 

o V field and grove, like a resbtless flood daylight exposed 
Fredericksburg witih its fourth-day flag of truce, its dead, 
starving, and wounded, frozen to the ground. The 
wounded were brought to me, frozen, for days after, and 
our commissions and their supplies at Washington with 
no effective organization or power to go beyond I The 
many wounded lay, uncared for, on the cold snow. 

Although the Lacy house was exposed to fire she was 
not permitted to remain within the shelter of its walls. 
While the fight was at its hottest, she crossed the river 
under fire for a place of greater danger and of greater 
need: 

At ten o'clock of the battle day when the rebel fire was 
hottest, the shell rolling down every street, and the 
bridge under the heavy cannonade, a courier dashed over 
and, rushing up the steps of the Lacy house, placed in 
my hand a crumpled, bloody slip of paper, a request from 
the lion-hearted old surgeon on the opposite shore, estab- 
lishing his hospitals in the very jaws of death. 

The uncouth penciling said : " Come to me. Your place 
is here." 

The faces of the rough men working at my side, which 
eight weeks ago had flushed with indignation at the very 
thought of being controlled by a woman, grew ashy white 
as they guessed the nature of the sununons, and the lips 
which had cursed and pouted in disgust trembled as they 
begged me to send them, but save myself. I could only 
permit them to go with me if they chose, and in twenty 
minutes we were rocking across the swaying bridge, the 
water hissing with shot on either side. 

Over into that city of death, its roofs riddled by shell, 
its very church a crowded hospital, every street a battle- 
line, every hill a rampart, every rock a fortress, and every 
stone wall a blazing line of forts! 

Oh, what a day's work was that! How those long lines 



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HARPERS FERRY TO ANTIETAM 217 

of blue, rank upon rank, charged over the open acres, 
up to tiie very mouths of those blazmg guns, and how 
like gram before the sickle they fell and melted away. 

An officer stepped to my side to assist me over the 
debris at the end of the bridge. While our hands were 
raised in the act of stepping down, a piece of an exploding 
shell hissed through between us, just below our arms, 
carrying away a portion of both the skirts of his coat 
and my dress, rolling along the ground a few rods from 
us like a harmless pebble into the water. 

The next instant a solid shot thundered over our heads, 
a noble steed bounded in the air, and, with his gallant 
rider, rolled in the dirt, not thirty feet in the rear! 
Leaving the kind-hearted officer, I passed on alone to 
the hospital. In less than a half-hour he was brought to 
me — dead. 

I mention these circumstances not as specimens of my 
own bravery. Oh, no! I beg you will not place that con- 
struction upon them, for I never professed anything be- 
yond ordinary courage, and a thousand times preferred 
safety to danger. 

But I mention them that those of you, who have never 
seen a battle, may the better realize the perils through 
which these brave men passed, who for four long years 
bore their country's bloody banner in the face of death, 
and stood, a living wall of flesh and blood, between the 
invading traitor and your peaceful homes. 

In the afternoon of Sunday an officer came hurriedly 
to tell me that in a church across the way lay one of his 
men shot in the face the day before. His wounds were 
bleeding slowly and, the blood drying and hardening 
about his nose and mouth, he was in inunediate danger of 
suffocation. 

(Friends, this may seem to you repulsive, but I assure 
you that many a brave and beautiful soldier has died of 
this alone.) 

Seizing a basin of water and a sponge, I ran to the 



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2i8 CLARA BARTON 

church, to find the report only too true. Among hun- 
dreds of comrades lay my patient. For any human ap- 
pearance above his head and shoulderst it might as well 
have been anything but a man. 

I knelt by him and commenced with fear and trembling 
lest some imlucky movement close the last aperture for 
breath. After some hours' labor, I began to recognize 
features. They seemed familiar. With what impatience 
I wrought. Finally my hand wiped away the last ob- 
struction. An eye opened, and there to my gaze was the 
sexton of my old home church ! 

I have remarked that every house was a hospital. 
Passing from one to another durii^ the tumult of Satur- 
day, I waited for a regiment of infantry to sweep on its 
way to the heights. Being alone, and the only woman 
visible among that moving sea of men, I naturally at- 
tracted the attention of the old veteran, Provost Marshal 
General Patrick, who, mistaking me for a resident of the 
city who had remained in her home until the crashing 
shot had driven her into the street, dashed through the 
waiting ranks to my side, and, bending down from his 
saddle, said in his kindliest tones, ''You are alone and in 
great danger. Madam. Do you want protection?" 

Amused at his gallant mistake, I humored it by thank- 
ing him, as I turned to the ranks, adding that I believed 
myself the best protected woman in the United States. 

The soldiers near me caught my words, and responding 
with "That's so! That's so!" set up a cheer. This in turn 
was caught by the next line and so on, line after line, till 
the whole army joined in the shout, no one knowing what 
he was cheering at, but never doubting there was a vic- 
tory somewhere. The gallant old General, taking in the 
situation, bowed low his bared head, saying, as he gal- 
loped away, " I believe you are right. Madam." 

It would be difficult for persons in ordinary life to 
realize the troubles arising from want of space merely 
for wounded men to occupy when gathered together for 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 219 

surgical treatment and care. You may suggest that ''all 
out-of-doors" ought to be large, and so it would seem, 
but the fact did not always prove so. Civilized men seek 
shelter in sickness, and of this there was ever a scarcity. 

Twelve hundred men were crowded into the Lacy 
house, which contained but twelve rooms. They covered 
every foot of the floors and porticoes, and even lay on the 
stair landings! A man who could find opportunity to lie 
between the legs of a table thought himself lucky: he was 
not likely to be stepped on. In a common cupboard, 
with four shelves, five men lay, and were fed and at- 
tended. Three lived to be removed, and two died of their 
wounds. 

Think of trying to lie still and die quietly, lest you fall 
out of a bed six feet high! 

Among the wounded of the 7th Michigan was one 
Faulkner, of Ashtabula County, Ohio, a mere lad, shot 
through the lungs and, to all appearances, dying. When 
brought in, he could swallow nothing, breathed painfully, 
and it was with great difiiculty that he gave me his name 
and residence. He could not lie down, but sat leaning 
against the wall in the comer of the room. 

I observed him carefully as I hurried past from one 
room to another, and finally thought he had ceased to 
breathe. At this moment another man with a similar 
wound was taken in on a stretcher by his comrades, who 
sought in vain for a spot large enough to lay him down, 
and appealed to me. I could only tell them that when 
that poor boy in the comer was removed, they could set 
him down in his place. They went to remove him, but, 
to the astonishment of all, he objected, opened hb eyes, 
and persisted in retaining his comer, which he did for 
some two weeks, when, finally, a mere bundle of skin and 
bones, for he gave small evidence of either flesh or blood, 
he was wrapped in a blanket and taken away in an am- 
bulance to Washington, with a bottle of milk punch in 
his blouse, the only nourishment he could take. 



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220 CLARA BARTON 

On my return to Washington, three months later, a 
messenger came from Lincohi Hospital to say that the 
men of Ward 17 wanted to see me. I returned with him, 
and as I entered the ward seventy men saluted me, stand- 
ing, such as could, others rising feebly in their beds, and 
falling back — exhausted with the effort. 

Every man had left his blood in Fredericksburg — 
every one was from the Lacy house. My hand had 
dressed every wound — many of them in the first terrible 
moments of agony. I had prepared their food in the 
snow and winds of December and fed them like chil- 
dren. 

How dear they had grown to me in their sufferings, 
and the three great cheers that greeted my entrance into 
that hospital ward were dearer than the applause. I 
would not exchange their memory for the wildest hurrahs 
that ever greeted the ear of conqueror or king. When the 
first greetings were over and the agitation had subsided 
somewhat, a young man walked up to me with no appar- 
ent wound, with bright complexion, and in good flesh. 
There was certainly something familiar in his face, but 
I could not recall him, until, extending his hand with a 
smile, he said, " I am Riley Faulkner, of the 7th Michi- 
gan. I did n't die, and the milk punch lasted all the way 
to Washington!" 

The author once inquired of Miss Barton how she 
dressed for these expeditions. She dressed simply, she 
said, so that she could get about easily, but her costume 
did not greatly differ from that of the ordinary woman 
of the period. She added humorously that her wardrobe 
was not wholly a matter of choice. Her clothes imder- 
went such hard usage that nothing lasted very long, and 
she was glad to wear almost anything she could get. 

This was not wholly satisfactory, for those were the 
days of hoop-skirts and other articles of feminine attire 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 221 

which had no possible place in her work. From Mrs. 
Vassall the author obtained somewhat more explicit 
information. She said: 

When Clara went to the front, she dressed in a plain 
black print skirt with a jacket. She wished to dress so 
that she could easily get about and not consume much 
time in dressing. Her clothing received hard usage, and 
when she returned from any campaign to Washington, 
she was in need of a new outfit. At one time the women 
of Oxford sent her a box for her own personal use. 
Friends in Oxford furnished the material, and Annie 
Childs made the dresses. The box was delivered at her 
room during her absence, and she returned from the field, 
weary and wet, her hair soaked and falling down her 
back, and entered her cold and not very cheerful room. 
There she found this box with its complete outfit, and 
kneeling beside it she burst into happy tears. 

The author counts it especially fortunate that he has 
been able to find a letter from Clara relating to this very 
experience, which was on the occasion of her return from 
the battle of Fredericksburg. It was addressed to Annie 
Childs, and dated four months later: 

Port Rotal, May 28tli, 1863 
My DEAR Annie: 

I remember, four long months ago, one cold, dreary, 
windy day, I dragged me out from a chilly street-car 
that had found me ankle-deep in the mud of the 6th 
Street wharf, and up the slippery street and my long 
flights of stairs into a room, cheerless, in confusion, and 
alone, looking in most respects as I had left it some 
months before, with the exception of a mysterious box 
which stood unopened in the middle of the floor. All 
things looked strange to me, for in that few months I had 
taken in so much that yet I had no clear views. The 



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222 CLARA BARTON 

great artist had been at work upon my brain and sketched 
it all over with life scenes, and death scenes, never to be 
erased. The fires of Fredericksburg still blazed before my 
eyes, and her cannon still thundered at my ear, while 
away down in the depths of my heart I was smothering 
the groans and treasuring the prayers of her dead and 
dying heroes; worn, weak, and heartsick, I was home 
from Fredericksburg; and when, there, for the first time 
I looked at myself, shoeless, gloveless, ragged, and blood- 
stained, a new sense of desolation and pity and sympathy 
and weariness, all blended, swept over me with irresistible 
force, and, perfectly overpowered, I sank down upon the 
strange box, unquestioning its presence or import, and 
wept as I had never done since the soft, hazy, winter 
night that saw our attacking guns silently stealing their 
approach to the river, ready at the dawn to ring out 
the shout of death to the waiting thousands at their 
wheels. 

I said I wept, and so I did, and gathered strength and 
calmness and consciousness — and finally the strange 
box^ which had afforded me my first rest, began to claim 
my attention; it was clearly and handsomely marked to 
myself at Washington, and came by express — so much 
for the outside; and a few pries with a hatchet, to hands 
as well accustomed as mine, soon made the inside as 
visible, only for the neat paper which covered all. It 
was doubtless something sent to some soldier; pity I had 
not had it earlier — it might be too late now; he might 
be past his wants or the kind remembrances of the loved 
ones at home. The while I was busy in removing the 
careful paper wrappings a letter, addressed to me, 
opened — ** From friends in Oxford and Worcester** — no 
signature. Mechanically I commenced lifting up, one 
after another, hoods, shoes, boots, gloves, skirts, hand- 
kerchiefs, collars, linen, — and that beautiful dress! 
look at it, all made — who — ! Ah, there is no mistaking 
the workmanship — Annie's scissors shaped and her skill- 



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HARPER'S FERRY TO ANTIETAM 223 

ful fingers fitted that. NoWt I begin to comprehend; 
while I had been away in the snows and frosts and rains 
and mud of Fabnouth, forgetting my friends, myself, to 
eat or sleep or rest, forgetting everything but my God 
and the poor suffering victims around me, these dear, 
kind friends, undismayed and not disheartened by the 
great national calamity which had overtaken them, 
mourning, perhaps, the loss of their own, had remem- 
bered me, and with open hearts and willing hands had 
prepared this noble, thoughtful gift for me at my return. 
It was too much, and this time, burying my face in the 
dear tokens around me, I wept again as heartily as be- 
fore, but with very different sensations; a new chord was 
struck; my labors, slight and imperfect as they had been, 
had been appreciated ; I was not alone ; and then and there 
again I re-dedicated myself to my little work of humanity, 
pledging before God all that I have, all that I am, all that 
I can, and all that I hope to be, to the cause of Justice 
and Mercy and Patriotism, my Country, and my God. 
And cheered and sustained as I have been by the kind 
remembrances of old friends, the cordial greeting of new 
ones, and the tearful, grateful blessings of the thousands 
of noble martyrs to whose relief or comfort it has been 
my blessed privilege to add my mite, I feel that my cup 
of happiness is more than full. It is an untold privilege 
to have lived in this day when there is work to be done, 
and, still more, to possess health and strength to do it, 
and most of all to feel that I bear with me the kindly 
feelings and perhaps prayers of the noble mothers and 
sisters who have sent sons and brothers to fight the bat- 
tles of the world in the armies of Freedom. Annie, if it 
is not asking too much, now that I have gathered up 
resolution enough to speak of the subject at all (for I 
have never been able to before), I would like to know to 
whom besides yourself I am indebted for these beautiful 
and valuable gifts. It is too tame and too little to say 
that I am thankful for them. You did not xvant that^ 



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224 CLARA BARTON 

but I will say that, God willing, I will yet wear them where 
none of the noble donors wotdd he ashamed to have them seen. 
Some of those gifts shall yet see service if Heaven spare 
my life. With thanks I am the friend of my "Friends in 
Oxford and Worcester/' 

Clara Barton 



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CHAPTER XV 

CLARA barton's CHANGE OF BASE 
SPRING OF 1863 

The events we have been describing bring Miss Bar- 
ton to the end of 1862. The greater part of the year 1863 
was spent by her in entirely different surroundings. Be- 
lieving that the most significant military events of that 
year would be found in connection with a campaign 
against Charleston, South Carolina, and that the Army 
of the Potomac, which she had thus far accompanied, was 
reasonably well cared for in provisions which were in 
large degree the result of her establishment, she began 
to consider the advisability of going farther south. 

Her reasons for this were partly military and partly 
personal. The military aspect of the situation was that 
she learned in Washington that the region about Charles- 
ton was likely to be the place of largest service during the 
year 1863. On the personal side was first her great desire 
to establish conmiunication with her brother Stephen, 
who still was in North Carolina. When Charleston was 
captured, the army could move on into the interior. If she 
were somewhere near, she could have a part in the rescue 
of her brother, and she had reason to believe that he 
might have need of her service after his long residence 
within the bounds of the Confederacy. Her brother 
David received a conunission in the Quartermaster's 
Department, and he was sent to Hilton Head in the 
vicinity of Charleston. Her cousin. Corporal Leander 
T. Poor, in the Engineers' Department, was assigned 



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226 ' CLARA BARTON 

there, partly through her influence. It seemed as though 
that field promised to her every possible opportunity for 
public and private usefulness. There she could most 
largely serve her country; there she could have the com- 
panionship of her brother David and her cousin, Leander 
Poor; there she could most probably establish communi- 
cations with Stephen, who might be in great need of her 
assistance. It is difficult to see how in the circumstances 
she could have planned with greater apparent wisdom. 
If in any respect the outcome failed to justify her ex- 
pectations, it was because she was no wiser with respect 
to the military developments of the year 1863 than were 
the highest officials in Washington. Her request for per- 
mission to go to Port Royal was written early in 1863, 
and was addressed to the Assistant Secretary of War. 

This request was promptly granted, and she was soon 
planning for a change of scene. The first three months 
of 1863, however, were spent in Washington, and we 
have few glimpses of her activities. In the middle of 
January she rejoined the army, acting on information 
which led her to believe that a battle was impending. 

It should be stated that Clara Barton's diaries are 
most fragmentary where there is most to record. She 
was much given to writing, and, when she had time, en- 
joyed recording in detail almost everything that hap- 
pened. She was accustomed to record the names of her 
callers, and the persons from whom she received, and 
those to whom she sent, letters; her purchases with the 
cost of each; her receipts and expenditures; her repairs 
to her wardrobe, and innumerable other little items; but 
a large proportion of the most significant events in her 
public life are not recorded in her diaries, or, if recorded 



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CLARA BARTON'S CHANGE OF BASE 227 

at all, are merely set down in catchwords, and the details 
are given, if at all, in her letters. Of this expedition in 
the winter of 1863 we have no word either in her diary, 
which she probably left in Washington, or in her letters 
which she may have been too busy to write, or which, if 
written, have not been preserved. Our knowledge of 
her departure upon this expedition is contained in a letter 
from her nephew Samuel Barton: 

Surgbon-Genbral*s Office 
WASHmcTON City, D.C, January i8th, 1863 

My dear Cousin Mary: 

Your very acceptable letter, with Ada's and Ida's, was 
received last Thursday evening. I could not answer 
sooner, for I have been quite busy evenings ever since it 
was received. Aunt Clara left the city this morning for 
the army. Her friend. Colonel Rucker, the Assistant 
Quartermaster-General, told her last Thursday that the 
army were about to move and they were expecting a fight 
and wanted her to go if she felt able, so this morning she, 
Mr. Welles, who always goes with her to the battles, and 
Mr. Doe, a Massachusetts man, took the steamboat for 
Acquia Creek, where they will take the cars for Falmouth 
and there join the army. Colonel Rucker gave her two 
new tents, and bread, flour, meal, and a new stove, and 
requested her to telegraph to him for anything she 
wanted and he would send it to her. Aunt Sally left for 
Massachusetts last Thursday evening. . . . 

Sam Barton 

In the State House in Boston is the battle-flag of the 
2 1 St Massachusetts, stained with the blood of Sergeant 
Thomas Plunkett. Both his arms were shot away in the 
battle of Fredericksburg, but he planted the flagstaff 
between his feet and upheld the flag with his two shat- 
tered stumps of arms. Massachusetts has few relics so 



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228 CLARA BARTON 

precious as this. flag. Clara Barton was with him at 
Fredericksburg and ministered to him there, and re- 
mained his lifelong friend. In many ways she manifested 
her interest in him, rendering her aid in a popular move- 
ment which secured him a purse of $4000. Sergeant 
Plunkett was in need of a pension, and Clara Barton 
addressed to the Senate's Committee on Military Affairs 
a memorial on his behalf. It was written on Washington's 
Birthday, after her return from the field: 

Washington, D.C, Fd>. 22nd, '63 
To THE Members of the 

MiuTARY Committee, U.S. Senate. 
Senators: 

Nothing less than a strong conviction of duty owed to 
one of the brave defenders of our Nation's honor could 
induce me to intrude for a moment upon the already 
burdened, and limited term of action yet remaining to 
your honorable body. 

During the late Battle of Fredericksburg, the 21st 
Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers were ordered to 
charge upon a battery across an open field ; in the terrible 
fire which assailed them, the colors were three times in 
quick succession bereft of their support; the third time 
Aey were seized by Sergeant Thomas Plunkett, of 
Company E, and borne over some three hundred yards 
of open space, when a shell from the enemy's battery in 
its murderous course killed three men of the regiment and 
shattered both arms of the Sergeant. He could no longer 
support the colors upright, but, planting his foot against 
the staff, he endeavored to hold them up, while he strove 
by his shouts amid the confusion to attract attention to 
their condition; for some minutes he sustained them 
against his right arm torn and shattered just below the 
shoulder, while the blood poured over and among the 
sacred folds, literally obliterating the stripes^ leaving as 



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CLARA BARTON'S CHANGE OF BASE 229 

fit emblem of such heroic sacrifice only the crimson and 
the stars. Thus drenched in blood, and rent by the fury 
of eight battles, the noble standard could be no longer 
borne, and, while its gallant defender lay suffering in 
field hospital from amputation of both arms, it was 
reverently wrapped by Colonel Clark and returned to 
the State House in Boston, with the request that others 
might be sent them; the 2i8t had never lost their colors, 
but they had worn them out. 

The old flag and its brave bearer are alike past their 
usefulness save as examples for emulation and titles of 
glory for some bright page of our Nation's history, and, 
while the one is carefully treasured in the sacred ar- 
chives of the State, need I more than ask of this noble 
body to put forth its protecting arm to shelter, cherish, 
and sustain the other? If guaranty were needful for the 
private character of so true a soldier, it would have been 
found in the touching address of his eloquent Colonel 
(Clark) delivered on Christmas beside the stretcher 
waiting at the train at Falmouth to convey its helpless 
burden to the car, whither he had been escorted not only 
by his regiment, but his General. The tears which rolled 
over the veteran cheeks around him were ample testi- 
mony of the love and respect he had won from them, and 
to-day his heart's deepest affections twine round his 
gallant regiment as the defenders of their country. 

A moment's reflection will obviate the necessity of any 
suggestions in reference to the provisions needful for his 
future support; it is only to be remembered that he can 
nevermore be unattended, a common doorknob is hence- 
forth as formidable to him as a prison bolt. His little 
pension as a Sergeant would not remunerate an attendant 
for placing his food in his mouth, to say nothing of how 
it shall be obtained for both of them. 

For the sake of formality merely, for to you gentlemen 
I know the appeal is needless, I will dose by praying 
your honorable body to grant to Sergeant Plunkett such 



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230 CLARA BARTON 

pension as shall in your noble wisdom be ample for his 
future necessities and a fitting tribute to his patriotic 
sacrifice. 

C. B. 

The assignment of her brother David to duty in the 
vicinity of Charleston was the event which decided her 
to ask for a transfer to that field, or rather for permission 
to go there with supplies. 

It must be remembered that Miss Barton's service was 
a voluntary service. She was not an army nurse, and 
had no intention of becoming one. The system of army 
nurses was under the direct supervision of Dorothea 
Lynde Dix, a woman from her own county, and one for 
whom she cherished feelings of the highest regard, but 
under whom she had no intention of working. Indeed, it 
is one of the fine manifestations of good sense on the part 
of Clara Barton that she never at any time attempted 
what might have seemed an interference with Miss Dix» 
but found for herself a field of service, and developed it 
according to a method of her own. It will be well at this 
time to give some account of Miss Dix, and a littie out- 
line of her great work in its relation to that of Clara 
Barton. 

Dorothea Lynde Dix was bom April 4, 1802, and died 
July 17, 1887. She was twenty-nine years older than 
Clara Barton, and their lives had many interesting paral- 
lels. Until the publication of her biography by Francis 
Tiffany in 1890, it was commonly supposed that she was 
bom in Worcester County, Massachusetts, where she 
spent her childhood. But her birth occurred in Maine. 
Unlike Clara Barton she had no happy home memories. 
Her father was an unstable, visionary man, and it was 



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GLARA BARTON'S CHANGE OF BASE 231 

on one of his frequent and futile migrations that she was 
bom. Her biographer states that her childhood memories 
were so painful that "in no hour of the most confidential 
intimacy could she be induced to unlock the silence 
which, to the very end of life, she maintained as to all the 
incidents of her early days/' She had no happy memories 
of association with school or church, or sympathetic 
friends. The background of her childhood memory was 
of poverty with.a lack of public respect for a father who, 
though of good family, led an aimless, shiftless, wandering 
life. Unhappily, he was a religious fanatic, associated 
with no church, but issuing tracts which he paid for with 
money that should have been used for his children, and, 
to save expense, required her to paste or stitch. She 
hated the employment and the type of religion which it 
represented. She broke away from it almost violently 
and went to live with her grandmother in Boston. 

There she fell under the influence of William EUery 
Channing, and was bom again. To her through his min- 
istry came the spirit that quickened and gave life to her 
dawning hope and aspiration. 

How she got her education we hardly know, but she 
began teaching, as Clara Barton did, when she was fifteen 
years of age. And like Clara Barton she became a 
pioneer in certain forms of educational work. Dorothea 
Dix opened a school "for charitable and religious uses,'* 
above her grandmother's bam, and in time she inherited 
property which made her independent, so that she was 
able to devote herself to a life of philanthropy. 

In 1837, being then thirty-five years of age, and en- 
couraged by her pastor. Dr. Channing, in whose home 
she spent much of her time, she launched forth upon her 



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232 CLARA BARTON 

career of devotion to the amelioration of the condi^ 
tion of convicts, lunatics, and paupers. In her work for 
the insane she was especially effective. She traveled in 
nearly all of the States of the Union, pleading for effective 
legislation to promote the establishment of asylums for 
the insane. Like Clara Barton she found an especially fruit- 
ful field of service in New Jersey; the Trenton Asylum 
was in a very real sense her creation. The pauper, the 
prisoner, and especially the insane of our whole land owe 
her memory a debt of lasting gratitude. 

By 1861 her reputation was well established. She 
was then almost sixty years of age and had gained the 
well-merited confidence of the medical profession. She 
was on her way from Boston to Washington, and was 
spending a few days at the Trenton Asylum, when the 
Sixth Massachusetts was fired upon in Baltimore on 
April 19, 1 861. Like Clara Barton she hastened imme- 
diately to the place of service. On the very next day she 
wrote to a friend: "I think my duty lies near military 
hospitals for the present. This need not be announced. 
I have reported myself and some nurses for free service 
at the War Department, and to the Surgeon-General." 

Her offer was accepted with great heartiness and with 
ill-considered promptness. She was appointed "Super- 
intendent of Female Nurses." She was authorized "to 
select and assign female nurses to general or permanent 
military hospitals; they not to be employed without her 
sanction and approval except in case of urgent need." 

Whether the United States contained any woman bet- 
ter qualified to undertake such a task as this than 
Dorothea Dix may be questioned. Certainly none could 
have been found with more of experience or with a higher 



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CLARA BARTON'S CHANGE OF BASE 233 

consecration. It was an impossible task for any one, and, 
while Miss Dix was possessed of some of the essential 
qualities, she did not possess them alL Her biographer 
very justly says: 

The literal meaning, however, of such a commission as 
had thus been hastily bestowed on Miss Dix — applying, 
as it did to the -Women nurses of the military hospitals of 
the whole United States not in actual rebellion — was 
one which, in those early days of the war, no one so much 
as began to take in. . . . Such a commission — as the 
march of events was before long to prove — involved a 
sheer, practical impossibility. It implied, not a single- 
handed woman, nearly sixty and shattered in health, 
but immense organized departments at twenty different 
centers." ^ 

The War Department acted upon what must have 
appeared a wise impulse in turning this whole matter of 
women nurses over to the authority of a woman known 
in all the States — as Miss Dix was known — and pos- 
sessing the confidence of the people of the whole country. 
But she was not only sixty yeai^ of age and predisposed 
to consumption, and at that time suffering from other 
ailments, but she had never learned to delegate respon- 
sibility to her subordinates. It had been well for Clara 
Barton if she had known better how to set others to 
work, but she knew how better than Dorothea Dix and 
was twenty years younger. Indeed, Clara Barton was 
younger at eighty than Dorothea Dix was at sixty, but 
she herself suffered somewhat from this same limitation. 
Dorothea Dix could not be everywhere, and with her 
system she needed to be everywhere, just as Clara Barton 
under her system had to be at the very front in direct 

1 Tiffany, Ls/e ol Dorothea Lynde Dix, 336, 337. 



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234 CLARA BARTON 

management of her own line of activities. But Dorothea 
Dix, besides needing to be simultaneously on twenty bat- 
tle-fields» had to be where she could examine and sift out 
and prepare for service the chosen from among a great 
many thousand women applying for the privilege of 
nursing wounded soldiers, and ranging all the way from 
sentimental school-girls to sickly and decrepit grand- 
mothers. Again, Mr. Tiffany says: 

Women nurses were volunteering by the thousands, the 
majority of them without the experience or health to fit 
them for such arduous service. Who should pass on their 
qualifications, who station, superintend, and train them? 
Now, under the Atlas weight of care and responsibilities 
so suddenly thrust on Miss Dix, the very qualifications 
which had so preeminently fitted her for the sphere in 
^hich she had wrought such miracles of success began 
to tell against her. She was nearly sixty years old, and 
with a constitution sapped by malaria, overwork, and 
pulmonary weakness. She had for years been a lonely 
and single-handed worker, planning her own projects, 
keeping her own counsel, and pressing on, unhampered 
by the need of consulting others, toward her self-chosen 
goal. The lone worker could not change her nature. She 
tried to do everything herself, and the feat before long 
became an impossibility. At length she came to recog- 
nize this, again and again exclaiming in her distress, 
"This is not the work I would have my life judged by." 

By that, however, in part her life-work must be judged, 
and, in the main, greatly to her advantage and wholly 
to her honor. We can see, however, the inevitable limi- 
tations of her work. Up to that time, she had dealt with 
small groups of subordinates from whom she could de- 
mand and secure some approach to perfection of organi- 
zation and discipline. This she could not possibly secure 



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CLARA BARTON'S CHANGE OF BASE 235 

in her present situation. Again we quote the discriminate 
ing words of her biographer: 

But in war r— especially in a war precipitately entered 
into by a raw and inexperienced people — all such per- 
fection of organization and discipline is out of the ques- 
tion. If a good field hospital is not to be had, the best 
must be made of a bad one. If a skillful surgeon is not at 
hand, then an incompetent one must hack away after 
his own butcher fashion. If selfish and greedy attendants 
eat up and drink up the supplies of delicacies and wines 
for the sick, then enough more must be supplied to give 
the sick the fag end of a chance. It is useless to try to 
idealize war. . • • All this, however, Miss Dix could not 
bring herself to endure. Ready to live on a cnist, and 
to sacrifice herself without stint, her whole soul was on 
fire at the spectacles of incompetence and callow indif- 
ference she was doomed daily to witness. She became 
overwrought, and lost the requisite self-control. ... In- 
evitably she* became involved in sharp altercations 
with prominent medical officials and with regimental 
surgeons.* 

It is necessary to recall this in order to understand 
Clara Barton's attitude toward the established military 
hospitals. She was not, in any narrow or technical term, 
a hospital nurse. She stood ready to assist the humblest 
soldier in any possible need, and to work in any hospital 
at any task howsoever humble, if that was where she 
could work to advantage. But she knew the hospitals 
in and about Washington too well not to appreciate these 
infelicities. She had no intention whatever of becoming 
a cog in that great and unmanageable machine. 

Clara Barton held Dorothea Dix in the very highest 
regard. In all her diaries and letters and in her memo- 
^> Tiffany, 338,^9. 



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236, CLARA BARTON, 

landa of conversations which her diaries sometimes 
contain, there is no word concerning Dorothea Dix that 
is not appreciative. In 1910 the New York "World" 
wired her a request that she tel^japh to that newspaper, 
at its expense, a list of eight names of women whom she 
would nominate for a Woman's Hall of Fame. The eight 
names which she sent in reply to this request were 
Abigail Adams, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone Blackwell, 
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frances Dana Gage, Maria 
Mitchell, Dorothea Dix, and Mary A. Bickerdyke. It 
was a fine indication of her broad-mindedness that she 
should have named two women, Dorothea Dix and 
Mother Bickerdyke, who should have won distinction in 
her own field and might have been deemed her rivals for 
popular affection. If Clara Barton was capable of any 
kind of jealousy, it was not a jealousy that would have 
thought ever to undermine or belittle a woman like 
Dorothea Dix. Few women understood so well as Clara 
Barton what Dorothea Dix had to contend with. Her 
contemporary references show how fully she honored 
this noble elder sister, and how loyally she supported her. 

At the same time, Clara Barton kept herself well out 
from under the administration and control of Miss Dix. 
In some respects the two women were too much alike in 
their temperament for either one to have worked well 
under the other. For that matter, neither one of them 
greatly enjoyed working under anybody. It is at once 
to the credit of Clara Barton's loyalty and good sense 
that she went as an independent worker. 

But the hospitals in and about Washington were ap- 
proaching more and more nearly something that might 
be called system, and that system was the system of 



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CLARA BARTON'S^CHANGE OF BASE 237 

Dorothea Dix. Clara Barton had all the room she 
wanted on the battle-field. There was no great crowd 
of women clamoring to go with her when mider fire she 
crossed the bridge at Fredericksburg. But by the spring 
of 1863 it began to be less certain that there was going to 
be as much fighting as there had been in the inunediate 
vicinity of Washington. There was a possibility that 
actual field service with the Army of the Potomac was 
going to be less, and that the base hospitals with their 
organized system would be able to care more adequately 
for the wounded than would the hospitals farther south 
where the next great crisis seemed to be impending. 

These were among the considerations in the mind of 
Clara Barton when she left the Army of the Potomac — 
"my own army," as she lovingly called it — and secured 
her transfer to Hilton Head, near Charleston. 



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CHAPTER XVI 

THB ATTBBiPT TO RBCAPTURB FORT SUICTBR 

I AM confounded! Literally speechless with amazement! 
When I left Washington every one said it boded no 
peace; it was a bad omen for me to start; I never 
missed finding the trouble I went to find, and was never 
late. I thought little of it. This p.m. we neared the dodc 
at Hilton Head and the boat came alongside and boarded 
us instantly. The first word was, "The first gun is to be 
fired upon Charleston this p.m. at three o'clock." We 
drew out watches, and the hands pointed three to the 
minute. I felt as if I should sink through the deck. I am 
no fatalist, but it is so singular. 

Thus wrote Clara Barton in her journal on Tuesday 
night, April 7, 1863, the night of her arrival at Port 
Royal. She had become so expert in learning where 
there was to be a battle that her friends looked upon her 
as a kind of stormy petrel and expected trouble as soon 
as she arrived. She had come to Hilton Head in order 
to be on hand when the bombardment of Charleston 
should occur, and the opening guns of the bombardment 
were her salute as her boat, the Arogo, warped up to the 
dock. Everything seemed to indicate that she had come 
at the very moment when she was needed. 

But the following Saturday the transports which had 
loaded recruits at Hilton Head, ready to land and cap- 
ture Charleston as soon as the guns had done their work, 
returned to Hilton Head and brought the soldiers back. 
Her diary that morning recorded that the Arogo re- 
turning would stop off at Charleston for dispatches, but 
her entry that night said: 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 239 

In the P.M.9 much to the consternation of everybody, 
the transports laden with troops all hove in sight. Soon 
the harbor was literally filled with ships and boats, the 
wharf crowded with disembarking troops with the camp 
equipage they had taken with them. What had they re- 
turned for? was the question hanging on every lip. Con- 
jecture was rife; all sorts of rumors were afloat; but the 
one general idea seemed to prevail that the expedition 
"had fizzled," if any one knows the precise meaning and 
import of that term. Troops landed all the evening 
and perhaps all night, and returned to the old camping 
grounds. The place is alive with soldiers. No one knows 
why he is here, or why he is not there; all seem disap- 
pointed and chagrined, but no one is to blame. For my 
part, I am rather pleased at the turn it has taken, as I 
thought from the first that we had "too few troops to 
fight and too many to be killed/' I have seen worse re- 
treats if this be one. 

"Fizzled" appears to have been a new word, but the 
country had abundant opportunity to learn its essential 
meaning. The expedition against Charleston was one of 
several that met this inglorious end, and the flag was 
not raised over Sumter until 1865. 

Now followed an interesting chapter in Clara Barton's 
career, but one quite different from anything she had 
expected when she came to Hilton Head. After the 
"fizzle" in early April, the army settled down to general 
inactivity. Charleston must be attacked simultaneously 
by land and sea and reduced by heavy artillery fire before 
the infantry could do anything. There was nothing for 
Clara Barton to do but to wait for the battle which had 
been postponed, but was surely coming. She distributed 
her perishable supplies where they would do the most 
good, and looked after the comfort of such soldiers as 



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240 CLARA BARTON 

needed her immediate minbtration. But the wounded 
were few in number and the sick were in well-established 
hospitals where she had no occasion to offer her services. 

Moreover, she found the situation here very different 
from what she had seen only a few miles from Washing- 
ton. There were no muddy roads between Hilton Head 
and New York Harbor. The Arogo was a shuttle moving 
back and forward every few days, and in time another 
boat was added. There was a regular mail service be- 
tween New York and Hilton Head, and every boat took 
officers and soldiers going upon, or returning from, fur- 
loughs, and the boats from New York brought nurses 
and supplies. The Sanitary Commission had its own d6- 
pdt of supplies and a liberal fund of money from which 
purchases could be made of fruits and such other local 
delicacies as were procurable. It is true, as Miss Barton 
was afterward to learn, that the hospital management 
left something to be desired, and that fewer delicacies 
were purchased than could have been. But that was 
distinctly not her responsibility, nor did she for one 
moment assume it to be such. She came into conflict 
with oflicial red tape quite soon enough in her own de- 
partment, without intruding where she did not belong. 
She settled down to await the time when she should 
be needed for the special work that had brought her to 
Hilton Head. That time came, but it did not come soon, 
and its delay was the occasion of very mixed emotions on 
her part. 

Clara Barton came to Hilton Head with a reputation 
already established. She no longer needed to be intro- 
duced, nor was there any difliculty in her procuring 
passes to go where she pleased, excepting as she was 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 241 

sometimes refused out of consideration for her own 
personal safety. But not once while she was in Carolina 
was she asked to show her passes. When she landed, she 
found provision made for her at regimental headquarters. 
Colonel J. G. Elwell, of Cleveland, to whom she reported, 
was laid up at this time with a broken leg. She had him 
for a patient and his gratitude continued through all the 
subsequent years. Her journal described him as a noble, 
Christian gentleman, and she found abundant occasion 
to admire his manliness, his Christian character, his 
affection for his wife and children, his courtesy to her, 
and later, his heroism as she witnessed it upon the 
battle-field. The custody of her supplies brought her 
into constant relations with the Chief Quartermaster, 
Captain Samuel T. Lamb, for whom she cherished a 
regard almost if not quite as high as that she felt for 
Colonel, afterward General, Elwell. Her room was at 
headquarters, under the same roof with these and other 
brave officers, who vied with each other in bestowing 
honors and kindnesses upon her. As Colonel Elwell was 
incapacitated for service, she saw him daily, and the care 
of her supplies gave her scarcely less constant association 
with Captain Lamb. General Hunter called upon her, 
paid her high compliments, issued her passes and per- 
mits, and offered her every possible courtesy. Her re- 
quest that her cousin. Corporal Leander Poor, be trans- 
ferred to the department over which her brother David 
presided, met an immediate response. The nurses from 
the hospital paid her an official call, and apparently spoke 
very gracious words to her, for she indicates that she was 
pleased with something they said or did. Different offi- 
cers sent her bouquets; her table and her window must 



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242 CLARA BARTON 

have been rather constantly filled with flowers. More 
than once the band serenaded her, and between the musi- 
cal numbers there was a complimentary address which 
embarrassed, even more than it pleased her, in which a 
high tribute was paid "To Clara Barton, the Florence 
Nightingale of America." 

The officers at headquarters had good saddle horses, 
and invited her to ride with them. If there was any form 
of exercise which she thoroughly enjoyed, it was horse- 
back riding. She procured a riding-skirt and sent for her 
sidesaddle, which the Arogo in due time brought to her. 
So far nothing could have been more delightful. The 
very satisfaction of it made her uncomfortable. She 
hoped that God would not hold her accountable for 
misspent time, and said so in her diary. 

Lest she should waste her time, she began teaching 
some negro boys to read, and sought out homesick sol- 
diers who needed comfort. Whenever she heard of any 
danger or any likelihood of a battle anywhere within 
reach, she conferred with Colonel Elwell about going 
there. He was a religious man, and she discussed with 
him the interposition of Divine Providence, and the 
apparent indication that she was following a Divine call 
in coming to Hilton Head exactly when she did. But no 
field opened inunediately which called for her ministra- 
tions. She felt sometimes that it would be a terrible 
mistake if she had come so far away from what really 
was her duty, when she wrote: "God is great and fear- 
fully just. Truly it is a fearful thing to fall into His 
hands; His ways are past finding out." Still she could 
not feel responsible for the fact that no great battle had 
occiured in her immediate vicinity. Each time the Arogo 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 243 

dropped anchor, she wondered if she ought to return on 
her; but each time it seemed certain that it was not going 
to be very long until there was a battle. So she left the 
matter in God's hands. She wrote: "It will be wisely 
ordered, and I shall do all for the best in the end. God's 
will, not mine, be done. I am content. How I wish I 
could always keep in full view the fact and feeling that 
God orders all things precisely as they should be; all is 
best as it is.'' 

On Sunday she read Beecher's sermons and sometimes 
copied religious poetry for Colonel Elwell, who, in addi- 
ion to his own disability, had tender memories of the 
death of his little children, and many solicitous thoughts 
for his wife. 

In some respects she was having the time of her life. 
A little group of women, wives of the officers, gathered 
at the headquarters, and there grew up a kind of social 
usage. One evening when a group of officers and officers' 
wives were gathered together, one of the ladies read a 
poem in honor of Clara Barton. One day, at General 
Hunter's headquarters and in his presence, Colonel 
Elwell presented her with a beautiful pocket Bible on 
behalf of the officers. If she needed anything to increase 
her fame, that need was supplied when Mr. Page, cor- 
respondent of the New York "Tribune," whom she 
remembered to have met at the Lacy house during the 
battle of Fredericksburg, arrived at Hilton Head, and 
he, who had seen every battle of the Army of the Poto- 
mac except Chancellorsville, told the officers how he had 
heard General Patrick, at the battle of Fredericksburg, 
remonstrate with Miss Barton on account of her ex- 
posing herself to danger, saying afterward that he ex- 



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244 CLARA BARTON 

pected to see her shot every minute. The band of a 
neighboring regiment came over and serenaded her. 
Her windows were filled with roses and orange blossoms, 
and she wrote in her diary: "I do not deserve such 
friends as I find, and how can I deserve them? I fear 
that in these later years our Heavenly Father is too 
merciful to me." 

It would have been delightful if she could only have 
been sure that she was doing her duty. Surrounded by ap- 
preciative friends, bedecked with flowers, serenaded and 
sung to, and with a saddled horse at her door almost 
every morning and at least one officer if not a dozen 
eager for the joy and honor of a ride with her, only two 
things disturbed her. The first was that she still had no 
word from Stephen, and the other was the feeling that, 
unless the Lord ordained a battle in her vicinity before 
long, she ought to be back with what she called "my 
own army." 

Clara Barton's diary dbplays utter freedom from cant. 
She was not given to putting her religious feelings and 
emotions down on paper. But in this period she gave 
much larger space to her own reflections than was her 
custom when more fully occupied. She was feeling in a 
marked degree the providential aspects of her own life; 
she was discussing with Christian officers their plans for 
what Colonel Elwell called his "soldier's church." Her 
religious nature found expression in her diary more ade- 
quately than she had usually had time to express. 

Toward the end of her period of what since has been 
termed her watchful waiting, she received a letter from 
a friend, an editor, who felt that the war had gone on 
quite long enough, and who wished her to use her in- 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 245 

fluence in favor of an immediate peace. Few people 
wanted peace more than Clara Barton, but her letter in 
answer to this request shows an insight into the national 
situation which at that time could hardly have been 
expected: 

Hn.TON Hbad, S.C., June 24th, 1863 
T. W. Meighan, Esq., 

My kind friend, your welcome letter of the 6th has been 
some days in hand. I did not get "frightened." I am a 
U.S. soldier, you know, and therefore not supposed to 
be susceptible to fear, and, as I am merely a soldier, and 
not a statesman, I shall make no attempt at discussing 
political points with you. You have spoken openly and 
frankly, and I have perused your letter and considered 
your sentiments with interest, and, I believe, with sin- 
cerity and candor, and, while I observe with pain the 
wide difference of opinion existing between us, I cannot 
find it in my heart to believe it more than a matter of 
opinion. I shall not take to myself more of honesty 
of purpose, faithfulness of zeal, or patriotism, than I 
award to you. I have not, aye! never shall forget where 
I first found you. The soldier who has stood in the ranks 
of my country's armies, and toiled and marched and 
fought, and fallen and struggled and risen, but to fall 
again more worn and exhausted than before, until my 
weak arm had greater strength than his, and could aid 
him, and yet made no complaint, and only left the ranks 
of death when he had no longer strength to stand up in 
them — is it for me to rise up in judgment and accuse 
this man of a want of patriotism? True, he does not see 
as I see, and works in a channel in which I have no con- 
fidence, with which I have no sympathy, and through 
which I could not go; still, I must believe that in the end 
the same results which would gladden my heart would 
rejoice his. 

Where you in prospective see peace, glorious, coveted 



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246 CLARA BARTON 

peace, and rest for our tired armies, and home and hap- 
piness and firesides and friends for our war-worn heroes, 
/ see only the beginning of war. If we should make 
overtures for "peace upon any terms," then, I fear, 
would follow a code of terms to which no civilized nation 
could submit and present even an honorable existence 
among nations. God forbid that / should ask the useless 
exposure of the life of one man, the desolation of one 
more home; I never for a moment lose sight of the 
mothers and sisters, and white-haired fathers, and 
children moving quietly about, and dropping the unseen, 
silent tear in those far-away saddened homes, and I 
have too often wiped the gathering damp from pale, 
anxious brows, and caught from ashy, quivering lips the 
last faint whispers of home, not to realize the terrible 
cost of these separations; nor has morbid sympathy 
been all, — out amid the smoke and fire and thunder <^ 
our guns, with only the murky canopy above, and the 
bloody ground beneath, I have wrought day after day 
and night after night, my heart well-nigh to bursting 
with conflicting emotions, so sorry for the necessity, so 
glad for the opportunity of ministering with my own 
hands and strength to the dying wants of the patriot 
martyrs who fell for their country and mine. If my poor 
life could have purchased theirs, how cheerfully and 
quickly would the exchange have been made; more than 
this I could not do, deeper than this I could not feel, and 
yet among it all it has never once been in my heart, or 
on my lips, to sue to our enemies for peace. First, they 
broke it without cause; last, they will not restore it with- 
out shame. True, we may never find peace by fighting, 
certainly we never shall by asking. "Independence?" 
They always had their independence till they madly 
threw it away; if there be a chain on them to-day it is of 
their own riveting. I grant that our Government has 
made mistakes, sore ones, too, in some instances, but 
ours is a human government^ and like all human opera- 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 247 

tions liable to mistakes; only the machinery and plans of 
Heaven move unerringly and we short-sighted mortals 
are, half our time, fain to complain of these. I would 
that so much of wisdom and foresight and strength and 
power fall to our rulers as would show them to-mor- 
row the path to victory and peace, but we shall never 
strengthen their hands or incite their patriotism by de- 
serting and upbraiding them. To my unsophisticated 
mind, the Government of my country is my country, 
and the people of my country, the Government of my 
country as nearly as a representative system will allow. 
I have taught me to look upon our "Government" as 
the band which the people bind around the bundle of 
sticks to hold it firm, where every patriot hand must 
grasp the knot the tighter, and our ''Constitution" as a 
symmetrical framework unsheltered and unprotected, 
around which the people must rally, and brace and stay 
themselves among its inner timbers, and lash and bind and 
nail and rivet themselves to its outer posts, till in its 
sheltered strength it bids defiance to every elemental 
jar, — till the winds cannot rack, the sunshine warp, 
or the rains rot, and I would to Heaven that so we rallied 
and stood to-day. If our Government is **too weak** 
to act vigorously and energetically, strengthen it till it 
can. Then comes the peace we all wait for as kings and 
prophets waited, — and without which, like them, we 
seek and never find. 

Pardon me, my good friend, I had never thought to 
speak at this length, or, indeed, any length upon this 
strangely knotted subject, so entirely out of my line. 
My business is stanching blood and feeding fainting 
men; my post the open field between the bullet and the 
hospital. I sometimes discuss the application of a com- 
press or a wisp of hay under a broken limb, but not the 
bearing and merits of a political movement. I make 
gruel — not speeches; I write letters home for wounded 
soldiersr not political addresses — and again I ask you 



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248 CLARA BARTON 

to pardon, not so much what I have said, as the fact 
of my having said anything in relation to a subject of 
which, upon the very nature of things, I am supposed 
to be profoundly ignorant. 

With thanks for favors, and hoping to hear from you 
and yours as usual, 
I remain as ever 

Yours truly 

Clara Barton 

I am glad to hear from your wife and mother, and I am 
most thankful for youf cordial invitation to visit you, 
which I shall (if I have not forfeited your friendship by 
my plainness of speech, which / pray I may not) accept 
most joyously, and I am even now rejoicing in prospect 
over my anticipated visit. We are not suffering from 
heat yet, and I am enjoying such horseback rides as sel- 
dom fall to the lot of ladies, I believe. I don't know but 
I should dare ride with a cavalry rider by and by, if I con- 
tinue to practice. I could at least take lessons. I have 
a fine new English leaping saddle on the way to me. I 
hope you will endeavor to see to it that the rebel privateers 
shall not get hold of it. I could not sustain both the loss 
and disappointment, I fear. 

Love to all. Yours 

C.B. 

While Miss Barton was engaged in these less strenuous 
occupations she issued a requisition upon her brother in 
the Quartermaster's Department for a flatiron. She said : 
'* My clothes are as well washed as at home, and I have 
a house to iron in if I had the iron. I could be as clean 
and as sleek as a kitten. Don't you want a smooth sister 
enough to send her a flatiron?" 

In midsummer, hostilities began in earnest. On 
July II an assault on Fort Wagner was begun from 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 249 

Morris Island, and was followed by a bombardment, 
Admiral Dahlgren firing shells from his gunboats, and 
General Gillmore opening with his land batteries. Then 
followed the charge of the black troops under Colonel 
R. G. Shaw, and the long siege in which the "swamp 
angel," a two-hundred-pounder Parrott, opened fire on 
Charleston. It was then that Clara Barton found what 
providential leading had brought her to this place. 
Not from a sheltered retreat, but under actual fire of the 
guns she ministered to the wounded and the djdng. All 
day long under a hot sun she boiled water to wash their 
wounds, and by night she ministered to them, too ardent 
to remember her need of sleep. The hot winds drove 
the sand into her eyes, and weariness and danger were 
ever present. But she did her work unterrified. She saw 
Colonel Elwell leading the charge, and he believed that 
not only himself, but General Voris and Leggett would 
have died but for her ministrations. 

Follow me, if you will, through these eight months 
[Miss Barton said shortly afterward]. I remember eight 
months of weary siege — scorched by the sun, chilled 
by the waves, rocked by the tempest, buried in the 
shifting sands, toiling day after day in the trenches, 
with the angry fire of five forts hissing through their 
ranks during every day of those weary months. 

This was when your brave old regiments stood thun- 
dering at the gate of proud rebellious Charleston. . . . 
There, frowning defiance, with Moultrie on her left, 
Johnson on her right, and Wagner in front, she stood 
hurling fierce death and destruction full in the faces of 
the brave band who beleaguered her walls. 

Sumter, the watch-dog, that stood before her door, 
lay maimed and bleeding at her feet, pierced with shot 
and torn with shell, the tidal waves lapping his wounds. 



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250 CLARA BARTON 

Still there was danger in his growl and death in his 
bite/' ' 

One summer afternoon our brave little army was 
drawn up among the island sands and formed in line 
of march. For hours we watched. Dim twilight came, 
then the darkness for which they had waited, while the 
gloom and stillness of death settled down on the gath- 
ered forces of Morris Island. Then we pressed forward 
and watched again. A long line of phosphorescent light 
streamed and shot along the waves ever surging on our 
right. 

I remember so well these islands, when the guns and 
the gunners, the muskets and musketeers, struggled for 
place and foothold among the shifting sands. I remem- 
ber the first swarthy regiments with their unsoldierly 
tread, and the soldierly bearing and noble brows of the 
patient philanthropists who volunteered to lead them. 
I can see again the scarlet flow of blood as it rolled over 
the black limbs beneath my hands and the great heave 
of the heart before it grew still. And I remember Wagner 
and its six hundred dead, and the great-souled martyr 
that lay there with them when the charge was ended 
and the guns were cold. 

Vividly she went on to describe the siege of Fort Wag- 
ner from Morris Island, thus: 

I saw the bayonets glisten. The "swamp angel " threw 
her bursting bombs, the fleet thundered its cannonade, 
and the dark line of blue trailed its way in the dark line 
of belching walls of Wagner. I saw them on, up, and 
over the parapets into the jaws of death, and heard the 
clang of the death-dealing sabers as they grappled with 
the foe. I saw the ambulances laden down with agony, 
and the wounded, slowly crawling to me down the tide- 
washed beach, Voris and Cumminger gasping in their 

^ Fort Sumter, fiercely bombarded July 24, repulsed an assault against 
it on September 8, and was not completely silenced until October 26. 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 251 

blood. And I heard the deafening clatter of the hoofs of 
"Old Sam" as Elwell madly galloped up under the walls 
of the fort for orders. I heard the tender, wailing fife, 
the muffled drum and the last shots as the pitiful little 
graves grew thick in the shifting sands. 

Of this experience General Elwell afterward wrote: 

I was shot with an Enfield cartridge within one hun- 
dred and fifty yards of the fort and so disabled that I 
could not go forward. I was in an awful predicament, 
perfectly exposed to canister from Wagner and shell from 
Gregg and Sumter in front, and the enfilade from James 
Island. I tried to dig a trench in the sand with my saber, 
into which I might crawl, but the dry sand would fall 
back in place about as fast as I could scrape it out with 
my narrow implement. Failing' in this, on all fours I 
crawled toward the lee of the beach, which was but a few 
yards off. ... A charge of canister all around me aroused 
my reverie to thoughts of action. I abandoned the idea 
of taking the fort and ordered a retreat of myself, which 
I undertook to execute in a most unmartial manner on 
my hands and knees spread out like a turtle. 

After working my way for a half-hour and making per- 
haps two hundred yards, two boys of the 62d Ohio found 
me and carried me to our first parallel, where had been 
arranged an extempore hospital. After resting awhile 
I was put on the horse of my lieutenant-colonel, from 
which he had been shot that night, and started for the 
lower end of the island one and a half miles off, where 
better hospital arrangements had been prepared. Oh, 
what an awful ride that was! But I got there at last, by 
midnight. I had been on duty for forty-two hours with- 
out sleep under the most trjdng circumstances and my 
soul longed for sleep, which I got in this wise: an army 
blanket was doubled and laid on the soft side of a plank 
with an overcoat for a pillow, on which I laid my worn- 
out body. 



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252 CLARA BARTON 

And such a sleep! I dreamed that I heard the shouts 
of my boys in victory, that the rebellion was broken, that 
the Union was saved, and that I was at my old home and 
that my dear wife was trying to soothe my pain. . • . 

My sleepy emotions awoke me and a dear, blessed 
woman was bathing my temples and fanning my fevered 
face. Clara Barton was there, an angel of mercy doing 
all in mortal power to assuage the miseries of the un< 
fortunate soldiers. 

While she was still under fire, but after the stress of the 
first assault, she found time to send a little note which 
enables us to identify with certainty her headquarters. 
Her work was not done in the shelter of any of the base 
hospitals in the general region of Charleston, it was with 
the advance hospital and under fire. 

The midsummer campaign left Clara Barton des- 
perately sick. She came very near to laying down her 
life with the brave men for whose sake she had freely 
risked it. What with her own sickness and the strenuous 
nature of her service, there is only a single line in her 
diary (on Thanksgiving Day) between July 23 and 
December i. On July 22 she personally assisted at two 
terrible surgical operations as the men were brought 
directly in from the field. The soldiers were so badly 
wounded she wanted to see them die before the surgeon 
touched them. But the surgeons did their work well, and, 
though it was raining and cold, she covered them with 
rubber blankets and was astonished to find how com- 
fortable they came to be. She returned to see them in 
the evening and they were both sleeping soundly. On 
the following day, the day of her last entry for the sum- 
mer, she reported the wounded under her care as doing 
well; also, that she had now a man detailed to assume 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 253 

some of the responsibility for the food of the wounded. 
Fresh green com was available, and she was having 
hominy cooked for men who had had quite too much of 
salt pork. She was arranging the meals, but had other 
people to serve them. 

Then Clara Barton dropped; her strength gave out. 
Overcome with fatigue and sick with fever, she lay for 
several weeks and wrote neither letters nor in her journal. 

By October she was ready to answer Annie Childs's 
thoughtful inquiry about her wardrobe. There were two 
successive letters two weeks apart that consisted almost 
wholly of the answers she made to the question where- 
withal she should be clothed. Lest we should suppose 
Clara Barton to be an institution and not a wholly 
feminine woman, it is interesting to notice her concern 
that these dresses be of proper material and suitably 
made. 

The dresses arrived with rather surprising promptness, 
and they fitted with only minor alterations which she 
described in detail to Annie. Toward the end of October 
she had occasion to write again to Annie thanking the 
friends who had remembered her so kindly, and ex- 
pressing in her letter the feeling, which she so often re- 
corded in her diary, that she was not doing as much as 
she ought to merit the kindness of her friends. In an- 
other letter a few days later, she told of one use she was 
making of her riding-skirt; she was furnishing a hospital 
at Fort Mitchell, seven miles away, and her ride to that 
hospital combined both business and pleasure. 

About this time she gathered some trophies and sent 
to Worcester for the fair. They were exhibited and sold 
to add to the resources of the good people who were 



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254 CLARA BARTON 

providing in various ways for the comfort of the soldiers. 
At this time she wrote to other organizations who had 
sent her supplies, telling of the good they had done. 

But again she fell upon a time of relative inactivity. 
There were no more battles to be fought inmiediately. 
She again wondered if she had any right to stay in a 
place where everything was so comfortable, especially as 
Annie Childs had written to her that the Worcester and 
Oxford women would not permit her to bear any part 
of the expense for the new clothes that had been made 
for her. 

About this time her brother David received a letter 
from Stephen which showed that it was useless for her to 
stay where she was with any present expectation of 
securing his relief. He was still remaining with his 
property unmolested by both sides, and thought it 
better to continue there than run what seemed to him 
the larger risks of leaving. 

One of the most interesting and in its way pathetic 
entries in her diary at this season, is a long one on De- 
cember 5, 1863. Miss Barton had collided with official 
arrogance, and had unhappy memories of it. She probably 
would have said nothing about it had she not been ap- 
pealed to by one of the women at the headquarters to do 
something to improve conditions at the regular hospital. 
And that was something which Clara Barton simply 
could not do. She knew better than almost any one else 
how much those hospitals lacked of perfection. She her- 
self did not visit them, excepting as she went there to 
return official calls. She had made it plain to those in 
charge that she had not come to interfere with any form 
of established work, but to do a work of her own in com- 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 255 

plete sympathy and co5peration with theirs. She knew 
that Dorothea Dix had undertaken an impossible task. 
She saw some nurses near to where she was who were 
much more fond of spending pleasant evenings at head- 
quarters than they were of doing the work for which 
they were supposed to have come down. But she also 
knew that even such work as she was doing was looked 
upon by some of them with feelings of jealousy, as work 
outside of the general organization, yet receiving from 
the public a confidence and recognition not always ac- 
corded their own. One night, after one of the officer's 
wives had poured out her soul to Clara Barton, she 
poured out her soul to her diary. It is a very long entry, 
but it treats of some highly important subjects: 

I moved along to the farther end of the piazza and 
found Mrs. D., who soon made known to me the subject 
of her desires. As I suspected, the matter was hospitals. 
She has been visiting the hospital at this place and has 
become not only interested, but excited upon the sub- 
ject; the clothing department she finds satisfactory, but 
the storeroom appears empty and a sameness prevailing 
through food as provided which seems to her appalling 
for a diet for sick men. She states that they have no 
delicacies such as the country at the North are flooding 
hospitals with; that the food is all badly cooked, served 
cold, and always the samk thing — dip toast, meat 
cooked dry, and tea without milk, perhaps once a week 
a potato for each man, or a baked apple. She proposed 
to establish a kitchen department for the serving of 
proper food to these men, irrespective of the pleasure of 
the "Powers that Be." She expects opposition from the 
surgeons in charge and Mrs. Russell, the matron ap- 
pointed and stationed by Miss Dix, but thinks to com- 
mence by littles and work herself in in spite of opposition. 



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256 CLARA BARTON 

or make report direct to Washington through Judge 
Holt, and other influential friends and obtain a carte 
blanche from Secretary Stanton to act independently of 
all parties. She wished to know if I thought it would be 
possible to procure supplies sufficient to carry on such a 
plan, and people to cook and serve if it were once estab- 
lished and directed properly. She had just mailed a 
letter to Miss Dame calling upon her to stir people at the 
North and make a move if possible in the right direction. 
She said General Gillmore took tea with her the evening 
previous and inquired with much feeling, **Haw are my 
poor boys?** She desired me to attend church at the hos- 
pital to-morrow (Sunday) morning; not with her, but 
go, pass through, and judge for myself. In the meantime 
the Major came in and the subject was discussed gener- 
ally. I listened attentively, gave it as my opinion that 
there would be no difficulty in obtaining supplies and 
means of paying for the preparation of them, but of the 
manner and feasibility of delivering and distributing 
them among the patients I said nothing. / had nothing 
to say. I partly promised to attend church the next 
morning, and retired having said very little. What I 
have thought is quite another thing. I have no doubt 
but the patients lack many luxuries which the country 
at large endeavors to supply them with, and supposes 
they have, no doubt; but men suffer and die for the lack 
of the nursing and provisions of the loved ones at home. 
No doubt but the stately, stupendous, and magnificent 
indolence of the "officers in charge" embitters the days 
of the poor sufferers who have become mere machines in 
the hands of the Government to be ruled and oppressed 
by puffed-up, conceited, and self-sufficient superiors in 
position. No doubt but a good, well-regulated kitchen, 
presided over with a little good common sense and 
womanly care, would change the whole aspect of things 
and lengthen the days of some, and brighten the last 
days of others of the poor sufferers within the thin walls 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 257 

of this hospital. I wish it might be, but what can I do? 
First it is not my province ; I should be out of place there ; 
next, Miss Dix is supreme, and her appointed nurse is 
matron; next, the surgeons will not brook any inter- 
ference, and will, in my opinion, resent and resist the 
smallest effort to break over their own arrangements. 
What others may be able to do I am unable to conjecture, 
but I feel that my guns are effectually silenced. My 
sympathy is not destroyed, by any means, but my aw- 
fidence in my ability to accomplish anything of an alle- 
viating character in this department is completely anni- 
hilated. I went with all I had, to work where I thought 
I saw greatest need. A man can have no greater need 
than to be saved from death, and after six weeks of un- 
remitting toil I was driven from my own tents by the 
selfish cupidity or stupidity of a pompous staff surgeon 
with a little accidental temporary authority, and I by 
the means thrown upon a couch of sickness, from which 
I barely escaped with my life. After four weeks of suffer- 
ing most intense, I rose in my weakness and repaired 
again to my post, and scarcely were my labors recom- 
menced when, through the same influence or no influ- 
ence brought to bear upon the General Commanding, I 
was made the subject of a general order, and commanded 
to leave the island, giving me three hours in which to 
pack, remove, and ship four tons of supplies with no as- 
sistance that they knew of but one old female negro cook. 
I complied, but was remanded to Beaufort to labor in 
the hospitals there. With this portion of the "order" I 
failed to comply, and went home to Hilton Head and 
wrote the Commanding General a full explanation of my 
position, intention, proposed labors, etc., etc., which 
brought a rather sharp response, calling my humanity to 
account for not being willing to comply with his specified 
request, viz. to labor in Beaufort hospitals; insisting upon 
the plan as gravely as if it had been a possibility to be 
accomplished. But for the extreme ludicrousness of the 



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258 CLARA BARTON 

thing I should have felt hurt at the bare thought of such 
a charge against me and from such a quarter. The hos- 
pitals were supplied by the Sanitary Commission! Miss 
Dix holding supremacy over all female attendants by 
authority from Washington, Mrs. Lander claiming, and 
endeavoring to enforce the same, and scandalizing 
through the Press — each hospital labeled. No Admit- 
tance, and its surgeons bristling like porcupines at the 
bare sight of a proposed visitor. How in reason's name 
was I "to labor there"? Should I prepare my food and 
thrust it against the outer walb, in tihe hope it might 
strengthen the patients inside? Should I tie up my bun- 
dle of clothing and creep up and deposit it on the door- 
step and slink away like a guilty mother, and watch afar 
off to see if the master of the mansion would accept or 
reject the "foundling"? If the Commanding General in 
his wisdom, when he assumed the direction of my affairs, 
and commanded me where to labor, had opened die doors 
for me to enter, the idea would have seemed more prac- 
tical. It did not occur to me at the moment how I was 
to effect an entrance to these hospitals, but I have since 
thought that I might have been expected to watch my 
opportunity some dark night, and storm them, although 
it must be confessed that the popularity of this mode of 
attack was rather on the decline in this department at 
that time, having reached its height very soon after the 
middle of July, 

One other uncomfortable experience Clara Barton had 
at this time. When she first began her work for the relief 
of the soldiers, she went forth from Washington as a 
center and still kept up her work in the Patent Office. 
When she found that this work was to take all her time, 
she approached the Commissioner of Patents and asked 
to have her place kept for her, but without salary. He 
refused this proposal, and said her salary should continue 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 259 

to be paid. The other clerks, also, were in hearty accord 
with thb proposal, and offered to distribute her work 
among them. But as the months went by, this grew to 
be a somewhat laborious undertaking. The number of 
women clerks in the Patent Office had increased as so 
many of the men were in the army. There were twenty 
of these women clerks, some of whom had never known 
Clara Barton, and they did not see any reason why she 
should be drawing a salary and winning fame for work 
which they were expected to do. Moreover, the report 
became current that she was drawing a large salary for 
her war work in addition. The women in the Patent 
Office drew up a "round robin" demanding that her 
salary cease. This news, with the report that the Com- 
missioner had acted upon the request, came to her while 
she had other things to trouble her. Had the salary 
ceased because she was no longer doing the work, it 
would have been no more than she had herself proposed. 
But when her associates, having volunteered to do the 
work for her that her place might be kept and her sup- 
port continued, became the agents for the dissemination 
of a false report, she was hurt and indignant. 

To the honor c^ Judge HoUoway and his associates in 
the Patent Office, be it recorded that she received 4 
letter from Judge HoUoway that she had been misin- 
formed about the termination of her salary; there had, 
indeed, been such a rumor and request, but he would 
not have acted on it without learning the truth, and did 
not credit it. Her desk would await her return if he con- 
tinued as Commissioner. 

A few days before Christmas another pleasant event 
occurred. Her nephew Stephen, whom she had con- 



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260 CLARA BARTON 

tinued to caU ^'Bub/' arrived in uniform. Though 

hardly fifteen, he had enlisted in the telegraph corps, and 

was sent to be with her. He became her closest friend 

in an intimacy of relation that did not cease until her 

eyes closed in death; and then, in her perfect confidence 

in him, she appointed him her executor. 

A letter in this month reviews the experiences of her 

sojourn at Hilton Head: 

Hn.TON Hbad, S.C 
Wednesday, December 9th, 1863 

Mr. Parker, 

My dear kind Friend: 

It would be impossible for me to tell how many times 
I have commenced to write you. Sometimes I have put 
my letter by because we were doing so little there was 
nothing of interest to communicate; at other times, be- 
cause there was so much I had not time to tell it, until 
some greater necessity drew me away, and my half- 
written letter became " rubbish " and was destroyed. And 
now I have but one topic which is of decided interest 
to me, and that is so peculiarly so that I will hasten to 
speak of it at once. After almost a year's absence, I am 
beginning to think about once more coming home, once 
more meeting the scores of kind friends I have been from 
so long; and the nearer I bring this object to my view, 
the brighter it appears. The nearer I fancy the meeting, 
the dearer the faces and the kinder the smiles appear to 
me and the sweeter the welcome voices that fall upon my 
ear. Not that I have not found good friends here. None 
could have been kinder. I came with one brother, loving, 
kind, and considerate; I have met others here scarcely 
less so, and those, too, with whom rested the power to 
make me comfortable and happy, and I have yet to 
recall the first instance in which they have failed to use 
their utmost endeavor to render me so, and while a tear 
of joy glistens in my eye at the thought of the kind 



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ATTEMPT TO RECAPTURE SUMTER 261 

friends I hope so soon to meet, there will still linger one 
of regret for the many of those I leave. 

Eight months and two days ago we landed at the dock 
in this harbor. When nations move as rapidly as ours 
moves at present, that is a long time, and in it as a nation 
we have done much, gained much, and suffered much. 
Still much more remains to be done, much more acquired, 
and I fear much more suffered. Our brave and noble 
old Army of Virginia still marches and fights and the 
glorious armies of the West still fight and conquer; our 
soldiers still die upon the battle-field, pine in hospitals, 
and languish in prison; the wives and sisters and mothers 
still wait, and weep and hope and toil and pray, and the 
little child, fretting at the long-drawn days, asks in tear- 
ful impatience, " When will my papa come?*' 

The first sound which fell upon my ear in this Depart- 
ment was the thunder of our guns in Charleston Harbor, 
and still the proud city sits like a queen and dictates 
terms to our army and navy. Sumter, the watch-dog 
that lay before her door, fell, maimed and bleeding, it is 
true; still there is defiance in his growl, and death in his 
bite, and pierced and prostrate as he lies with the tidal 
waves lapping his wounds, it were worth our lives, and 
more than his^ to go and take him. 

We have captured one fort — Gregg — and one 
chamel house — Wagner — and we have built one 
cemetery, Morris Island. The thousand little sand-hills 
that glitter in the pale moonlight are a thousand head- 
stones, and the restless ocean waves that roll and break 
upon the whitened beach sing an eternal requiem to the 
toil-worn, gallant dead who sleep beside. 

As the year drew to a close, the conviction grew 
stronger that her work in this field was done. Charles- 
ton still resisted attempts to recapture it. Sumter, 
though demolished, was in the hands of the Confederates. 
There was no prospect of inunediate battle, and unless 



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262 CLARA BARTON 

there was fresh bloodshed there was no imperative call 
for her. Moreover, little jealousies and petty factions 
grew up around the hospitals and headquarters, where 
there were few women and many men, and there were 
rumors of mismanagement which she must hear, but 
not reply to. She had many happy experiences to re- 
member, and she left a record of much good done. But 
her work was finished at that place. In her last entries 
in her diary she is disposing of her remaining stores, 
packing her trunk, and when, after a rather long interval, 
we hear from her again, she is in Washington. 



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CHAPTER XVII 

FROM TH£ WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 
IN THE YEAR 1864 

Clara Barton returned from Port Royal and Hflton 
Head sometime in January, 1864. On January 28 she 
was in Worcester, whence she addressed a letter to 
Colonel Clark in regard to the forthcoming reunion of 
veterans in Worcester, She did not expect to be present, 
as her stay in Massachusetts was to be brief. 

On Sunday, February 14, she was in Brooklyn, and, 
as usual, went to hear Henry Ward Beecher. He preached 
on "Unwritten Heroism," and related some heroic in- 
cidents in the life of an Irish servant girl who, all un- 
known to fame, was still a heroine. Clara meditated on 
the sermon and regretted that she herself was not more 
heroic. 

Before many days she was in Washington. It was 
rainy and cold. She found very little that was inspiring. 
Her room was cheerless, though she does not say so, but 
the little touches which she gave to it, as recorded, show 
how bare and comfortless it must have been. Her 
salary at the Patent Office continued, but it now becomes 
apparent that the arrangement whereby the other women 
in the Patent Office were to do her work had not con- 
tinued indefinitely. She was hiring a partially disabled 
man to do her writing and was dividing her salary with 
him. Out of the balance she paid the rent of her room, 
eighty-four dollars a year, payable a year in advance. 
It was not exorbitant rent considering the demand for 



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264 CLARA BARTON 

space in Washington. But it was a cheerless place, and 
she did not occupy it much. Principally, it was a store- 
house for her supplies, with a place partitioned off (or 
her own bedroom. She had many callers, however. 
Senator Wilson coming to see her frequently, and aiding 
her in every possible way. More than once she gave him 
information which he, as chairman of the Conmiittee 
on Military Affairs of the United States Senate, utilized 
with far-reaching results. Sometimes she told him in 
the most uncompromising manner of what she regarded 
as abuses which she had witnessed. There were times 
when men seemed to her very cowardly, and the Govern- 
ment machinery very clumsy and ineffective. On the 
evening of April 13, 1864, she was fairly well disgusted 
with all mankind. She thus wrote her opinion of the 
human race, referring particularly to the masculine part 
of it: 

I am thinking very busily about the result of the in- 
vestigation into the Florida matter. Is General Seymour 
to be sacrificed when so many hundred people and the 
men know it to be all based on falsehood and wrong? Is 
there no manly justice in the world? Is there not one 
among them all that dares risk the little of military sta- 
tion he may possess to come out and speak the truth, 
and do the right? Oh, pity! O Lord, what is man that 
thou art mindful of him! 

The next day was not a cheerful day for her. She was 
still brooding on some of these same matters. She tried 
in those days to escape from these unhappy reflections 
by going where she would be compelled to think of some- 
thing else. But not even in church could she always 
keep her mind off of them. She wrote at length in her 
diary on the morning of the 14th, and that evening, when 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 265 

Senator Wilson called, she told him what she thought of 
the United States Armyi the United States Senate, and 
of people and things in general: 

Thursday, April 14th, 1864. This was one of the most 
down-spirited days that ever came to me. All the worid 
appeared selfish and treacherous. I can get no hold on 
a good noble sentiment anywhere. I have scanned over 
and over the whole moral horizon and it b all dark, the 
night clouds seem to have shut down, so stagnant, so 
dead, so selfish, so calculating. Is there no right? Are 
there no consequences attending wrong? How shall the 
world move on in all this weight of dead, morbid mean- 
ness? Shall lies prevail forevermore? Look at the 
state of things, both civil and military, that curse our 
Government. The pompous air with which little dis- 
honest pimps lord it over their betters. Contractors 
ruining the Nation, and oppressing the poor, and no one 
rebukes them. See a monkey-faced official, not twenty 
rods from me, oppressing and degrading poor women who 
come up to his stall to feed their children, that he may 
steal with better grace and show to the Government how 
much his economy saves it each month. Poor blind 
Government never feels inside his pockets, pouching 
with ill-gotten gain, heavy with sin. His whole depart- 
ment know it, but it might not be quite wise for them to 
speak — they will tell it freely enough, but will not, dare 
not affirm it — cowards! Congress knows it, but no 
one can see that it will make votes for him at home 
by meddling with it, so it is winked at. The Cabinet 
know it, but people that live in glass houses must not 
throw stones. So it rests, and the women live lighter and 
sink lower, God help them. And next an ambitious, 
dishonest General lays a political plot to be executed 
with human life. He is to create a Senator, some mem- 
berships, a Governor, commissions, and all the various 
offices of a state, and the grateful recipients are to repay 



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266 CLARA BARTON 

the favor by gaining for him his confirmation as Major- 
General. So the poor rank and file are marched out to 
do the job, a leader is selected known to be brave to rash- 
ness if need be, and given the command in the dark, 
that he may never be able to claim any portion of the 
glory — so that he cannot say / did it. Doomed, and he 
knows it, he is sent on, remonstrates, comes back and 
explains, is left alone with the responsibility on his 
shoulders, forces divided, animals starving, men suffer- 
ing, enemy massing in front, and still there he is. Sud- 
denly he is attacked, defeated as he expected he must be, 
and the world is shocked by the tales of his rashness and 
procedure contrary to orders. He cannot speak; he b a 
subordinate officer and must remain silent; the thou- 
sands with him know it, but they must not speak; Con- 
gress does not know it, and refuses to be informed; and 
the doomed one is condemned and the guilty one asks 
for his reward, and the admiring world claims it for him. 
He has had a battle and only lost two thousand men and 
gained nothing. Surely, this deserved something. And 
still the world moves on. No wonder it looks dark, 
though, to those who do not wear the tinsel. And so 
my day has been weary with these thoughts, and my 
heart heavy and I cannot raise it — I doubt tiie justice 
of almost all I see. 

Evening. At eight Mr. Wilson called. I asked him if 
the investigation was closed. He replied yes, and that 
General Seymour would leave the Department in dis- 
grace. This was too much for my fretted soul, and I 
poured out the vials of my indignation in no stinted 
measure. I told him the facts, and what I thought of a 
Committee that was too imbecile to listen to the truth 
when it was presented to them; that they had made 
themselves a laughing-stock for even the privates in the 
service by their stupendous inactivity and gullibility; 
that they were all a set of dupes, not to say knaves, for I 
knew Gray of New York had been on using all his blar- 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 267 

ney with them that was possible to wipe over them. 
When I had freed my mind, and it was some time, he 
looked amazed and called for a written statement. I 
promised it. He left. I was anxious to possess myself 
of the most reliable facts in existence and decide to go 
to New York and see Colonel Hall and Dr. Marsh again; 
make my toilet ready, write some letters, and at three 
o'clock retired. 

From all of this it will appear that Clara Barton had a 
rather gloomy time of it after her return to Washington. 
Old friends called on her and she was amid pleasant sur- 
roundings, but she was ill at ease. The Army of the 
Potomac had failed to hold its old position north of the 
Rappahannock. She anticipated the same old round 
which she had witnessed, marching and counter-march- 
ing with ineffective fighting, great suffering, and no 
permanent results. Nor did she see how she was hence- 
forth to be of much assistance. The Sanitary and 
Christian Commissions were doing increasingly effective 
work in the gathering and distribution of supplies. The 
hospitals were approaching what ought to have been a 
state of efficiency. There seemed little place for her. 
She went to the War Department to obtain blanket 
passes, permitting herself and friend to go wherever she 
might deem it wise to go, and to have transportation for 
their supplies. She could hardly ask for anything less 
if she were to ask for anything, but it was a larger request 
than Secretary Stanton was at that time ready to grant. 
Her attempts to secure what she deemed necessary 
through the Medical Department were unavailing. The 
Medical Department thought itself competent to manage 
its own affairs. But she knew that there was desperate 
need of the kind of service which she could render. 



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268 CLARA BARTON 

For a time she questioned seriously whether she should 
not give up the whole attempt to return to the front. 
She even considered the possibility of asking for her old 
desk at the Patent Office, and letting the doctors and 
nurses take care of the wounded in the way they thought 
best. 

The national conventions were approaching. A woman 
in Ohio who had worked with her on the battle-field wrote 
asking Miss Barton for whom she intended to vote. 
She replied at considerable length. She intended to 
vote for the Republican candidate whoever he might 
be, because in so doing she would vote for the Union. 
She would not vote for McClellan nor for any other can- 
didate nominated by his party. For three years she had 
been voting for Abraham Lincoln. She thought she 
still would vote for him; she trusted him and believed 
in him. But still if the Republicans should nominate 
Fremont, she would not withhold her approval. There 
was in Washington and in the army so much incompe- 
tence, so much rascality, it was possible that another 
President — especially one with military experience — 
would push the war to a speedier finbh, and rout out 
some of the rascality she saw in Washington. She 
thought that Fr6mont might possibly have some ad- 
vantage over Lincoln in this respect. But she rather 
hoped Lincoln would be renominated. He was so worthy, 
so honest, so kind, and the people could trust him. 
Though the abuses which had grown up under his ad- 
ministration were great, they were mostly inevitable. 
And so she rather thought she would vote for Lincoln, 
even in preference to the very popular hero, Fremont. 
Fremont had, indeed, seen, sooner than Lincoln, the 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 269 

necessity of abolition, and she thought would have a 
stronger grip on military affairs. But her heart was with 
Lincoln. 

While she was waiting for a new call to service and 
was busy every day with a multitude of cares, she heard 
a lecture by the Reverend George Thompson, which is 
of interest because it enables us to discover how she now 
had come to feel about "Old John Brown." It will be 
remembered that she had not wholly approved the John 
Brown raid, nor shared in the public demonstrations 
that followed his execution. She had come, however, to 
a very different feeling with regard to him. On April 
6, 1864, George Thompson, the abolitionist, gave an ad- 
dress in Washington. The address was delivered in the 
hall of the House of Representatives, and the President 
and Cabinet were among those who attended. Clara 
Barton was present, and close beside her in the gallery 
sat John Brown's brother. 

For a few days previous she had been reading "No 
Name," by Wilkie Collins. She compared his style to 
that of Dickens with some discriminating comments on 
the literary work of each. But she discontinued "No 
Name" when near the end of it, in order to read in 
preparation for the lecture by George Thompson. It 
will be well to quote her entry in her diary for the 5th 
and 6th of April: 

Washington, April 5/A, 1864, Tuesday. Rained all day 
just as if it had not rained every other day for almost 
two weeks, and I read as steadily indoors as it rained 
out; am nearly through with "No Name." Until 
4 o'clock P.M. I had no disturbance, and then a most 
pleasant one. Mr. Brown came in to bring me letters 



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270 CLARA BARTON 

from Mary Norton and Julia, and next to ask me to mend 
a little clothing, and next to present me a beautiful scrap- 
book designed for my own articles. It is a very beautiful 
article and I prize it much. Then my friend, Mr. Parker, 
called for a chat, and I read to him some two hours, in 
order to prepare his mind for George Thompson's lecture 
which is to occur to-morrow night. Then a call from 
Senator W., and next Dr. Elliott which lasted till just 
now, and it is almost eleven o'clock, and I have set my 
fire out and apparently passed the day to little purpose; 
still, I think it has glided away very innocently, and with 
a few minutes' preparation I shall retire with a grateful 
heart for the even, pleasant days which run so smoothly 
in my course. 

Washington, April 6th, 1864, Wednesday. There are 
signs of clear weather, although it is by no means an 
established fact yet. I laid my reading aside, and took 
up my pen to address a letter to Mr. Wilson. I wrote 
at greater length than I had expected and occupied quite 
a portion of the day. The subject woke up the recollec- 
tion of a train of ills and wrongs submitted to and borne 
so long that I suffered intensely in the reproduction of 
them, but I did reproduce, whether to any purpose or 
not time will reveal. It is not to be supposed that any 
decided revolution is to follow, as this is never to be 
looked for in my case. I have done expecting it, and 
done, I trust, with my efforts in behalf of others. I must 
take the little renmant of life that may remain to me as 
my own special property, and appropriate it accordingly. 
I had asked an appointment, as before referred to. I 
find I cannot make the use of it I had desired, and I have 
asked to recall the application. I have said I could not 
afford to make it. This was the day preceding the night 
of Mr. George Thompson's lecture in the Hall of Rep- 
resentatives. I went early with Mr. Brown. We went 
into the gallery and to»ok a front seat in a side gallery. 
The House commenced to fill very rapidly with one of 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 271 

the finest-looking audiences that could be gathered in 
Washington. Conspicuous among .them were Mr. Chase, 
Governor Sprague, Senator Wilson, Governor Boutwell 
and lady, Speaker Colfax, Thad. Stevens, and, to cap all, 
the brother of "Old John Brown*' came and sat with us. 
At eight the orator of the evening entered the Hall in 
the same group with President Lincoln, Vice-President 
Hamlin, Rev. Mr. Pierpont, and others whom I did not 
recognize. Preliminary remarks were made by Mr. Pier- 
pont. Next followed Mr. Hamlin, who introduced Mr. 
Thompson, who arose under so severe emotions that he 
could scarce utter a word. It seemed for a time that he 
would fall before the audience he had come to address. 
The contrast was evidently too great to be contemplated 
with composure; his sensitive mind reverted doubtless 
to his previous visits to this country, when he had seen 
himself hung and burnt in effigy, been mobbed, stoned, 
and assailed with ''filthy missiles," and now he stood, 
almost deafened with applause, in the Hall of Repre- 
sentatives of America, America '*free" from the shackles 
of slavery, and to address the President, and great polit- 
ical heads of the Nation. No wonder he was overcome, 
no wonder that the air felt thick, and his words came 
feebly, and his body bent beneath the weight of the con- 
trast, the glorious consummation of all he had so earnestly 
labored and so devoutly prayed for. But by degrees his 
strength returned, and the rich melody of his voice filled 
every inch of the vast hall, and delighted every loyal, 
truth-loving ear. It would be useless for me to attempt 
a description of his address — it is so far immortal as to 
be always found, I trust, among the records of the 
glorious doings and sayings of our country's supporters. 
His endorsement of the President was one of the most 
touching and sublime things I have ever heard uttered, 
and the messages from England to him breathed a spirit 
of friendship which I was not prepared to listen to. 
Surely we are not to growl at and complain of England as 



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272 CLARA BARTON 

jealous and hostile when her working-people, deprived 
of their daily labor and the support of their families 
through our difficulties, bid us Godspeed, and never to 
yield till our purpose has been accomplished, and con- 
gratulate us upon having achieved our independence 
in the War of the Revolution, and ask us now to go on 
and achieve a still greater independence, which shall 
embrace the whole civilized world. Surely these words 
show a nobler spirit in England than we had any reason 
or real right to expect. His remarks touching John Brown 
were strong, and, sitting as I was, watching the immedi- 
ate effect upon the brother at my side, and when in a few 
minutes the band struck up the familiar air dedicated 
to him the world over, I truly felt that John Brown's 
Soul wds marching on, and that the mouldering in the 
grave was of little account; the brother evidently felt 
the same. There was a glistening of the eye and a com- 
pression of the lip which spoke it all and more; he was 
evidently proud of the gallows rope that hung Old John 
Brown, "Old Hero Brown!" 

On leaving the Hall, Mr. Parker joined us, and we all 
took a cream at Simmod's and returned, and I made 
good my escape to my room. 

Since her return from Hilton Head, she had been 
furnished no passes. Official Washington had forgotten 
her in her year of absence. But there came a day when 
Clara Barton had no difficulty in obtaining passes, and 
when all Washington was willing enough to have her go 
to the front. That was when the battle of Spotsylvania 
occurred. May 8, 1864. It took Washington a day or 
two to realize the gravity of the situation; and Clara 
Barton was begging and imploring the opportunity to 
hasten at the sound of the first gun. There was refusal 
and delay; then, when it was realized that more than 
2700 men had been killed and more than 13,000 wounded, 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 273 

her passes came. General Rucker, who had been endeav- 
oring to secure them for her, obtained them, and sent 
them in haste by special messenger; and Clara Barton 
was back on the boat, landing, as so often before, at 
Acquia Creek, and wading through the red mud to where 
the wounded were. 

They were everywhere; and most of all they were in 
wagons sunk to the hub in mud, and stalled where they 
could not get out, while men groaned and died and mag- 
gots crawled in their wounds. Bitterly she lamented the 
lost hours while she had been clamoring for passes; but 
now she set herself to work with such facilities as she 
could command, first for the relief of the wounded men 
in wagons: 

The terrible slaughter of the Wilderness and Spot- 
sylvania turned all pitying hearts and helping hands once 
more to Fredericksburg [she wrote afterward]. And no 
one who reached it by way of Belle Plain, while this lat- 
ter constituted the base of supplies for General Grant's 
army, can have forgotten the peculiar geographical loca- 
tion, and the consequent fearful condition of the country 
immediately about the landing, which consisted of a 
narrow ridge of high land on the left bank of the river. 
Along the right extended the river itself. On the left, the 
hills towered up almost to a mountain height. The same 
ridge of high land was in front at a quarter of a mile 
distant, through which a narrow defile formed the road 
leading out, and on to Fredericksburg, ten miles away, 
thus leaving a level space or basin of an area of a fourth 
of a mile, directly in front of the landing. 

Across this small plain all transportation to and from 
the army must necessarily pass. The soil was red clay. 
The ten thousand wheels and hoofs had ground it to a 
powder, and a sudden rain upon the surrounding hills 



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274 CLARA BARTON 

had converted the entire basin into one vast mortar-bed, 
smooth and glassy as a lake, and much the color of light 
brick dust. 

The poor, mutilated, starving sufferers of the Wilder- 
ness were pouring into Fredericksbuiig by thousands — 
all to be taken away in army wagons across ten miles of 
alternate hills, and hollows, stumps, roots, and mud! 

The boats from Washington to Belle Plain were loaded 
down with fresh troops, while the wagons from Freder- 
icksburg to Belle Plain were loaded with wounded men 
and went back with supplies. The exchange was trans- 
acted on this narrow ridge, called the landing. 

I arrived from Washington with such supplies as I 
could take. It was still raining. Some members of the 
Christian Commission had reached an earlier boat, and, 
being unable to obtain transportation to Fredericksbuiig, 
had erected a tent or two on the ridge and were evi- 
dently considering what to do next. 

To nearly or quite all of them the experience and scene 
were entirely new. Most of them were clergymen, who 
had left at a day's notice, by request of the distracted 
fathers and mothers who could not go to the relief of the 
dear ones stricken down by thousands, and thus begged 
those in whom they had the most confidence to go for 
them. They went willingly, but it was no easy task they 
had undertaken. It was hard enough for old workers 
who commenced early and were inured to the life and 
its work. 

I shall never forget the scene which met my eye as I 
stepped from the boat to the top of the ridge. Standing 
in this plain of mortar-mud were at least two hundred 
six-mule army wagons, crowded full of wounded men 
waiting to be taken upon the boats for Washington. 
They had driven from Fredericksburg that morning. 
Each driver had gotten his wagon as far as he could, for 
those in front of and about him had stopped. 

Of the depth of the mud, the best judgment was 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 275 

formed from the fact that no enth^ hub of a wheel was in 
sight, and you saw nothing of any animal below its knees 
and the mass of mud all settled into place perfectly 
smooth and glassy. 

As I contemplated the scene, a young, intelligent, 
delicate gentleman, evidently a clergyman, approached 
me, and said anxiously, but almost timidly: ''Madam, 
do you think those wagons are filled with wounded men? " 

I replied that they undoubtedly were, and waiting to 
be placed on the boats then unloading. 

"How long must they wait?" he asked. 

I said that, judging from the capacity of the boats, I 
thought they could not be ready to leave much before 
night. 

''What can we do for them?" he asked, still more 
anxiously. 

"They are hungry and must be fed," I replied. 

For a moment his countenance brightened, then fell 
again as he exclaimed: "What a pity; we have a great 
deal of clothing and reading matter, but no food in any 
quantity, excepting crackers." 

I told him that I had coffee and that between us I 
thought we could arrange to give them all hot coffee and 
crackers. 

"But where shall we make our coffee?" he inquired, 
gazing wistfully about the bare wet hilbide. 

I pointed to a little hollow beside a stump. "There is 
a good place for a fire," I explained, "and any of this 
loose brush will do." 

"Just here?" he asked. 

"Just here, sir." 

He gathered the brush manfully and very soon we had 
some fire and a great deal of smoke, two crotched sticks 
and a crane, if you please, and presently a dozen camp- 
kettles of steaming hot coffee. My helper's pale face 
grew almost as bright as the flames and the smutty 
brands looked blacker than ever in his slim white fingers. 



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276 CLARA BARTON 

Suddenly a new difficulty met him. ''Our crackers are 
in barrels, and we have neither basket nor box. How can 
we carry them?" 

I suggested that aprons would be better than either, 
and, getting something as near the size and shape of a 
common tablecloth as I could find, tied one about him 
and one about me, fastened all four of the comers to the 
waist, and pinned the sides, thus leaving one hand for a 
kettle of coffee and one free, to administer it. 

Thus equipped we moved down the slope. Twenty 
steps brought us to the abrupt edge which joined the 
mud, much as the bank of a canal does the black line of 
water beside it. 

But here came the crowning obstacle of all. So com- 
pletely had the man been engrossed in his work, so de- 
lighted as one difficulty after another vanished and suc- 
cess became more and more apparent, that he entirely 
lost sight of the distance and difficulties between himseLf 
and the objects to be served. 

If you could have seen the expression of consternation 
and dismay depicted in every feature of his fine face, 
as he imploringly exclaimed, "How are we to get to 
them?" 

"There is no way but to walk," I answered. 

He gave me one more look as much as to say, "Are 
you going to step in there?" I allowed no time for the 
question, but, in spite of all the solemnity of the occasion, 
and the tenibleness of the scene before me, I found 
myself striving hard to keep the muscles of my face 
all straight. As it was, the comers of my mouth would 
draw into wickedness, as with a backward glance I saw 
the good man tighten his grasp upon his apron and take 
his first step into military life. 

But thank God, it was not his last. 

I believe it is recorded in heaven — the faithful 
work performed by that Christian Commission minister 
through long weary months of rain and dust and sununer 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 277 

suns and winter snows. The sick soldier blessed and the 
dying prayed for him, as through many a dreadful day 
he stood fearless and firm among fire and smoke (not 
made of brush), and walked calmly and unquestioningly 
through something redder and thicker than the mud of 
Belle Plain. 

No one has forgotten the heart-sickness which spread 
over the entire country as the busy wires flashed the dire 
tidings of the terrible destitution and suffering of the 
wounded of the Wilderness whom I attended as they lay 
in Fredericksburg. But you may never have known 
how many hundredfold of these ills were augmented by 
the conduct of improper, heartless, unfaithful officers in 
the immediate command of the city and upon whose 
actions and indecisions depended entirely the care, food, 
shelter, comfort, and lives of that whole city of wounded 
men. One of the highest officers there has since been con* 
victed a traitor. And another, a little dapper captain 
quartered with the owners of one of the finest mansions 
in the town, boasted that he had changed his opinion 
since entering the city the day before; that it was in fact 
a pretty hard thing for refined people like the people of 
Fredericksburg to be compelled to open their homes and 
admit "these dirty, lousy, common soldiers," and that 
he was not going to compel it. 

This I heard him say, and waited until I saw him make 
his words good, till I saw, crowded into one old sunken 
hotel, lying helpless upon its bare, wet, bloody floors, 
five hundred fainting men hold up their cold, bloodless, 
dingy hands, as I passed, and beg me in Heaven's name 
for a cracker to keep them from starving (and I had 
none) ; or to give them a cup that they might have some- 
thing to drink water from, if they could get it (and I had 
no cup and could get none) ; till I saw two hundred six- 
mule army wagons in a line, ranged down the street to 
headquarters, and reaching so far out on the Wilderness 
road that I never found the end of it; every wagon 



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278 CLARA BARTON 

crowded with wounded meiii stopped, standing in the 
rain and mud, wrenched back and forth by the restless, 
hungry animals all night from four o'clock in the after- 
noon till eight next morning and how much longer I know 
not. The dark spot in the mud under many a wagon, 
told only too plainly where some poor fellow's life had 
dripped out in those dreadful hours. 

I remembered one man who would set it right, ,if he 
knew it, who possessed the power and who would believe 
me if I told him [says Miss Barton in describing this 
experience]. I commanded immediate conveyance back 
to Belle Plain. With difficulty I obtained it, and four 
stout horses with a light army wagon took me ten miles 
at an unbroken gallop, through field and swamp and 
stumps and mud to Belle Plain and a steam tug at once 
to Washington. Landing at dusk I sent for Henry Wil- 
son, chairman of the Military Committee of the Senate. 
A messenger brought him at eight, saddened and appalled 
like every other patriot in that fearful hour, at the weight 
of woe under which the Nation staggered, groaned, and 
wept. 

He listened to the story of suffering and faithlessness, 
and hurried from my presence, with lips compressed and 
face like ashes. At ten he stood in the War Department. 
They could not credit his report. He must have been 
deceived by some frightened villain. No official report 
of unusual suffering had reached them. Nothing had 
been called for by the military authorities command- 
ing Fredericksbuiig. 

Mr. Wilson assured them that tke officers in trust there 
were not to be relied upon. They were faithless, over- 
come by the blandishments of the wily inhabitants. Still 
the Department doubted. It was then that he proved 
that my confidence in his firmness was not misplaced, 
as, facing his doubters he replies: "One of two things 
will have to be done — either you will send some one 
to-night with the power to investigate and correct the 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 279 

abuses of our wounded men at Fredericksburg, or the 
Senate will send some one to-morrow." 

This threat recalled their scattered senses. 

At two o'clock in the morning the Quartermaster- 
General and staff galloped to the 6th Street wharf under 
orders; at ten they were in Fredericksbuiig. At noon 
the wounded men were fed from the food of the dty and 
the houses were opened to the ** dirty , lousy soldiers'' of 
the Union Army. 

Both railroad and canal were opened. In three days I 
returned with carloads of supplies. 

Nomore jolting in army wagons! And every man who 
left Fredericksburg by boat or by car owes it to the firm 
decision of one man that his grating bones were not 
dragged ten miles across the country or left to bleach 
in the sands of that city. 

Yes, they owed it all to Senator Wilson. And he owed 
it to Clara Barton. 

Why was there such neglect, and why did no one else 
report it? 

The siugeons on the front were busy, and they did 
not see it. The surgeons and nurses in the base hospitals 
were busy, and they knew nothing of it. Military com- 
manders only knew that the roads were bad, and that it 
was difficult to move troops to the front or wounded men 
back to the rear, but supposed that the best was being 
made of a bad matter. But Clara Barton knew that, 
if some one in authority could realize that thousands of 
men were suffering needless agony and hundreds were 
dying who might be saved, something would be done. 

Something was done; and many a soldier who lived 
and regained his health had reason, without knowing it, 
to bless the name of Clara Barton. 

At the close of the Wilderness campaign, Clara Barton 



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28o CLARA BARTON 

found time to answer some letters and acknowledge 
some remittances. In one of these letters she answered 
the question why, being as she was in close touch and 
entire sympathy with the work of the Sanitary and 
Christian Commissions, she still continued to do her 
work independently. It is a thoroughly characteristic 
letter: 

May 30, 1864 
. . . The question would naturally arise with strangers, 
why I, feeling so in unison with the Conmiission and 
among whose members I number my best friends, should 
maintain a separated organization. To those who know 
me it is obvious. Long before either commission was in 
the field, or had even an existence, I was laboring by my- 
self for the little I might be able to accomplish and, 
gathering such helpers about me as I was best able to do, 
toiled in the front of our armies wherever I could reach, 
and thus I have labored on up to the present time. Death 
has sometimes laid his hand upon the active forces of 
my co-workers and stilled the steps most useful to me, 
but others have risen up to supply the place, and now 
it does not seem wise or desirable, after all this time, to 
change my course. If I have by practice acquired any 
skill, it belongs to me to use untrammeled, and I might 
not work as efficiently, or labor as happily, under the 
direction of those of less experience than myself. It is 
simply just to all parties that I retain my present posi- 
tion, and through all up to the present time I have been 
always able to meet my own demands with such little 
supplies as came voluntarily from my circle of personal 
friends, which fortunately was not small. But the ne- 
cessities of the present campaign were well-nigh over- 
whelming, and my duty required that I gather all I 
could, even if I shouted aloud to strangers for those who 
lay fainting and speechless by the wajrside or moaning 
in this wilderness. I did so and such responses as yours 



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THE WILDERNESS TO THE JAMES 281 

have been the reply. Dearly do I think God poured his 
blessing on my little work, for the friends He has raised 
up to aid me, for the uninterrupted health and unfailing 
strength He has given me, and more and more with each 
day's observation do I stand overawed by the great 
lessons He is teaching us His children, grand and stem 
as the earthquake's shock, judgments soft and terrible 
as the lightning stroke. He is leading us back to a sense 
of justice and duty and humanity, while our thousand guns 
flash freedom and our martyrs die. It is a terrible sacri- 
fice which He requires at our hands and in obedience the 
Nation has builded its altar and uplifted its arm of faith 
and the knife gleams above the child. He who commands 
it alone knows when His angel shall call from heaven to 
stay our hands and bid us no longer slay our own. Then 
may we find hidden in the peaceful thicket the appropri- 
ate sacrifice that in blessing He may bless us, that our 
young men return together, that our seed shall possess 
the gates of our enemies, and that all the nations of the 
earth be blessed. 



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CHAPTER XVIII 

TO THE END OP THB WAR 

At the end of May, 1864, Clara Barton was in Wash- 
ington. She wrote to her brother David informing him 
of her return to the dty on the night of May 24. There 
had been, she told him, a series of terrible battles; she 
doubted if history had ever known men to be mowed 
down in regiments as in these battles. Victory had been 
won, but it was incomplete, and the cost had been terri- 
ble. She had seen nine thousand Confederate prisoners. 

As to her future plans, she thought she would not go 
out from Washington a great deal during the excessively 
hot weather. She remembered her sickness of the pre- 
vious sunmier, and did not wish to repeat it. But as for 
keeping her away in case there should be a battle, she 
would not count a kindness on anybody's part to attempt 
that. She said: ** I suppose I should feel about as much 
benefited as my goldfish would if some kind-hearted per- 
son should take him out of his vase where he looked so 
wet and cold, and wrap him up in warm, dry flannel. We 
can't live out of our natural element, can we? I '11 keep 
quiet when the war is over.*' 

She was not permitted to stay in Washington and 
guard her health. She was appointed Superintendent of 
the Department of Nurses for the Army of the James. 
She was under the authority of Siugeon McCormack, 
Chief Medical Director. The army was commanded by 
General B. F. Butler. She entered this new field of 
service June 18, 1864. We have a letter which she wrote 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 283 

concerning a celebration, such as it was, of the 4th of 
July. 

PdiNT or Rocks, Va., July 5, 1864 
General Butler's Department 

Mt Most Esteemed and Dear Friend: 

Here in the sunshine and dust and toil and confusion 
of camp life, the mercury above a hundred, the atmos- 
phere and everything about black with flies, the dust 
rolling away in clouds as far as the eye can penetrate, the 
ashy ground covered with scores of hospital tents shield- 
ing nearly all conceivable maladies that soldier "flesh'' 
is heir to, and stretching on beyond the miles of bristling 
fortifications, entrenchments, and batteries encircling 
Petersburg, — all ready to 6/astf, — just here in the midst 
of all this your refreshing letter dropped in upon me. 

New York! It seemed to me that in the very post- 
mark I could see pictured nice Venetian blinds, darkened 
rooms where never a fly dared enter, shady yards with 
cool fountains throwing their spray almost in at the open 
windows, watered streets flecked with the changing 
shadows of waving trees, bubbling soda fountains and 
water ices and grottoes and pony gallops in Central Park 
and cool drives at evening, and much more I have not 
time to enumerate, and for an instant I fear human self- 
ishness triumphed, and, before I was aware, the mind 
had instinctively drawn a contrast, and the sun's rays 
glowed hotter and fiercer, and the dust rolled heavier, 
and my wayward heart complained to me that I was ever 
in the sun or dust or mud or frost, and impatiently asked 
if all the years of my life should pass and I never know 
again a season of quiet rest; and I confess it with shame. 
I trust that the suddenness with which it was rebuked 
may atone for its wickedness in some degree, and when 
I remembered the thousands who would so gladly come 
and share the toils with us, if only they could be free to 
do so, I gave thanks anew for my great privileges, and 
broke the seal of the welcome missive. 



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284 CLARA BARTON 

And you find hot weather even there, and have time 
among all the business of that driving city to remember 
the worn-out sufferers who are lying so helpless about us, 
many of whom have fought the last fight, kept the last 
watch, and, standing at the outer post, only wait to be 
relieved. The march has been toilsome, but the relief 
comes speedily at last — sometimes almost before we are 
aware. Yesterday in passing through a ward (if wards 
they might be termed) filled mostly from the U.S. 
Colored Regiments I stopped beside a sergeant who had 
appeared weak all day, but made no complaint, and 
asked how he was feeling then. Looking up in my face, 
he replied, *' Thank you. Miss, a little better, I hope." 
"Can I do anything for you?" I asked. "A little water, if 
you please." I turned to get it, and that instant he 
gasped and was gone. Men frequently reach us at noon 
and have passed away before night. For such we can only 
grieve, for there is little opportunity to labor in their cases. 
I find a large number of colored people, mostly women 
and children, left in this vicinity, the stronger having 
been taken by their owners "up country." In all cases 
they are destitute, having stood the sack of two opposing 
armies — what one army left them, the other has taken. 

On the plantation which forms the site of this hospital 
is a colored woman, the house servant of the former 
owner, with thirteen children, eight with her and five of 
her oldest taken away. The rebel troops had taken her 
bedding and clothing and ours had taken her money, 
forty dollars in gold, which she had saved, she said, and 
I do not doubt her statement in the least. I gave her all 
the food I had that was suitable for her and her children 
and shall try to find employment for her. 

For the last few days we have been constantly meeting 
and caring for the wounded and broken-down from 
Wilson's cavalry raid ; they have endured more than could 
be expected of men, and are still brave and cheerful under 
their sufferings. 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 285 

I hope I shall not surprise you by the information that 
we celebrated the Fourth (yesterday) by giving an 
extra dinner. We invited in the lame, the halt, and the 
blind to the number of some two hundred or more to 
partake of roast beef, new potatoes, squash, blancmange, 
cake, etc., etc. We had music, not by the band, but from 
the vicinity of Petersburg, and, if not so sweet and per- 
fectly timed as that discoursed by some of your excellent 
city bands, it must be acknowledged as both startling 
and thrilling, and was received with repeated " bursts.'* 

I thank you much for your kind solicitude for my 
health. I beg to assure you that I am perfectly well at 
present and, with the blessing of Heaven, I hope to re- 
main so. 

Of the length of the campaign I have no adequate idea, 
and can form none. I should be happy to write you 
pages of events as they transpire every day, but duty 
must not be neglected for mere gratification. 

Thus far I have remained at the Corps (which is, in 
this instance, only an overburdened and well-conducted 
field) hospital. This point, from its peculiar location, 
is peculiarly adapted to this double duty service, situated 
as it is at one terminus of the line of entrenchments. 

This part of Clara Barton's war experience is least 
known of all that she performed. Her diaries were un- 
kept and as her war lectures were mostly occupied with 
her earlier service in the field, they make almost no 
reference to this important part of her work. It is 
through her letters that we know something of what she 
experienced and accomplished in the closing months of 
1864, and the early months of 1865. There is less ma- 
terial here of the kind that makes good newspaper copy 
or lecture material than was afforded by her earlier work 
in the open field, and it is probably on this account that 
this period has fallen so much into the shadow of for- 



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286 CLARA BARTON 

getfulness that it has sometimes been said that Clara 
Barton retired from active service after the Wilderness 
campaign. Two letters, one to Frances Childs Vassall, 
and the other to Annie Childs, give somewhat intimate 
pictures of her life in this period, and may be selected out 
of her correspondence for that purpose. 

Tbnth Asmt Corps Hospftal 
September 3rd, 1864 

My darling Sis Fannie: 

It is almost midnight, and I ought to go to bed this 
minute, and I want to speak to you first, and I am going 
to indulge my inclination just a little minute till this 
page is down, if no more; but it will be all egotism, so be 
prepared, and don't blame me. I know you are doing well 
and living just as quietly and happily as you deserve to 
do. I hear from no one, and indeed I scarce write at all; 
and no one would wonder if they could look in upon my 
family and know besides that we had moved this week — 
yes, moved a family of fifteen hundred sick men, and had 
to keep our housekeeping up all the time; and no one to 
be ready at hand and ask us to take tea the first night 
either. 

I have never told you how I returned — well, safely, 
and got off from City Point and my goods off its dock 
just in time to avoid that terrible catastrophe. I was not 
blown to atoms, but might have been and no one the 
wiser. I found my "sick family" somewhat magnified 
on my return, and soon the Corps (loth) was ordered to 
cross the James, and make a feint while the Weldon 
Railroad was captured, and this move threw all the sick 
in Regimental Hospital into our hospital, five hundred 
in one night. Only think of such an addition to a family 
between supper and breakfast and no preparation; and 
just that morning our old cook John and his assistant 
Peter both came down sick, one with inflammation of 
the lungs and the other with fever. It was all the sur- 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 287 

geons, stewards, and clerks could do to keep the names 
straight and manage the official portion of the reception; 
and, would you believe it, I stepped into the gap and 
assumed the responsibility of the kitchen and feeding of 
our twelve hundred, and I held it and kept it straight 
till I selected a new boss cook and got him regularly 
installed and then helped him all the time up to the 
present day. I wish I had some of my bills of fare pre- 
served as they read for the day. The variety is by no 
means so striking as the quantity. Say for breakfast 
seven hundred loaves of bread, one hundred and seventy 
gallons of hot coffee, two large wash-boilers full of tea, 
one barrel of apple sauce, one barrel of sliced boiled pork, 
or thirty hams, one half barrel of corn-starch blanc- 
mange, five hundred slices of butter toast, one hundred 
slices of broiled steak, and one hundred and fifty patients, 
to be served with chicken gruel, boiled eggs, etc. For 
dinner we have over two hundred gallons of soup, or 
boiled dinner of three barrels of potatoes, two barrels 
of turnips, two barrels of onions, two barrels of squash, 
one hundred gallons of minute pudding, one wash-boiler 
full of whiskey sauce for it, or a large washtub full of 
codfish nicely picked, and stirred in a batter to make one 
hundred and fifty gallons of nice home codfish, and the 
Yankee soldiers cry when they taste it (I prepared it just 
the old home way, and so I have everj^ing cooked), 
and the same toasts and com starch as for breakfast. 
And then for supper two hundred gallons of rice, and 
twenty gallons of sauce for it, two hundred gallons of tea, 
toast for a thousand, and some days I have made with 
my own hands ninety apple pies. This would make a 
pie for some six hundred poor fellows who had not tasted 
pie for months, it might be years, sick and could not 
eat much. I save all the broken loaves of bread from 
transportation and make bread puddings in large milk 
pans; about forty at once will do. The patients asked for 
gingerbread, and I got extra floiu: and molasses and 



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288 CLARA BARTON 

make it by the score. I have all tiie grease preserved and 
clarified, and to-morrow, if our new milk comes, we are 
to commence to make doughnuts. I have a barrel of 
nice lard ready (they had always burned it before to get 
it out of tiie way). 

Last Saturday night we learned that we were to change 
with the Eighteenth Corps, and go up in front of Peters- 
burg, and their first loads of sick came with the order. 
At dark I commenced to cook puddings and gingerbread, 
as I could carry them best. At two o'clock a.m. I had as 
many of these as I could carry in an ambulance, and 
packed my own things in an hour, and at three a.m. in 
the dark, started over the pontoon bridge across the 
Appomattox to our new base, about four miles. Got 
there a little before day, and got some breakfast ready 
about 8.30 for four hundred men that had crossed the 
night previous, nearly one hundred officers. The balance 
followed, and in eighteen hours from the receipt of the 
order we were all moved — but a poor change for us. 
Since dark forty wounded men have been brought in, 
many of which will prove mortal, one with the shoulder 
gone, a number of legs off, one with both arms gone, 
some blown up with shells and terribly burned, some in 
the breast. By request of the surgeons, I made a pail 
full of nice thick eggnog (eggs beaten separately and 
seasoned with brandy), and carried all among them, to 
sleep on, and chicken broth, and I have left them all 
falling asleep, and I have stolen away to my tent, which 
is as bare as a cuckoo's nest — dirt floor, just like the 
street, a narrow bed of straw, and a three-legged stand 
made of old cracker boxes, and a wash dish. A hospital 
tent without any fly constitutes my apartment and 
furnishing. And here it is one o'clock, damp and cold, 
one little fellow from the nth Maine dying, whose groans 
have echoed through the camp for hours. Another noble 
Swiss boy, I fear mortally wounded, who thinks he shall 
not live till morning, and has gained a promise from me 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 289 

that I will see him and be with him when he dies (I have 
still hopes of his recovery). Oh, what a volume it would 
make if I could only write you what I have seen, known, 
heard, and done since I first came to this department, 
June i8th. The most surprising of all of which is (tell 
Sally) that I should have turned cook. Who would have 
"thunkit"? 

I am writing on bits of paper for want of whole sheets. 
I am entirely out. My dresses are equal to the occasion ; 
the skirt is finished, but not worn yet. I am choice of it. 
The striped print gets soiled and washes nicely, all just 
right, and I have plenty, and I bless you every day for it. 
I want so to write Annie a good long letter, but how can 
I get time? Please give her from this, if you please, an 
idea of what I am doing, and she will not blame me so 
much. 

Tell Sally that our purchases of tinware were just the 
thing, and but for them this hospital could not be kept 
comfortable a single day, not a meal. I wish I had as 
much more, and a nice stove of my own, with suitable 
stove furniture besides. And I think I could do as much 
good with it as some missionaries are supposed to do. 
Our spices and flavorings were Godsends when I got 
them here. I wish I had boxes of them. I need to use 
so much in my big cooking. There, I said it would be all 
egotism, but I am too stupid to think of anybody but 
myself, so forgive me. Give my love to all and write 
your loving Sis, 

Clara 

From letters such as this we are able to rescue from 
oblivion a full year of war service of Clara Barton. Con- 
trary to all her previous intent, she was a head-nurse, in 
chaise of the hospitals of an entire army corps. Not 
only so, but she was on occasion chief cook and purveyor 
of pie and gingerbread, and picked codfish and New 
England boiled dinners so like what the soldiers loved at 



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290 CLARA BARTON 

home that they sometimes cried for joy. But she did not 
relinquish her purpose to be at the front. The front was 
very near to her. Another of her letters must be quoted : 

Base HosprrxL, ioih Army Corps 
Broadway Landing, Va. 
Sept 14th, 1864 
My dear Sis Annie: 

Your excellent and comforting letter reached me some 
time ago, and, like its one or two abused predecessors, 
has vainly waited a reply. I cannot tell how badly I 
have wanted to write you, how impossible I found it to 
get the time. But often enough an attack of illness has 
brought me a leisure hour, and I am almost glad that I 
can make it seem right for me to sit down in daylight 
and pen a letter. 

For once in my life I am at a loss where to commence. 
I have been your debtor so long, and am so full of unsaid 
things, that I don't know which idea to let loose first. 
Perhaps I might as well speak of the weather. Well, it 
rains, and that is good for my conscience again, for I 
could n't get out in that if I were well enough. Rain here 
means mud, you must understand, but I am sheltered. 
Why, I have a whole house of my own, first and second 
floors, two rooms and a flight of stairs, and a great big 
fireplace, a bright fire burning, a west window below, a 
south one above, an east door, with a soldier-built frame 
arbor of cedar, twelve feet in front of it and all around it, 
so close and green that a cat could n't look in, unless at 
my side opening. It was the negro house for the planta- 
tion, and was dirty, of course, but ten men with brooms 
and fifty barrels of water made it all right, and they 
moved me into it one night when I was sick, and here I 
have lain and the winds have blown and the rains de- 
scended and beat upon my house, and it fell not, and for 
hours in the dark night I have listened to the guy ropes 
snapping and the tent flies flapping in the wind and rain, 
and thunder and lightning. All about me are the frail 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 291 

habitations of my less fortunate neighbors. One night I 
remembered a darling little Massachusetts boy, sick of 
fever and chronic diarrhoea, a mere skeleton, and I knew 
he was lying at the very edge of his ward, tents, of course, 
— delicate little fellow, about fifteen, — and I could n't 
withstand the desire to shield him, and sent through the 
storm and had him brought, bed and all, and stored in 
my lower room, and there he lay like a little kitten, so 
happy, till about noon the next day, when his father, one 
of the wealthy merchants of Suffolk, came for him. He 
had just heard of his illness, had searched through the 
damp tents for him and finally traced him to me. The 
unexpected sight of his little boy, sheltered, warm, and 
fed, nearly deprived him of speech, but when those pale 
lips said, " Auntie — father — this is my Auntie ; does n't 
she look like mother?" It was too much. Women's and 
children's tears amount to little, but the convulsive sobs 
of a strong man are not forgotten in an hour. 

Well, I have made a queer beginning of this letter. 
One would have supposed I should have made it my first 
duty to speak of the nice box that came to me, from you, 
by Mrs. Rich, and how choice I was of it, and did not 
take it with me the first time I went for fear I might not 
find the most profitable spot to use it in just then till I 
had found my field. As good luck would have it, it did 
not take long to find my field of operations; and nothing 
but want of time to write has prevented me from ac- 
knowledging the box many times, and expressing the 
desire that others might follow it. I can form no es- 
timate of what I would and should have made use of 
during the campaign thus far, if I had had it to use. I 
doubt if you at home could realize the necessities if I 
could describe every one accurately, and now the cold 
weather approaches, they will increase in some respects. 
The army is filling up with new troops to a great degree 
and the nights are getting cold. . . . 

I was rejoiced to hear from Lieutenant Hitchcock and 



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292 CLARA BARTON 

that he is doing well. You are favored in so pleasant a 
correspondent as I know he must be, and what a comfort 
to his wife to have him home so soon. I hope his wound 
will not disable him very much. Please give my love 
and congratulations to them when you write. Poor fel- 
lows! how sorry I was to see them lying there under the 
trees, so cut and mangled. Poor Captain Clark! Do you 
know if he is alive? the surgeons told me he could n't 
survive. I went up again to see them, a day or two 
after they all left. Colonel Gould had gone the day be- 
fore. Yes! I lost one friend. Poor Gardner! He fought 
bravely and died well, they said, and laid his mangled 
body at the feet of his foe. I feel sad when I think of it all. 
"Tired a little " — not tired of the war, but tired of oiu: 
sacrifices. 

I passed a most pleasant hour with Lieutenant Hitch- 
cock. It seemed so comfortable and withal so quaint 
and strange to sit down under the sighing pines of 
Virginia away out in the woods in the war of the guns 
and talk of you. I have asked a great many times for 
Mr. Chamberlain and only heard twice — he was well 
each time, but this was not lately. I shall surely go to 
him if I get near the dear old regiment (21st regiment) — 
that is more than I ever said of any other regiment in the 
service. I am a stranger to them now, I know, after all 
their changes; few of them ever heard of me, and j^t the 
very mention of the number calls up all the old-time love 
and pride I ever had. I would divide the last half of my 
last loaf with any soldier in that regiment, though I had 
never seen him. I honor him for joining it, be he who he 
may; for he knew well if he marched and fought with 
tfuU regiment he had undertaken no child's play, and 
those who measured steel with them knew it as well. 

The Oxford ladies at work for me again!! I am very 
glad if they have the confidence to do so. I had thought, 
perhaps, my style of labor was not approved by them; 
but I could not help it. I knew it was roughs but I 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 293 

thought it none the less necessary. If they, do so far 
approve as to send me the proceeds of some of their valu- 
able labors, it will be an additional stimulant to me to 
persevere. 

Do you know I am thinking seriously of remaining 
''out" the winter unless the campaign should come to a 
sudden and decisive stand, and nothing be done and no 
one exposed. 

You know that my range here is very extended; this 
department is large, and I am invited by General Butler 
to visit every part of it, and all medical and other officers 
within the department are directed to afford me every 
facility in their power. But so little inclination do they 
display to thwart me that I have never shown my " pass 
and order" to an officer since I have been in the depart- 
ment. I have had but one trouble since I came, and 
that has been to extend my labor without having the 
point that I leave miss me. 

We have now in the loth Corps two main hospitals 
and no regimental hospital; the ''base," where I am at 
present, about four miles from the extreme front, and the 
"Flying" Hospital three miles farther up — in the rear 
of the front line of works. The most skillful operators 
are always here, and all the surgeons at that post are my 
old-time personal friends. Dr. Barlow I worked with at 
Cedar Mountain and through Pope's retreat, and again 
on Morris Island ; and he says, if I am going to desert my 
old friends naw^just say so, that's all. And I have stood 
by Dr. Porter all summer, and Porter says he will share 
me some with the upper hospital, but I must not leave the 
Corps on any condition whatever. And yet the surgeon 
in charge of one of the largest corps in General Grant's 
army at City Point came for me one day last week and 
would hardly be denied; wanted me to help him ''run" 
his hospital — "not to touch a bit of the work." I begin 
to think I can "keep a hotel," but I did n't think so a 
year ago. Well, I have told you all this to show you how 



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294 CLARA BARTON 

probable it is that I shall find it difficult to get off die 
field this fall or even winter. 

And thank you many times for your sisteriy invitation 
to spend some portion of the winter with you. I should 
be most happy to do so, but it is a little doubtful if I get 
north of Washington this winter, unless the war ends 
suddenly, and I am beginning to study my duty closely. 
I can go to the Flying Hospital, and be just along with 
the active army; and then, if I had a sufficient quantity 
of good suitable supplies, I could keep the needy por- 
tion of a whole corps comfortably supplied; and being 
connected with the hospital and convalescent camp, con- 
versant with the men, sui^geons, and nurses, I could meet 
their wants more timely and surely than any stranger 
or outside organization of men could do. And ladies, 
most of the summer workers, will draw off, with the cool 
nights; men who have been accustomed to feather beds, 
will seek them if they can when the frost comes. Never- 
theless the troops will need the same care — good warm 
shirts, socks, drawers, and mittens, and the sick will need 
the same good, well-cooked diet that they did in summer; 
and yet it would try me dreadfully to be among them in 
the cold and nothing comfortable to give them. And 
this corps especially never passed a winter north of South 
Carolina and they will nearly freeze, I fear. I have scraped 
together and given already the last warm article I have 
just for the few frosty nights we have had. I have n't 
a pair of socks or shirts or drawers for a soldier in my 
possession. I shall look with great anxiety now for any- 
thing to reach me, for I shall require it both on account 
of the increased severity of the weather and my proposed 
extended field of labor. I have the 4th Massachusetts 
Cavalry on hand, and they have a hospital of their own 
and a good many sick. I gave tiiem, one day last week, 
the last delicacy I possessed; it was but little — some 
New York and New Jersey fruits; nothing from Massa- 
chusetts for them. I was sorry; I wish I had. If I go to 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 295 

the Flying Hospital it will be entirely destitute of all but 
soldier's blankets and rations, not a bedsack or pillow, 
sheet or pillowcase, or stove or tin dishes, except cups 
and plates. Now, I should want some of all theise things, 
and if I go I must write to some of the friends of the sol- 
diers the wants I see, and if they are disposed they can 
place it in my power to make them comfortable, inde- 
pendent of army regulations. You know this front hos- 
pital is for operations in time of battle, and subject to 
move at an hour's notice, or when the shot might reach it, 
or the enemy press too near, and must not be encumbered 
with baggage. Ask Lieutenant Hitchcock to explain it 
to you, and he will also tell you how useful a private 
supply connected with it might be, what comfort there 
would be in it, and how I could distribute from such a 
point to the troops along the front. Now, with my best 
regards to the good ladies oi Oxford, I am done about 
soldiers and hospitals. 

Oh, if I had time to write! I have material enough, 
"dear knows," but I cannot get time to half acknowledge 
favors received. If some one would come and act as 
scribe for me, I might be the means of relating some 
interesting incidents; but I have not even a cook or 
orderly, not to say a clerk. I do not mean that I cannot 
have the two former, but I do not use them myself at all 
when I hold them in detail. I immediately get them at 
work for some one who I think needs them more. I am 
glad you see my Worcester friends. You visited at Mr. 
Newton's, I suppose. I hope they are well. Please give 
my love to them. . . . 

We are firing a salute for something at this minute, 
don't yet know what. We fired one over the fall of At- 
lanta; solid shot and shell with the guns pointed toward 
Petersburg. Funny salutes we get up here. Yesterday 
mom we had terrible firing along the whole line, but it 
amounted to only an artillery duel. Yet it brought us 
fourteen wounded, three or four mortally. What a long 



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296 CLARA BARTON 

letter I have written you and I am not going to apologize 
and I know you are not tired even if it is long, you are 
glad of it, and so am I, although it is not very inter- 
esting. 

Please give my kindly and high regards to Miss Sanford 
and Mrs. Burleigh, Colonel De Witt, also, and all in- 
quiring friends and write soon to your affectionate 

Sis 

Clara 

This letter was copied by Annie Childs, and bears this 
note in the handwriting of Annie Childs: 

I have my friend Clara's permission to show any por- 
tion of her '*poor scrawls" that I think would interest 
the excellent ladies who are laboring so faithfully for the 
good and comfort of the soldiers, and trust to their charity 
to overlook imperfections. Many portions of the above 
are copied for the benefit of persons in Worcester and 
other places, as I could not get time to write many copies 
like this, which is three fourths of my letter from her. 

Annie E. Childs 

It must have been something of a relief to Clara Bar- 
ton to be working in a definite sphere under military 
authority, and not as a volunteer worker. Not that she 
regretted for a moment the method of her previous ac- 
tivity. She would never have worked cheerfully as a 
part of the organization commanded by Miss Dix. She 
had too clear ideas of her own, and saw the possibilities 
of too large a work for her to be content with any sort 
of long-range supervision. All the women who really 
achieved large success at the front were individualists. 
"Mother" Bickerdyke, for instance, took no orders from 
any one. General Sherman was accustomed to say of 
her that she ranked him. But Miss Barton's field for 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 297 

volunteer service was now limited. The war was closing 
in, and nearing its end. Clara Barton wisely accepted a 
definite appointment and took up her wcH'k with the 
ajrmy of General Butler. How highly he esteemed her 
service is shown by his lifelong friendship for her, and his 
appointment of her to be matron of the Massachusetts 
Reformatory for Women. 

Clara Barton knew, before she went to the Army of the 
James, how impossible it was to obtain ideal conditions 
in a military hospital. She must have been very glad 
that she had refused to criticize the hospitals at Hilton 
Head, even when she knew that things were going wrong. 
She had her own experience with headstrong surgeons 
and incompetent nurses. But on the whole her experi- 
ence in the closing days of the war was satisfactory. 

One incident which she had looked forward to with 
eager longing, and had almost given up, occurred while 
she was with the Army of the James. Her brother 
Stephen was rescued. 

It was a pathetic rescue. He was captured by the 
Union army, and robbed of a considerable sum of money 
which had been in his possession. When he was brought 
within the Union lines, he was sick, and he suffered ill 
treatment after his capture. The date of his capture 
was September 25, 1864. It was some days before Miss 
Barton learned about it. She then reported the matter to 
General Butler, and it was at once ordered that Stephen 
be brought to his headquarters with all papers and other 
property in his possession at the time of his capture. 
The prisoner was sent and such papers as had been pre- 
served, but the money was not recovered. Two long 
letters, written by Stephen Barton from the hospital, 



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298 CLARA BARTON 

tell the story of his life within the Confederate lines, and 
it is a pathetic story. 

Stephen Barton was treated with great kindness while 
he remained in the hospital at Point of Rock« He was 
there during the assault on Petersburg, and well toward 
the end of the campaign against Richmond. Then he 
was removed to Washington, where, on March lo, 1865, 
he died. Miss Barton had the satisfaction of ministering 
to him during those painful days, and she afterward 
wrote down her recollection of a prayer he offered one 
night after a battle in front of Richmond: 

An hour with my dear noble brother Stephen, during a 
night after a battle in front of Richmond. 

Clara Barton 

My hf other Stephen, when wUh me in front of Richmond 

Hearing a voice I crept softly down my little confis- 
cated stairway and waited in the shadows near his bed- 
side. He had turned his face partly into his pillow and, 
resting it upon his hands, was at prayer. The first words 
which my ear caught distinctly were, "O God, whose 
children we all are, look down with thine eye of justice 
and mercy upon this terrible conflict, and weaken the 
wrong and strengthen the right till this unequal contest 
close. O God, save my Country. Bless Abraham Lin- 
coln and his armies." A sob from me revealed my pres- 
ence. He started, and, raising his giant skeleton form 
until he rested upon his elbow, he said, '' I thought I was 
alone." Then, turning upon me a look of mingled 
anxiety, pity, and horror, which I can never describe, he 
asked hastily, ''Sister, what are those incessant sounds I 
hear? The whole atmosphere is filled with them; they 
seem like the mingled groans of human agony. I have 
not heard them before. Tell me what it is." I could not 
speak the words that would so shock his sensitive nature, 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 299 

but could only stand before him humbled and penitent 
as if I had something to do with it all, and feel tibe tears 
roll over my face. My silence confirmed his secret sus- 
picions, and raising himself still higher, and Wery previ- 
ous expression of his face intensifying tenfold, he ex- 
claimed, "Are these the groans of wounded men? Are 
they so many that my senses cannot take them in? — 
that my ear cannot distinguish them?" And raising 
himself fully upright and clasping his bony hands, he 
broke forth in tones that will never leave me. "O our 
God, in mercy to the poor creatures thou hast called into 
existence, send down thine angels either in love or wrath 
to stay tihis strife and bid it cease. Count the least of 
these cries as priceless jewels, each drop of blood as ruby 
gems, and let them buy the Freedom of the world. 
Clothe the feet of thy messengers with the speed of the 
lightning and bid them proclaim, through the sacrifices 
of a people, a people's freedom, and, through the suf- 
ferings of a nation, a nation's peace." And there, under 
the guns of Richmond, amid the groans of the dying, in 
the darkling shadows of the smoky rafters of an old negro 
hut by the rude chimney where the dusky form of the 
bondman had crouched for years, on the ground trod- 
den hard by the foot of the slave, I knelt beside that 
rough couch of boards and sobbed "Amen " to the patriot 
prayer that rose above me. 

The stolen money was never restored. Stephen strug- 
gled on a few weeks longer, alternating, hoping, and 
despairing, suffering from the physical abuse he had re- 
ceived, crushed in spirit, battling with disease and weak- 
ness as only a brave man can, worrying over his unpro- 
tected property and his debts in the old home he never 
reached, watching the war, and praying for the success 
of the Union armies, and died without knowing — and 
God be praised for this — that the reckless torches of 
that same Union army would lay in ashes and ruins the 



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300 - CLARA BARTON 

result of the hard labor of his own worn-out life and 
wreck the fortunes of his only child. 

Although doubting and fearing, we had never despaired 
of his recovery, until the morning when he commenced 
to sink and we saw him rapidly passing away. He was at 
once aware of his condition and spoke of his business, 
desiring that, first of all, when his property could be 
reached, his debts should be faithfully paid. A few little 
minutes more and there lay before us, still and pitiful, 
all that remained to tell of that hard life's struggle and 
battle, which had failed most of all through a great- 
hearted love for humanity, his faithfulness to what he 
conceived to be his duty, and his readiness to do more 
for mankind than it was willing to do for itself. 

Clara Barton did not long continue in hospital service 
after the immediate need was [>assed. With the firing 
of the last gun she returned to Washington. One chapter 
in her career was closed. Another and important work 
was about to open, and she already had it in mind. But 
the work she had done was memorable, and its essential 
character must not be forgotten. 

Clara Barton was more and other than a hospital 
nurse. She was not simply one of a large number of 
women who nursed sick soldiers. She did that, hastening 
to assist them at the news of the very first bloodshed, and 
continuing until Richmond had fallen. Hers was the 
distinction of doing her work upon the actual field of 
battle; of following the cannon so as to be on the ground 
when the need began; of not waiting for the wounded 
soldier to be brought to the hospital, but of conveying 
the hospital to the wounded soldier. Others followed her 
in this good work; others accompanied her and were her 
faithful associates, but she was, in a very real sense, the 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 301 

soul and inspiration of the movement which carried com- 
fort to wounded men while the battle was still in progress. 
She was not, in any narrow sense, a hospital nurse; she 
was, as she has justly been called, ''the angel of the 
battlefield." 

One characteristic of Clara Barton during these four 
years deserves mention and emphasis because her inde- 
pendent position might have made it easy for her to 
assume a critical attitude toward those who worked under 
the regular organization or through different channels. 
In all her letters, in all the entries in her diaries, there is 
found no hint of jealousy toward any of the women who 
worked as nurses in the hospitals, or under the Sanitary 
or Christian Commission. 

Clara Barton from her childhood was given to versi- 
f jdng. She was once called upon to respond to a toast 
to the women who went to the front. She did it in rhyme 
as follows: 

TOAST 

'the women who went to the field" 

The women who went to the field, you say. 

The women who went to the field; and pray 

What did they go for? just to be in the way ! — 

They'd not know the difference betwixt work and play, 

What did they know about war anyway? 

What could they do? — of what use could they be? 

They would scream at the sight of a gun, don't you see? 

Just fancy them round where the bugle notes play, 

And the long roll is bidding us on to the fray. 

Imagine their skirts 'mong artillery wheels, 

And watch for their flutter as they flee 'cross the fields 

When the charge is rammed home and the fire belches 

hot; — 
They never will wait for the answering shot. 



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302 CLARA BARTON 

They would faint at the first drop of blood, in their sight. 

What fun for us boys, — (ere we enter the fight;) 

They might pick some lint, and tear up some sheets. 

And make us some jellies, and send on their sweets. 

And knit some soft socks for Uncle Sam's shoes, 

And write us some letters, and tell us the news. 

And thus it was settled by common consent. 

That husbands, or brothers, or whoever went, 

That the place for the women was in their own homes. 

There to patiently wait until victory comes. 

But later, it chanced, just how no one knew, 

That the lines slipped a bit, and some 'gan to crowd through; 

And they went, — where did they go? — Ah; where did they 

not? 
Show us the battle, — the field, — or the spot 
Where the groans of the wounded rang out on the air 
That her ear caught it not, and her hand was not there, 
Who wiped the death sweat from the cold clammy brow, 
And sent home the message; — " T is well with him now"? 
Who watched in the tents, whilst the fever fires burned, 
And the pain-tossing limbs in agony turned. 
And wet the parched tongue, calmed delirium's strife 
Till the dying lips murmured, ''My Mother," "My Wife"! 
And who were they all? — They were many, my men: 
Their record was kept by no tabular pen: 
They exist in traditions from father to son. 
Who recalls, in dim memory, now here and there one.^ 
A few names were writ, and by chance live to-day; 
But*s a perishing record fast fading away. 
Of those we recall, there are scarcely a score, 
Dix, Dame, Bickerdyke, — Edson, Harvey, and Moore, 
Fales, Whittenmeyer, Gilson, Safford and Lee, 
And poor Cutter dead in the sands of the sea; 
And Frances D. Gage, our "Aunt Fanny" of old, 
Whose voice rang for freedom when freedom was sold. 
And Husband, and Etheridge, and Harlan and Case, 
Livermore, Alcott, Hancock, and Chase, 
And Turner, and Hawley, and Potter, and Hall. 
Ah! the list grows apace, as they come at the call: 
Did these women quail at the sight of a gun? ^ 
Will some soldier tell us of one he saw run? 



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TO THE END OF THE WAR 303 

Will he glance at the boats on the great western flood. 
At Pittsburg and Shiloh, did they faint at the blood? 
And the brave wife of Grant stood there with them then. 
And her calm, stately presence gave strength to his men. 
And Marie of Logan; she went with them too; 
A bride, scarcely more than a sweetheart, 't is true. 
Her young cheek grows pale when the bold troopers ride* 
Where the "Black Eagle" soars, she is close at his side, 
She staunches his blood, cools the fever-burnt breath, 
And the wave of her hand stays the Angel of Death; 
She nunses him back, and restores once again 
To both army and state the brave leader of men. 

She has smoothed his black plumes and laid them to sleep. 

Whilst the angels above them their high vigils keep: 

And she sits here alone^ with the snow on her brow — 

Your cheers for her comrades! Three cheers for her now. 

And these were the women who went to the war: 

The women of question; what did they go for? 

Because in their hearts God had planted the seed 

Of pity for woe, and help for its need; 

They saw, in high purpose, a duty to do, 

And the armor of right broke the barriers through. 

Uninvited, unaided, unsanctioned ofttimes. 

With pass, or without it, they pressed on the lines; 

They pressed, they implored, till they ran the lines through, 

And tiiis was the ''running" the men saw them do. 

T was a hampered work, its worth largely lost; 

T was hindrance, and pain, and effort, and cost: 

But through these came knowledge, — knowledge is power. ^ 

And never again in the deadliest hour 

Of war or of peace, shall we be so beset 

To accomplish the purpose our spirits have met. 

And what would they do if war came again? 

The scarlet cross floats where all was blank then. 

They would bind on their ** brassards** and march to the fray. 

And the man liveth not who could say to them nay; 

They would stand with you now, as they stood with you then, 

The nurses, consolers, and saviors of men. 



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CHAPTER XIX 

ANDERSONVILLB AND AFTER 

Clara Barton's name continued on the roll of derks 
in the Patent Office until August, 1865. She drew her 
salary as a clerk throughout the period of the Civil War, 
and it was the only salary that she drew during that 
time. Out of it she paid the clerk who took her place 
during the latter months of her employment, and also the 
rent of the room in Washington, where she stored her 
supplies and now and then slept. When she was at the 
front, she shared the rations of the army. Most of the 
time her food was the food of the officers of the division 
where she was at work. Much of the time it was the 
humble fare of the common soldier. Mouldy and even 
wormy hardtack grew to be quite familiar to her, and 
was eaten without complaint. 

As the end of the war drew near, she discovered a field 
of service in which her aid was greatly needed. Every 
battle in the Civil War had, in addition to its list of 
known dead and wounded, a list of ''missing." Some of 
these missing soldiers were killed and their bodies not 
found or identified. Of the 315,555 graves of Northern 
troops, only 172,400 were identified. Almost half of the 
soldiers buried in graves known to the quartermaster 
of the Federal army were unidentified; 143,155 were 
buried in graves known to be the graves of soldiers, but 
with no soldier's name to mark them. Besides these 
there were 43,973 recorded deaths over and above the 
number of graves. The total of deaths recorded was 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 305 

359,528, while the number of graves, as already stated, 
was 315,555. As a mere matter of statistics, this may 
not seem to mean very much, but it actually means that 
nearly two hundred thousand homes received tidings of 
the death of a father, son, or brother, and did not know 
where that loved one was buried. This added to grief the 
element of uncertainty, and in many cases of futile hope. 

Moreover, there were many other thousands of men 
reported missing of whom no certain knowledge could 
be obtained at the close of the Civil War. Some were 
deserters, some were bounty-jumpers, some were pri- 
soners, some were dead. Clara Barton received countless 
letters of inquiry. From all over the country letters came 
asking whether in any hospital she had seen such and 
such a soldier. 

Clearly foreseeing that the end of the war was in sight, 
Clara Barton, who had gone from City Point, where die 
was serving with General Butler's army, to Washington, 
where she witnessed the death of her brother Stephen, 
brought to the attention of President Lincoln the neces- 
sity of instituting some agency for the finding of missing 
soldiers. She knew what her own family had suffered in 
the anxious months when Stephen was inmiured within 
the Confederate lines, and his relatives did not know 
whether he was living or dead. President Lincoln at 
once approved her plan, and issued a letter advising 
the friends of missing soldiers to communicate with Miss 
Barton at Annapolis, where she established her head- 
quarters. President Lincoln's letter was dated March 1 1 , 
1865, the day following the death of her brother Stephen. 
This was followed, March 25, by a letter from General 
Hitchcock: 



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3o6 CLARA BARTON 

Washington, D.C, Mardi 35, 1865 
For the Commanding Officer at AnnapouSi Md. 

Sir: 

The notice, which you have doubtless seen, over the 
name of Miss Barton, of Massachusetts, proffering her 
services in answering inquiries with respect to Union 
officers and soldiers who have been prisoners of war (or 
who remain so), was made by my authority under the 
written sanction of His Excellency the President, 

The purpose is so humane and so interesting in itself 
that I beg to recommend Miss Barton to your kind 
civilities, and to say that any facilities which you may 
have it in your power to extend to her would be properly 
bestowed, and duly appreciated, not only by the lady 
herself, but by the whole country which is interested in 
her self-appointed mission. 

With great resp. your obt, servant 

(Signed) E. A. Hitchcock 
Maj. Gen'l. Vols. 

Although she was backed by the authority of the 
President, it took the War Department two months to 
establish Clara Barton in her work at Annapolis with the 
title "General Correspondent for the Friends of Paroled 
Prisoners." A tent was assigned her, with furniture, 
stationery, clerks, and a modest fund for postage. By 
the time she was established at Annapolis, she found 
bushels of mail awaiting her, and letters of inquiry came 
in at the rate of a hundred a day. To bring order out of 
this chaos, and establish a system by which missing sol- 
diers and their relatives could be brought into communi- 
cation with each other, called for swift action and no 
little organizing skill. For a time difficulties seemed to 
increase. Discharged prisoners returned from the South 
by thousands. In some cases there was no record, in 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 307 

others the record was defective. Inquiries came in much 
faster than information in response to them. 

Notwithstanding all the difficulties, Clara Barton had 
a long list of missing men ready for publication by the 
end of May. Then the question rose how she was to get 
it published. It was not wholly a matter of expense, 
though this was an important item. There was only one 
printing office in Washington which had type enough, 
and especially capitals enough, to set up such a roll as 
at that time she had ready. In this emergency she ap- 
pealed directly to the President of the United States, 
asking that the roll be printed at the Government Print- 
ing Office. Her original letter to President Johnson is 
in existence, together with a series of endorsements, the 
last of them by Andrew Johnson himself. General 
Rucker was the first official to endorse it, Major-General 
Hitchcock added his commendation. General Hoffman 
followed, then came General Grant, and last of all the 
President: 

WASHmGTON, D.C., May aist, 1865 
His Excellency 

President of the United States * 
Sir: 

May I venture to enclose for perusal the within cir- 
cular in the hope that it may to a certain extent explain 
the object of the work in which I am engaged. The under- 
taking having at its first inception received the cordial 
and written sanction of our late beloved President, I 
would most respectfully ask for it the favor of his honored 
successor. 

The work is indeed a large one; but I have a settled 
confidence that I shall be able to accomplish it. The 
fate of the unfortimate men failing to appear under the 



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3o8 CLARA BARTON 

search which I shall institute is likely to remain forever 
unrevealed. 

My rolls are now ready for the press; but their size 
exceeds the capacity of any private establishment in this 
city, no printer in Washington having forms of sufficient 
size or a sufficient number of capitals to print so many 
names. 

It will be both inconvenient and expensive to go with 
my rolls to some distant city each time they are to be 
revised. In view of this fact I am constrained to ask 
our honored President, when he shall approve my work, 
as I must believe he will, to direct that the printing may 
be done at the Government Printing Office. 

I may be permitted to say in this connection that the 
enclosed printed circular appealing for pecuniary aid 
did not originate in any suggestion of mine, but in the 
solicitude of personal friends, and that thus far, in what- 
ever I may have done, I have received no assistance 
either from the Government or from individuals. A 
time may come when it will be necessary for me to appeal 
directly to the American People for help, and in that 
event, such appeal will be made with infinitely greater 
confidence and effect, if my undertaking shall receive 
the approval and patronage of Your Excellency. 

I have the honor to be. Sir 

Most respectfully 

Your obedient servant 

Clara Barton 

Official endorsements an back cf her letter 

Chief Quartermaster's Office 
Dbpoi of Washington 

June 3, 1865 

I most heartily concur in the recommendations on this 
paper. I have known Miss Barton for a long time and it 
gives me great pleasure to aid her in her good works. 

• F. H. RUCKER 

Brig. Gen'l & Chf. Q.M. 



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LETTER TO PRESIDENT JOHNSON 

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ENDORSEMENTS ON MISS BARTON's LETTER TO PRESIDENT JOHNSON 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 309 

The undersigned, with a full understanding of the 
benevolent purpose of Miss Barton and of its deep in- 
terest for the public, most cordially commends it to the 
approval of the President of the United States. 

E. A, HrrcHCOCK 
Maj. Gen. Vol. 
June 2, 1865 

I most heartily concur in the foregoing recommenda- 
tions. 

W. HOFFBiAN 

Com. Gen'l Pris. 

Respectfully recommended that the printing asked for 
be authorized at the Government Printing Office. The 
object being a charitable one, to look up and ascertain 
the fate of officers and soldiers who have fallen into the 
hands of the enemy and have never been restored to 
their families and friends, is one which Government can 
well aid. 

U. S. Grant 

L.a 

June 2d, 1865 . 

June 3d, 1865 
Let this printing be done as speedily as possible con- 
sistently with the public interest. 

Andrew Johnson 

Prest. U.S* 
To Mr. Defrebs 
Supt. Pub. Printing 

On the same date, June 2, 1865, Miss Barton received 
a pass from General Grant commending her to the land 
consideration of all officers and instructing them to give 
her all facilities that might be necessary in the prosecu- 
tion of her mission. By General Grant's order, there 



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310 CLARA BARTON 

was also issued to her transportation for herself and two 
assistants on all Government railroads and transports: 

Hbadquartbss Armibs of thb Unttbd Statbs 

WAsmNGTON, D.Ct June ad, 1865 
The bearer hereof, Miss Clara Barton^ who is engaged 
in making inquiries concerning the fate of soldiers re- 
ported as missing in action, is commended to the kind 
consideration of all officers of the military service, and 
she will be afforded by commanders and others such 
facilities in the prosecution of her charitable mission as 
can properly be extended to her. 

U. S. Grant 
Lieut. General Comdg. 

Hbadquartbss Abmibs of thb Unftbd Statbs 

Washington, D.C, June 2nd, 1865 
Miss Gara BarUm, engaged in making inquiries for 
soldiers reported as missing in action, will be allowed, 
until further orders, with her assistants, not to exceed 
two in number, free transportation on all Government 
railroads and transports. 
By Conunand of Lieut«-General Grant 

T. S. Breck 
Asst. Adjt. Genl. 

Clara Barton had learned the value of publicity. She 
knew that the Press could be counted upon to assist an 
undertaking so near to the hearts of all readers of the 
papers. She therefore arranged her lists by States, and 
sent the list of each State to every newspaper in the 
State with the request for its free publication. Before 
long she had established definite connections with scores 
of newspapers which responded favorably to her request. 
No one read these lists more eagerly than recently dis- 
charged men, including prisoners and men released from 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 311 

hospitals. In innumerable instances these men wrote 
to her to give information of the death or survival, with 
location, of some comrade whose name had been pub- 
lished in one of her lists. 

Sometimes she succeeded not only beyond her own 
expectation, but beyond the desire of the man who was 
sought. Occasionally a soldier who went into voluntary 
obscurity at the end of the war found himself unable to 
remain in as modest a situation as he had chosen for 
himself. A few letters are found of men who indignantly 
remonstrated against being discovered by their relatives. 
One such case will serve as an illustration. The first of 
the following letters is from the sister of a missing soldier. 
The second, six months later, is a protest from the no 
longer missing man, and the third is Clara's indignant 
reply to him: 

LocKPOBT, N.Y., April I7tli, 1865 
Miss Clara Barton 
Dear Madam: 

Seeing a notice in one of our village papers stating 
that you can give information concerning soldiers in the 
army or navy, you will sincerely oblige me if you can 
give any intelligence of my brother, Joseph H. H , 
who was engaged in the 2nd Maryland Regiment under 
General Goldsborough, and from whom we have not 
heard in nearly two years. His mother died last winter, 
to whom his silent absence was, I assiu^ you, a great griefs 
and to whom I promised to make all inquiries in my 
power, so that I might if possible learn my brother's fate. 
I would most willingly remunerate you for all trouble. 
Yours respectfully 

E H 



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312 CLARA BARTON 

Spsincvibld, Ills., Oct i6^ 1865 
Miss Clara Barton, 

Washington, D.C, 
Madam: 

I have seen my name on a sheet of paper somewhat to 
my mortification, for I would like to know what I have 
done, so that I am worthy to have my name blazoned all 
over the country. If my friends in New York wish to 
know where I am, let them wait until I see fit to write 
them. As you are anxious of my welfare, I would say 
that I am just from New Orleans, discharged, on my 
way North, but unluckily taken with chills and fever and 
could proceed no farther for some time at least. I shall 
remain here for a month. 

Respectfully, your obt servt 

J H. H 

Mr. J H. H 

Sir: — 

I enclose copies of two letters In my possession. The 
writer of the first I suppose to be your sister. The lady 
for whose death the letter was draped in mourning I 
suppose to have been your mother. Can it be possible 
that you were aware of that fact when you wrote that 
letter? Could you have spoken thus, knowing all? 

The cause of your name having been "blazoned all 
over the country" was your unnatural concealment 
from your nearest relatives, and the great distress it 
caused them. "What you have done" to render this 
necessary / certainly do not know. It seems to have 
been the misfortune of your family to think more of you 
than you did of them, and probably more than you de- 
serve from the manner in which you treat them. They 
had already waited until a son and brother possessing 
common humanity would have "seen fit" to write them. 
Your mother died waiting, and the result of your sister's 
faithful efforts to comply with her dying request *^mor^ 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 313 

fo/y" you. I cannot apologize for the part I have taken. 
You are mistaken in supposing that I am ''anxious for 
your welfare." I assure you I have no interest in it, 
but your accomplished sbter, for whom I entertain the 
deepest respect and sympathy, I shall inform of your ex- 
istence lest you should not "see fit" to do so yourself. 
I have the honor to be, sir 

Clara Barton 

Such letters as the foregoing remind us that not all the 
cases of missing soldiers were purely accidental. There 
were instances where men went to war vowing loyalty 
to the girls they left behind them, and who formed other 
ties. There were cases where men formed wholly new 
associations and deliberately chose to begin anew and 
let the past be buried. But there were thousands of 
instances in which the work of Clara Barton brought her 
enduring gratitude. In very large proportion these 
missing men were dead. The testimony of a comrade 
who had witnessed the death on the battle-field or in 
prison set at rest any suspicion of desertion or any other 
form of dishonor. In other cases, where the soldier was 
alive, but had grown careless about writing, her timely 
reminder secured a prompt reunion and saved a long 
period of anxiety. Letters like the following came to her 
to the end of her life: 

Grbenfibld, Mass., Sept 25, 191 1 / 
Miss Clara Barton 

Oxford, Mass. 
My dear Miss Barton: 

I am a stranger to you, but you are far from being a 
stranger to me. As a member of the old Vermont Bri- 
gade through the entire struggle, I was familiar with 
your unselfish work at the front through those years 



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n 



314 CLARA BARTON . 

when we were trying to restore a broken Union, and 
being a prisoner of war at Andersonville at its dose, my 
mother, not knowing whether I was alive, appealed to 
you for information. 

Two letters bearing your signature (from Annapolis, 
Maryland) are in my possession, the pathos of one bear- 
ing no tidings, and the glad report of my arrival about 
the middle of May, 1865. 

The thankful heart that received them has long been 
stilled, but the letters have been preserved as sacred 
relics. 

I also have a very vivid recollection of your earnest 
appeal to us to notify our friends of our arrival by first 
mail for their sake. 

If to enjoy the gratitude of a single heart be a pleasure, 
to enjoy the benediction of a grateful world must be 
sweet to one's declining years. To have earned it makes 
it sublime. 

I have also another tie which makes Oxford seem near 
to me. An old tent-mate, a member of our regimental 
quartette, a superb soldier and a very warm friend, lies 
mouldering there these many years. He survived, I 
think, more than thirty battles only to die of consump- 
tion in January, 1870. Whenever I can I run down from 
Worcester to lay a flower on George H. Amidon's 
grave. 

I write not to tax you with a reply, but simply to wish 
for you all manner of blessings. 

Yours truly 

F. J. HOSMER 

Co. I, 4th Vt 

Her headquarters at this time was theoretically at 
Arlington where she had a tent. Arlington was the head- 
quarters receiving and discharging returned prisoners. 
But much of her work was in Washington, and the oon- 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 315 

stant journeys back and forth caused her to ask for a 
conveyance. She made her application to General William 
Ho£Fman, Commissary-General of prisoners, on June 16, 
1865. Her request went the official rounds, and by the 
25th of October a horse was promised as soon as a suit- 
able one could be found. It is to be hoped that within a 
year or two a horse either with side-saddle or attached 
to a wheeled conveyance was foimd tethered in front of 
her bare lodging on the third floor of No. 488^^ 7th Street, 
between D and E: 

WASHiiiGTQNt D.C, June i6th, 1865 
Brig.-Gen'l. Wm. Hoffman 

CoMMST. Gen'l of Prisoners 
General: 

It would not appear so necessary to explain to you the 
nature of my wants, as to apologize for imposing them 
upon you, but your great kindness to me has taught me 
not to fear the abuse of it in any request which seems 
needful. » 

If I say that in my present undertaking I find the 
duties of each day quite equal to my strength, and often 
of a character which some suitable mode of conveyance 
at my own command like the daily use of a Government 
wagon would materially lighten, I feel confident that 
you would both comprehend and believe me, but if I 
were to desire you to represent my wishes to the proper 
authorities and aid in obtaining such a facility for me, 
I may have carried my request to a troublesome length 
and could only beg your kind pardon for the liberty taken 
which I would most humbly and cheerfully do. 
With grateful respect, 

I am, General 
Very truly yours 

Clara Barton 



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3i6 CLARA BARTON 

Hbad^abtbrs MnjTART District Of Washingtok 

Washington, D.C, October 25, 1865 
Miss Clara Barton: 

I have conferred with General Wadsworth on the sub- 
ject of obtaining a horse for your use, and he has directed 
that I place a horse at your disposal as soon as a suitable 
one can be found. 

Very respectfully 

Yr. Obt. Svt. 

John P. Sherburne 

Asst. Adjt. Gen'l. 

For four years Clara Barton carried on this important 
work for missing soldiers. She spared neither her time 
nor her purse. At the outset there was no appropriation 
that covered the necessary expenses of such a quest, and 
the work was of a character that would not wait. From 
the beginning of the year 1865 to the end of 1868 she 
sent out 63,182 letters of inquiry. She mailed printed 
circulars of advice in reply to correspondents to 58,693 
persons. She wrote or caused to be written 41,855 per- 
sonal letters. She distributed to be posted on bulletin 
boards and in public places 99,057 slips containing 
printed rolls. According to her estimate at the end of 
this heavy task, she succeeded in bringing information, 
not otherwise obtainable, to not less than 22,000 families 
of soldiers. 

How valuable this work was then believed to be is 
shown in the fact that Congress, after an investigation 
by a committee which examined in detail her method 
and its results and the vouchers she had preserved of 
her expenses, appropriated to reimburse her the sum of 
>i5,ooo. 

It soon became evident that one of the most important 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 317 

fields for investigation was such record as could be found 
of the Southern prisons, especially Andersonville. To 
Andersonville her attention was directed through a dis- 
charged prisoner, Dorence Atwater, of Connecticut. He 
was in the first detachment transferred, the latter part 
of February, 1864, to the then new prison of Anderson- 
ville, and because of his skillful penmanship was detailed 
to keep a register of deaths of the prisoners. He occu- 
pied a desk next to that of General Wirz, the Confederate 
officer commanding the prison. Here, at the beginning of 
1865, he made up a list of nearly thirteen thousand Union 
prisoners who died in that year, giving the full name, 
company and regiment, date and cause of death. Be- 
sides the official list he made another and duplicate list, 
which he secreted in the lining of his coat, and was able 
to take with him on his dischai^. 

At the dose of the war he returned to his home In 
Terryville, Connecticut, where he was immediately 
stricken with diphtheria. Weakened and emaciated by 
his imprisonment, he nearly died of this acute attack. 
Before he'was fully recovered, he was summoned to Wash- 
ington, and his rolls were demanded by the Government. 
He gave them up and they were copied in Washington, 
but were not published. He wrote to Clara Barton in- 
forming her of these rolls and affirmed that by means of 
them he could identify almost every grave in Anderson- 
ville Prison. Clara Barton was greatly interested, and 
proposed to Secretary Stanton that she be sent to An- 
dersonville and that Dorence Atwater accompany her. 
She proposed that there should go with them a number 
of men equipped with material for enclosing the cemetery 
with a fence, and for the marking of each grave with a 
suitable headboard. 



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3i8 CLARA BARTON 

Secretary Stanton received this suggestion not only 
with approval, but with enthusiasm. Miss Barton wrote 
the account of her interview with him on some loose 
sheets for her diary. The sheets were at least three in 
number, and only the second sheet is preserved. This 
sheet, however, covers the personal interview with Secre- 
tary Stanton. It was written at the time, and manifests 
his keen interest in her enterprise and desire to carry it 
through promptly and effectively: 

On entering General Hardy's room, he asked my busi- 
ness. I said, " I did n't know, sir. I supposed I had some* 
as the Secretary sent for me." "Oh," he said, '*you are 
Miss Barton. The Secretary is very anxious to see you," 
and sent a messenger to announce me. Mr. Stanton met 
me halfway across the room with extended hand, and 
said he had taken the liberty to send for me to thank me 
for what I had done both in the past, and in my present 
work; that he greatly regretted that he had not known 
of me earlier, as from all he now learned he feared I had 
done many hard things which a little aid from him would 
have rendered comparatively easy, but that especially 
now he desired to thank me for helping him to think; 
that it was not possible for him to think of everything 
which was for the general good, and no one knew how 
grateful he was to the person who put forth, among all 
the impracticable, interested, wild, and selfish schemes 
which were continually crowded upon him, one good, 
sensible, practical, unselfish idea that he could take up 
and act upon with safety and credit. You may believe 
that by this time my astonishment had not decreased. 
In the course of the next twenty minutes he informed me 
that he had decided to invite me (for he could not order 
me) to accompany Captain Moore, with Atwater and hia 
register, to Andersonville, and see my suggestions carried 
out to my entire satisfaction; that unlimited powers as 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 319 

quartennaster would be given Captain Moore to draw 
upon all officers of the Government in that vicinity for 
whatever would be desired; that a special boat would be 
sent with ourselves and corps of workmen, and to return 
only when the work was satisfactorily accomplished. 
To call the next day and consult with him farther in . • . 

If Miss Barton's horse, which she had asked for in 
June, had gotten to her door more promptly than is 
customary in such matters of official routine, he might 
have grown hungry waiting for her return. As we have 
already noticed, permission to have the horse assigned 
was granted in October, which left the summer free for 
the Andersonville expedition. Fortunately, no long in- 
terval elapsed after Secretary Stanton's approval of the 
plan before the starting of the expedition. On July 8 the 
propeller Virginia, having on board headboards, fencing 
material, clerks, painters, letterers, and a force of forty 
workmen, under command of Captain James M. Moore, 
Quartermaster, left Washington for Andersonville, by 
way of Savannah. On board also were Dorence Atwater 
and Clara Barton. They reached Savannah on July 12, 
and remained there seven days, arriving at Andersonville 
on July 25. 

Her first impressions were wholly favorable. The cem- 
etery was in much bettei^ condition than she had been 
led to fear. As the bodies had been buried in regular 
order, and Dorence Atwater's lists were minute as to date 
and serial number, the task of erecting a headboard giv- 
ing each soldier's name, state, company, regiment, and 
date of death, appeared not very difficult. On the second 
night of her stay in Andersonville she wrote to Secretary 
Stanton of the success of the undertaking and suggested 



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320 CLARA BARTON 

that the grounds be made a national oemetery. She 
assui-ed him that for his prompt and humane action in 
ordering the marking of these graves the American people 
would bless him through long years to come. She was 
correct in her prediction. But for her proposal and Mr. 
Stanton's prompt co5peration and Dorence Atwater's 
presence with the list, hundreds if not thousands of graves 
now certainly are identified at Andersonville which wou|d 
have needed to be marked "Unknown": 

Hon. E. M. Stanton 

Sec'y. of War, Uniisd Stattss 
Sir: 

It affords me great pleasure to be able to report to you 
that we reached Andersonville safely at i o'clock p.m. 
yesterday, 25th inst. Found the grounds undisturbed, 
the stockade and hospital quarters standing protected 
by order of General Wilson. 

We have encountered no serious obstacle, met with 
no accident, our entire party is well, and commenced 
work this morning. Any misgivings which might have 
been experienced are happily at an end; the original plan 
for identifying the graves is capable of being carried out 
to the letter. We can accomplish fully all that we came 
to accomplish, and the field is wide and ample for much 
more in the future. If desirable^ the grounds of Ander- 
sonville can be made a National Cemetery of great 
beauty and interest. Be assured, Mr. Stanton, that for 
this prompt and humane action of yours, the American 
people will bless you long after your willing hands and 
mind have ceased to toil for them. 

With great respect, 

I have the honor to be. Sir 

Your very obedient servant 

Clara Barton 
Andbrsonvuxb, Ga. 

July 26th, 1865 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 321 

The remaining pericxl of her work in Andersonville 
was fruitful in the accomplishment of all the essential 
results for which she had undertaken the expedition, but 
it resulted in strained relations between one of the officers 
of the expedition and Dorence Atwater, and Clara Bar- 
ton came to the defense of Atwaten During her absence 
at Andersonville, two letters were published in a Washing- 
ton paper, over her signature, alleged to have been writ- 
ten by her to her Uncle James. She had no Uncle James, 
and wrote no such letters; and she attributed the forgery, 
correctly or incorrectly, to this officer. Her official report 
to the Secretary of War contains a severe arraignment of 
that officer, whom she never regarded with any favor. 

This is all that need be recorded of Clara Barton's great 
work at Andersonville, of which a volume might easily 
be made. She saw the Union graves marked. Out of 
the almost thirteen thousand graves of Union soldiers 
at Andersonville four hundred and forty were marked 
"Unknown" when she finished her work, and they were 
unknown only because the Confederate records were in- 
complete. She saw the grounds enclosed and protected, 
and with her own hands she raised the United States flag 
for the first time since their death above these men who 
had died for it. 

But this expedition involved trouble for Atwater. 
When he handed over his rolls to the Government it 
was with the earnest request that steps be taken imme- 
diately to mark these graves. His request and the rolls 
had been pigeonholed. Then he had learned of Clara 
Barton's great work for missing soldiers and wrote her 
telling her that the list he had made surreptitiously and 
preserved with such care was gathering dust, while 



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322 CLARA BARTON 

thirteen thousand graves were fast becoming unidenti- 
fiable. She brought this knowledge to Secretary Stanton 
as has already been set forth, and Stanton ordered the 
rolls to be produced and sent on this expedition for At* 
water's use in identification. 

Dorence Atwater had enlisted at the age of sixteen in 
the year 1862. He was now under twenty, but he was 
resolute in his determination that the lists which he had 
now recovered should not again be taken from him. 
On his return from Andersonville the rolls which he had 
made containing the names of missing soldiers disap- 
peared. He was arrested and questioned, and replied 
that the rolls were his own property. He was sent to 
prison in the Old Capital, was tried by a court-martial, 
adjudged guilty of larceny, and sentenced to be confined 
for eighteen months at hard labor in the State Prison at 
Auburn, New York, fined three hundred dollars, and 
ordered to stand committed until the rolls were returned. 

Atwater made no defense, but issued a statement 
which Clara Barton probably prepared for him: 

I am charged with and convicted of theft, and sen- 
tenced to eighteen months' imprisonment, and after that 
time until I shall have paid my Government three hun- 
dred dollars. I have called no witnesses, made no appeal, 
adduced no evidence. A soldier, a prisoner, an orphan, 
and a minor, I have little with which to employ counsel 
to oppose the Government of the United States. 

Whatever I may have been convicted of, I deny the 
charge of theft. I took my rolls home with me that they 
might be preserved ; I considered them mine; it had never 
been told or even hinted to me that they were not my own 
rightful, lawful property. I never denied having them, 
and I was not arrested for stealing my rolls, but for 
having declared my intention of appealing to higher 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 323 

authority for justice. I supposed this to be one of the 
privileges of an American citizen, one of the great prin- 
ciples of the Government for which we had fought and 
sidfered; but I forgot that the soldier who sacrificed his 
comforts and risked his life to maintain these liberties 
was the only man in the country who would not be al- 
lowed to claim their protection. 

My offense consists in an attempt to make known to 
the relatives and friends the fate of the imfortunate men 
who died in Andersonville Prison, and if this be a crime 
I am guilty to the fullest extent of the law, for to accom- 
plish it I have risked my life among my enemies and my 
liberty among my friends. 

Since my arrest I have seen it twice publicly announced 
that the record of the dead of Andersonville would be 
published very soon; one announcement apparently by 
the Government, and one by Captain James M. Moore, 
A.G.M. No such intimation was ever given until after 
my arrest, and if it prove that my imprisonment ac- 
complishes that which my liberty could not, I ought, 
perhaps, to be satisfied. If this serves to bring out the 
information so long and so cruelly withheld from the 
people, I will not complain of my confinement, but when 
accomplished, I would earnestly plead for that liberty 
so dear to all, and to which I have been so long a stranger. 

I make this statement, which I would confirm by my 
oath if I were at liberty, not as appealing to public sym- 
pathy for relief, but for the sake of my name, my family, 
and my friends. I wish it to be known that I am not 
sentenced to a penitentiary as a common thief, but for 
attempting to appeal from the trickery of a clique of 
petty officers. 

DORENCB AtWATER 

On September 25, 1865, just one month from the day 
when he retiuned from Andersonville from the marking 
of the soldiers' graves, Dorence Atwater, as Clara Barton 



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324 CLARA BARTON 

records, "was heavily ironed, and under escort of a sol- 
dier and captain as guard, in open daylight, and in the 
face of his acquaintances, taken through the streets of 
WashingtcMi to the Baltimore depot, and placed upon the 
cars, a convict boimd to Auburn State Prison." 

Clara BartcMi had moved heaven and earth to save 
Dorence from imprisonment; had done everything ex- 
cepting to advise him to give up the rolls. She knew 
so well what the publication of those names meant to 
thirteen thousand anxious homes, she was willing to see 
Dorence go to prison rather than that should fail. Sec- 
retary Stanton was out of Washington when Dorence 
was arrested. She followed him to West Point and 
had a personal interview, which she supplemented by 
a letter: 

Rob's Hoibl, Wbst PoofT, Sq>teiiiber 5^1, 1865 
Hon. E. M. Stanton 

Sec'y. of War, USA. 
My Honored Friend: 

Please permit me before leaving to reply to the one 
kind interrogatory made by you this morning, viz: 
"What do you desire me to do in the case?" Simply this, 
sir, — do nothing, believe nothing, sanction nothing in 
this present procedure against Dorence Atwater until all 
the facts widi their antecedents and bearings shall have 
been placed before you, and this upon your return (if no 
one more worthy offer) I promise to do, with all the fair- 
ness, truthfulness, and judgment that in me lie. 

There is a noticeable haste manifested to dispose of 
the case in your absence which leads me to fear that there 
are those who, to gratify a jealous whim, or serve a per- 
sonal ambition, would give little heed to the dangers of 
unmerited public criticism they might thus draw upon 
you, while young Atwater, honest and simple-hearted, 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 325 

both loving and trusting you, has more need of your 
protection than your censure. 
With the highest esteem, and unspeakable gratitude, 

I am, sir 

Clara Barton 

Failing to secure the release of Dorence by appeal to 
Secretary Stanton, who was not given to interference 
with military courts, Clara Barton tried the effect of 
public opinion and also sought to arouse the military 
authority of the State of Connecticut. Two letters of 
hers are preserved addressed to friends in the newspaper 
world, but they did not immediately accomplish the re- 
lease of Dorence. 

Clara Barton was not a woman to desist in an effort of 
this kind. She had set about to procure the release of 
Dorence Atwater; she had the support of Senator Henry 
Wilson and of General B. F. Butler, and she labored day 
and night to enlarge the list of influential friends who 
should finally secure his freedom. She surely would have 
succeeded. While the Government saw no convenient 
way of issuing him a pardon until he returned the missing 
rolls, public sentiment in his favor grew steadily under 
her insistent propaganda. At the end of two months' im- 
prisonment, he was released imder a general order which 
discharged from prison all soldiers sentenced there by 
court-martial for crimes less than murder. Even after 
the issue of the President's general order, Atwater was 
detained for a little time until Clara Barton made a 
personal visit to Secretary Stanton and informed him 
that Dorence was still in prison and secured the record 
of his trial for future use. 

Then she set herself to work to secure the publication 



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326 CLARA BARTON 

of his rolls. He must copy them and rearrange them by 
States and in alphabetical order, a task of no light 
weight, and must then arrange with some responsible 
newspaper to undertake to secure their publication. 
Moreover, this must be done quickly and quietly, for she 
believed that Dorence still had an enemy who would 
thwart the effort if known. 

The large task of copjong the rolls and rearranging the 
names required some weeks. When it was finished, 
Clara Barton, who had previously thought of the New 
York "Times" as a possible medium of publicity on 
account of an expression of interest which it had pub- 
lished, and even had considered the unpractical idea of 
simultaneous publication in a number of papers, turned 
instead to Horace Greeley. She wrote to him in January, 
1866, and then went to New York and conferred with 
him. 

Greeley told her that the list was quite too long for 
publication in the colunms of any newspaper. The 
proper thing to do, as he assured her, was to bring it out 
in pamphlet form at a low price, and, on the day of pub- 
lication, to exploit it as widely as possible through the 
columns of the "Tribune." To get the list in type, read 
the proof, print the edition, and have it ready for delivery 
required some days if not weeks. Valentine's Day was 
fixed as that upon which the list was to appear. On 
February 14, 1866, the publication occurred. 

Horace Greeley was a good advertiser. All through 
the advertising pages of the "Tribune" on that day ap- 
peared the word "Andersonvillb" in a single line of 
capitals, varied here and there by "Andersonville; 
See Advertisement on 8th page." No one who read that 



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ANDERSONVILLE AND AFTER 327 

day's "Tribune*' could escape the word " Andersonville." 
The editorial page contained the followinj; paragraph: 

We have just issued a carefully compiled List of the 
Union Soldiers Buried at AndersonviUe — arranged al- 
phabetically under the names of their respective States, 
and containing every name that has been or can be re- 
covered. Aside from the general and mournful interest 
felt in these martyrs personally, this list will be of great 
importance hereafter in the settlement of estates, etc. 
A copy should be preserved for reference in every library, 
however limited. It constitutes a roll of honor wherein 
our children's children will point with pride to the names 
of their relatives who died that their country might live. 
See advertisement. 

The eighth page contained a half-page article by Clara 
Barton, telling in full of the marking of the AndersonviUe 
graves. This article was hailed with nation-wide interest, 
and the pamphlet had an enormous circulation, bringing 
comfort to thousands of grief-stricken homes. 

Dorence Atwater never recovered from his treatment 
at the hands of the United States Government. For 
many years the record of the court-martial stood against 
him, and his status was that of a released prisoner still 
unpardoned. His spirit became embittered, and he said 
that the word "soldier" made him angry, and the sight 
of a uniform caused him to froth at the mouth. The 
Government gave him a consulship in the remote Sey- 
chelles Islands, and later transferred him to the Society 
Islands in the South Pacific. He died in November, 
1910, and his monument is erected near Papeete on the 
Island of Tahiti. 



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CHAPTER XX 

ON THB LECTURE PLATFORM 

At the close of the Civil War, Clara Barton'wanted to 
write a book. Other women who had engaged in war 
work were writing books, and the books were being well 
received. She had as much to tell as any other one 
woman, and she thought she would like to tell it. 

In this respect she was entirely different from Miss 
Dorothea Dix. She met Miss Dix now and then during 
the war, and made note of the fact in her diary, but 
either because these meetings occurred in periods when 
she was too busy to make full record, or because nothing 
of large importance transpired between them, she gives 
no extended accoimt of them. Miss Dix was superin- 
tendent of female nurses, and Miss Barton was doing an 
independent work, so there was little occasion for them 
to meet. But all her references to Miss Dix which show 
any indication of her feeling manifest a spirit of very 
cordial appreciation of Dorothea Dix's work. Miss Dix 
man2^[ed her work in her own line, insisting that nurses 
whom she appointed should be neither young nor good- 
looking, and fighting her valiant battles with quite as 
much success as in general could have been expected. 
But Dorothea Dix had no desire for publicity. She 
shrank from giving to the world any details of her own 
life, partly because of her unhappy childhood memories, 
and partly because she did not believe in upholding in 
the mind of young women the successful career of an 
unmarried woman. Accepting as she did her own lonely 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 3^9 

career, and making it a great blessing to others, she did 
not desire that young women should emulate it or con- 
sider it the ideal life. She wished instead that they 
should find lovers, establish homes, and become wives 
and mothers. 

Clara Barton, too, had very high regard for the home, 
and she saw quite enough of the folly of sentimental 
young women who were eager to rush to the hospitals 
and nurse soldiers, but she did not share Miss Dix's fear 
of an attractive face, and she knew rather better than 
Miss Dix the value of publicity. Timid as she was by 
nature, she had discovered the power of the Press. She 
had succeeded in keeping up her supply of comforts for 
wounded soldiers largely by the letters which she wrote 
to personal friends and to local organizations of women 
in the North. She made limited but e£Fective use of the 
newspaper for like purposes. At first she did not fully 
realize her own gift as a writer. Once or twice she be- 
moaned in her diaty the feebleness of her descriptive 
effort. If she could only make people see what she had 
actually seen, she could move their hearts, and the supply 
of bandages and delicacies for her wounded men would 
be unfailing. 

Her search for missing soldiers led her to a larger 
utilization of the Press, and gave her added confidence 
in her own descriptive powers. Her name was becoming 
more and more widely known, and she thought a book 
by her, if she could procure means to publish it, would 
afford her opportunity for self-expression and quite pos- 
sibly be financially profitable. 

On this subject she wrote two letters to Senator Henry 
^^son. They are undated, and it is probable that she 



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330 CLARA BARTON 

never sent either of them, but they show what was in 
her heart. One of these reads as follows: 

My always good Friend: 

Among all the little trials, necessities, and wants, real 
or imaginary, that I have from time to time brought and 
laid down at your feet, or even upon your shoulders, 
your patience has never once broken, or if it did your 
broad charity concealed the rent from me, and I come 
now in the hope that this may not prove to be the last 
feather. It is not so much that I want you to do anything 
as to listen and advise, and it may be all the more trying 
as I desire the advice to be plain, candid, and honest 
even at the risk of wounding my pride. 

Perhaps no previous proposition of mine, however 
wild, has ever so completely astonished you as the 
present is liable to do. Well, to end suspense. / am 
desirous of writing a hook. You will very naturally ask 
two questions — what for and what of. In reply to the 
first. The position which I have assumed before the 
public renders some general exposition necessary. They 
require to be made acquainted with me, or perhaps I 
might say they should either be made to know more of 
me or less. As it is, every one knows my name and some- 
thing of what I am or have been doing, but not one in a 
thousand has any idea of the manner in which I propose 
to serve them. Out of six thousand letters lying by me, 
probably not two himdred show any tolerably clear idea 
of the writer as to what use I am to make of that very 
letter. People tell me the color of the hair and eyes of 
the friends they have lost, as if I were expected to go 
about the country and search them. They ask me to 
send them full lists of the lost men of the army; they tell 
me that they have looked all through my list of missing 
men and the name of their son or husband or somebody's 
else is not on it, and desire to be informed why he is made 
an exception. They suppose me a part of the Govern* 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 331 

ment and it is my duty to do these things, or that I am 
canying on the "business'' as a means of revenue and 
ask my price, as if I hunted men at so much per head. 
But all suppose me either well paid or abundantly able 
to dispense with it; and these are only a few of the vague 
ideas which present themselves in my daily mail. A 
fair history of what I have done and desire to do, and a 
plain description of the practical working of my sjrstem, 
would convince people that I am neither sorceress nor 
spiritualist and would appall me with less of feverish 
hope and more of quiet, potent faith in the final result. 

Then there is all of Andersonville of which I have never 
written a word. I have not even contradicted the base 
forgeries which were perpetrated upon me in my absence. 
I need not tell you how foully I am being dealt by in this 
whole matter and the crime which has grown out of the 
wickedness which overshadows me. I need to tell some 
plain truths in a most inexpensive manner, that the whole 
country shall not be always duped and honest people 
sacrificed that the ambition of one man be gratified. I 
do not propose controversy, but I have a truth to speak; 
it belongs to the people of our country and I desire to 
offer it to them. 

And lastly, if a suitable work were completed and 
found salable and any share of proceeds fell to me, I need 
it in the prosecution of the work before me. 

Next — What of? The above explanation must have 
partially answered that I would give the eight months' 
history of my present work, and I think I might be per- 
mitted by the writers to insert occasionally a letter sent 
me by some noble wife or mother, and there are no 
better or more touching letters written. 

I would show how the expedition to Andersonville 
grew out of this very work; how inseparably connected 
the two were; and how Dorence Atwater's roll led directly 
to the whole work of identifying the graves of the thir- 
teen thousand sleeping in that dty of the dead. 



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332 CLARA BARTON 

I would endeavor to insert my report of the expedition 
now with the Secretary. I have some materials from 
which engravings could be made, I think, of the most 
interesting features of Andersonville, and my experi- 
ences with the colored people while there I believe to 
have been of exceeding interest. I would like to relate 
this. You recollect I have told you that they came from 
twenty miles around to see me to know if Abraham Lin- 
coln was dead and if they were free. This, if well told, 
is a little book of itself. And if still I lack material I 
might go back a little and perhaps a few incidents might 
be gleaned from my last few years' life which would 
not be entirely without interest. I think I could glean 
enough from this ground to eke out my work, which I 
would dedicate to the survivors of Andersonville and the 
friends of the missing men of the United States Army. 
I don't know what title I would give it. 

Now, first, I want your yes or no. If the former, I want 
your advice still further. Who can help me do all this? 
I have sounded among my friends, and all are occupied; 
numbers can write well, but have no knowledge of book- 
making which I suppose to be a trade in itself and one 
of which I am entirely ignorant. I never attempted any 
such thing myself and have no conceit of my own ability 
as a writer. I don't think I can write, but I would try to 
do something at it; might do more if there were time, 
but this requires to be done at once. I want a truthful, 
easy, and I suppose touching rather than logical book, 
which it appears to me would sell among the class of per- 
sons to whom I should dedicate it, and their name is 
legion. Now, it is no wonder that I have found no one 
ready to take hold and help me carry this on when it is 
remembered that I have not ten thousand dollars to offer 
them in advance, but must ask that my helper wait and 
share his remuneration out of the profits. If he knew im, 
he would know that I would not be illiberal, especially 
as pecuniary profit is but a secondary consideration. 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 333 

It is of greater importance to me that I bring before the 
country and establish the facts that I desire than that I 
make a few thousand dollars out of it, but I would like 
to do both if I could, but the first if not the last. But I 
want to stand as the author and it must be my book, and 
it should be in very truth if I had the time to write it 
I want no person to reap a laurel off it (dear knows I have 
had enough of that of late), but the man or woman who 
could and would take hold and work side by side with 
me in this matter, making it a heart interest, and having 
my interest at heart, be unselfish and noble with me 
as I think I would be with them, should reap pecuniary 
profit if there were any to reap. An experienced book- 
maker or publisher would imderstand if such a work 
would sell — it seems to me that it would. 

Now, can you point me to any person who could either 
help me do this or be so kind as to inform me that I must 
not attempt it? 

It will be noted that in this letter she indicates her 
present lack of means to publish such a book as she had 
in mind. She had not always lacked means for such an 
object. While her salary as a teacher had never been 
large, she had always saved money out of it. The habit 
of New England thrift was strong upon her, and her in- 
vestments were carefully made so that her little fund 
continually augmented. Her salary in the Patent Office 
was fourteen hundred dollars, and for a time sixteen 
himdred dollars, and though she paid a part of it to 
her substitute during the latter portion of the war, she 
was able to keep up the rental of her lodging and meet 
her very modest personal expenses without drawing 
upon her savings. The death of her father brought to her 
a share in his estate, and this was invested in Oxford, 
conservatively and profitably. When she began her 



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334 CLARA BARTON 

search for missing soldiers, therefore, she had quite a 
little money of her own. She began that work of volun- 
teer service, expecting it to be supported as her work in 
the field had been supported, by the free gifts of those 
who believed in the work. When a soldier or a soldier's 
mother or widow sent her a dollar, she invariably re- 
turned it. 

As the work proceeded, she was led to believe that 
Congress would make an appropriation to reimburse 
her for her past expenditures, and add a sufficient ap- 
propriation for the continuance of the work. She had 
two influential friends at court. Senator Henry \^son, 
her intimate and trusted friend. Chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Military Affairs of the Senate, and General 
Benjamin F. Butler, with whose army she had last served 
in the field. 

She knew very well how laws were passed and official 
endorsements secured. She frequently interceded with 
her friends ii;! high places on behalf of people or causes 
in whom she believed. She, in common with Miss Dix, 
had altercations with army surgeons, yet her diary shows 
her working hard to secure for them additional recogni- 
tion and remuneration. On Sunday, January 29, 1865, 
she attempted to attend the third anniversary of the 
Christian Commission, but the House of Representatives 
was packed; thousands, she saj^, were tiuned away. 
That afternoon or evening Senator Wilson called on her 
and she talked with him concerning army surgeons: 
"I spoke at length with Mr. Wilson on the subject of 
army surgeons. I think their rank will be raised. I be- 
lieve I will see Dr. Crane in the morning and make an 
effort to bring Dr. Buzzell here to help frame the bill.'* 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 335 

2 She did exactly what she believed she would do; 

,. saw Dr. Crane, got her recommendation that Dn Buzzell 

], be allowed to come, and then went to the Senate. The 

2 thing she labored for was accomplished, though it called 

>j for considerable added effort. 

, About this same time she had a visit from a woman 

who was seeking to obtain the passage of a special act 

I for her own benefit. She shared Clara Barton's bed and 

board, with introduction to Senator Wilson and other 
influential people, until the bill passed both houses, and 

I still as Miss Barton's guest continued in almost frantic 

uncertainty, awaiting the President's signature. It hap- 
pened at the very time Clara Barton was very desirous 
of getting her work for missing soldiers under way. The 
idea came to her in the night of February 19, 1865: 

Thought much during the night, and decided to invite 
Mr. Brown to accompany me to Annapolis and to offer 
my services to take chiaLrge of the correspondence between 
the country and the Government offidals and prisoners 
at that point while they continued to arrive. 

Mr. Brown called upon her that very day and they 
agreed to go to Annapolis the next day, which they did. 
She nursed her brother Stephen, accomplished a large 
day's work, did her personal washing at nine o'clock at 
night, and the next day went to Annapolis. There she 
met Dorothea Dix; found a captain who deserved pro- 
motion, and resolved to get it for him; assisted in wel- 
coming four boatloads of returned prisoners, and defined 
more clearly in her own mind the kind of work that 
needed to be done. 

The next Simday Senator Wilson called on her again, 
and she told him she had offered her services for this 



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336 CLARA BARTON 

work, and wanted the President's endorsement In order 
that she might not be interfered with. Senator Wilscm 
offered to go with her to see President Lincoki, and they 
went next day, but did not succeed in seeing him. She 
went again next day, this time without Senator ^^son, 
for he was busy working on the bill for the lady who was 
her guest, so she sought to obtain her interview with 
President Lincoln through the Honorable E. B. Wash- 
bume, of Illinob. Mr. Washbume agreed to meet her 
at the White House, and did so, but the President was 
in a conference preceding a Cabinet meeting, and the 
Cabinet meeting, which was to begin at noon, was likely 
to last the rest of the day, so Mr. Washbume took her 
paper and said he would see the President and obtain 
his endorsement. She saw Senator Wilson that after- 
noon, and reported that her papers were still imendoraed, 
and General Hitchcock was advising her to go on without 
any formal authority. She was not disposed to do it, for 
she felt sure that she would no sooner get established than 
Secretary Stanton would interfere. The difficulty was 
to get at the President in those crowded days just before 
his second inaugural, when events both in Washington 
and in the field were crowding tremendously. 

Senator Wilson was still interested in what she wanted 
to do, but was preoccupied. ''He had labored all night 
on Miss B.'s bill." In fact Clara Bartc»i read the prob- 
able fate of her own endeavor. Senator Wilson had given 
himself with such ardor to the cause of her guest that 
he had no time to help her. She had borrowed a set of 
furs to wear when she went to the President. She took 
them back that afternoon and wrote in her diary : " Very 
tired; could not reconcile my poor success; I find that 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 337 

some hand above mine rules and restrains my progress; 
I cannot understand, but try to be patient, but still it is 
hard. I was never more tempted to break down with 
disappointment/* 

On Thursday, March 2, two days before the inaugura- 
tion, she went again to see the President. Just as she 
reached the White House in the rain, she saw Secretary 
Stanton go in. She waited imtil 5.15, and Stanton did 
not come out. She returned home "still more and more 
discouraged." Her guest, also, had been out in the rain, 
but was overjoyed. Her bill had passed the Senate with- 
out opposition, and would go to the House next day, if 
not that very night. Miss Barton wrote in her diary: 
" I do not tell her how much I am inconvenienced by her 
using all my power. I have no helper left, and I am dis- 
couraged. I could not restrain the tears, and gave up 
to it." 

It is hardly to be wondered that she almost repented 
of her generosity in loaning Senator Wilson to her friend 
when she herself had so much need of him. Nor need she 
be blamed for lying awake and crying while her guest 
slept happily on the pillow beside her. She did not often 
cry. 

Just at this time she was doubly anxious, for Stephen, 
her brother, was nearing his end, and Irving Vassall, 
her nephew, was having hemorrhages and not long for 
this world, and her day's journal shows a multiplicity 
of cares crowding each day. 

Stephen died Friday, March 10. She was with him 
when he died and mourned for her "dear, noble brother." 
She believed he had gone to meet the loved ones on the 
other side, and she wondered whether her mother was 



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338 CLARA BARTON 

not the first to welcome him. His body was embahnedt 
and a service was held in Washington, and another in 
Oxford. Between the time of Stephen's death and her 
departure with his body, she received her papers with the 
President's endorsement. General Hitchcock presented 
them to her. She wrote: 

We had a most delightful interview. He aided me in 
drawing up a proper article to be published ; said it would 
be hard, but I should be sustained through such a work, 
he felt, and that no person in the United States would 
oppose me in my work; he would stand between me and 
all harm. The President was there, too. I told him I 
could not conmience just yet, and why, and he said» 
'^Go bury your dead, and then care for others.'* How 
kind he was! 

President Johnson later endorsed the work and author* 
ized the printing of whatever matter she required at the 
Government Printing Office. Her postage was largely 
provided by the franking privilege. Her work was a 
great success and the time came in the following Octo- 
ber, when it seemed certain her department was to have 
official status with the payment of all its necessary ex- 
penses by the Government. On Wednesday, October 4, 
she wrote: 

Of all my days, this, I suspect, has been my greatest, 
and I hope my best. About six p.m. General Butler came 
quickly into my room to tell me that my business had 
been presented to both the President and Secretary of 
War, and fully approved by both ; that it was to be made 
a part of the Adjutant-General's department with its own 
clerks and expenses, and that I was to be at the head of it, 
exclusively myself; that he made that a sine qua non, 
on the ground that it was proper for parents to bring up 
their own children; that he ^idshed me to make out my 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 339 

own programme of what would be required; and on his 
return he would overlook it and I could enter at once 
upon my labor. Who ever heard of anything like this — 
who but General Butler? He left at 7.30 for home. I 
don't know how to comport me. 

On that same night she had a very different call, and 
the only one which the author has found referred to in all 
her diaries where any man approached her with an im- 
proper suggestion. Mingling as she did with men on the 
battle-field, living alone in a room that was open to con- 
stant calls from both men and women, she seems to have 
passed through the years with very little reason to think 
ill of the attitude of men toward a self-respecting and 
unprotected woman. That evening she had an unwelcome 
call, but she promptly turned her visitor out, went 
straight to two friends and told them what had been said 
to her, and wrote it down in her diary as a wholly excep- 
tional incident, and with this brief comment, ^^Oh, what 
a wicked man!'' 

The plan to make her department an independent 
bureau seemed humanly certain to succeed. When, a 
few days later, General Butler left Washington without 
calling to see her, she was surprised, but thought it ex- 
plained, a few days later, when the Boston "Journal** 
published an editorial sajring that General Butler was 
to be given a seat in the Cabinet and to make his home 
in Washington. 

But General Butler's plans failed. He fell into dis- 
favor, and all that he had recommended and was still 
pending became anathema to the War Department. 
The bureau was not created, and Clara Barton's official 
appointment did not come. 



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340 CLARA BARTON 

During all this time she had been supporting her work 
of correspondence out of her own pocket. The time came 
when she invested in it the very last dollar of her quick 
assets. Her old friend Colonel De Witt, through whom 
she had obtained her first Government appointment, 
had invested her Oxford money. At her request he sent 
her the last of it, a check for $228. She wrote in her 
diary: ''This is the last of my invested money, but it 
is not the first time in my life that I have gone to the 
bottom of my bag. I guess I shall die a pauper, but I 
have n't been either stingy or lazy, and if I starve I shall 
not be alone ; others have. Went to Mechanics' Bank and 
got my check cashed.'* 

She certainly had not been lazy, and she never was 
stingy with any one but herself. Keeping her own ex- 
penses at the minimum and living so frugally that she 
was sometimes thought parsimonious, she saw her last 
dollar of invested money disappear, and recorded a grim 
little joke about her poverty and the possibility of starva- 
tion. But she shed no tears. In the few times when she 
broke down and wept, the occasion was not her own 
privation or personal disappointment, but the failure of 
some plan through which she sought to be of service to 
others. 

This is a rather long retrospect, but it explains why 
Clara Barton, when she wanted to publish a book, con- 
templated the cost of it as an item beyond her personal 
means. She could have published the book at her own 
expense had it not been for the money she had spent for 
others. 

Congress did not permit her to lose the money which 
she had expended. In all her diary and correspondence 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 341 

no expression of fear has been found as to her own 
remuneration. She thought it altogether likely she could 
get her money back, but there is no hint that she would 
have mourned, much less regretted what she had done, 
if she had never seen her money again. 

Sad days came for Clara Barton when she found that 
General Butler was worse than powerless to aid her work. 
Heartily desirous of assisting her as he was, his name was 
enough to kill any measure which he sponsored. When 
Senator Wilson came to see her, just before Christmas, 
and told her that the plan was hopeless, she was already 
prepared for it. He suspected that she was nearly out 
of money, and tried to make her a Christmas gift of 
twenty dollars, but she declined. She wakened, on these 
mornings, "with the deepest feeling of depression and 
despair that I remember to have known." But this 
feeling gave place to another. Waking in the night and 
thinking dearly, she was able to outline the programme 
of the next day's task so distinctly and unerringly that 
she began to wonder whether the spirit of her noble 
brother Stephen was not guiding her. She did not think 
she was a Spiritualist, but it seemed to her that some in- 
fluence which he was bringing to her from her mother 
helped to shape her days aright. It was such a night's 
meditation that made plain to her that Dorence Atwater, 
released but not pardoned, must get his list published 
immediately, and that he must do it without a cent of 
compensation so that no one should ever be able to say 
that he had stolen the list in order to profit by it. She 
found that she did not need many hours' sleep. If she 
could rest with an untroubled mind« she could waken 
and think clearly. 



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34^ CLARA BARTON 

Gradually, her plan to publish a book changed. In- 
stead she would write a lecture. She went to hear dif- 
ferent women speakers, and was gratified whenever she 
found a woman who could speak in public efiFectively. 
A woman preacher came to Washington, and she listened 
to her. Even in the pulpit a woman could speak ac- 
ceptably. When she traveled on the train, she was sur- 
prised and gratified to find how many people knew her, 
and she came to believe that the lecture platform offered 
her a better opportunity than the book. 

There was one other omsideration, — a book would 
cost money for its publication and the getting of it back 
was a matter of uncertainty. But the lecture platform 
promised to be immediately remunerative. 

She conferred with John B. Gough. She read to him 
a lecture which she prepared. Said he, ^'I never heard 
anything more touching, more thrilling, in my life.'' 
He encouraged her to proceed. 

Thus encouraged, Clara Barton laid out her itinerary, 
and prepared for three hundred nights upon the plat- 
form. Her rates were one hundred dollars per night, ex- 
cepting where she spoke under the auspices of the Grand 
Army Post, when her charge was seventy-five. 

She took Dorence Atwater with her to look after her 
baggage and see to her comfort, and exhibit a box of 
relics which he had brought from AndersonviUe. She 
paid his expenses and a salary besides. Sometimes she 
thought he earned it, and sometimes she doubted it, for 
he was still a boy and exhibited a boy's limitations. But 
she cherished a very sincere affection for him and to the 
end of her life counted him as one of her own kin. 

During this period she had abundant time to write 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 343 

in her diary; for, while there were long journeys, the 
ordinary distance from one engagement to another was 
not great. She lectured in the East in various New 
England cities, in Cooper Institute in New York, and in 
cities and moderate-sized towns through Indiana, Ohio» 
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. She had time to 
record and did record all the little incidents of her jour- 
ney, together with the exact sum she received for each 
lectiu^, with every dime which she expended for travel, 
hotel accommodation, and incidental expenses. It was 
a hard but varied and remunerative tour. It netted 
her some twelve thousand dollars after deducting all 
expenses. 

A soldier of the Legion lay dying In Algiers; 

There was lack of woman's nursing, there was dearth of 

woman's tears; 
But a comrade stood beside him, as the life-blood ebbed away. 
And bent with pitying glances to hear what he might say; 
The dying soldier faltered, — [as he took that comrade's hand, — 
And said, " I never more shall see my own — my native land. 
Take a messs^ and a token to some distant friend of mine, 
For I was bora at Bingen, fair Bingen on the Rhine." 

With this quotation from the familiar but effective 
poem of Mrs. Norton, Clara Barton opened her first 
public lecture, which she delivered at Poughkeepsie, on 
Thursday evening, October 25, 1866. The lecture was 
an hour and a quarter in length as she read it aloud in 
her room, but required about an hour and a half as she 
delivered it before a public audience. It was, as she 
recorded in her diary, "my first lecture," and "the be- 
ginning of remunerative labor*' after a long period in 
which she had been without salary. She knew that it 
was her first lecture, but the audience did not. She re- 



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344 CLARA BARTON 

turned from it to the house of Mr. John Mathews, where 
she was entertained, ate an ice-cream, went to bed and 
slept well. She received her first fee of one hundred dol- 
lars. On Saturday night she spoke in Schenectady, 
where she received fifty dollars, and found, what many 
a lecturer has learned, that it was not profitaUe to cut 
prices. A diminished fee means less local advertising. 
The audience was smaller and less appreciative. On 
Monday evening she spoke in Brookljm. Theodore Til- 
ton presided and introduced her. There she had an ova- 
tion. Mr. Tilton accompanied her to her hotel after the 
lecture, and she told him that she was just beginning, 
and asked for his criticism. He told her the lecture con- 
tained no flaw for him to mend. She went back to Wash- 
ington enthusiastic over the success of her new venture. 
She had spoken three times, and two of the lectures had 
been a pronounced success. Her expenses had been less 
than fifty dollars, and she was two hundred dollars to 
the good. 

She found awaiting her in Washington a large number 
of requests to lecture in different places, and she ar- 
ranged a New England tour. She began with Worcester 
and Oxford. She did this with many misgivings, not 
forgetting the lack of honor for a prophet in his own 
country. She spoke in Mechanic's Hall in Worcester, 
before a full house. She got her hundred dollars, but 
was not happy over the lecture. In Oxford, however, 
things went differently. She had a good house, and "the 
pleasantest lecture I shall ever deliver. Raced home all 
happy and at rest. My best visit at home." Here she 
refused to receive any fee, placing the proceeds of the 
lecture in the hands of the overseers of the poor. 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 345 

She lectured at Salem, at Marlborough, and then at 
Newark, and again returned to Washington convinced 
that her plan was a success. 

Her next tour took her to Geneva and Lockport, New 
York, Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio, Ypsilanti and De- 
troit, Michigan, and on the return trip to Ashtabula, 
Ohio, Rochester and Dansville, New York. Her fee was 
a hundred dollars in every place excepting Dansville, but 
her lecture at this last place proved to be of importance. 
There she learned about the water cure, which later was 
to have an important influence upon her life. All these 
lectures on her third trip left a pleasant memory, except 
the one at Ashtabula, which for some reason did not 
go well. 

She now arranged for a much longer trip. She bought 
her ticket for Chicago, stopping to lecture at Laporte, 
Indiana. She reshaped her lecture somewhat for this 
trip, telling how her father had fought near that town 
under "Mad" Anthony Wayne. She lectured in Mil- 
waukee, Evanston, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Flint, Galesbiu^, 
Des Moines, Rock Island, Muscatine, Washington, Iowa, 
Dixon, Illinois, Decatur, and Jacksonville. On her way 
north from Jacksonville, she was in a train wreck in which 
several people were injured. She also had an experience 
in an attempt to rob her, and she resolved never to travel 
by sleeper again when she had to go alone. She was very 
nearly as good as her word. Very rarely did she make 
use of a sleeping-car; she traveled by day when she could, 
and, when unable to do so, sat up in a comer of the seat 
and rested as best she could. 

She lectured at Mount Vernon, Aurora, Belvidere, 
Rockford, and other Illinois cities, and at Clinton, Iowa. 



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346 CLARA BARTON 

In most of these cities she was entertained in the homes 
of distinguished people, Dorence Atwater sometimes 
staying at the hotel. 

In Chicago she had good visits with John B. Gough 
and Theodore Tilton, both of whom were on the lecture 
platform, and she herself lectured in the Chicago Opera 
House. 

Other lectures followed in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, 
Ohio, New York, and so on back to Washington. Then 
she took another tour through New England. She lec- 
tured in New Haven and found the people unrespon- 
sive, but she had a good time at Terryville, Connecticut. 
There Dorence Atwater was at home. It was character- 
istic of Clara Barton that at this lecture she insisted that 
Dorence should preside; not only so, but she called it his 
lecture and gave him the entire proceeds of that and the 
lecture at New Haven. It was a proud night for this 
young man, released from his two imprisonments, and 
she records that he presided well. She lectured again in 
Worcester and with better results than before, then ex^ 
tended her tour all over New England. 

After this she made other long toiuB through Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, and States farther west. Now and 
then she records a disappointing experience, but in the 
main the results were favorable. She had no difficulty 
in making a return engagement; everywhere she was 
hailed as the Florence Nightingale of America. The press 
comments were enthusiastic; her bank account grew 
larger than it had ever been. 

Clara Barton was now forty-seven years old. Fot 
eight years, beginning with the outbreak of the Civil 
War, she had lived in rooms on the third floor of a busi- 



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ON THE LECTURE PLATFORM 347 

ness block. The two flights of stairs and the unpreten* 
tiousness of the surroundings had not kept her friends 
away. Her daily list of callers was a long one, and her 
evenings brought her so many friends that she spoke 
humorously of her ''levees/' But she had begun to long 
for a home of her own, which she now was well able to 
afford. Since the appropriation of Congress of fifteen 
thousand dollars and her earnings from her lectures, all 
of which she had carefully invested, she possessed not 
less than thirty thousand dollars in good interest-bearing 
securities. She had brought from Andersonville a colored 
woman, Rosa, who now presided over her domestic af- 
fairs. She spent a rather cheerless Christmas on her 
forty-seventh birthday in her old room on 7th Street* 
and determined not to delay longer. She bought a 
house. On the outside it looked old and shabby, but 
inside it was comfortable. On Tuesday, December 29, 
1868, she packed her belongings. Next day she records: 

December 30, 1868, Wednesday. Moved. Mr. Budd 
came early with five men. Mr. Vassall, Sally, and myself 
all worked, and in the midst of a fearful snowstorm and 
a good deal of confusion, I broke away from my old 
rooking of eight years and launched out into the world all 
by myself. Took my first supper in my own whole house 
at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill. 

She had engaged her movers at a stipulated price of six 
dollars, but she was so happy with the result that she 
paid them ten dollars, which for a woman of Clara Bar- 
ton's careful habits indicated a very large degree of sat- 
isfaction. 

The next day, assisted by her colored woman Rosa and 
her negro man Uncle Jarret, and with some help from 



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348 CLARA BARTON 

two kindly neighborsi she set things to rights. It was a 
stormy day and she was tired, but happy to be in her 
home. She wrote in her diary: ''This is the last day of 
the year, and I sometimes think it may be my last year. 
I am not strong, but God is good and kind/' 

It is pathetic that the joy of her occupancy of her new 
home should have been clouded by any forebodings of 
this character. Her premonition that it might be her 
last year came very near to being true. Heavy had been 
the strain upon her from the day when the war began, 
and the events of the succeeding years had all drawn 
upon her vitality. What occurred at the height of her 
success in Bordentown came again to her at the height 
of her career upon the lecture platform. She rode one 
night to address a crowded house, and she stood before 
them speechless. Her voice utterly failed. Her physi- 
cians pronounced it nervous prostration, prescribed three 
years of complete rest, and ordered her to go to Europe. 



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THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ 



This book is due on the last DATE stamped below. 
To renew by phone, colt 429-2 Zjfc 
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after due date are subject to>'^* ^ 




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