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Angel of the Battlefield

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Bullets whizzed by and, the anguished cries wounded men echoed across the battlefield, but Clara Barton pushed through the sea of bodies; determined to get to the wounded. Even though many might know her from her nickname “Angel of the Battlefield” or as the founder of the American Red Cross, but she started as just a very stubborn, patriotic, young woman who was determined to help. Even in a time of despair. She brought hope to soldiers and their families, both on and off the battlefield.

Clara Barton was born on Christmas in 1821 to Sarah and Stephen Barton (a former soldier). When Clara was 11 her brother David was injured in a farm accident. Clara helped nurse her brother after school for two years until he finally recovered (Clara Barton BIrthplace Museum). She grew up to become a teacher for several years and even started a school, but eventually resigned and moved to Washington D.C to become a clerk in a patent office. It was in Washington that she first encountered the soldiers of the civil war.

Clara jumped at the chance to help her country when the war started. At first both the Union and Confederacy discouraged women from nursing at army hospitals, claiming it was too gruesome for delicate women to see. Clara started out by organizing donations to help supply the army, but when she was offered the chance she volunteered as a nurse for the Union and began working at the Washington Infirmary (Civil War Trust). It was at the Washington Infirmary where she first got she idea of going directly to the battlefield to nurse. She heard stories of men bleeding to death because they did not get treatment quick enough, and many more died on the wagon trip back to the hospital. She asked army officials for permission to enter th...

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