Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office

Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Explore the unassuming boarding house rooms where Clara Barton lived and worked during the Civil War. These rooms were Barton's home base first as she braved the battlefield, then as she searched for 63,000 + missing soldiers.
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Operating as usual

02/12/2021
How Civil War Medicine Killed President James Garfield

In this presentation by Jake Wynn of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, we discuss how medical practices from the Civil War negatively impacted the treatment given to President Garfield after his assassination in 1881.

National Museum of Civil War Medicine
02/12/2021

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

Throughout the war, the president visited sick and wounded soldiers and officers in hospital. One of them was General Israel Richardson, mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam and cared for at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, now a part of our museum.

02/10/2021
National Museum of Civil War Medicine

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

John Lustrea of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine speaks with Dr. Chandra Manning of Georgetown University about her book, "Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War."

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District
02/10/2021

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District

Jessie Rupert - Angel of the Shenandoah and Daughter of the 34th Massachusetts

Jessie Park Hainning was born in Scotland on May 15, 1831 and her family immigrated to Ohio shortly thereafter. She received a private education in the North, which was very rare for a woman, and she became an ardent abolitionist. In 1857, she was the principal of Ann Smith Academy in Lexington. Even though it was illegal in Virginia to teach literacy to African Americans, she taught African American children how to read the Bible along with her friend from Virginia Military Institute, Thomas J. Jackson later known as Stonewall Jackson.

Jessie Hainning lived in the town of New Market, Virginia when the Civil War began. She was the principal of the New Market Ladies Seminary and was one of the few Union sympathizers in town. In 1861, the locals of New Market decided to hang a Confederate flag on the porch of the Seminary. The next morning, they were shocked and outraged when she pulled the flag down and set it on fire. An angry mob seized her and she was taken to the jail where she was imprisoned for her own safety. She was charged with treason, but authorities were unsure how to punish her. They decided to take her the nearby Confederate commander who turned out to be Stonewall Jackson. He surprised many when he greeted her with open arms and sent her home with a personal armed guard for her protection. This only increased the animosity that the townspeople of New Market had toward Jessie, and more so after she married the Justice of the Peace, Solomon Rupert. They were suspicious, and rightly so, that Jessie might be acting as a Union spy.

Then on May 15, 1864, Jessie’s 33rd birthday, the Battle of New Market brought the war to her home. She and her husband aided soldiers from the north and south and saved at least a couple of men from death. One of these soldiers was a Confederate sick with pneumonia, whose family had received word that he had died. Another was Ensign Smith from the 34th Massachusetts. Smith was found by a Confederate Chaplain severely wounded two days after the battle and asked to be taken to Jessie Rupert’s home in order to die with someone “who loved old Glory as much as he.” Ensign Smith was presumed to be mortally wounded but he ended up surviving. Her actions made her the Daughter of the 34th Massachusetts but also saved the town of New Market. Because of her devotion and aid, Jessie Rupert was given an official seal from Union General David Hunter that stated New Market could not be burned down. She used it a few weeks later to prevent Hessian troops from trying to burn the town.

Tragically, in 1867, Jessie Rupert’s husband Solomon committed suicide and she was evicted from the Seminary. However, Jessie received funds from the Freedmen’s Bureau and the 34th Massachusetts and was able to build the schoolhouse that currently stands on Congress St. in downtown New Market. Jessie taught white children during the day and black children at night.

On February 22, 1870, Jessie hung an American flag outside the building to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. The postmaster warned her that she might be in danger so she armed herself with a pistol. That night, members of the Ku Klux Klan showed up at the schoolhouse and demanded to “take in that flag.” Jessie met them with her pistol and said that the first one that tried to take in that flag would likely be a dead man. The Klan members promptly left.

Jessie Rupert died in 1909 and was buried in New Market. At the time of her death, she was recognized even by her former enemies as a woman who defiantly stood up for her beliefs and did what she believed was her duty as a devout Christian. Because of this, and the care she provided, she became known as “The Angel of the Shenandoah.”

National Museum of Civil War Medicine
02/10/2021

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

This advertisement ran in "The New Berne Times" newspaper in New Bern, North Carolina in February 1865.

It advertised free smallpox vaccinations to residents, soldiers, and freedpeople residing in the area of eastern North Carolina occupied by the United States Army.

Vaccination campaigns took place frequently during the Civil War era, as war-time circumstances allowed the feared disease to move more freely than in peacetime, forcing medical personnel to take drastic steps to prevent the spread of the much-feared disease.

Read more about smallpox vaccination during the Civil War here:
https://www.civilwarmed.org/surgeons-call/small_pox/

Source: New Berne Times, February 3, 1865

Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center
02/09/2021

Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center

Lloyd Francis Asbury Watts was born on February 6, 1835, in Carroll County, Maryland.

With his family, Watts moved to the Gettysburg area in 1846. In 1863, at the time of the battle, Watts worked as a laborer. Later, in 1865, Watts enlisted in Co. B of the 24th United States Colored Troops where he quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant. After mustering out of the army, Watts returned to Gettysburg where he would serve as a schoolteacher for African American students.

Watts died on May 26, 1918, at the age of 83. He is buried in the Lincoln Cemetery, which he helped create for the African American community in Gettysburg. He is one of 30 USCT Soldiers interred there.

#BlackHistory #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistoryMonth2021

National Museum of Civil War Medicine
02/08/2021

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

A meeting of two famous Civil War nurses in a hospital in South Carolina.

Susie King Taylor was renowned for her work as a nurse and member of the 33rd United States Colored Troops. In her war-time memoir, she briefly discussed meeting the famed "Angel of the Battlefield" - Clara Barton - in a US Army hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1863.

"When at Camp Shaw, I visited the hospital in Beaufort, where I met Clara Barton. There were a number of sick and wounded soldiers there, and I went often to see the comrades. Miss Barton was always very cordial toward me, and I honored her for her devotion and care of those men.”

Source: "Reminiscences of my life in camp with the 33d United States colored troops, late 1st S. C. volunteers," by Susie King Taylor. Page 30.

(Photographs: Susie King Taylor (right) and Clara Barton (left) - Library of Congress)

National Museum of Civil War Medicine
02/08/2021

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

A meeting of two famous Civil War nurses in a hospital in South Carolina.

Susie King Taylor was renowned for her work as a nurse and member of the 33rd United States Colored Troops. In her war-time memoir, she briefly discussed meeting the famed "Angel of the Battlefield" - Clara Barton - in a US Army hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1863.

"When at Camp Shaw, I visited the hospital in Beaufort, where I met Clara Barton. There were a number of sick and wounded soldiers there, and I went often to see the comrades. Miss Barton was always very cordial toward me, and I honored her for her devotion and care of those men.”

Source: "Reminiscences of my life in camp with the 33d United States colored troops, late 1st S. C. volunteers," by Susie King Taylor. Page 30.

(Photographs: Susie King Taylor (right) and Clara Barton (left) - Library of Congress)

Battle of New Market Heights
02/08/2021

Battle of New Market Heights

We Remember: 1st Sgt. Edward Ratcliff, Medal of Honor, Co. C, 38th USCI, born February 8, 1835, died March 10, 1915.

Of the 14 African American New Market Heights Medal of Honor recipients, only one, Powhatan Beaty, lived longer into the twentieth century than Edward Ratcliff. Born enslaved in James City County, Virginia, Ratcliff, described as “yellow” complexioned, was likely the child of racially mixed parentage or recent ancestry.

When United States Colored Troops regiments marched from Fort Monroe onto Virginia’s James River/York River peninsula in the winter of 1863-64, the draw of thousands of black men in blue uniforms proved too strong to resist and 29-year old Edward Ratcliff signed up on January 28, 1864, in nearby Williamsburg.

The officers may have not known it at the time, but Company C, 38th United States Colored Infantry had just gained an exceptional soldier. However, Ratcliff’s talents quickly emerged, because within a few days, he received a promotion to sergeant, and then soon after, to the important position of 1st sergeant. Perhaps his stature, just an inch under six feet tall, and his maturity, added to a personality designed to lead.

Ratcliff’s leadership skills would soon be called to action. Eventually sent to the front at Petersburg, Ratcliff, the 38th and the rest of the African American 3rd Division of the XVIII Corps received orders to cross the James River at Deep Bottom and prepare to attack the Confederate defensive line just below New Market Heights on the morning of September 29, 1864. It must have been harrowing for Ratcliff and the 38th to observe Col. Samuel A. Duncan’s Brigade (4thand 6th USCI) move out from their assembly position near Kingsland Road and head into a veritable hell of lead, iron, noise, and smoke. Slowed down by the slashings of abatis , and ordered not to stop and fire, Duncan’s Brigade took heavy casualties.

Working up the nerve to go into battle in normal circumstances was difficult enough, but seeing the damage done to Duncan’s initial attack and knowing they were likely in store for more of the same, probably required additional fortitude by Col. Alonzo Draper’s Brigade composed of the 5th, 36th, and 38th USCI. But duty proved stronger than fear, and go in they did. Meeting the concentrated Confederate rifle fire supported by artillery head on, Draper’s assault also paused at the defender’s obstacles, but they soon regained their momentum and surged forward toward the enemy again.

After Ratcliff’s company commander received a fatal wound, as 1st sergeant, he led his men by his sterling example. In fact, his Medal of Honor citation reads: “Commanded and gallantly led his company after the commanding officer had been killed; was the first enlisted man to enter the enemy’s works.” The force effectively expelled the defenders from the works giving the black soldiers a total victory.

In addition to receiving a Medal of Honor on April 6, 1865, and a Butler Medal, Ratcliff also received promotion to sergeant major on Christmas Eve, 1864. The 38th along with the rest of the recently created XXV Corps continued to serve near the New Market Heights hallowed grounds. They were among the first Union troops to enter the capital of the Confederacy on April 3, 1865. Transferred to the Texas/Mexico border for duty, Ratcliff and the 38th served faithfully in a difficult environment until mustered out in January 1867.

After his enlistment expired, Ratcliff returned to his native region of Virginia. The 1880 census shows Ratcliff and his wife, Grace, raising six children. After a long life, Edward Ratcliff passed away on March 10, 1915, at age 80. He was buried in the Cheesecake Cemetery in York County.

We remember you, Sgt. Ratcliff, and we thank you for your service and sacrifice.

The Old Operating Theatre Museum
02/06/2021

The Old Operating Theatre Museum

Today we would like to remind you of this extraordinary African-American pioneer: Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845 -1926). She was the first black professional nurse in America, and an active organizer among African American nurses. She was born in Boston, on May 7, 1845.

At age 18, she decided to pursue a career in nursing, working at the progressive New England Hospital for Women and Children. In 1878, at age 33, she was accepted in that hospital's nursing school, the first professional nursing program in the country. After graduation, Mahoney registered for work as a private-duty nurse. Families that employed Mahoney praised her calm and quiet efficiency. Her professionalism helped raise the status of all nurses.

Mahoney was one of the first black members of the organization that later became the American Nurses Association (A.N.A.). When that later organization proved slow to admit black nurses, Mahoney strongly supported the establishment of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (N.A.C.G.N.), and delivered the welcome address at that organization's first annual convention, in 1909. In that speech, Mahoney recognized the inequalities in nursing education and called for a demonstration at the New England Hospital to have more African American students admitted.

Mahoney was deeply concerned with women's equality and she was a strong supporter of the movement to gain women the right to vote in the States. When that movement succeeded with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, she was among the first women in Boston to register to vote. She was 76. ❤️

Today we salute this historical #frontliner and remember her on the USA #BlackHistoryMonth!

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
02/06/2021

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

One of the roughly 5,000 United States Colored Troops present at Appomattox Court House on the morning of April 9, 1865 was Private Nelson Charles of Company G, 8th U.S. Colored Infantry. Born enslaved in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Nelson is believed to have made his escape to freedom in 1861 via the Great Dismal Swamp and the Underground Railroad.

According to his military service records, he was drafted into the 8th U.S. Colored Infantry in Utica, New York in September 1863; Nelson was listed as being 21 years old and measuring 5' 11'' tall. After surviving the small but bloody Battle of Olustee, Florida in February 1864, in which his regiment suffered nearly 300 casualties, Private Charles fought at Appomattox Court House, doing his part to help trap Robert E. Lee's army, and mustered out of service in November 1865 in Texas.

After the war, Nelson Charles changed his name to Nelson Charles Davis, apparently after his father. In the late 1860's, Davis made his way to Auburn, New York and met former Abolitionist leader, Underground Railroad conductor and US Army nurse and spy Harriet Tubman, who ran a boarding house there. Though 22 years different in age, Nelson and Harriet fell in love and were married in March 1869. In 1874, the couple adopted a daughter whom they named Gertie Davis. This was Harriet's second marriage; she had been separated from her first husband, Jon Tubman, when she made her escape from slavery in 1849.

Harriet and Nelson continued to live in Auburn, running a small farm and brick making business, skills he had also plied while an enslaved man. Sadly, Nelson Davis died of Tuberculosis in October 1888 at the age of only 44. Harriet applied for a Federal widow's pension and in 1895 she was granted the sum of $8 per month for the remainder of her life. Harriet Tubman died of pneumonia in 1911 and was buried with military honors next to her 2nd husband Nelson Charles Davis at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.

Special thanks to Maree Rogers of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association for bringing this fascinating story to the attention of park staff. Additional resources consulted for this post included the U.S. Compiled Service Records available via www.fold3.com, and an April 2009 article by the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia.

For an alphabetical listing of USCT present at Appomattox Court House, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/apco/learn/historyculture/united-states-colored-troops-at-appomattox.htm

Text: C.B.
Image: Harriet Tubman, her 2nd husband Nelson Charles Davis and their adopted daughter Gertie, circa 1887 (NMAAHC)
#AppomattoxNPS #HarrietTubmanNPS #UndergroundRailroad #Emancipation #USCT #CivilWar #DidYouKnow #DistanceLearning #APX156 #CivilWartoCivilRights #APXUSCT

National Museum of Civil War Medicine
02/01/2021

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

February 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month!

Throughout the month, we will be highlighting the African American health-care workers who saved lives during the Civil War despite facing discrimination and bigotry at nearly every turn.

We'll also be detailing other aspects of health and medicine for Black Americans during the Civil War-era - on and off the battlefield. We've got special programs and videos coming as well.

Shiloh National Military Park
01/31/2021

Shiloh National Military Park

“The Florence Nightingale of the South”

Ella King was born in 1838 in Brandon, Mississippi, a town that according to her “looked like a big ant hill.” She was born to Baptist minister T.S. King who, soon after Ella’s birth, moved his family to the Arkansas wilderness. It was in Arkansas that Ms. King became acquainted with a wealthy physician and planter from Tennessee named Frank Newsom, and when she was 16 years old the two were married. The untimely death of Dr. Newsom a few years later resulted in Mrs. Newsom inheriting her husband’s estate and entering widowhood before she was even twenty-five years old.

When the war began, Ella Newsom used her husband’s wealth to aid the war effort. She bought supplies and began aiding the Southern Mother’s Home Hospital and the Overton Hospital in Tennessee. When General Albert Sidney Johnston led his army to Corinth, Mississippi in the spring of 1862 Mrs. Newsom followed and began her work at the Tishomingo Hotel.

During her brief time at the Tishomingo Hotel she met a 19-year-old man named James Murray from Pattersonville, LA. When Mrs. Newsom examined him, she discovered “both his eyes had been destroyed by a bullet.” Rather than being down in spirits, he joked with Mrs. Newsom and said, “I shall be the blind poet of America.” A few days later, while on her way home, she passed a man with a coffin looking for his son who died at Shiloh. He was surprised and grateful when Mrs. Newsom informed him his son was alive and cheerful, though blind, at the Tishomingo Hotel.

When another famed Civil War nurse, Kate Cumming, arrived at the Tishomingo Hotel Mrs. Newsom left her to care for the wounded there, and she herself moved to care for the wounded soldiers at the Corinth House Hotel. There was no place for her to sleep there, so she took up a room at Rose Cottage, the residence of Mr. William and Mrs. Augusta Inge. She stayed there and continued her work at Corinth House until the Confederates abandoned the town in late May.

From Corinth she followed the Army of Tennessee, taking care of sick and wounded men, establishing hospitals, and performing acts so selfless she was dubbed the “Florence Nightingale of the Southern Army.” She continued her travels throughout the south until 1865 when the war ended.

At the end of the war Mrs. Newsom was penniless; she spent practically everything she inherited from her husband on supplies and supporting the medical effort during the war. In 1867 she married a Confederate veteran Colonel named W.H. Trader, but after his death in 1885 the conditions of her life were grim. She moved to Asheville, North Carolina then to Washington, D.C. where she worked for the government until 1916 despite being partially deaf and blind in one eye. She died in 1919 of acute bronchitis with little to no national recognition of her service during the war.

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Comments

This is an amazing site. Everyone should read this post.
It is so sad that are love ones still dont have closure
I work for the Digital Strategy Office at the Library of Congress and currently our LC Labs team currently has a campaign underway to transcribe Clara Barton's diaries. You can help us! We have over 2,000 pages that still need to be transcribed and reviewed.
Wasn't there a picture on your site of the pile of socks found in the floorboards? I remember seeing one, but can't find it to share now. I wanted to share it with the folks over at Living History Knits and Crochet.
Thanks for the informative tour for our Laurel seniors group 27 July 18. Never knew what a remarkable woman Clara Barton was. And what a remarkable space this museum is.
My niece sent me this photo last night. She decided to paint Clara Barton. She read her book recently and we have been both researching Ms. Barton in Fairfax Station. Next summer we will be coming to the missing soldiers office!
My 82nd Ohio ancestor's experience at Gettysburg, Belle Island, and Andersonville, Online chapters of my novel Hiram's Honor at: http://tinyurl.com/7pg7tfr Gettysburg http://tinyurl.com/6n495ql Andersonville Prison http://tinyurl.com/6urlc8m Belle Island Prison
Please join us for the event of the year! Susie King Taylor's hometown of Midway, Georgia is paying homage to this extraordinary Heroine of Freedom, Early Educator, and American Legend who was enlisted in the 33rd USCT as a laundress but served the Union Army in multiple capacities including nurse, teacher, cook, and musket cleaner! On her 169th birthday, August 6th, we will host the "Happy Birthday, Susie!" Memorial Celebration! There will be a libation ceremony, an unveiling of a new line of imaginative children's books called "Oh Susannah! " based on the childhood experiences of this amazing woman. And oh, there will be birthday cake and ice cream! Event Details: Sunday August 6th, 2017 1:30 PM -3:30 PM Midway First Presbyterian Church 672 N. Coastal Hwy Midway, Georgia 31320
My 82nd Ohio ancestor's experience at Gettysburg, Belle Island, and Andersonville, Online chapters of my novel Hiram's Honor at: http://tinyurl.com/7pg7tfr Gettysburg http://tinyurl.com/6n495ql Andersonville Prison http://tinyurl.com/6urlc8m Belle Island Prison