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

The Battle of Chancellorsville raged in early May 1863. In this discussion, John Lustrea speaks with historian Nathan Ma...
05/01/2021
Medical Care after the Battle of Chancellorsville with Nathan Marzoli

The Battle of Chancellorsville raged in early May 1863.

In this discussion, John Lustrea speaks with historian Nathan Marzoli about medical care during the battle.

Education Coordinator John Lustrea interviewed Historian Nathan Marzoli about the blog post he wrote for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine about medi...

For nearly two decades historians have been in search of the Maryland home in which famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman sp...
04/28/2021
Decades-Long Mystery Surrounding Harriet Tubman’s Maryland Home Solved, Archaeologists Say

For nearly two decades historians have been in search of the Maryland home in which famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman spent her formative years before she escaped enslavement.

Last week, largely through the work of Julie M. Schablitsky, the chief archaeologist at the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, state and federal officials announced that they believe they have located what remains of the former home of Tubman.

“We couldn’t understand why we weren’t finding anything. It was like, ‘Where is this place?’”

04/28/2021

"Get Vaccinated"

In the spring of 1861, thousands of volunteers descended on Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Railroads brought soldiers from across Pennsylvania and neighboring states to assemble at Camp Curtin, a military staging ground to assemble new units for the US Army and begin training them for war.

With soldiers arriving on every train, concerns quickly grew about the health of the recruits and of the surrounding community in Pennsylvania's state capital. Fears of an epidemic grew as more soldiers arrived - smallpox was the most dreaded.

A local newspaper, the "Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph," published a plea to the new recruits coming into the city and to those who may have been thinking of joining the Union Army:

"Get Vaccinated -

We again urge on our volunteer soldiers the necessity of being vaccinated before entering into service. If this is attended to in every case a world of sickness and many valuable lives may be spared for our cause.

When ordered off, there is no knowing with what the troops may come in contact, and all precautionary measure to avoid disease should be adopted.

By all means, then, let the soldiers be vaccinated."

Smallpox vaccination was extremely common during the Civil War and highly effective.

Want to read more about vaccination during the Civil War? Check out this article by our Director of Research Terry Reimer: https://www.civilwarmed.org/surgeons-call/small_pox/

Source: Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph, Harrisburg, PA - June 7, 1861

(Illustration: Camp Curtin at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in May 1861 - Harper's Weekly, via Hathitrust)

Civil War prison camps are among the most hellish places you can find in American history. We spoke with Dr. Evan Kutzle...
04/26/2021
Exploring the Sensory Experience of Civil War Prisons with Dr. Evan Kützler

Civil War prison camps are among the most hellish places you can find in American history.

We spoke with Dr. Evan Kutzler about the overwhelming sensory experiences for the unfortunate prisoners-of-war who faced life or death struggles in places like Andersonville and Florence, Camp Douglas and Elmira.

Education Coordinator John Lustrea talks with Dr. Evan Kützler about his most recent book Living By Inches: The Smells, Sounds, Tastes, and Feeling of Captiv...

We are thrilled to announce that we are offering FREE admission to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and Clara B...
04/25/2021
FREE Museum Admission for Nurses in May - National Nurses Month

We are thrilled to announce that we are offering FREE admission to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum to all nurses and nursing students in May in recognition of National Nurses Month!

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine will offer free admission to all nurses and nursing students in May for National Nurses Month.

04/23/2021

Like many Civil War soldiers, John Forker Hosack lied about his age. Hosack claimed to be 19 but was only 16 years old when he enlisted in July 1864 as a Private in Tanner’s Company, Pennsylvania Independent Infantry. Even so, it wasn’t his first time in camp, as for the past few years he had spent time in the camps of the 51st Pennsylvania visiting his father, John Paxton Hosack, who served as regimental surgeon.

While other local companies recruited during the summer of 1864 would fill the ranks of the 193rd, 204th, and 212th Pennsylvania regiments, George Tanner’s company of Mercer and Clarion Counties was considered too undersized to take the field, not having enticed enough recruits. Instead, Tanner’s Company was assigned to Camp Reynolds at Braddock.

Desertions had become a problem at Camp Reynolds, with some 500 recruits stealing away from the camp in the summer and fall of 1864. Tanner’s Company would spend their service guarding the new recruits at Camp Reynolds and patrolling the streets of Braddock. The company would also serve as guards on the trains that carried new recruits to the front, ensuring that no men tried to escape. Hosack and his comrades were mustered out December 10, 1864 after completing an uneventful 100-day term of service.

Following the war Hosack moved to Bridgeville and superintended the Youghiogheny River Coal Company before forming his own Bridgeville Coal Company. Later selling his interest to the Pittsburgh Coal Company, he invested in several mines in West Virginia and opened a store in Bridgeville. He also served as president of the Bridgeville Trust Company and the Bridgeville Lumber Company. He joined the Espy Post in December 1905 and died on November 30, 1907. He is buried at Melrose Cemetery in Bridgeville.

Timeline Photos
04/16/2021

Timeline Photos

Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood was one of the first African Americans to be awarded the Medal of Honor. In September 1864, as the Union army struggled to advance on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, Fleetwood and 1,100 soldiers of the Fourth United States Colored Troops received orders to attack southern forces entrenched at New Market Heights.

Under withering enemy fire that decimated his brigade and cut down its color guard, he risked his life to keep the U.S. flag from falling into Confederate hands. In recognition of this conspicuous act of bravery, Fleetwood received nation’s highest military award.

Image Credit: Merritt & VanWagner, c.1890. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Clara Barton's diary, Saturday, April 15, 1865:"President Lincoln died at 7 o’clock this morningThe whole city in gloomN...
04/15/2021

Clara Barton's diary, Saturday, April 15, 1865:

"President Lincoln died at 7 o’clock this morning
The whole city in gloom
No one knows what to do…
Vice President Johnson inaugurated President"

Clara Barton's diary, Saturday, April 15, 1865:

"President Lincoln died at 7 o’clock this morning
The whole city in gloom
No one knows what to do…
Vice President Johnson inaugurated President"

As Clara Barton neared her home on the evening of April 14, 1865, an astonishing and unbelievable rumor raced up the str...
04/14/2021
"No One Knows What to Do" - Clara Barton and the Lincoln Assassination

As Clara Barton neared her home on the evening of April 14, 1865, an astonishing and unbelievable rumor raced up the street: President Abraham Lincoln had been shot at Ford’s Theatre, just blocks away from Barton’s rented room.

The world would never be the same.

Discover how Clara Barton understood the tragedy of the Lincoln Assassination and how it relates to terrible events in our own time.

Photos from Shiloh National Military Park's post
04/05/2021

Photos from Shiloh National Military Park's post

04/01/2021

On this Opening Day of Major League Baseball, we would like to recognize the work of one of the sport’s most important pioneers, Octavius Valentine Catto.

Born free in Charleston, South Carolina, Catto and his family moved to Philadelphia where, in 1854, he attended school at the Institute for Colored Youth. It was here that Catto not only received an education, but also began his journey as an activist for Black rights and developed a taste for the game of baseball.

Toward the end of the Civil War, Catto helped found the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, whose purpose was advocacy for African American suffrage and, among other missions, the desegregation of Philadelphia’s street car system. It was around this time that Catto and Jacob C. White, Jr., a fellow graduate of the Institute for Colored Youth, established Philadelphia’s Pythian Baseball Club. This effort served as a vehicle for Catto and his teammates to assert Black equality and insert themselves into the fabric of mainstream society, while also attempting to break down racial barriers through the game of baseball. It was with this team that Catto and his fellow Pythians played the white Olympic Baseball Club in September 1869 - a game which made history as the first documented integrated game, which the Philadelphia Morning Post said was “the first game of its kind, and it is hoped it will not be the last.”

On October 10, 1871, a local election day, Octavius Catto was shot and killed near his home as riots erupted in the streets of Philadelphia. While he witnessed many African Americans exercising their hard fought right to vote, which was enshrined in the recently adopted 15th Amendment, he also tragically saw the violent opposition with which it was met. W.E.B. Du Bois later observed, “...and so closed the career of a man of splendid equipment, rare force of character, whose life was so interwoven with all that was good about us... a pattern for those who have followed after.”

Image: Octavius V. Catto as seen in Harper’s Weekly - October 28, 1871

(Library of Congress)

"Health Care on the Front Lines" is a 2019 film made in partnership between the National Museum of Civil War Medicine an...
03/30/2021
Health Care on the Front Lines

"Health Care on the Front Lines" is a 2019 film made in partnership between the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and Mission of Mercy.

It documents the incredible work of Mission of Mercy (pre-pandemic) and provides historical context about the volunteer work of Clara Barton during the Civil War.

Health Care on the Front Lines was made in partnership with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and the Delaplaine Foundation. It extensively compares...

03/30/2021

First Sergeant James Wiley fought at the Battle of Gettsyburg in July of 1863. On the 2nd day of the battle, he captured the flag of the 48th Georgia Infantry Regiment. During the Civil War, capturing an enemy’s regiment flag was a major accomplishment and honor. Nearly a year later, in June of 1864, 1st Sgt. Wiley was captured by Confederate forces at Jerusalem Plank Road near Petersburg, Virginia. He arrived at Andersonville the next week.

Wiley’s health declined during his imprisonment at Andersonville due to poor nutrition and lack of sanitation. He was not among the healthier prisoners that were transferred in the Fall of 1864. In December of 1864, while 1st Sgt. Wiley was still imprisoned at Andersonville, Congress awarded him the Medal of Honor for the heroism he displayed during the Battle of Gettysburg. However, he never learned of this honor before his death on February 7, 1865 at Andersonville. He is buried in grave number 12,607. To date, he is one of two, Medal of Honor recipients buried at Andersonville National Cemetery.

In 1990, Congress passed a resolution establishing National Medal of Honor Day on March 25th. The Medal of Honor is the highest U.S. military decoration, awarded by Congress to a member of the armed forces for bravery in combat at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On today, we remember heroes like 1st Sgt. James Wiley for his undaunted courage.

Image Credit: NPS Photo

ALT TEXT: A color image of a gravestone.

-M.S.

03/28/2021

Florena Budwin, who disguised herself as a man to enlist as a United States soldier, is buried at Florence National Cemetery.

Following their battlefield captures, both Budwin (likely an alias) and her husband were initially held at the infamous Andersonville prison in Georgia, before being transferred to the Florence Stockade in South Carolina. Today, Florence National Cemetery contains the graves of service-members from the Civil War to modern-day. Approximately 2,300 of those remains are U.S. soldiers who were held as prisoners of war during the rebellion from 1861 to 1865.

Budwin's grave is set aside on its own to honor her sacrifice as the first woman interred in this cemetery. I captured this photograph when I visited the cemetery five years ago, in May 2016. #WomensHistoryMonth.

Our staff's recent visit to Gettysburg highlighted the complex and ghastly operations of a battlefield field hospital du...
03/28/2021
Touring the George Spangler Farm at Gettysburg with Dr. Carol Reardon

Our staff's recent visit to Gettysburg highlighted the complex and ghastly operations of a battlefield field hospital during the Civil War.

Dr. Carol Reardon shares remarkable personal stories from the XI Corps field hospital at Gettysburg's George Spangler Farm. The site is operated by the Getty...

Photos from Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center's post
03/24/2021

Photos from Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center's post

Dying Far From Home - Pvt. Joseph S. Money, Co. C, 6th USCI
03/20/2021
Dying Far From Home - Pvt. Joseph S. Money, Co. C, 6th USCI

Dying Far From Home - Pvt. Joseph S. Money, Co. C, 6th USCI

Conscripting (drafting) men for United States military service and the expanded enlistment of African Americans following the Emancipation Proclamation coincided in the spring of 1863. Black men of military age were just as subject to conscription as white men. At the time, drafted men could either....

"Amidst the hunger, illness, maltreatment, high mortality, courage, and resolve of men, women, and children who had esca...
03/19/2021
Smallpox in the Sea Islands: Clara Barton in South Carolina

"Amidst the hunger, illness, maltreatment, high mortality, courage, and resolve of men, women, and children who had escaped slavery, Barton realized that polite, detached disdain for the peculiar institution was wholly insufficient to the needs of the times and the needs of people who had endured slavery.

She was moved to act."

Clara Barton assisted in efforts to fight the deadly disease in the Union-occupied islands off the coast of South Carolina.

Photos from Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center's post
03/19/2021

Photos from Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center's post

03/17/2021
Civil War Nursing at the Seminary Ridge Museum

We are speaking with Pete Miele of the Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center and exploring the lesser-known deeds of patients, nurses, and chaplains during the summer of 1863.

03/17/2021

Sarah Watt was a grandmother, farm-owner, widow, and longtime resident of Hanover County, Virginia at the time of the American Civil War. Her plantation, known as the Springfield plantation, was several hundred acres and dated back to the early 1800s. Springfield was maintained by 28 enslaved persons and comprised of fields bearing corn, wheat, and sweet potatoes and pastures filled with livestock, including horses and cows.

When the Unites States soldiers first arrived on Mrs. Watt’s property and ordered her to vacate the premise in the early afternoon of June 27, 1862, she refused. After some convincing, Mrs. Watt was carried out of her house and onto a horse drawn wagon. They joined a procession of at least 40 other displaced locals fleeing from the grounds. Unknowing to her at the time, the near 78-year-old grandmother would never see her house again.

The battle of Gaines Mill began shortly after noon on June 27, 1862. Not only was this Lee’s first victory as Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, it was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War thus far, resulting in fifteen thousand Union and Confederate causalities on those fields. The Watt home was used as a hospital during the battle. Some months later, Mrs. Watt’s granddaughter returned to the plantation.

“...As we emerged from the wood into the open, what a scene of desolation...a sickening odor pervaded the air. The Confederates had given slight burial to either friend or foe. Many open graves from which their own dead had been removed, were not more than 2 feet deep...Everywhere were dead horses, dried away in their skins like mummies. What profound stillness and mournful silence brooded over the scene. In the tall weeds, the bushes, and trees there were not a twitter nor the flutter of a wing...Last of all, we visited the house. Rank weeds had sprung up even to the doors except where the yellow clay glared in the sunlight...The walls and roof were torn by shot and shell. The weather-boarding honeycombed by mini balls and every pane of glass shattered. And the floors, grandmother’s immaculate floors. From garret to cellar, there was scarcely a space of flooring as large as a man’s hand that did not bare the dark purple stain of blood. What a harrowing spectacle this. Of a once neat and comfortable home and now a tenantless foul and battered wreck. The house holds furnishings accumulated and carefully preserved through many years. The comforts of the living and the cherished mementos of the dead, all scattered and destroyed.”

Sarah Watt was one of the many civilians whose lives were disrupted by war. She died in April of 1863. Her home, now known as the Watt House, is preserved at Gaines Mill battlefield.

#WomensHistoryMonth #GainesMill #RVABattlefields #RICH

Photo: A cannon on Gaines Mill battlefield with the Watt house in the background. A portrait of Sarah Watt is pasted on the left hand side.

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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