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Clara Barton: Angel Of The Battlefield

1237 words - 5 pages

Angel of the Battlefield: The Life of Clara Barton written by Ishbel Ross gives a very in depth look into the world of the woman who perhaps revolutionized medical care in America's times of need. Mr.Ross states that to Clara Barton's own avowal she would rather "stand behind the lines of artillery at Antietam, or cross the pontoon bridge under fire at Fredricksburg" than preside at a public function, make a speech, or cope with a committee, all of which she did with outward calm despite her feelings.The feelings that Clara had stemmed from the fact that she was a shy and timid child. As she grew up, she was taught about the soldiers and the aspects of war by her father who was a captain in the army. This caused Clara to call him her "soldier father." Stephen Barton instilled in his daughter the values of being a hard worker and helping others. When she was younger, her daddy shared war stories with her and taught her military etiquette, this while other little girls were learning fairy tales and nursery rhymes. In her family, she was the youngest of five children and she received a great education due to this fact. All of her older siblings taught her what they had learned in school and Clara was a well-rounded individual for this reason.Clara dealt firsthand with nursing skills when her brother David was badly injured while he was helping to build a barn . She waited on him consistently for nearly two years, giving him medications and applying the leeches prescribed by the doctors. She also read to him, but the gloom was too much. Clara felt that she was nursing a "sleepless, nervous, cold dyspeptic". Finally, she was released from this duty.Despite her knack of caring for the ill, Clara's first occupation was as a schoolteacher. This job came due to the fact that it was a family tradition. Later, she directed disaster relief for the Red Cross and distributed medical supplies with the help of Samuel Ramsey, the surgeon general at the time. During the war, she worked to spread the idea of the Red Cross. At this time, the Red Cross was not well known in America and Miss Barton felt that it would be very beneficial for those who needed the help and care, to receive it from individuals who were qualified and skilled to administer it.When she told Major D.H. Rucker, Assistant Quartermaster General in charge of transportation, about her efforts he immediately ceased what he was doing and wrote out her permit to go to the front. Clara worked very hard to obtain all of the necessary passes from the various government departments, from the surgeon general and from the Military Governor of the District of Columbia, as well as from Major Rucker. Finally, the last of the red tape had been cut and she was on her way to the front.Within just a few months after Fort Sumter fell and the Civil War began, Clara Barton was known as the "Angel of the Battlefield", and this is how she was introduced to the American public. The fact that she...

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