Women played an important role during the American Civil War but it wasn't until 100 years afterwards that they received recognition. Even today history books skip over the important roles women had during the Civil War. Wives, mothers, daughters, and grandmothers impacted the War both at home and on the battlefield. Their lives changed in many ways with the onset of the Civil War. Women took on many different roles that helped their side during the Civil War.
Born on December 25, 1821, in Oxford, Massachusetts, Clarissa Harlow Barton was educated at home and began teaching at the age of 15 ( Pryor). Her most notable antebellum achievement was the establishment of a free public school in Bordentown, N.J. Though she is remembered as the founder of the American Red Cross, her only prewar medical experience came when for 2 years she nursed an invalid brother. In 1861 Barton was living in Washington, D.C., working at the U.S. Patent Office. When the 6th Massachusetts Regiment arrived in the city after the Baltimore Riots, she organized a relief program for the soldiers, beginning a lifetime of philanthropy. When Barton learned that many of the wounded from First Bull Run had suffered, not from want of attention but from need of medical supplies, she advertised for donations in the Worcester, Mass., Spy and began an independent organization to distribute goods. The relief operation was successful, and the following year U.S. Surgeon granted her a general pass to travel with army ambulances . For 3 years she followed army operations throughout the Virginia theater and in the Charleston, S.C., area. Her work in Fredericksburg, Va., hospitals, caring for the casualties from the Battle of the Wilderness, and nursing work at Bermuda Hundred attracted national notice. At this time she formed her only formal Civil War connection with any organization when she served as superintendent of nurses. She also expanded her concept of soldier...
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