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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downtown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield at Home

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

—Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield at Home Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
1. Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield at Home Marker
Inscription.
“I have paid the rent of a room in Washington ... retaining it merely as a shelter to which I might return when my strength should fail me under exposure and labor at the field.” Clara Barton, December 1863.

In November 1997, Richard Lyons peered into the dark clutter in the attic of 437 Seventh Street, inspecting the building in preparation for its planned demolition. His eyes settled on a sign, “Missing Soldiers Office, Clara Barton, 3rd Story, Room 9.” He had stumbled upon, and saved, the home and office of the Civil War nurse and Red Cross founder, known as the Angel of the Battlefield. It was a time capsule. Room 9 was still stenciled on the door; 19th-century wallpaper hung from the walls in shreds.

It was from the spot where you now stand that Barton began her work on the Civil War battlefield in 1862, leaving for the front lines at Antietam atop a supply wagon loaded with donated food and medical supplies. She worked as a copyist in the Patent Office at Ninth and F Streets from 1861 to 1865. As a woman, she could not serve in the Union Army, so she devoted herself to feeding , nursing and comforting thousands of Union wounded in the nation’s most costly war, a conflict that took more than 600,000 American lives.

After the war, at her own initiative and expense,
Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield - photo on reverse image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
2. Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield - photo on reverse
"Proud proprietors pose in front of the May Building at 480 Seventh Street in the late 19th century. Clara Barton’s block had been swept up in the city’s post-Civil War prosperity. (The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.)"
Barton made her Seventh Street home a headquarters for the search for missing soldiers. She was eventually paid a flat fee of $15,000 by the government for her efforts. Thus she was the first woman to run a federal office. She received more than 63,000 letters of inquiry and wrote 41,855 replies, in the end identifying about 22,000 of 62,000 missing soldiers.

Plans are being made to open this building and Clara Barton’s rooms to the public.

[Illustration captions]
Above: Clara Barton as she looked during the Civil War [and image of sign discovered by Richard Lyons in 1997]. (Library of Congress).

“Through the weary years of the war Clara Barton stayed at her post.” ([Drawing by] W.M. Allison. Library of Congress.)

Below: Seventh and O Streets in 1863 when Clara Barton’s office was just a few steps up the street off the left side of the picture. (Library of Congress.)

 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number .3.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil War to Civil Rights marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.752′ N, 77° 1.309′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 7th Street, NW, south of E Street, NW,
Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield at Home Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
3. Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield at Home Marker
view northward up 7th Street, Smithsonian American Portrait Gallery (Old Patent Office Bldg.) upper left.
on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 437 7th Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20001, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Missing Soldiers (here, next to this marker); "Blodget's Hotel" (within shouting distance of this marker); Samuel F. B. Morse (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Roots of Freedom and Equality (about 500 feet away); Mary Church Terrell (about 500 feet away); General Post Office (about 500 feet away); Abraham Lincoln Walked Here (about 600 feet away); Patent Office Building (about 600 feet away).
 
Categories. Charity & Public WorkHeroesWar, US Civil
 
Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield at Home Marker, 437 7th Street, NW. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, February 9, 2010
4. Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield at Home Marker, 437 7th Street, NW.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 17, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,773 times since then and 67 times this year. Last updated on September 25, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 17, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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