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‘Mary Baker Eddy Mentioned Them’: Clara Barton

From the November 2014 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, Miss Clara Barton was busy working in Washington, DC, as a recording clerk for the US Patent Office. Since childhood (she was born in 1821), she had always desired to be of service to her fellow-man. Florence Nightingale’s profound example during the Crimean War in the 1850s inspired her. So, when Federal troops began pouring into Washington—some wounded, most hungry—she began at once to help.

In Washington, Clara Barton labored to provide supplies such as clothing and food to soldiers in need. She also lovingly offered to read to them and write letters for them. It wasn’t long, however, until the spirited humanitarian sought permission to work on the battlefields themselves, since she felt that her help was most needed there. 

On the battlefields she courageously transported and provided supplies to soldiers, but she also nursed and ministered to the wounded with great compassion. She wrote, “I always tried … to succor the wounded until medical aid and supplies could come up—I could run the risk; it made no difference to anyone if I were shot or taken prisoner.”

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