At the North end of the prison site, there is a pink granite monument dedicated to Clara Barton. Although Clara Barton is widely known as the founder of the American Red Cross, most people do not know of her valuable work at Andersonville. Miss Barton began her career as a school teacher, and then was a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office.
When the Civil War began, she started soliciting and stockpiling supplies to be given to Union troops. This work developed when she realized that many of the Massachusetts soldiers she had once taught were ill-equipped for camp life and battle. She spent a year collecting supplies, but as reports from the battlefields reached her, she decided to take her supplies directly to the front lines. Late in the summer of 1862, she went to the battle field of Cedar Mountain, Virginia. There, under continued shelling, she fed and nursed the wounded men and issued her much needed supplies. An army surgeon, Dr. James I. Dunn, was so grateful for her assistance that he later wrote of Miss Barton as " an angel" Thereafter, Miss Barton continued to arrive at battlefields with her wagonload of supplies to care for the wounded and dying men. Miss Barton received many request from dying soldiers to contact their families and let them know what had happened to them. She accumulated an increasing list of men who had died on the battlefield. Toward the close of the war, she got permission from President Lincoln to start the Office of Correspondence with friends of the Missing of the Union Army. The office pulled together list of missing soldiers to be published in the newspapers, along with the names of known dead from various battles. It was hoped that the bureau would be a clearing house for locating soldiers, for gathering information as to what happened to an individual, or for inquiring about someone's whereabouts. People could write Clara Barton and she would try to locate the missing soldiers.
Upon learning of Miss Barton's efforts, Dorence Atwater, a former Andersonville prisoner of War, contacted her. He told her about the list of names he had smuggled out of the prison. It listed by name those Union prisoners who had died while imprisoned at Andersonville. Miss Barton , convinced of the importance of this list, went to the War Department and secured permission to return to Andersonville to permanently mark the graves there. Both Miss Barton and Atwater accompanied a work crew under the supervision of Captain James Moore to Andersonville in July of 1865. After weeks of intensive labor, each grave was marked with wooded tablets bearing the soldiers name, regiment, and state. Upon completion, only 460 graves had been marked " UNKNOWN UNION SOLDIER " On August 17, 1865, Miss Barton raised the flag over the newly established Andersonville National Cemetery. Through her work regarding the missing soldiers, she enabled many families to learn the fate of their loved ones.
After their joint project at Andersonville, Clara Barton and Dorence Atwater became lifelong friends. For several years they both lectured on the cemetery and prison at Andersonville, often speaking together at the same engagement. Miss Barton never married, and spent her entire life in service to her fellow-man. Her efforts touched the lives of thousands of men and women throughout the country because of her service and devotion to others.
Other Services I Provide
THE STORY OF DORENCE ATWATER
MEMORIAL DAY 1999
VOLUNTEERS FOR OTHER CIVIL WAR PRISONS
PRISONER LOOKUP LINKS
MAP OF THE PRISON SITE
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
Home pages of descendants of Andersonville Prisoners
Links to other Civil War Prisons