tv The Civil War Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office CSPAN July 5, 2019 4:20pm-5:21pm EDT
historian gary gallagher. you're watching american history tv, only on c-span3. jake wynn is director of interpretation at the clara barton missing soldiers office museum in washington, d.c. next, he talks about the life of clara barton whose work as a field nurse during the civil war earned her the nickname, angel of the battlefield. mr. wynn also discusses barton's inspiration for creating the missing soldiers office as a way to help families locate their loved ones who'd gone missing in service during the war. this one-hour talk was part of a d day-long seminar co-hosted by longwood university in farmville, virginia, and appomattox courthouse national historical park. >> our second presentation this morning is by jake wynn, and wynn -- jake is director of interpretation at the clara barton missing soldiers office museum. it's a place i've wanted to go to since i read about it. also the national museum of civil war medicine.
2015 graduate of hood college in frederick, maryland. focusing on public history. worked in a number of other civil war-related jobs and also at fredericksburg and spotsylvania national military park and also writes on the history of pennsylvania's coal region in his blog, "winning histo history." this talk today is entitled "discovering clara barton's missing soldiers office." mr. wynn. >> all right. thank you very much. hello, everybody. good morning. i'm so excited to be here this morning and talking about something that i am very passionate about. the story of clara barton and her role during the american civil war. as was said, i am the director of interpretation at the clara barton missing soldiers office museum and the national museum of civil war medicine. i'll explain a little bit about how that connection works here
in just a bit. i want to talk a little bit just kind of introduce what i'm going to be discussing today. i would say, can we see a show of hands how many of you have heard of the clara barton missing soldiers office museum before? excellent. excellent. how many of you have been there? good. good. excellent. i'm glad to see some hands out there in thecoming, and for those of you who have heard of the museum before, i hope you'll come and visit. i hope the rest of you who this might be your first time learning about this fascinating element of our civil war history, i hope you'll be excited about coming to visit the museum in the near future after this presentation. what i'm going to accomplish today with our presentation about discovering the clara barton missing soldiers office is kind of two tracks. we're going to tell two different stories today that are tied together. in fact, they couldn't really exist without -- without each other. so we have the story of clara barton. the angel of the battlefield.
who is doing incredible work -- a relief worker, volunteering as a nurse on the battlefield. in the aftermath of the confl t conflict, she's going to spearhead the effort to look for missing union soldiers. we're going to switch over to talk about the hit ristory of t building. a boarding house structure in downtown washington, d.c. i have a picture of the exterior right here. the building in which she lived and worked during the civil war which is now the site of a missing soldiers office museum. her boardinghouse where she lived is about two blocks from pennsylvania avenue on 7th street, about two blocks from the national after kirchive. if you've been in that part of washington close to the natural portrait gallery, close to capital one arena, shooers rie' in what's called the penn corridor neighborhood in washington.
those are the two elements we're going to accomplish today, going to look at in-depth, the war of clara barton during the civil war and also the history of the building in which she lived. the connection between barton and the space she lived in during the civil war is ultimately going to lead to the space being saved from destruction in the 1990s. i'm very lucky to be able to work in this space in downtown washington. a restored 19th century boardinglouse. if it were not to the connection to clara barton and that being rediscovered in the 1990s, it's likely that structure would no longer exist. it probably would be condos today. what i want to do first is go through a little bit of the life of clara barton. the angel of the battlefield. what i want to do is kind of look at her -- we're going to look at her life from ginting up to her time at the missing soldiers office and in washington, d.c. really the span of the first 45 years of her life.
if you're familiar with clara barton, probably most familiar with her work with the american red cross which comes several decades after the civil war. i'll tie that in a little bit as well. but we're not going to focus on that element of her life. we're going to focus very specifically on her civil war experience. this is a picture of young cla ris sea harlow barton, born in massachusetts in december of 1821. her family was a middle class family. they're farmers. they end up owning mills in this town in central massachusetts. she is the youngest child of the barton family. she's going to grow up as a very shy child. much more comfortable with animals than she was with people. she would oftentimes go riding off through the countryside on some of her family's horses. that's where she was most comfortable. not necessarily around other
people. she's very shy. she does that have -- this is very important, for those who know a little bit about her civil war nursing experience, clara barton has no nursing training before she goes into the civil war. in fact, really in america, the nursing trade as we know it today did not yet exist. so she is not going to have formal nursing trains before she goes onto the battlefield during the conflict to supply soldiers with medical attention as well as the medical supplies that they need. barton, instead, is going to have just exactly one experience as a child growing up where she is going to provide first aid. she has an older, brother, steven, who falls off a roof when barton -- when clara is at 11 years of age. a local doctor comes by after the fall and says that it was likely that steven would die of his injuries. young clara decides this cannot be. she will spend the next few weeks nursing him back to
health. at his bed side eveside every d. again, no training, just a natural ability, a healing touch to help others who are in need. and that skill -- that skill set is going to follow through with her for the rest fof her life. she is also very smart. and she does well in school. and as she's coming of age in the 1830s, she's going to vhave some decisions to make. she doesn't have very many options in terms of what she can do as a single woman. living in the early 19th century in massachusetts or really anywhere in the united states. she does not have marriage prospects. in fact, clara barton will never marry, but she is going to decide that she's going to go into the workforce. she's going to go out there and search for work. now, when she's doing that as a middle-class woman of propriety in the early 19th century, she essentially really has but one
option and because she is very smart, very well educated, she can go into the teaching profession. so this photograph here is taken actually when clara barton is a teacher in massachusetts. massachusetts had a very progressive public education system at the time. an idea that education was for all. in fact, in a democracy, it should be that citizens need to be educated, they need have at least a basic understanding of reading and writing, of mathematics, of civics, of the nation's history. and so that is what clara barton gets herself into in massachusetts as an educator. now, one of elements of barton's life that she will fight against for the rest of her 90-plus years is inequality. when she goes into the workforce as an educator in massachusetts in the 1830s and 1840s, one of the first things she comes up against is pay inequality. one of the best quotes, in fact, at our store up in washington,
we actually have a mug with this quote on it. it is that "i may sometimes work for free, but i will never do a man's work for less than a man's pay." she says that in the 1830s. she's experiencing unequinequal between the sexes that she will deal with for the rest of her life. in education, she will never be able to escape it. she is going to become a very well-respected educator in massachusetts. she will then go and get some graduate studies at a teaching college in new york where she continues to grow a social network that is going to be very helpful for her later on in her life when she transitions to a career as a humanitarian. after getting those graduate studies in new york, she moves to a small town in new jersey, in the early 1850s, called bordentown. now, comparing massachusetts' education to new jersey education is apples and oranges in the early 19th century.
massachusetts, very progressive public education system. new jersey did not have that. in fact, the small school that barton starts in early 1850s in bordentown is one of the first free schools, free public education schools in the state in the state of new jersey. she goes in there, starts off with a group of students, probably less than by the end of her first year, she's able to convince enough people in this town and surrounding areas that public education, free public education, is a great idea. by the end of the first year, they have more than 600 students ebb ro enrolled in their school system. barton is then going to -- she falls very ill and gets laryngitis so she can't speak. she can't teach. she takes a vacation. comes back. they have built a new school, but they have also -- the school board of this bordentown school district decides that in order
for their school to be a success, they theneed to have a male principal. barton loses her position in the school district that she helped create out of wholecloth. she's then going to become very angry. enla enra enraged. about this and decide to leave public education forever. so now we're in the early 1850s. barton is looking around for what she can do next. an opportunity is going to come to her, of all places, washington, d.c. now, keep in mind in the early to mid 19th century a single woman traveling alone is a very radical thing. barton is going to be on the cutting edge of changing this. of allowing women to travel around the country essentially at will where they need to go without an escort, without a brother, without a husband, without a father. barton is going to travel to
washington in the early 1850s because she's pursuing a new opportunity. she has heard that an office in washington of the federal government is hiring. she's going to end up working for the united states patent office. the patent office is located in this building. for those of you who have been to the missing soldiers officer, been to the neighborhood of penn quarter where the missing soldiers office is located, you've probably seen this building, may have gone inside. it's now the united states portrait gallery. american gallery of art. win is abo barton goes to work there in the early 1850s and becomes a clerk at the patent office. what is really radical about this is barton is going to ma making the same amount of money as her male counterparts, in fact, working in the same office. men and women working together side by side is mind blowing for people in the 1850s. she's going to have that job, make the same amount of money, about $1,200 a year.
she's going to make the same amount of money as her male kou counterparts, the other clerks in the office. barton is then going to continue on with that job for several years living in different boardinghouses in washington, d.c., before she -- politics is going to get involved. in 1856, james buchanan is elected president. unfortunately, i just saw recently a book that says "james buchanan, worst president ever." he is the only president from pennsylvania, my home state, so i apologize to all of you. so with the election of james buchanan, he comes into office in 1857 and all women -- there were a handful of them working in the patent office at the time, in addition to barton -- all of the women are expelled from the patent office. they're forced out. barton loses her job. loses that salary that she'd been making and loses her position. she's given an option, she can do piecework, paid as a copyist.
she could not work in the office. she'd have to work from home. she would not get a salary but instead get paid per page copied. she could never -- you could sit up copying patent documents 24 hours a day, 365, and could never make the amount of money she was making before. living in d.c. is not an option for barton. she'll leave washington, go and live with family in massachusetts but also travel around the nation as well. but it is going to be the election of abraham lincoln in 1860 and his inauguration in 1861 that it's going to bring clara barton back to washington, d.c. and when she comes back to washington, d.c., in the spring of 1861, she is going to be thrown into the middle of the conflict that is taking over the country at that point. especially in washington, d.c. this is probably the best hst kno known image of barton taken in 1865. this is what she looked like
during the civil war years. one of the biggest misnomers to me about clara barton, the thing that i learned when i really invested all my taime in workin on her story, began working for the missing soldiers office museum, barton was 39 when the war broke out, and for me, that was kind of a surprise because we -- the vision that we have of women working especially as nurses during the war is they tend to be very young. pop culture has helped to kind of establish that as well. for any of you that have seen the show, "mercy street," we see a lot of young, very young nursnurs nurses in that show and other areas of popular culture. barton is 39 when the war breaks out. she's moving back into washington, d.c. she's trying to get her job back at the patent office now that abraham lincoln has been elected, republican. barton is thrown out of the office in 1856. they accuse her -- in 1857 -- they accuse her of being a black republican. and so now with a, quote/unquote, black republican
in office in 1861, barton is going to try to get her job back and will succeed in 1861 of getting a job back at the patent office. but it is events outside the city that are going to throw barton into -- into work during the civil war. into the work that will make her famous. one of those events is going to take place just a few miles northeast of washington, d.c., in downtown baltimore. in 1861, april of 1861, after the bombardment of ft. sumpter, abraham lincoln is in desperate situation -- in a desperate situation. he has a city to defend that is right across the river from virginia, which is looking like it may secede from the union. and so he needs troops. he needs soldiers to defend the city. so he calls out those 75,000 men. the 75,000 men are told to go to washington, and so in order to get to washington, they have essentially two option options. they can take steamers and go
down around fortress monroe, up the chesapeake bay and the potomac river or go by land, the direct route, utilizing the railroad network that comes into washington. that's ma mowhat most of the sos going to washington are going to do. the problem with that, there is no direct rail link between baltimore -- between, say, philadelphia, new york, and washington, d.c. everything has to go to baltimore and then they have to change trains. and so soldiers who are assem e assembling and preparing to go to washington, when they get to baltimore, they have to get out of their trains, walk a mile through downtown baltimore, essentially where inner harbor is now, and walk to the next train station. well, baltimore was the most secessionist part of the state of maryland so many of the citizens of baltimore were not particularly pleased to see troops in union blue marching through their city. so on april 19th, 1861, a group of massachusetts soldiers from
the 6th massachusetts militia are going to be attacked on the streets of baltimore as they're making this transit. in total, four massachusetts men are killed or mortally wounded. more than ten civilians are killed in the melee. it ends up becoming a free for all on the streets of baltimore. becomes known as the pratt street riot. this is the first true bloodshed of the civil war where you have soldiers on both sides -- combatants on both sides -- bleeding on the streets of the united states. and so what happens with these massachusetts men, they get onto the train, they do make it to washington. they show up, bloodied, beaten, defeated, but the news of their -- what happened to them in baltimore is going to get there brefore they actually do, via the telegraph. and so as they arrive in washington at the train depot, citizens of washington have come out to greet them including clara barton. she shows up at the rail platform as these men are
getting off the train. they're bloody. many of them have been wounded. and so she jumps into action trying to help them. now, when she does that, as she's trying to help bind up wounds, bringing dressings, other things they can use to help these soldiers, she recognizes them. in fact, some of the men of the 6th massachusetts militia were from her same hometown in massachusetts. and in some cases, she had actually been their teacher. so she recognizes them. she has instant kinship. she follows them on their march to their first encampment in washington. in the united states senate chamber. it's how unprepared the nation was for war in april 1861, there are no barracks for these men. instead, they're going to be putting them into government office buildings. other government-owned buildings in the city. barton goes with them. she's going to talk with these men about their experiences in baltimore. at one point, she actually sits in the vice president's chair. the front of the senate and holds court with them.
what she realizes is that these men have nothing of what they need to fight this war. many of them have not been given weapons yet. they have no other urina uniforms other than what they're wearing. no other clothes. they don't have food. they don't have utensils to eat food if they had it. so what barton realizes is that the u.s. army at this point is not prepared for this conflict. and so barton decides she is going to do something about this. she is going to start to gather supplies if. she's going to do it at her bordenhouse on 7th street in washington, d.c. she turns her room into a storeroom tillifilling it with supplies. so much so by the end of the year, in 1862, she's going to have to rent 3 warehouses in washington in order to fill -- in order to hold all of the supplies that she has been given. she has asked her friends, family, supporters of her, friends that she had made when
she was teaching, please, send supplies to me and i will distribute them to union troops. the problem that she is going to face, though, is in the second year of the war, we are still dealing with issues of what is a wo woman's proper place during this conflict? in 1861, you see the start of women going into the nursing trade. dorothea dix is going to bring about the u.s. army corps of nurses at that time. it's still difficult for women to find access to the front lines, to go and provide assistance near where the battles are actually taking place and barton is on the cutting edge of that. she has three warehouses full of supplies in washington but she has nowhere to take them. she goes repeatedly to the united states army asking for a pass to leave the city and go into virginia. that point, you needed a military pass to take the bridge -- take the bridges or the steamers over to the west bank of the potomac, over to
virginia soil. barton is repeatedly refused as she goes and tries to get those passes. it is not until the summer of 1862 as the war is going so badly, just after the seven days battles, where -- when barton is actually going to be able to get access to the battlefield, when she's finally able to convince the u.s. army quartermaster department that she has these supplies. she's willing to give them to the soldiers who need them most. she has one condition, she takes the supplies to the battlefield. when she does that, she gets onto the battlefield of cedar mountain, of second bull run, of chantilly. she sees the aftermath of battle in those cases, nurses the wounded, provides first aid to soldiers on the battlefield but does not see battle, itself. it is in september of 1862, bloodiest day in american history at antietam when barton is going to go onto the
battlefield for the first time. she takes three wagons full of supplies, loads them up with bandages, with other medical supplies, takes them to the battlefield driving her team of army mules with a number of different drivers, up to five or six drivers actually helping her take this wagon train up to the front. she arrives at a first corps field hospital and she single handedly resupplies that hospital on the battlefield. she was at the hospital closest to the fighting in an area known as the cornfield. probably the bloodiest far of the antietam battlefield. and she is going to single handedly supply that hospital but then also provide first aid assistance as well. barton is going to be so close to the fighting, in fact, that antietam, this is where some of the most famous stories of her battlefield work are going to take place. she's giving a drink of water to a soldier nearby the field
hospital awaiting medical attention. leaning over, bending down, giving him a drink of watewater bullet goes through the sleeve of her dress, hitting the man in the face, killing him instantly in her arms. she lets him down. moves on to the next man. later on down the line, a soldier was shot in the cheek. asks her to perform minor surgery, cut the bullet out of his face with a pocket knife which she does. she's there 72 hours until her supplies are exhausted. she goes home back to washington, d.c., and begins the process of rebuilding the amount of supplies she had. there's a surgeon at antietam, dr. james dunn, who will write a letter home to his wife in the weeks of the battle to tell about clara barton's role during the battle of antietam. in fact, he'd seen her in the aftermath of cedar mountain as well. so he was already familiar with barton before she arrives at antietam. he writes this letter home to
his wife and calls clara barton the true heroine of the age. the angel of the battlefield. so for the first time, people are introduced to clara barton and they're knowing her as the angel of the battlefield. barton will continue to do this for the rest of the war. she'll travel down south to fredericksburg, virginia, in december of 1862. she will go into south carolina in 1863. she was actually on the battlefield at ft. wagner. battery wagner. in july of 1863 when the 54th massachusetts goes in to assault that confederate position. in 1864, she comes back up into the virginia theater, sees the aftermath of thesylvania courth. she's nursing, again, in fredericksburg, virginia. she ends up taking over a hospital in petersburg, virginia, in the summer of 1864. but in 1865, as the war is drawing to a close, barton is going to find her next role.
she is a woman who is -- deals with depression throughout her life. it runs in her family. her mother had issues of depression as well. barton, by 1865, is out of things to do. out of things that she can do to help. she can no longer go to the front. the battles have moved farther south. the war is drawing toward a close. she is in annapolis, maryland, though. she found another role. at a place called camp parole. this is where survivors from prison camps across the south are going to be brought back into union lines. that's why camp parole was designed. this is where paroled union prisoners will be brought in and essentially integrated back into the union army, as well as any medical attention they may need. that sort of thing will go on at camp parole in annapolis. barton is there and she is providing assistant to those soldiers who are being brought in from places like andersonville, and as she's seeing these men coming off the
boats in 1865, she's horrified, understa understandably so. she also begins to hear word of the many men, the many thousands who have not survived andersonville. in fact, more than 13,000. and what she realize, and she has realized this through the war, is there is no -- the army has no way of notifying families of what happened to their loved ones at this point in our nation's history. men out on the battlefield during the war, if something should happen to them, if they are shot, if they are wounded, if they are killed in action, the u.s. army has no mechanism of informing those families of what happened to them. instead, it falls on the officers or enlisted men in the individual units to inform the family of what happened to their loved one. this is an age before dogtags, before formal government identification for these soldiers. and so if a soldier should die on a battlefield, no one knows where he is or what happened to him, he ends up in an unknown grave and his family has no idea what happened to them.
same goes in prisons. these men go into these prison camps, they die in droves and no one is informing the family of what happened to them. they may know from newspapers that parts of their unit may have been captured, but they have no contact with these men whatsoever when they're in these prison camps. and so that is going to lead to a major crisis. when andersonville ultimately emptied out and men come back into union lines. they're telling horror stories, saying the conditions were atrocious and that men died by the thousands. in fact, up to 13,000 men. barton realizes that she has a job to fill. she has a role to fill. she can be the one to inform these families. and so she begins the work of starting what becomes known as the missing soldiers office when she's in annapolis, maryland. in february of 1865. she starts a correspondence with the folks around abraham lincoln trying to get approval for her office to inform these families. in march of 1865, she does
successfully get approval in order to start the work of the missing soldiers office. to begin looking for soldiers and also informing the families of what happened to their loved ones. barton is going to run into a lot of problems as she's doing this. first, she never is able to meet with abraham lincoln face to face. she goes to the whouite house o two occasions. she's unable to meet with the president. he is too busy as the war is wrapping up and the beginning of reconstruction is looming. and so she is never able to sit down face to face, but she has powerful friends in washington. one of them is named henry wilson. henry wilson is a very powerful senator on capitol hill from barton's home state of massachusetts. barton writes to henry wilson, talks with him, and is able to get communications to president lincoln saying what barton wants to do and ultimately, in march of 1865, he does give approval for barton to begin the work of the missing soldiers office. essentially, a press release goes out to the northern press,
is published in newspapers saying that families of missing union soldiers, please write to clara barton in washington, wa information about your loved one. and that is name, state, what unit they fought with, any other iefgt information. and that information then will be gathered by the missing squer's office by claira barton and ultimately then distributed back to the families if there is news provided to them. when barton initially tries this she -- when she starts she is not convinced this is going to be a big effort. in fact her brother actually passes away at this time. she goes to massachusetts to deal with final disposition of his body, of his estate, takes about a week. when she comes back to washington she finds more than 300 letters from families. in a week's time. she realize that is there is a
desperate need for someone to look for the soldiers. so the work of the missing soldiers office begins in earnest. and this office is going to occupy the same space where she had been living in 1861 to 1865, her third floor boarding house room in washington, d.c. this is a lesser known image of barton from around that time, 1865 as well. she is going to be the one who is going to be the driving force behind searching for missing union soldiers. no one else is doing thiswork except for barton. this office is going to turn into unlike what she thought in the beginning, an operation that will last three years. and ultimately absorb most of her efforts and a lot of her health over the next three years in searching for the soldiers. but this is the situation she is dealing with. this is a harper's weekly illustration in the years after the war. where you have families
desperate looking for loved ones. in this case you have a family that is able to find their loved one. able to find a battlefield grave, where the soldier has been buried. for the vast majority of those whose loved one had gone missing during the war they will not have this image. they will not have this solace. they are seeking simply -- they can't find a body, can't find a grave. they are looking for closure. that is what barton is ultimately going to be looking to do, provide closure for these families. this is how she is going to do it. so when the families write to the missing soldier's office when she write to washington, d.c., they are going to be giving information, name, unit, state that they -- that the soldier came from. that information is ultimately published on one of these lists. this is what's known as the roll of missing men. this information is compiled and sent back out to northern cities
to northern towns, printed in newspapers, put up on public bulletin boards, the idea was when this information would be sent out to the country there is a small note attached to the roll of missing men that says for anyone who may recognize a name on this list and know what happened to them, please write to the missing soldier's office miss claira bart and the 488 and a half seventh street in washington, d.c. that information would be compiled and sent to the family to give the families some form of closure. ultimately this is what we believe the office to have looked like at the time. there were no photographs taken or illustrations made of the office. ultimately it takes up the entire front of the third floor of this building. so she expands out from her single boarding house room to take over essentially what were three boarding house rooms on the front of the building facing seventh street in washington. and total -- in total she ends
up hiring more than 10 clerks for in job. now hiring those ten clerks paying for the printing costs, one of the most commonly asked questions is how did she afford this? same with her civil war work? she is not independently wealthy. she doesn't have large store of money back ins massachusetts. middle class family. but she is relying through the war and with the missing soldiers office on what her friends give her. and family is giving her. and what she is getting from people who are wishing her well and wanting her to do this work and to go on with it. she is raising money that way. for the missing soldiers office she does pursue government money, federal money. the lincoln administration looks like they are going to give it to her but ling something a sass natured in april of 1865 shaun she deals with andrew johnson. andrew johnson is luke warm especially because clara bart isn't a woman running the
office. ultimately he does give approval for her to continue thework but punts the request for $15,000 to congress. and congress in 1865 is like congress in 2019. they don't do anything with it. slow. ultimately barton does get the money. the $15,000. but all of this effort she fronts all the of this money from what she gets from friends, family members and from those who want her to do this work. she also travels the country on a speaking tour. she goes across the country and gives a lecture but at what it was like being a woman in the the battlefield. she is able to through speaking fees, donations she is able to cobble enough money together to keep this operation going until 1866 when she gets a federal appropriation to give her the $15,000 to essentially pay her back for what she fronted to get this office going. so it does begin in 1865.
by 1867 most of the work has -- the easy pickings have be taken- the families have been informed. it gets really really hard by the end of 1867 to make any new discoveries to inform families what happened to loved ones. but this is ultimately the total between 1865 appear 1868 barton receives more than 60,000 pieces of corresponds from families. in total he finds 22,000 missing union soldiers. it's ultimately a drop in the bucket in terms of the large number of missing union soldiers who essentially disappeared without a trace. and the 13,000 men at andersonville is actually going to be a big chunk of the number. barton does go on the expedition to andersonville in august of
1865ship she is there when it become as national cemetery. she is the one who first raises the american flag over the national cemetery at andersonville and able to inform the families of what happened to loved one and say for the most part where the men were buried. but this effort completely exhausted her. by 1868 she is in very poor health. barton is. and ultimately she moves out of the boarding house in washington. she moves briefly to capitol hill. before her doctors tell her she needs to take a break, and she goes on an extended vacation to europe. in 1869 she goes and stays with actually a -- the family of one of the clerks in the missing soldiers office in switzerland. it's in switzerland when members of the international committee of the red cross will meet with her. they want to meet the angel of the battlefield of the american civil war. process that's when barton first
learns about the american red cross. she stays in europe gets caught in another war. franco prussian war. there is no rest the rest of her life. she would sucked into many other disasters which she goes on to found the red cross in the 9th century. that's when she leaves the space, the boarding house in washington, d.c. and this is what the building ends up looking like in the 20th century. become as shoe store. and this part of washington -- this neighborhood here is very successful, very thriving in the 19th century and early 20th century. a lot of shopping across the street taken essentially right behind where the photographer was standing to take the picture was the sight of the landsberg department store one of washington's most successful stores. this is a very thriving neighborhood. up until about the second world war. after the second world war white flight from washington.
people leave from for the swushs. this neighborhood suffers falls on hard times. in 1968 just to the north left of the photograph about a mile to the north in the aftermath of the martin luther king junior as sayings vast swaths of washington burn closely in vicinity of what was the missing soldier's office. this building becomes empty at that point. the shoe store is left vacant. and ultimately the federal government comes into possession of the building. but the third floor which you can see poking out from that hideous facade. i will show you the building looked like in the 19th century. which is what it looks like now. they restored it back to the 19th century appearance. but up on the third floor you can see windowing up there. but that third floor in the early 20th century had been left
completely vacant. it has no one lichaj in it essentially from the first or second decade of the 190 ohs right up through the 1990s. it's empty and by the 1990s looks like this. one of the remarkable things about it is that the third floor never had electricity added to it. never had water added to it, running water. no telephone service. and so it is fairly pristine in terms of its -- the way it was designed, its 19th century appearance even though degraded significantly. there is a lot there to be studied. and the connection to barton over the -- almost a century after she had left had been lost. no one knows exactly where barton had lived. the address is changed in washington. and all of the living memory -- barton dies in 1912. one of the other tenants -- did
dsh her landlord i should say lived until 1914. when they pass in which and the address is changed, the connection to barton with in space is gone. and so this is essentially just like any other empty, vacant 19th century building in washington in the 1990s. with the redevelopment of washington at that time as it began, making it into a modern city, a lot of these buildings ended up being torn down. that is ultimately what the fate of this building was slated to be. the government has possession of in building. the gsa was essentially the owner of this building in 1996. they are preparing the building for sale. and so one of the gentleman that's going to be going into the building is this guy here. he is a carpenter. his name is richard lions. richard lions was going into this building the day before
thifgt, 1996, clearing out the building before the holiday, the thanksgiving holiday. he had another partner, the partner ends up not going with him. he has to do shopping before the holiday. richard goes upstairs alone. up those stair, up to the third floor. he hangs a left comes toward us and walks down a long hallway. that's what the building looked like at the time. minus a lot of the lights. so he is going in there with a flashlight walking down the hall. it's a spooky spooky place. richard says the place is crawling in ghosts. he thought the place was just dripping in them. and his story is going to -- as i get to it you'll see why. he walks down this hallway walks past this big room and gets into the room he is standing in. as he walks down this hallway he hears a sudden crash outside. he walks over to a window.
looks down on the street, see as car accident has occurred at the intersection of seventh and e street. all of a sudden as he looks down at the accident scene he feels a tap on his shoulder. he turns around. there is no one there. but what he happens to do is in the course of turning around he happened to look up. when he looked up he sees an envelope sticking out from the ceiling. there is a ladder on the third floor, old ladder brings it over crawls up there. pulse down the ep voep. it's addressed to a man named edward shaw. edward shaw as it turns out was the landlord of the building. he then notices that there is a hole just above his head just larng enough that a man could sneak through. and he does something i would never do. puts his hand into the hole. roots around feels a piece of
metal. pul pulls it out. finds in sign. missing soldiers office third storeroom nine. miss clara barton. lucky for us, richard is a civil war buff. and at the time clara barton was in the news a bit. around that time they had just rededicated a monument to her at antietam national battlefield. she was in the news. richard is like making the connections. he is thinking there has to be some connection to barton with this space. and then he looks across the attic space with his flashlight. crawls up into that hole. sees thousands of art i facts. us thats. and upon further investigation finds that movie of the of the art i facts belonged to the civil era landlord edward shaw. a lot of his clothing, paperwork.
he was a clerk at the patent office as well. we know a lot of things were his because he wrote his name on it including a pair of long underwear. wrote his name? the waistband. but there were items related to bartden including her signs be paperwork were from the missing soldier's office including one of those missing soldiers rolls. what we believe happened is that barton when she left in 1868 she left some things behind and shaw who was kind of a 19th century horder -- he was keeping all his stuff. he kept some of hers in case she came back for it. and so these art facts are left behind. richard is excited. he wants to tell people about this. he lumtly goes to his bosses at the gsa and he is going to say, you know this is what i found. and they're interested in the find. but ultimately there is a lot of money going on here. this sale of in structure at a key location at seventh and e is
going to be worth millions of dollars. and so ultimately initially the procedure to prepare the building for sale goes on. but then what ends up happening is richard gets really invested in this and he starts reaching out to historians, reaching out to people with the national park service, library of congress, national archives. he does hit pay dirt with the national park service. historian named gary scott. and together any look at the art i facts and piece the story back together. tell the story of claira barton in the civil war and she lived in the building where she started the missing soldiers office and where she is going to help find 22,000 missing soldiers. it's a compelling story. and ultimately that story is going to break out in 1997. it's published in the "washington post", featured on cnn. and the building ultimately will be preserved and saved from being sold and ultimately torn down. and that leads to ultimately a
museum being formed. it takes more than -- almost -- almost 20 years. but the clara barton missing soldiers office museum opened in 2015. in the summer of 2015. you can see they took off the ugly facade brought the building back to the 19th century appearance. our museum is operated right out of this store front down here where the visitor center is located. and the museum is located up here on the third floor. this was barton's room right up here. is where she lived when -- when she was in the missing soldier's office during the civil war and immediately after the conflict. the museum is now operated as a unique partnership between three entities. so the building actually is owned by private developer in washington. they own essentially this black here as well as condos were built on the site. you can see them in this image.
the condos are right up here. and because clara barton lived on this block they call them the clara barton apartments. so the building actually is owned by a private developer. the general services administration has a preservation easement on the first and third floor spaces. so we can operate a museum. and my organization, the national museum of civil war medicine has an agreement with the general services administration to operate a museum on the site. so when you come and visit the clara barton missing soldiers office museum. will you be working with and seeing -- working with national museum of civil war medicine personnel, volunteers, and you'll see the exhibits that have been designed by us as well. so this partnership has ensured this this space gets saved and ultimately that the story gets told. in this space -- in this boarding house in washington, d.c. this is where clara barton
makes a huge transition from a school teacher, government employee to a humanitarian, to a person who will save countless lives touring the civil war and then start an organization afterwards that will save millions of people's lives and help millions of people across the world. not only here in the united states. that transition takes place in those boarding house rooms on the third floor. you can walk in the foot steps of barton, go up the same care li staircase she went up when she was going there to look and to live and to search for missing soldiers after the war. and you can see the space where she becomes america's most famous humanitarian. and that work goes on today. and in fact i'll tell you a story -- are are any of you familiar with the restaurant helay sochlt restaurant it's a tappist restaurant operated by jose andreas.
jose andreas started an organize organization called world central kitchen. it helps feed people around the world in the aftermath of disasters. all across the world even here in the united states. jose andreas recently aa are an waird from the james beard foundation as humanitarian of the year. in his speech he cited clara barton. in his speech he cited his restaurant was across the street from where she lived during the civil war. . the legacy of barton is touching us today. helping minneapolis of people across the world. and it's still inspiring others to action. so thank you all for the opportunity today. and i hope you'll comen a visit us in washington. [ applause ] >> fascinating stuff. i love it. any questions? if you would come down to the microphone. if you're not able to come down to the microphone, maybe i can bring it to you for the
question. okay? so does anybody want to step up? no, no questions today. are you sure? i've got a question for jake. jake, what happened to those 60,000 letters? were they discovered. >> that's a great question. so the 60,000 letters most of them did not survive. there are -- there are some that barton ultimately keeps for her own records in order to -- she wants to later write a book. she don't but many other people use the papers she collected to write books about her. ultimately the letters that survive end up at the library of congress. there is a sizable clara barton collection at the library of congress which is accessible online which is fantastic you can search through the letters, the ones that survive. but the majority of them we don't know what happened to them. of the 22,000 missing soldiers one of the most frequently asked
questions at the museum is how many of them were alive? were any of them alive? did some of them just disappear and not tell their families what happened to them. >> we know exactly one soldier who was found alive. his name is joseph hitchens, from new york. we know that he existed and we know he was alive because he wrote a letter to barton saying how dare you publish my name in the newspaper. how dare you. and she actually writes back to him a very isn't that correcty letter. it's wonderfully is the snarky she says no hey how dare you not tell your family two years you're alive. and by the way your mom passed away while you were gone. you should write home to your sister. and we never hear of hitchens after that don't know whether he got back in touch with his family. we don't know much else of the story. but there are two letters one
that hitchens wrote to barton and one that barton wrote back to hitchens that survive. there are some exchangings like that that do exist. if you come down to the mics so everybody can hear you. thank you. >> yeah. and in the meantime while the gentleman comes down my next question is and i posed to you last night. i thauls always love to visit sites i've never about been to what days of the week are you open? >> yes, we are open thursdays through saturdays from 11:00 to 5:00. but we are open by appointment. if you can't make it up on those days can you go on the website, clara barton museum.org. we actually have a form that you can fill out or give us a call. that information is on the website as well and you can book an appointment. we ask a week in advance. yes, sir. >> the question i have is regarding -- you didn't bring it
up in your speech today. but is one my family ties into. and that's door ens at water. connected with the second new york regiment and served through up to and through getties burg and captured and sent down -- or held in prison in georgia. >> yeah. >> and i guess the question is, is -- you didn't bring it up here in this speech. but how does that intertwine with your knowledge of dorance at water, the one that recorded the lists for the confederates and took that list, thought he was getting smart and that belonged to him. and he winds up in prison in new york state and dishonorable zarj and she for the good part of her life had to restore his credibility as she did successfully. >> absolutely. >> maybe i said enough but i just wanted to. >> no, thank you. thank you it's a great point.
just for the nature of time here and trying to get the full scope. >> you don't have to. >> her life and also missing soldiers office there are a lot of fascinating figures that come to and out of clara barton's life. and dorance at water is interesting. his capture after gettysburg and ends up in prisoned. he is tasked with taking a register of all of the deaths at the camp. ultimately he is going to be keeping this list for the confederates and he is told by them -- dsh by the overseers of the camp that that list ultimately at the end of the kplskt would be turned over to union authorities. he didn't trust them. and so he keeps another list that he will ultimately take with him when he leaves andersonville. he ends up in an owe annapolis, maryland, in camp parole. gets connected with barton. in fact, that list is going to
really be the inspiration for why barton goes to andersonville in august of 1865. that's how they get connected can be -- how barton gets connectwood the andersonville story. and ultimately that list will provide the almost 13,000 names that barton will be able to inform the families. but another -- just another point on that, when i said that barton went out on a lecture tour, dorance at water came with her. dorance at water was her opening act. dorance at water talked about the experience at andersonville prison, what it was like, the conditions there, and ultimately was looking to help tell the story of all of the prisoners that were in that camp. and barton would come up and talk about her role during the war, how she got tide into andersonville and ultimately the missing soldiers office. but at water ends up in a huge spat with the war department because he wanted to keep the list, give it to barton.
the war department said the list was theirs. he ends up in jail. and it all ends well though. he does end up marrying a tahitian princess and becomes the diplomatic lee say son. he became part of the u.s. official mission to tahiti in the decades after the civil war. he ends up in paradise. it ends up being a good story. but dorance at water is tremendously important to the story. we have more information about him and his connection on the website as well. clara barton museum.org. morp resources there. if you want to know more of the story. and also if you have ancestors or are doing research related to civil war soldiers who may have gone missing. we have an online database of all of the soldiers that ended up on barton's list. the number stretches i believe it's in excess of 6,000 names.
that were published at one point or another on the missing soldiers roles. thank you great question. >> anymore? >> all right thank you all so much. [ applause ] >> the cspan city's tour is exploring the merp story. as we take book tv and american history tv on the road. in cooperation with our spectrum cable partners, this weekend we take to you missoula, montana, with a population of about 66,000, montana's second largest city sits in the western part of the state, in the heart of the northern rocky mountains. >> we see bears here all the time, particularly in the fall when they're out looking for both wild and domestic fruit in the valley. the state of things for grizzlies and humans in the west is at this crucial moment we have to decide how much space we are making for the wild zmms particularly difficult zms animal loosic a grizzly.
>> joinous saturday at noon on book tv or itten other offerings. sunday at 2:00 p.m. our look at missoula continues on cspan3 american history tv. >> smoke jumping started in 1939. the goal of a smoke jumper is to pair chute into wildfire where it's inaccessible to other firefightering resourcing. we jump in the fires in the wilderness and keeping those things from becoming massive wildfires. >> the cspan city's tour exploring the american story every first and third weekend each month, as we take book tv and american history tv on the road. in 1956 while working at a historian at vicksburg national military park, he had win bearss sent out to recover and preserve the you usz presidents cairo. next mr. bears real estate details the challenges they
faced removing the ship from the river in mississippi. he explained the art i facts they discovered on the vevle. he is the authors of hard luck iron clad, the sinking and salvage of cairo. this was part of a day long seminar cohosted by longwood university in virginia and and appear mattic historical park. >> all right. well mr. bearss certainly don't need an brouks but i'll give a bereave one for those of you who might not know he is a legend in civil war historiography, battlefield preservation. grew up as your program says near harden, montana and high school -- after high school joined the marines, served in world war ii and was seriously wounded in world war ii. spent more than two years in hospital. and after the war received a b.s. from georgetown be, an m.a. in history of indiana, university and best known for his work both his books and also work at the national park service. he was park historian at