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Portrait of Clara Barton, ca. 1865

After the Civil War, Clara Barton volunteered with the Red Cross in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. In 1881, she founded the American Red Cross.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Portrait of Clara Barton, ca. 1865

Searching for the Missing

While providing medical assistance on Civil War battlefields, Clara Barton received many poignant pleas for information about missing soldiers. She requested permission of the government to conduct a search, and after President Abraham Lincoln appointed her to lead it, Barton sought congressional support for her mission. Senator Henry Wilson from Barton’s home state of Massachusetts was a major supporter of her effort. Between 1865 and 1868, through voluminous correspondence and published lists, Barton located 22,000 of approximately 62,000 dead or missing Union soldiers.