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Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, by Mathew Brady, 1866

As Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts was sympathetic to Clara Barton’s mission and garnered congressional support for her work.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, by Mathew Brady, 1866

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.