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Exhibit Theme

Searching for the Missing

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Memorial of Clara Barton, February...
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Memorial of Clara Barton, February 1, 1866

Clara Barton’s 1866 petition to Congress explained her reasons for initiating a search for missing soldiers and outlined her research procedures. She noted her very limited resources and mentioned that President Abraham Lincoln and a Union major general aided her efforts. In March 1866 Congress approved $15,000 for expenses of Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration


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my attention was arrested by the great number of letters received from all parts of the country, mostly from the wives and mothers of soldiers desiring my personal assistance in searching for their lost husbands and sons