The more I learn about Clara Barton, the more in awe of her I become. She went from being a clerk at the outbreak of the war, to being a one-woman clearinghouse of information for families desperate to know what had become of their sons, brothers, fathers and husbands. What a little force of nature!
It was her work in finding the whereabouts of missing soldiers that led her to the boarding house on Seventh Street, from which she operated the “Missing Soldiers Office – 3rd Story, Room 9” said the old metal sign which was also found, with “Miss. Clara Barton” printed at the bottom.
It was said that she collected boxes of letters from grieving families across the country, some sending pictures of their missing young men, with the hopes of finding where they were. Of course, the news was usually bad – most were buried in unmarked or poorly marked graves. Apparently as word of her endeavors spread, so did the inquiries and she is credited with handling over 55,000 pieces of mail during the time the small cramped office was open.