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The Civil War: The Senate's Story


Clara Barton and Senator Henry Wilson
Portrait of Clara Barton taken in the Civil War

Senator Henry Wilson met Massachusetts native Clara Barton in March 1861, at the outset of the Civil War. The two became fast friends. Barton, a clerk at the Patent Office, sprung into action as the war commenced and federal troops flooded into Washington that April, providing medical assistance and provisions to the soldiers. Throughout the war, Senator Wilson provided essential support for Barton’s work in bringing humanitarian aid to the battlefront. Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881.