Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office, Washington, D.C.

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By John Cowgill

Clara Barton was a nurse who cared for wounded soldiers during the American Civil War and the founder of the American Red Cross.  In addition to the American Red Cross, she was also a pioneer of another organization.

At the end of the American Civil War, the men who died in the conflict were buried either with a headstone in a cemetery or a mass grave, depending on where they died.  And, there were soldiers from both the Union and the Confederacy who went missing.  Because of them, Clara Barton wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln to create a department to search for the missing soldiers.

This led Clara Barton to establish the Missing Soldier’s Office.  Here, she kept records of those men who were missing in hopes that they would be reunited with their loved ones.  She continued to search for the missing men many years after the war.  Eventually, the office closed, and the building had many owners and tenants over the years.  In the late 1980s, the building was about to be demolished, but it was spared. It was restored and became the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum.

Today, you can tour the museum at its original location, 437 Seventh Street, N.W., Washington D.C.  It is open Thursday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Although it is an old structure, it is handicapped-accessible.  Admission is $10.00 for adults.  Click here for more information. You can also read more into the very deep history of Clara Barton and the extensive work at the office.

John Cowgill ( loves to visit historic places to include lesser known sites.  He loves taking road trips, and he loves railroads.  You can also follow him on Facebook at ‘John Cowgill: Photographic Journeys’ and John Cowgill: DC Railroad Examiner.  You can also check out ‘John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad’ at


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