An Idea Is Born
By 1863, the Army Medical Department was geared up for a major war, overwhelming any efforts made by a single individual such as Miss Barton. But she continued working at battlefields as the war dragged on. Miss Barton threw herself into her next project as the war ended in 1865.
She helped with the effort to identify 13,000 unknown Union dead at the horrific prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville, Ga. This experience launched her on a nationwide campaign to identify soldiers missing during the Civil War. She published lists of names in newspapers and exchanged letters with veterans and soldiers' families. The search for missing soldiers and years of toil during the Civil War physically debilitated Miss Barton. Her doctors recommended a restful trip to Europe.
Although still ailing, another crisis jolted Miss Barton into action. The outbreak of war in 1870 between France and Prussia (part of modern day Germany) brought hardship to many French civilians. Miss Barton joined the relief effort, and in the process, was impressed with a new organization—the Red Cross. Created in 1864, the Red Cross was chartered to provide humane services to all victims during wartime under a flag of neutrality.