Clara Barton Short Story

by Sarah on January 23, 2009

I had to write a short story for my literature class so I decided to write about Clara Barton at the Battle of Antietam.  Hope you enjoy reading my story.


It was September 17, 1862 and in the small town of Sharpsburg, Maryland a major battle of the Civil War was taking place.  Soldiers on both sides were being killed and wounded by the thousands.  The surgeons were running around trying to help, but they were quickly running out of supplies.  The lead surgeon for the Union, Dr. Mannie, was getting desperate for supplies and people to help with the wounded.  The wagons with his much needed supplies were mile away from the battlefield.  He was so desperate that he was actually bandaging wounded soldiers with cornhusks from the nearby cornfield. Dr. Mannie did not know what to do to help the wounded.  He sent word to General McClellan who was the commander of the Union troops.

Dr. Mannie said, “I do not have enough supplies to care for the wounded.  Please help.”

But General McClellen was busy directing his troops in the battle and told the doctor that he would have to find his own solution.  Dr. Mannie ordered some of the medical soldiers to go to farmhouses and in town to obtain bandages and any medical supplies they could find. Around midday, a young woman arrived on the battlefield to help Dr. Mannie.  Her name was Clara Barton, and she brought with her a wagon filled with bandages and other medical supplies.  Clara had spent several days traveling with her wagon full of supplies and even passed the army’s wagons and reached the battlefield ahead of the army’s wagons.  Dr. Mannie quickly set out to give these much needed supplies

When the supplies had been handed out, Clara asked Dr. Mannie, “How can I help?”

Dr. Mannie had not heard of a woman helping on a battlefield but he was thankful for any help.  Dr. Mannie said, “You can help bandage and give water to the wounded.”

Clara quickly went to work, and as the artillery blasted and bullets flew all around her, Clara brought food and water to wounded soldiers.  Many of the men were so weak they could not hold up their head, so Clara would hold them in her arms and help them drink.  While holding one wounded soldier in her arms, she felt her sleeve move and noticed a small bullet hole in her dress.  A bullet had gone thru her sleeve and killed the soldier she was holding.

That night, Dr. Mannie had another problem.  He did not have enough lanterns to provide light for the surgeons.

Dr. Mannie sent another note to General McClellan and said, “Please send all available lanterns so the surgeons can treat the wounded.”

Dr. Mannie was again denied help from the commander and was left on his own.  Clara heard of Dr. Mannie’s problem and quickly went to her wagon and came up with lanterns.  The grateful surgeons quickly went back to work by the light of their new lanterns.

At the end of the day, over 20,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or were missing on that day in September 1862.  Dr. Mannie, with help from Clara Barton and her supply wagon were able to treat the wounded, but even those supplies were quickly running out.  Finally, after days of waiting, the army supply wagons arrived at the battlefield and Dr. Mannie was relieved to see them.
He went over to Clara and said, “Thank you, I could not have done it without your help.  You were an angel of the battlefield.”

Clara smiled and said, “Thank you, but it was the least I could do for these poor men who died here.”

After that, Clara got into her wagon and started the journey to Washington, D.C. for more supplies.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Debi January 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm

This is a wonderful essay! Clara Barton was most definitely an angel to Dr. Mannie and the soldiers. Throughout history there have been many men and women, most of who go unnamed, and were the greatest helpers in dire times. There will be many more to come, past and present, and it is inspiring to learn about them and their works. Keep up the great work!


Lisa January 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Well written. Thank you for helping us to understand the role Clara played in the Civil War. Do you know about the female spies in the Civil War? They played a very important role and were so very brave too.


Nancy January 23, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Great Job Sarah! You write very well.


Jim Rosebrock January 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

A well written story. I am a volunteer at Antietam and there is a monument to Clara Barton at the park. She helped many people throughout her life but it all started at the Battle of Antietam. Thanks for choosing such an important person to write about.


Scott (Thespian70) January 26, 2009 at 7:00 am

What a beautifully written story! You have a highly developed style that is incredibly polished for a young lady of your age. Many of my 11th grade students couldn’t even touch what you are doing right now.

Allow me to ellaborate a little bit more. You have a nice pace and flow to your story; what I mean is that it moves the reader forward, carrying us along like we are on a raft floating down a river. Your syntax (sentence structure) is varied to alter that flow from time to time, keeping your reader engaged and from becoming board with what you are sharing.

Keep up the good work! Perhaps one of these days you should look in to submitting some of your work to Scholastic Writing.

All my best!


Sarah February 23, 2009 at 9:51 am

Hey Sarah!Umm… I have a question for you. I have a speech I have to do about technology in the civil war and for my person i’m going to act like is Clara Barton. So did she or didn’t she use some technology in the civil war to help the soldiers get their cuts and shots bandaged up or do you not know? If you could help me out that would be fantastic! I hope you can! Bye! Ohhh It’s due tomorrow!Okay! LOL! BYE!


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