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[333]

The soldiers' guardian angel.

Among those who have sacrificed all the comforts of life, the pleasures of society, and the delights of intellectual culture and association for the still higher and holier joy of ministering to those, who, on our great battle fields, have fallen in defence of their country, there is none more deserving of a nation's gratitude and enduring remembrance than Miss Clara H. Barton.

Of an excellent family in Massachusetts, a family numbering among its connections some of the most eminent citizens of the Old Bay State, highly educated, and though modest and diffident in manner, possessing extraordinary executive ability, and an active and self-reliant disposition, this young and gifted woman, from the time of the wounding of our soldiers in Baltimore, gave herself wholly to the work of ministering to the sick and wounded soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. At first, owing to the obstacles which were in the way of the personal ministrations of women unconnected with the Sanitary Commission in the field, she confined her labors to the hospitals, and to the sending of supplies by trustworthy distributers to the army in the field, from Washington. Soon, however, this ceased to satisfy her patriotic heart, which longed to give to the wounded heroes, on the battle field or in the field hospitals, those gentle ministries which woman only can bestow. After a severe mental struggle with those conventional ideas which declared it altogether improper for a young lady, unprotected, to go even on a 1 errand of mercy into the army,

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