Union Talk reporters interview Clara Barton, a renowned field nurse, about her incredible service to soldiers. They discuss her experiences, challenges, and sources of inspiration. The reporter asks Clara about her recent trip, to which she responds that it was wonderful and she is accustomed to traveling. The reporter expresses their eagerness to hear Clara’s insights and asks her about how soldiers perceive her presence as a woman on the battlefield.
B: Initially, everyone, including myself, was surprised. However, once the men realized that I was there to care for them just like they would be at home, they seemed grateful for my presence.
R: Did you feel any fear for your own safety when quartermaster Daniel Rucker first allowed you to assist at the front lines?
B: Was I scared for myself? No, I was scared for the soldiers who face those conditions every day at the front lines.
R: Would you be comfortable sharing with our readers the conditions at the front and possible ways to improve them?
B: The conditions are distressing. Supplies such as clothing, food, and ammunition are frequently scarce, causing the troops to endure hardships. However, what astonishes me is that despite the appalling circumstances they face, their morale remains high and they maintain great optimism. During my recent assignment, I had the privilege of participating in a game of Rounders with the soldiers, which filled my heart with joy to witness their spirited play reminiscent of school boys. Those interested in assisting the troops can contact local women’s organizations, as these groups collect clothing, food, and provisions to be sent to the troops.
R: Despite the hardships, their spirits remain high. B agrees and finds it remarkable.
R asks B to share their most difficult experience on the battlefield and explain why it affected them deeply.
B recalls a specific incident where they were tending to a wounded soldier during a battle. Suddenly, a bullet tore through the sleeve of B’s dress and took the soldier’s life. This experience was distressing as B survived while witnessing someone else perish.
R then asks about B’s most rewarding moment.
B replies that every soldier they assist in recovering is a special moment for them as these soldiers are simply elated to have someone caring for them.
R: Are you ever worried about not surviving on the battlefield?
B: Sometimes I have concerns, but I understand that if it doesn’t happen, there must be a purpose. When my time comes, no matter how it occurs, I will accept it.
R: We’ve heard that General Butler will soon appoint you as the “Lady In Charge” of the Army of James hospitals. How do you feel about this?
B: I am incredibly excited! It provides me with an even better opportunity to assist more injured soldiers.
R: Did you have any mentors during your childhood or a specific experience that made you realize your desire to care for others?
When I was young, I became the caregiver for my older brother David after he fell off a roof in a major construction accident. This experience greatly reinforced my commitment to nursing.
In an interview, she talked about the challenges she faces as a female soldier and recognized that despite her efforts to prove them otherwise, some individuals are still bothered by her gender. The interviewer then inquired if there was a specific moment when she initially recognized that being a woman could impede her.
B: One’s gender can only be a hindrance if they allow it, but I remember being rejected solely because of my gender. It occurred after I graduated from Clinton Liberal Institute in New York and decided to open a school in New Jersey. The students thrived under my guidance, and my attendance rate was exceptional. However, when the Board had to select a Headmaster, I was denied while a man was chosen instead.
R: You appear somewhat bitter…
B: I am not bitter, just disappointed that they overlooked the most qualified candidate based on such an absurd principle.
R: What is your opinion on women’s suffrage? We hear that you and Mrs. Anthony are close friends.
B: Susan and I are dear friends, and I fully support the movement, although it is not my main focus. I will assist Susan in any way I can.
R: Alright, let’s change the topic to something more lighthearted. How about some fun questions?
B: (laughs) That would be great. It was starting to feel like an interrogation!
R: You have a fantastic sense of humor. It has been mentioned that you love animals. Do you have a favorite?
I have a strong affection for cats, specifically my beloved pet cat, Tommy. I find pleasure in writing, reading, and assisting others. Moreover, there are four lesser-known aspects about me: my preferred color is Red, I follow a vegetarian diet, I possess a profound fondness for horses and equestrian sports, and I tend to be introverted until I establish comfort with someone. This dialogue has been genuinely unforgettable for both myself and our readers. I am sincerely appreciative of this priceless experience.