The Plight of the Cuban
Concentration Camp Prisoners
During Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain, hundreds of thousands
of Cuban peasants were forced from their homes and herded in to
concentration camps. In an 18-month period from 1896 to 1897, over
225,000 civilians died, mostly of starvation. The Red Cross was reported
to have statistics showing 425,000 perished from starvation and 200,000
more would die.
In the midst of bringing Red Cross aid to those suffering through
disasters at home and abroad, news of the Cuban reconcentrados plight
distressed Barton. She believed that the Red Cross was a “direct
servant of the government,” therefore, without President William
McKinley’s permission, Barton would not endorse any Red Cross involvement.
From The Spanish American War
Links to newspaper articles from 1897 and 1898 describing the horror of
the camps. Caution: Graphic images.
Weyler's Reconcentration Policy and its Horrors
Cross in Peace and War" on the plight of the Cubans
Maria Christina Henriette Desideria Felicitas Raineria von
of Austria (21 July 1858 – 6 February 1929) was Queen of Spain
from November 1885 to May 1902 as the widowed second wife of
King Alfonso XII. She was regent during the vacancy of the
throne between her husband's death and her son's birth and during
the minority of their son, Alfonso XIII.
Photo and info from Wikipedia.
We had scarcely returned from Armenia when paragraphs began to appear in
the press from all sections of the country, connecting the Red Cross with
some undefined method of relief for Cuba. These intimations were
both ominous and portentous for the future, something from which we
instinctively shrunk and remained perfectly quiet. “The murmurs grew to
clamors loud,” and, I regret to say, not always quite kind.
Tired, heart-sore and needing rest, we were compelled to read columns of
such reports, and understanding that it was not without its political side
and might increase to proportions dangerous to the good name of the Red
Cross, we felt compelled to take steps in self-protection.
Accordingly, through the proper official authorities of both nations, we
addressed to the government of Spain at Madrid a request for royal
permission for the American Red Cross to enter Cuba and distribute,
unmolested, among its starving reconcentrado population such relief as the
people of America desired to send.
This communication brought back from Spain perhaps the most courteous
assent and permission ever
by a proud government to an individual request, especially when that
request was in its very nature a rebuke to the methods of the government
receiving it. Not only was permission granted by the crown, the
government, the Captain-General at Cuba, and the Queen Regent, but to the
assent of the latter were added her majesty’s gracious thanks for the
From The Red Cross in Peace and War by Clara Barton
Formation of the President's Committee for Cuban Relief
Those who were impatient for Red Cross action included Cuban patriots. In
a gripping letter, they attacked Barton and the Red Cross for inhumanity
towards the reconcentrados. As the summer of 1897 wore on, no longer able
to quietly bear the reports, Barton requested that “the Red Cross take
steps on its own in direct touch and with the cooperation of the people of
the country.” Illustrating her ease of communication with the President,
she called on him at the White House and joined the conference in progress
with his Secretary of State.
From The Spanish American War
Clara wrote in "The Red Cross in Peace and War"
The conference was then held. It was decided to form a committee in New
York, to ask money and material of the people at large to be shipped to
Cuba for the relief of the reconcentrados on that island. The call would
be made in the name of the President, and the committee naturally known as
the “President’s Committee for Cuban Relief.” I was courteously asked if I
would go to New York and assume the oversight of that committee. I
declined in favor of Mr. Stephen E. Barton, second vice-president
of the National Red Cross, who, on being immediately called, accepted; and
with Mr. Charles Schieren as treasurer and Mr. Louis Klopsch,
of the Christian Herald, as the third member, the committee was at once
established; since known as the Central Cuban Relief Committee.
The committee was to solicit aid in money and material for the suffering
reconcentrados in Cuba, and forward the same to the Consul-General at
Havana for distribution.
Charles Adolph Schieren
He had served as Mayor of the City of Brooklyn from 1894 through
1895 and was a successful businessman in the leather
Louis Klopsch, editor of the Christian Herald, is credited for
conceiving the idea of printing the words of Jesus in the Bible
in red in 1899 and publishing the first red-letter New Testament
the same year.
My consent was then asked by all parties
to go to Cuba and aid in the distribution of the shipments of food as
they should arrive. After all I had so long offered, I could not
decline, and hoping my going would not be misunderstood by our
authorities there, who would regard me simply as a willing assistant, I
accepted. The Consul-General had asked the New York Committee to
send to him an assistant to take charge of the warehouse and supplies in
Havana. This request was also referred to me, and recommending Mr. J.
K. Elwell, nephew of General J. J. Elwell, of Cleveland,
Ohio, a gentleman who had resided six years in Santiago, Cuba, in
connection with its large shipping interests, a fine business man and
speaking Spanish, I decided to accompany him, taking no member of my own
staff, but going simply in the capacity of an individual helper in a
work already assigned.
From The Red Cross in Peace and War by Clara Barton
Clara heads to Cuba from Washington, via
Jacksonville, Tampa & Key West, finds appalling conditions
Clara's diaries & journals at the Library of Congress
record for this period before she left for Cuba, entries from Sept. 10,
1897 to Jan. 29, 1898--her time in New York, Washington DC, and her home
in Glenn Echo, MD. Her last entry on Jan. 29th reads:
windy day. Coldest day. Had to go to town again to get my
tooth set right. Dr. Chase ill, Dr. Wolf set my tooth in place.
Took with me checks to cash.
(In different handwriting)
Too late for bank, closed at 12 Sat. Could only go to dentist and come
home. Did not know what to do or say about S.P.
See journal entry
The first journal covering involvement in Cuba
The journals covering
Clara's involvement in Cuba are numbered, but No. 1 has not been located.
There is a gap in dates from Jan. 30 to Feb. 25, 1898, the period between
the previously mentioned journal and the journal marked "2" which begins
with Feb. 26, 1898. On the first page of this No. 2 book, she
refers to the previous book as her red book in which her notes on Cuba
commenced. It is assumed that this No. 1 book would contain Clara's notes
on her trip from Washington to Cuba, through Tampa, her arrival
in Cuba, and the events of the battleship Maine explosion.
Bruce Kirby, a reference
librarian in the manuscript division at the Library of Congress, recently
viewed the original books in the collection and confirmed that the journal
covering the dates February 26 to May 6 is numbered “2," the journal
beginning May 7 is numbered “3," and so on through the volume ending March
31, 1901, which is numbered “7.” There is no indication in the box
of the whereabouts of "No. 1” which presumably would cover the missing
dates January 29 to February 26, 1898.
Mr. Kirby also said, "It
is possible, though not likely, that the volume could have been mistakenly
placed among the Spanish-American War subject files in the series
“American National Red Cross” in boxes 116 to 148 of the Barton papers in
the Manuscript Division. In addition, the volume might be among the
official records of the Red Cross that are held by the National Archives
and Records Administration. One of Barton’s biographers, Elizabeth
Brown Pryor, found a reference to the lunch with Captain Sigsbee in a
Barton letter now located in the Red Cross records at NARA. See
Clara Barton: Professional Angel, (Philadelphia, University of
Pennsylvania Press, 1987), p. 303.
Finally, one Library of
Congress historian hypothesized that the volume may have been used during
the investigation into the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine on 15 February
1898, and may now be part of the investigation files.
second little book that contains notes on Cuba -
following the red book in which the notes were commenced"
Cross Correspondence Books
Though her first journal
(No. 1) containing information on her first trip from Washington to Cuba
has not been located, it is possible to determine when Clara passed
through Tampa for the first time. These letters from the collection of
Red Cross correspondence books of 1898 at the Library of Congress
discuss Clara's travel arrangements with the Plant System.
Even before Clara
travelled to Cuba through Tampa, the committee for relief of Cuban
concentration camps was already seeking help from H. B. Plant and his
transportation system for their supplies to Cuba.
See this Jan. 27, 1898 letter from Plant
to Stephen Barton, Committee Chairman, declining his request for free
transportation of supplies on the Plant System.
Feb. 4, 1898 Telegram to
Stephen E. Barton confirming that transportation will be left with the
ticket agent at Charleston, SC, for Miss Barton and John Elwell from
Charleston to Port Tampa. President Plant advises that the steamer
transportation passes for these parties can be found in the office of the
Tampa Bay Hotel.
This letter, dictated by
Clara's nephew, Chairman of the committee for Cuban Relief, Stephen E.
Barton, states that Clara and John Elwell were leaving Washington DC on
the Southern Railway at 10:45 pm Saturday. (Feb. 5), proceeding to Port
Tampa to catch a boat on Monday (Feb. 7.)
This receipt for $22.50 on
Feb. 7, 1898 is for payment to the purser of the SS Olivette for John
Elwell and Clara Barton's meals, staterooms, etc. in passage from Port
Tampa to Havana.
This letter dictated for
telegram by Stephen E. Barton to the general manager of the Plant
Steamship Co., condensed from 2 pages and edited to remove
irrelevant information, shows SEB assumed that the Plant System railroad
would have carried Clara and Elwell all the way to Port Tampa with Plant's
free passes, but in fact this was not so. They had to ride the C&S
Line from Charleston to Savannah, then the Florida Central and Peninsular
Railroads from Savannah to Tampa--an indication that the trip would have
taken a full two days and there was no time spent overnight in any hotels.
Southern Railway and the Plant System in the
This 1895 Southern Railway map shows the most probable route Clara
would have taken. The yellow marks the route from Washington,
DC to Columbia, SC on the Southern Railway System.
The red on
the South Carolina Railway** from Columbia to Charleston, SC
where she and Elwell picked up their tickets for the route from
there to Tampa. Then the Charleston & Savannah line (green), and
from Savannah to Tampa, the Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad
The Plant System in 1896,
Cigar City Magazine.
Plant’s transportation system included both trains and steamships
for passenger transport. Hotels were a logical extension of this
system. The shallow draft of Tampa Bay made Tampa's main port
inaccessible for the larger ships of the day, so Plant built a new
port several miles away on the west coast of Tampa's Interbay
peninsula. When Plant extended his railroad tracks to Port Tampa, he
also built in 1885, an inn at the wharf for passengers since there
were no previously existing hotels nearby. Not to be confused with
the Port of Tampa, Port Tampa City was the lands west of today's
Manhattan Avenue to Tampa Bay and everything south of the old
east-west railroad track north of McCoy Street.
The absence of any receipts or or other communications
regarding stays in hotels, it appears that Clara Barton and John Elwell arrived in
Tampa at the Tampa Bay Hotel train station on Monday, Feb. 7, picked
up their Plant System steamer passes for the Olivette and promptly
boarded it in Port Tampa for their trip to Cuba, most likely via Key
West, as the Plant System steamer lines typically did.
**Special thanks to the
Carolina Railroad Museum on Facebook
for identifying this railway line.
Clara arrives in Cuba
Later in her
The Red Cross in Peace and War, on page 520 she would write:
"We reached Havana
February 9, five weeks ago, and in all the newness of a strange
country with oriental customs, commenced our work." The above
entry I find in my diary.
In speaking of conditions
as found, let me pray that no word shall be taken as a criticism upon
any person or people. Dreadful as these conditions were, and rife as
hunger, starvation and death were on every hand, we were constantly
amazed at the continued charities as manifested in the cities, and
small, poor villages of a people so over-run with numbers, want and
woe for months, running into years; with all business, all
remuneration, all income stopped, killed as dead as the poor, stark
forms around them, it was wonderful that they still kept up their
organizations, municipal and religious, and gave not of their
abundance, but of their penury; that still a little ration of food
went out to the dens of woe. That the wardrobe was again and again
parceled out; that the famishing mother divided her little morsel with
another mother’s hungry child; that two men sat down to one crust, and
that the Spanish soldier shared, as often seen, the loaf—his own half
ration—with the eager-eyed skeleton reconcentrado, watching him as he
ate. In another instance the recognition might have been less kind it
is true, for war is war, and all humanity are not humane.
Clara set to work visiting
sites where the Red Cross could arrange distribution centers. The Red
Cross hospital’s chief nurse Bettina Hofker-Lesser, Dr. Adolph
Monae-Lesser and four nurses from the then-closed Red Cross Hospital
followed Barton to Cuba to support her work.
The Red Cross in Peace and War by Clara Barton
The Spanish American War
Clara Barton with Red Cross
nurses and staff on a street in Cuba, 1898
Place your cursor on the photo to see enlargement and Clara identified by
courtesy of Library of Congress
Barton onboard the battleship USS Maine
Fitzhugh Lee, Gen.
Consul to Cuba. Photo from Library of Congress
Because of propaganda from the U.S. newspapers and the Cuban insurgents,
the situation in Cuba was not fully understood in Washington DC. The U.S.
Consul in Havana,
Fitzhugh Lee, was also somewhat out of touch with the country in which
he was living. President Grover Cleveland had appointed him consul general
in 1896, a position he retained even after the election of President
In response to a small protest by Spanish officers, not affecting the
United States, Washington sent the USS Maine, under the command of Capt.
Charles Sigsbee, to Cuba on a "friendly" visit. A few hours after
the President ordered the USS Maine to Havana Harbor, Lee telegraphed his
advice not to send such a ship.
The Maine arrived in Cuba's Havana harbor on January 25, 1898 at which
time Captain Sigsbee found the city relatively quiet.
The Spanish American War
The battleship USS Maine
entering Havana Harbor, Jan 25, 1898.
Photo from Wikipedia.
On Sunday, Feb. 13, 1898,
Captain Charles D. Sigsbee invited Clara to come aboard. Born in
1845, Sigsbee was a full generation younger than Barton, but he knew her
story very well, as did most Americans. Sigsbee had served in the
Civil War after graduating from the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1863,
and he knew that Barton had been one of the most instrumental figures of
the great conflict. Clara accepted Sigsbee's invitation and sometime
in the afternoon, she went aboard the Maine.
Later in 1899, in her book "The
Red Cross in Peace and War," Clara wrote:
cordial invitation from Captain Sigsbee to visit the "Maine" that
afternoon had been received. His launch courteously came for us;
his officers received us; his crew, strong, ruddy and bright, went
through their drill for our entertainment, and the lunch at those
polished tables, off glittering china and cut glass, with the social
guests around, will remain ever in my memory as a vision of the "Last
Stern view of the Maine - Photo from Wikipedia
There were no photographs taken nor any record made of their conversation.
Clara's journal which contained her notes on the Maine explosion may have
been confiscated for use in the investigation.
Sigsbee may have given Clara a tour of the clean, swept deck of the Maine,
but probably not one of its grimy, soot-infested hold. Although she
had spent a lifetime in the service of sick and wounded soldiers, Clara
often confessed a weakness for some of the trappings of military and naval
power. The Maine, with its turrets, guns and engines, must have made
a strong and positive impression. Few Victorian ladies went on board
battleships in those days, and Clara may well have savored the moment.
They probably discussed the condition of the people of Havana. Clara
had arrived only four days earlier and did not know all of the details,
but she was convinced that the reconcentrados had suffered the most as a
result of the Spanish-Cuban war. Captain Sigsbee may have been
sympathetic to their plight, but as a Navy officer, his mission was to
keep the peace in Havana Harbor, not to assist the victims of the war.
All that is known for certain is that Clara spoke with another officer,
the second-in-command of the Maine, and offered him and his men her
assistance if anything should happen to them. The officer's response
is not recorded, but he probably smiled, for what danger could befall the
Maine? Going ashore, Clara returned to her work.
Two days later, on the evening of Feb. 15, Captain Sigsbee had retired to
his cabin to write a letter. He wrote to his wife that he heard the
bugler play Taps. Then at 9:40 pm, the force of an explosion
Maine officers, 1896. Library of Congress Control #: 2016795115.
Explosion on the USS Maine
evening of February 15, 1898, the American battleship Maine exploded
while sitting in the Havana harbor, killing two officers and 250
enlisted men. Fourteen of the injured later died, bringing the death
toll to 266. Sent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt
against Spain, she exploded suddenly, without warning, and sank
In 1898, an
investigation of the explosion was carried out by a naval board
appointed under the McKinley Administration. The consensus of the
board was that the Maine was destroyed by an external explosion from
a mine. However, the validity of this investigation has been
challenged. Release of the board’s report led many to accuse Spain
of sabotage, helping to build public support for war.
propaganda postcard showing Union and Confederate soldiers
shaking hands in front of a female personification of Cuba
with broken shackles, circa 1898. The rallying cry of
"Cuba Libre" originated with the Cuban independence movement
and became wildly popular in the United States as well. Photo
from Library of Congress.
Yellow Journalism &
The Yellow Press
Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism
that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and
instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.
Techniques may include exaggerations of news events,
scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow
journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism
that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion
in the U.S., fanned by inflammatory articles printed in the "Yellow
Press" by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer's newspapers,
blamed Spain. The phrase, "Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain",
became a rallying cry for action, which came with the
Spanish–American War later that year. While the sinking of the Maine
was not a direct cause for action, it served as a catalyst,
accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse between the U.S.
and Spain. The cause of the Maine's sinking remains a subject of
Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph
Hearst, full-length, dressed as the Yellow Kids, a satire of their
role in drumming up USA public opinion to go to war with Spain.
Most famous of the Anti-Spanish
yellow journalism was the "Olivette Incident." On February 12, 1897,
the Hearst's New York Journal reported that as the American
steamship Olivette was about to leave Havana Harbor for the United
States, it was boarded by Spanish police officers who searched three
young Cuban women, one of whom was suspected of carrying messages
from the rebels. The Journal ran the story with the headline, “Does
Our Flag Protect Women?” It was accompanied by a dramatic
sketch by Frederic Remington across one half a page showing Spanish
plainclothes men searching a nude woman. The Journal went on to
editorialize, “War is a dreadful thing, but there are things more
dreadful than even war, and one of them is dishonor.” This report
shocked the country and prompted Congressman Amos Cummings to
announce intentions to launch a congressional inquiry into the
Soon, however, the story unraveled.
Pulitzer's New York World quickly produced one of the young women
who contested the Journal’s version of the incident. Eventually the
Journal was forced to correct the story. The search had been
appropriately conducted by a police matron with no men present.
Among the most popular stories often cited as evidence of the
meddling influence of Hearst and Pulitzer is the story of
Remington's attempt to return from Cuba because there seemed to be
not much going on. As the story goes, when Remington telegraphed to
his boss to report that conditions in Cuba were not bad enough to
warrant hostilities, Hearst allegedly cabled back , "Please remain.
You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." In reality,
yellow journalism probably had little influence outside of New York.
Much of the pro-war reporting came out of the American Midwest.
Authentic History - The Spanish American War
Captain Sigsbee on the
It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound or roar of immense
volume, largely metallic in its character. It was succeeded by a
metallic sound--probably of falling debris--a trembling and lurching
motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence (sinking of
land level), attended by an eclipse of the electric lights (the
Maine was one of the first American warships to have electric lights.)
Captain Sigsbee stumbled out of his cabin and headed for the deck.
Back ashore, Clara Barton was hard at work
at her desk overlooking Havana Harbor. The 77-year old president and
founder of the American Red Cross pondered over her relief effort to bring
aid to displaced Cubans—the reconcentrados. She and a fellow American J.
K. Elwell, who was a member of the Cuban International Relief Committee,
were going over papers, expenses and receipts. These had always been
the bane of her existence; like many other high-strung and excitable
people, she was far better in the heat of a conflict than in dealing with
We were busy at our writing tables until late at night. The house
had grown still; the noises on the street were dying away, when suddenly
the table shook from under our hands, the great glass door opening on to
the veranda, facing the sea, flew open; everything in the room was in
motion or out of place--the deafening roar of such a burst of thunder as
perhaps never one heard before, and off to the right, out over the bay,
the air was filled with a blaze of light, and this in turn filled with
black specks like huge specters flying in all directions. Then it
faded away. The bells rang; the whistles blew, and voices in the
street were heard for a moment; then all was quiet again. I supposed it
to be the bursting of some mammoth mortar or explosion in some magazine.
A few hours later came the terrible news of the "Maine." Mr.
Elwell was early among the wreckage, and returned to give me the news.
Bronson Rea, another American observer on shore that night, was a
journalist for Harper's Weekly. He had been in Cuba for almost two
years at the time. He was at a Havana cafe when he heard the mighty
Suddenly the sounds of a terrific explosion shook the city; windows were
broken, and doors were shaken from their bolts. The sky towards
the bay was lit up with an intense light, and above it all could be seen
innumerable colored lights resembling rockets.
Rea and another journalist hastened to the waterfront where they found
barricades. They told the Spaniards that they were officers of the
Maine, a lie that helped Rea and the other American to get into a boat
with the Havana chief of police. Rea described the scene:
"Great masses of twisted and bent iron plates and beams were thrown up
in confusion amidships; the bow had disappeared; the foremast and smoke
stacks had fallen; and to add to the horror and danger, the mass of
wreckage amidships was on fire. The Maine was clearly sinking, but
what happened to its crew?"
The Sinking of the USS Maine: Declaring War
Captain Charles S. Sigsbee, Commander of the USS MAINE, to the
Secretary of the Navy, 02/15/1898 (National
Archives Identifier: 300266); Naval Records Collection of the
Office of Naval Records and Library, 1691 - 1945; Record Group 45;
the explosion on the Maine, Fitzhugh Lee returned to Washington. On May
5, 1898 he was made a major general in the army and put in command of
the Seventh Army Corps. Although the unit trained thoroughly in
Jacksonville, Florida, it never saw combat. (Library of Congress -
diving crew at work on the ship's wreck, in 1898, seen from aft
looking forward. From
Naval Historic Center, Department of the Navy.
See Destruction of the Maine by Louis Fisher, The Law Library of
"Wreck of the
U.S.S. Maine, June 16, 1911" The photograph shows the raising and salvage
operation of the ship, 13 years after it sank. After the salvage operation
was completed, the ship was resunk offshore. The image was taken by the
American Photograph Company of Havana, Cuba, and measures 34" x 9".
Photo from NARA.gov, National Archives and Records Administration.
Clara tends to the wounded
Clara was late to the scene because she
thought that the great explosion had been on land, or that it had been
some sort of demonstration of military power. Although she was not present
when the Maine went down, she did reach the Spanish Military Hospital, San
Ambrosia, in time to give aid and comfort to the wounded. Most of
the officers were dining out, and thus saved. On her way from her hotel to
the hospital, she met the second-in-command officer of the Maine, who
sadly asked if she remembered her pledge of two days earlier: that she
would be available to the crew in case of disaster. She certainly
did recall, and the memory pushed her on to the Ambrosia Hospital where
"...thirty to forty wounded--bruised, cut, burned; they had been crushed
by timbers, cut by iron, scorched by fire, and blown sometimes high in
the air, sometimes driven down through the red-hot furnace room and out
into the water, senseless, to be picked up by some boat and gotten
ashore. Their wounds are all over them; heads and faces terribly
cut, internal wounds, arms, legs, feet, and hands burned to the live
Survivors of the U.S.S. Maine explosion pose
for a picture at the Marine Hospital where Clara Barton ministered to them
on Feb. 21, 1898.
Photo from The Sinking of the U.S.S. Maine:
Declaring War Against Spain by Samuel Willard Crompton
Although she was familiar with disaster, Clara had not witnessed a scene
like this before. The Civil War wounded that she tended had experienced
bullet wounds and shrapnel from cannon fire, but not the searing flames
that come from explosions and electrical fires. Barton did what she
could for the men, sending telegrams on their behalf and staying with them
that night. Sometime during that night she sent a telegram of her
own to President William McKinley, who had urged her to go to Cuba in the
first place. Her words were simple and to the point:
"I am with the wounded."
Many Americans probably were cheered to learn that the Civil War heroine
was in action once more, tending to the wounded as she had done before.
A major poet of the day took her brief five-word telegram and converted it
into a song that newspapers reprinted from coast to coast:
"I am with the wounded," flashed across the wire
From the Isle of Cuba, swept with sword and fire.
Angel sweet of mercy, may your cross of red
Cheer the wounded living; bless the wounded dead.
"I am with the starving," let the message run
From this stricken island, when this task is done;
Food and plenty wait at your command,
Give in generous measure; fill each outstretched hand.
"I am with the happy," this we long to hear
From the Isle of Cuba, trembling now in fear;
Make this great disaster touch the hearts of men,
And, in God's great mercy, bring back peace again.
If there was going to be
war, it would be a new type of war. Americans, however, were
thrilled to learn of the continuity Clara Barton would provide between the
Civil War and what might now become the Spanish-American-Cuban War.
77-year-old Clara Barton had proved her worth once more.
The Sinking of the U.S.S. Maine: Declaring War Against Spain by Samuel
15 February 1898. Funeral
procession in the streets of Havana, Cuba, for crewmen killed when the
Maine exploded. Retouched halftone photograph, copied from Uncle Sam's
Navy, Volume IV, Number 3, 19 April 1898. U.S. Naval Historical Center
From Naval Historic Center, Department of the Navy.
Members of the Navy Court
of Inquiry examining Ensign Wilfrid V. Powelson, on board the U.S.
Lighthouse Tender Mangrove, in Havana Harbor, Cuba, circa March 1898.
Those seated around the table include (from left to right): Captain
French E. Chadwick, Captain William T. Sampson, Lieutenant Commander
William P. Potter, Ensign W.V. Powelson, Lieutenant Commander Adolph
Marix. Photograph copied from Uncle Sam's Navy, 12 April 1898.
reacts to the news of the Maine explosion; H.B. Plant exerts his influence
Mayor Myron E. Gillett
Term: June 5, 1896- June 5, 1898
Photo from "Men of the South" (where his and his son's photos
are displayed in incorrect order to the caption)
After the explosion on the
Maine, Tampa's mayor and congressman promptly petitioned Secretary of War
Russell Alger for protection against the Spanish Navy. Leading
citizens and the Board of Trade demanded a military presence and the
funding of coastal defense sites. But from the armchair generals in
Washington, there was no response. Then on March 22nd, Henry Plant
wrote Secretary Alger personally, calling attention to his multi-million
dollar investment in Port Tampa. On March 25th, Alger sent his Chief
of Engineers to begin fortifications on Egmont and Mullet Keys.
Florida, Tampa and H.B. Plant were in the still-undeclared war. The
Olivette had already made one run for Assistant Secretary of the Navy,
Theodore Roosevelt, delivering ammunition to Key West. Local papers began
boosting Tampa as the obvious supply point for operations in the
Caribbean. At the end of March, a real-life seagoing admiral checked
into the Port Tampa Inn. On behalf of the Plant System, Henry
Plant's second in command, Franklin Q. Brown, gave "Fighting Bob" Evans a
tour of the harbor. The admiral passed the word to the press corps.
In the event of war, make way for the Navy! Fifty thousand troops
would be embarked from Port Tampa.
From Henry Plant - Pioneer Empire Builder
Clara continues her relief work
Amid the speculation of the cause of the Maine’s blast, Barton continued
with her relief effort. She traveled on to the small towns and
villages where she found deplorable conditions. Calling for a battle
against the “enemies,” of “dirt and filth,” Barton rallied for volunteers
to thoroughly clean and whitewash a hospital, for example. Once enlarged,
a freshly supplied hospital could accommodate more patients. Local
physicians anguished by lack of resources, spurred to action with Red
Clara kept the public alerted
to the progress of the Red Cross relief effort. Highlighting its humanity
and neutrality, she reported about her cooperation with the Spanish
authorities. Spain was one of the original founders of the International
Red Cross and Barton fostered a rapport with General Ramón Blanco y
Erenas. She reported that, “General Blanco was glad of this relief
and sorry for the condition of the people.” She explained that her
cooperation with the Spaniards was through the international recognition
that the Red Cross operated as a neutral humanitarian body.
Clara disregarded any gender
inequality. Rather, she met the Spaniards on equal terms. “I meet you
gentlemen not as an American and you as Spaniards but as the head of the
Red Cross of one country greeting the Red Cross men of another,” she
affirmed. “I do not come to speak for America as an American, but from the
Red Cross for humanity.” Throughout her stay, she noted that General
Blanco and his staff’s unfailing “kindly spirit” prevailed. She
wrote, “I was begged not to leave the island through fear of them.” They
promised to extend “every protection in their power” to the Red Cross.
The Spanish American War
Barton correspondence May 1883 - Jan 1901
Journal on Cuba
Journal images from the Library of Congress collection of Clara Barton
scrapbooks, journals and diaries
The journal numbered "2" with Clara's notes on Cuba at the Library
of Congress picks up when she has been there for about two weeks;
she wrote in "The Red Cross in Peace and War" that she arrived on
Feb. 9th. Her entries in her No. 2 journal cover
Feb. 26, 1898 to July 1, 1898.
Clara records addresses of persons she met on the way to and in Cuba
On page marked 00, names of correspondents, reporters, etc.
then records Mr. & Mrs. Plant of Plant System, Tampa, Fla.
Afterward she records several names of persons from the northeast,
and then Mrs. Scovill on boat from Tampa to Cuba. She
then names people she met in Key West, and then Havana.
on Saturday, Feb. 26 she records her first dated journal entry:
Staff arrived. Warehouse and on the 27th, Cleaned hospital.
Successive dates document her travels and relief work from town to
town in Cuba. All are brief entries with short statements as
to what was done and who she encountered.
a span of 9 days, she travels from Havana to Matanzas, Artemisa,
back "home" to Havana, Sagua La Grande, Cienfuegos, Santo Domingo,
back to Matanzas and back to Havana.
comments on General Blanco above were referring to her visit
recorded in her journal on Tuesday, March 17 "At 10am went to
call on Gen. Blanco."
||Apparently, some friction
developed between Barton and Louis Klopsch, editor of the Christian
Herald, over stories he was printing about the Red Cross' problems
in Cuba. March 19, 1898.
Newspaper clippings from the Library of Congress collection of Clara
Barton scrapbooks, journals and diaries
Tuesday, March 22, 1898
Decided to go home to take Egan & Cotrell. Mr. Sexton came from
Matanzas. Got ready for Archbishop at Havana, did not come. Decided
to go to Washington, Egan & Cotrell, packed, drew checks, saw Consul
Clara departs Cuba
Wed., March 23, 1898
Archbishop came, blessed the hospital. Started for Washington --
boat -- Cotrell can't go - Off -- seaside to Key West, arr 9+
night--letter, got up, saw reporters. Went on to Port Tampa,
pleasant sail till next day.
below, dated March 24, Key West, indicates Clara was interviewed in her
stateroom on the Olivette on the night of the 23rd.
Newspaper stories on reasons why Clara left Cuba
Clara arrives in Port Tampa
Journal images from the Library of Congress collection of Clara
Barton scrapbooks, journals and diaries
Thu, March 24, 1898
Arrived Port Tampa at 2:30 - took room at Inn (the only hotel),
wrote, no charge - obliging hush - Q.H. Murdick - left 4:45 for
Tampa - short run, (55) arr Tampa Bay Hotel - met the Nichols - and
a bevy of nice persons - reporter of World - Sun, etc.
[Illegible] M Hathaway, met Mr. Brown, met Bishop of Harrisburg,
met Rector St. Paul church - M Sexton there - dined by invitation of
host - sent desk sets (?) to Lesser - Mrs. Reed
[illegible] and R Reeds for passes everywhere. Left for
Charleston on next - via Jacksonville [illegible].
reference to the "Inn" and in parenthesis "the only hotel" indicates
she took a room at H. B. Plant's Port Tampa Inn, did some writing,
and her notation "no charge -- obliging hush - Q.H. Murdick." would
seem to indicate the name of the desk clerk and that he allowed her to
stay for free because she was only there for 2 hours and 15 minutes,
having left for Tampa at 4:45 pm (which would explain why she
wasn't charged for the room.)
Port Tampa was a separate town from the city of Tampa. An H.B. Plant
railroad connected the two, with the Tampa end being at the Tampa Bay
Hotel. Clara took this train to the Tampa Bay Hotel where she met
various people. She had dinner by invitation, and left for
Charleston on the next train via Jacksonville. No notation was made
of staying overnight at the Tampa Bay Hotel. In fact, her journal
entry for the next day indicates she spent the night on a train from Tampa
to Washington DC.
1898 map of Tampa shows the Spanish American War camps with Port
Tampa at lower left and Tampa at upper right.
Click map to open in new window, then click again to enlarge.
The Port Tampa
Inn on the left, the St. Elmo on the right, 1900.
Photo from Shorpy, Detroit Publishing Co.
The Tampa Bay
Hotel was not Plant's first hotel in the area. In 1889, he
opened the Port Tampa Inn near his newly opened shipping piers
and port on the shores of Tampa Bay. Perhaps the most
interesting feature of the Port Tampa Inn was that hotel
guests could fish from their rooms — the hotel was built on
stilts over the bay — and the kitchen staff would prepare
their catch and serve it to them in the dining room. Tampa
residents would have preferred that Plant build a port on the
Hillsborough River, but dredging a ship channel in
Hillsborough Bay was prohibitively expensive. Old Tampa Bay
had a natural deepwater channel and Plant decided to build his
"Port Tampa" on the west side of the Interbay Peninsula. Upon
completion of the rail extension to Port Tampa, Plant built a
wharf, warehouses, and a resort called Picnic Island. Port
Tampa City received a state charter in 1885, a direct result
of Plant's port facility. After the city completed a bridge
across the Hillsborough River at Lafayette Street (now Kennedy
Blvd), Plant began construction of the Tampa Bay Hotel. He no
doubt wanted to outdo the efforts of his friendly rival, Henry
Flagler, who had just finished the $2 million Ponce de León
Hotel at St. Augustine.
(From "Grand Hotels" by Rodney Kite-Powell, Tampa Bay History
Other wartime notables who
passed through Port Tampa included Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders,
the Buffalo Soldiers, Richard Harding Davis, Stephen Crane, and Frederic
Remington. Port Tampa became less important when several dredging projects
made the Port of Tampa accessible to all shipping.
March 26 through April 2 --Washington DC - Clara
makes notations for her various dealings with the State Dept. and
other Red Cross business dealings.
heads back to Cuba
Sunday, April 3 - Clara is on a train from Washington to
Charlotte, then Jacksonville.
Monday, April 4 - On train is all she records
Tuesday, April 5 - Only writes Tampa to Key West
Wednesday, April 6 - On Havana (a steamer.)
Friday, March 25, 1898
Good sleep in Pullman car till morning, near Suwannee River, fruit
The Inn at Port Tampa, guest note paper image from Red Cross
Correspondence file, Spanish American War - Cottrell
up of previous photo, Port Tampa Inn,
Port Tampa and Port Tampa City, located to the west of present-day
MacDill Air Force Base, were established in the late 1880s, and for a
number of years Port Tampa was the natural deepwater port for Tampa. Then,
in the early 1900s the port was dredged at the mouth of the Hillsborough
River in downtown Tampa, and most of the port business moved there.
(Starting in 1904 the Federal government, in part, funded the dredging of
the channels in Tampa and Tampa Bay, opening it up again to be a
significant port. Tampa quickly rebounded and boomed. In 1909, the channel
up the Hillsborough River was deepened to 12 feet from Tampa Bay to Jean
Street Shipyard.) Today, the port at Port Tampa City is still in operation
but on a much smaller scale than that at the bustling Port of Tampa. The
two ports are about ten miles apart.
At right, close up of the
St. Elmo Inn, from
is back in Cuba
Thurs., April 7 -
First day back, trunks came up, strong talk of
war. Clara mentions concern by authorities for her safety, "the
lawless element, the mob, the rioters" but one official says he would take
her to his home to protect her with his life.
Friday, April 8 - Clara sends a telegram to her nephew, S. E.
Barton, telling him of the state of affairs in Cuba and asks his advice.
He replies to "take no chances."
We decide to leave tomorrow. The four nurses sew for me, do up my
summer suit beautifully. I pay all my help. This takes all
night, pack and go to bed, tired, uncertain.
Declaration of War forces Clara to leave Cuba; sets up
Red Cross headquarters in Tampa
Due to the coming war, the
order was given for all American citizens to leave Havana. Clara was
forced to abandon her relief work and she accepted Blanco’s farewell and
blessing and in her words, she left those “poor, dying wretches to their
fate.” One newspaper reported, “The whole system of caring for and
giving aid to the starving Cubans is for the time being brought to a
On April 9th, she packed her bags and headed to Tampa, where she set up
the American Red Cross headquarters.
In her book, The Red Cross
in Peace and War, Clara wrote:
Having made the best possible arrangement for the maintenance of the
institutions we had brought into being and had fostered in Havana; and
with the saddest regrets that we should have to abandon a work so well
begun, we boarded the ship “Olivette” on April 11th*
[9th], and started for the United States. After a great deal of
discomfort, caused by the overcrowding of passengers and the heavy seas,
we reached Tampa, Fla., on April 13th*
After a day or two of rest, Miss Barton proceeded to Washington with
Drs. Hubbell and Egan, the remainder of the party stopping in Tampa.
There were at that time
probably about fifteen hundred Cuban refugees in Tampa and eight or nine
hundred in Key West, who were entirely dependent. The Red Cross took
upon itself the task of maintaining these poor people, and for a period
of seven months its agents provided for them. It should be said,
however, that the citizens of both these cities appointed committees and
did all they could to relieve the necessities of these large bodies of
wrote incorrect dates of April 11 and April 13. The dates were
actually April 9 and April 11 as indicated in Clara's journal. In another
of her books, The Red Cross, a History of.., she wrote:
And the ninth of April saw us again on ship board, a party of twenty,
bound for Tampa. We would not, however, go beyond, but made headquarters
there, remaining within easy call of any need there might be for us.
Olivette in Havana harbor, circa 1880-1901. It was the
second steamer used by the H. B. Plant System and made regular runs
between Tampa, Key West and Cuba. It joined his first steamer
on these runs, the Mascotte, a smaller steamship. Both were
named after comic operas by
Achille Edmond Audran (1840-1901), a French composer best known
for several internationally successful operettas, including
Les Noces d'Olivette (1879),
La Mascotte (1880), Gillette de Narbonne (1882), La Cigale
et la Fourmi (1886), Miss Helyett (1890) and La Poupée (1896).
Photo from Library of Congress
of flag showing "Southern Express Company"
arrives in Tampa and stays at the Arno one night, then the Towne residence in Hyde
April 9, 1898 - April
11: Havana to Key West to Tampa - Clara was up early on
April 9, 1898 to pack her trunks and head to the consulate, Dr. Bruner.
She left Havana onboard the Olivette and arrived in Key West on April 10.
From Key West she sailed all day to Port Tampa where she arrived in the
morning on April 11. There she met Gen. Lee by accident, sent
off some letters, and took a train into Tampa. She made a notation
"Hotel closed" which may refer to the Tampa Bay Hotel. Then she notes
"went to Arno."
|Hotel Arno at 508-510
Tampa Street, circa 1900.
Burgert Bros. photo is a photo of a newspaper photo, courtesy of
the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.
On April 12 at
the Arno, her trunks were in fumigation. She saw Father Tyrell
and Col. Wright. "Not much need, get list of supplies needed."
"Times called" may be a reference to a reporter stopping by.
She mentions a Mrs. Shelly and Miss Metz's school.
Two styles of Hotel Arno guest paper, image from Red Cross Correspondence
file, Spanish American War - Cottrell
Fumigation was a method used in the
19th century to disinfect clothing and cargo. It was usually used
for immigrants and passengers arriving from foreign countries.
Clothing was placed in an apparatus that produced a partial vacuum, then
superheated steam was introduced, fully disinfecting the clothing.
Afterward, a partial vacuum was recreated to quickly dry the clothes.
The process was often destructive, damaging clothing and goods.
Some steamship lines fumigated passengers' baggage with sulfur fumes for
no less than 6 hours.
at the Arno, Clara mentioned Mrs. Metz school and a kindergarten.
The next day, the Tampa Tribune had a story about Clara's visit to
the kindergarten in Tampa Heights.
She met with Mr. Wright
and "removed to a new home" (a reference to leaving the Arno and
staying at the home of J. Mack Towne in Hyde Park. See April 14th.)
She also mentions a picnic (the one shown below) and "Com called -
Hubbell goes to NY, advises to go to Wash. Tell him we are
housekeeping (probably a reference to getting the Red Cross affairs
organized and situated), stormy day at Wash.
Clara wrote that she is "at Towns" (the home of J. Mack Towne at 350
Plant Avenue) and her trunks have arrived. "S.E.B. wires to
stay here" is a reference to her nephew, Stephen E. Barton, a son of
her brother David Barton & his wife Julia. Stephen was 2nd
V.P. of the American Red Cross and Chairman of The Central Cuban
The 1903 Sanborn fire insurance map from the UF
digital map collection shows the Arno was located across Tampa St.
from Townes' Tampa Steam Laundry. This is probably how she
came to be invited to stay at the Towne's home.
Zoomable view of Clara's journal from April 9 though April 14,
Below: Towne's Tampa Steam
Laundry as seen from the intersection of Tampa St (right) and Twiggs
Photo from "Tampa
Illustrated" at Internet Archive, compiled and published by C.
E. Bissell and Roy Dougherty in 1903. Photo by Fred Barker.
The 1903 Sanborn map below shows the vantage point from which the
above photo was taken.
Not only is this the location of NY
Pizza, it appears to be the same building.
Barton Picnicking in Tampa
By Hampton Dunn:
This rare photograph was made in 1898 by Mrs. E. B. Drumright (then
Miss Annie Laurie Dean) and is one of the few known portraits of
Miss Barton of this era. Miss Barton (striped neckpiece) is seated
to the right of the coffee urn. The other women are not
identified, but the men are (left to right) Mr. McDowell, Dr.
Egan, and Dr. Elwell. Miss Barton at first was stationed in
the plush hotel, but moved to more modest quarters over on Plant
indicated by her journal entry, Clara stayed at the Arno, not at the
Tampa Bay Hotel. Barton was extremely frugal with Red
Cross's funds and unless she was given a room for free (which is
highly doubtful H. B. Plant would have done) she would have never
stayed at the TBH. She moved into the J. Mack Townes home the next
Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, picnicking at the
Hillsborough River's edge on the grounds of the Tampa Bay Hotel.
Recorded in her journal as April 13, 1898.
The photo above was part of Hampton Dunn's
personal collection in 1982 and at the time was only one of two
known in existence. The other was in the Smithsonian in
Washington DC. Dunn was honored by the University of South
Florida in 1982 at which time he donated the bulk of his
approximately 30-year collection to the university, including this
in Tampa, urged to go to Washington DC
Clara spent Friday, April 15, 1898
writing a letters and sending 2 telegrams to her nephew, Stephen E.
Barton. It was "another windy day." She spent the
evening chatting in the parlor with Mrs. Townes and Mrs. Porch (her
neighbor) and went for a ride with Miss Metz of the kindergarten.
"Elwell left for Key West that night."
Saturday, April 16, was a "fine day."
She mentions "War News" and a report that troops are coming to Tampa
and that "Tampa will be a center." (War on Spain had not yet
been declared.) A telegram from her nephew, S.E.B. urges her
to come to Washington and leave her staff in Tampa. She wrote
letters to various Red Cross personnel, "men do banking, get passes.
A busy afternoon." She packs her satchel in minutes, makes no
change (of clothes?) leaves Cotrell $50 (he had previously drawn a
check for $200) and she leaves for the train station at 7:30
pm. "Wait at train station until 9pm, after having driven at a
gallop to get there. Took train and berth."
Zoomable view of Clara's journal from April 15 to April 17,
Tampa to Jacksonville and Washington, DC.
Sunday, April 17 - Clara arrived in Jacksonville a half hour
too late and missed the next train which left 20 minutes earlier.
She didn't go to a hotel, instead she had breakfast in the
restaurant at a table in the corner and wrote and read all day until
4 pm when she met a friend of Egan's and took a long ride.
Numerous notes on sending dispatches to NY, Wash. & Tampa and
comments on various Red Cross activity concerning authority.
Her train to Washington left at 8pm.
Monday, April 18 - Notes about her
activity on the train ride from Jacksonville to Washington DC,
beginning at 7 am.
Zoomable view of Clara's journal from April 17 to April 19
Tuesday, April 19
through Thursday April 21 - Clara writes about many things from
her home in Glen Echo, MD.
On April 21 she notes that "War news gets bad."
This is not typical of Clara's
which is typically quite illegible.
is the page numbered "00" at the top which Clara referred to at the
beginning of this No. 2 book of notes on Cuba--Names of persons she
met on this trip. The
Hotel Inglaterra (Spanish for "England") still stands in Havana
The Hotel Inglaterra, as it would have
looked when Clara was there
seen here, ca. 1900
Photo from Secrets of Cuba Culture Forum
(This site has many rare, old photos of Cuba from this time period)
Cross relief ship "State of Texas"
Early in April it had been decided to charter a steamer in New York
and to load her with supplies and send her to different ports in
Cuba, where her cargo could be unloaded in such quantities as might
be required. Accordingly, the steamer "State of Texas," of about
eighteen hundred tons burden, was chartered from Messrs. Mallory &
Co., of New York, and notwithstanding the fact that our party had
been obliged to leave Havana, and that subsequently war had been
declared, the preparations for sailing were kept up, and the steamer
was loaded with a cargo of fourteen hundred tons, which embraced a
fine assortment of substantial and delicacies, and many household
articles, medicines and hospital stores. When she was finally loaded
in the latter part of April, the "State of Texas" sailed for Key
West in charge of Dr. J. B. Hubbell, with Captain Frank Young as
sailing master, arriving there on the twenty-eighth of that month.
The Red Cross, A History of this Remarkable International
Movement in the History of Humanity
Red Cross relief ship "State of Texas"
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress
Friday, April 22 - Clara is at home in Glen Echo having
arrived on the train at 7:30 am. Numerous notes regarding
Saturday, April 23 - Clara mentions "Ship sailed 8 1/2
(8:30) a reference to the Red Cross relief ship "State of Texas"
leaving NY for Key West.
The State of Texas
relief ship leaves New York for Key West and Cuba
Departure of the Red Cross relief ship State of Texas from
New York to Cuba on April 23, 1898.
Dr. A.M. Lesser of the Red Cross Hospital bids farewell to Dr. Julian B.
Hubbell (bearded), Field Agent of the Central Cuban Relief.
Photo from the National Park Service Museum
Clara Barton described
the qualities of the ideal American Red Cross field agent:
field agent should possess: the ability to view a situation
broadly without scorning details, an objective mind mellowed by
sympathetic understanding, a liking for hard work, willingness to
cooperate with others, belief in what the Red Cross stands for,
executive talents, but willingness to subordinate his/herself.”
Read about Dr. Hubbell at
A Quiet Leader, Dr.
Julian B. Hubbell, the first American Red Cross Chief Field Agent
Image from "In Memoriam" Clara Barton Tribute, 1912
Sunday, April 24 - Glen Echo - Clara mentions the ship
"State of Texas having left yesterday and expects to arrive in Key
West on Thursday and she plans to leave Glen Echo tomorrow (Monday.)
declares war on Spain
Monday, April 25 - Clara goes to the White House and meets
with Pres. McKinley and Sec. Alvey Adee regarding getting letters of
authority so she and the Red Cross can pass through the US blockade
of Cuba. Adee writes a letter to Sec. Long. This is the
day the U.S. declared war on Spain.
At the declaration of war on April 25th, the American Red Cross in
Tampa was ready to offer immediate war service, and in spite of war,
Barton hoped that her relief work would continue. Two days before
the outbreak of war, the Red Cross relief ship, the State of
Texas, left New York harbor laden with 1,400 tons of supplies
for the reconcentrados. Barton was anxious that the Geneva
Convention did not cover naval warfare at this time. Moreover, in
war, the Red Cross was supposed to have an active role with the
military. She appealed to military leaders to follow the Geneva
accords, but she found the same prejudices against her and “her”
organization as she had in the Civil War. The generals believed that
volunteer committees were unnecessary and that the military should
take care of its own medical needs.
Before the “State of Texas”
arrived at Key West, war had been declared between the United States and Spain,
and soon after the prize ships, schooners, steamers and fishing smacks, captured
off the Cuban coast began to come in, in tow, or in charge of prize crews. The
Navy worked rapidly and brought in their prizes so quickly that the government
officials were not prepared to feed the prisoners of war. On the ninth of May
the United States Marshal for the southern district of Florida made the
Miss Clara Barton,
President, American National Red Cross:
Barton: On board the captured vessels we find quite a number of aliens among
the crews, mostly Cubans, and some American citizens, and their detention here
and inability to get away for want of funds has exhausted their supply of
food, and some of them will soon be entirely out. As there is no appropriation
available from which food could be purchased, would you kindly provide for
them until I can get definite instructions from the Department at Washington?
John F. Horr,
From The Red Cross in Peace and War by Clara Barton
Clara heads back to
Tampa and Key West to join the relief ship State of Texas
Clara made note of her itinerary for this
trip and affixed it to the cover of her No. 2 journal of her notes
The Scene at the Tampa Bay Hotel
In 1898 H. B.
Plant's Tampa Bay Hotel became headquarters for the top brass of
the U.S. Army during the Spanish American War as Tampa was the
debarkation point for troops going to Cuba. A young relatively
unknown officer named Theodore Roosevelt camped nearby with his
"’Rough Riders" but his wife stayed at the "big hotel".
Generals Joe Wheeler, John B. Gordon, Fitzhugh Lee and Nelson A.
Miles were some of the brass who mapped strategy from the
verandahs of the hotel.
Generals Nelson A. Miles, Joseph Wheeler and
staff in front of officers quarters on Picnic Island: Port Tampa
Gen William Ludlow,
Photo courtesy of the Harvard University Library, Dwight L.
Elmendorf Spanish-American War photographs
March 27, 1898 -
Burial of the "Maine" victims, taken at Key West.
First comes a detachment of sailors and marines in the left
foreground, while at the right is seen a crowd of small
colored boys, which preceded any public procession in the
South. Then follow the nine hearses, each coffin draped with
the flag. At the side of each wagon walk the pall bearers,
surviving comrades, their heads bowed in attitudes of grief.
Next come naval officers and marines, and lastly a
procession of carriages, followed by a large crowd on foot.
1898 Tampa - Military camp at Tampa, taken from train
From Edison films "war extra" catalog: A wide plain, dotted
with tents, gleaming white in the bright sunshine. Soldiers
moving about everywhere, at all sorts of duties. In the
background looms up a big cigar factory; giving the prosaic
touch to the picture needful to bring out in sharp contrast
the patriotism with which the scene inspires us. The camera
was on a rapidly moving train, so the panoramic view is a
wide one, and remarkably brilliant.
1898, Ybor City. Hurrah--here they come! Hot, dusty,
grim and determined! Real soldiers, every inch of them! No
gold lace and chalked belts and shoulder straps, but fully
equipped in full marching order: blankets, guns, knapsacks
and canteens. Train is in the background. Crowds of curious
bystanders; comical looking "dude" with a parasol strolls
languidly in the foreground. Small boys in abundance.
The column marches in fours and passes through the front of
the picture. More small boys--all colors. The picture is
excellent in outline and full of vigorous life.
Tampa - Shows the wonderful intelligence of these
Troop F, 6th U.S. Cavalry, horses. At a command they lie
down promptly, and at another order scramble to their feet.
Circa April 1898
in Tampa - Roosevelt Rough Riders. A charge full of
cowboy enthusiasm by Troop "I," the famous regiment, at
Tampa, before its departure for the front. Roosevelt
and his Rough Riders were encamped in West Tampa in the area
that is now between Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory and Kennedy
Blvd, along Howard Ave. See
Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory at TampaPix.com
Whitney leaving Port Tampa for Cuba, May 20,1898
Jun 8, 1898 - Roosevelt's
Rough Riders embarking for Santiago, Port of Tampa -
Soldiers in Spanish-American War uniforms moving boxes
towards a steamship on the dock
January 1, 1899,
in Havana, Cuba.The troops are turning into the Prado from a
side street, where stands a triumphal arch erected by the
Cubans; but which Gen. Brooke, the Military Governor of
Cuba, would not permit to be finished, as he allowed no
demonstrations of any kind. The soldiers are the First Texas
troops. The streets are crowded with people. Many typical
Cubans are seen lounging in the foreground, with here and
there a Spaniard, if one may judge by sour looks and solemn
demeanor. The buildings are all low stone structures, with
heavy barred windows, from which are displayed small Cuban
flags. An excellent picture of life in Havana.
Library of Congress Channel at YouTube
Spanish American war period films shot in Tampa
on Library of Congress Website
Generals James F. Wade,
McClure, and Ramsey on the verandah of the Tampa Bay Hotel, April
Photo courtesy of the Harvard University Library, Dwight L.
Elmendorf Spanish-American War photographs
Tuesday, April 26 -
Clara takes the 9:30 train from home
to catch the 11:15 from Washington for Jacksonville. Rainy,
dull day all the way to Jacksonville.
Wednesday, April 27 - Tampa
- She meets the Taliaferros of
Jacksonville onboard. Clara arrives in Tampa at 5:30 pm and
home in time for supper.
CLARA BARTON IN TAMPA
New York Times, April 28, 1898. TAMPA - Apr. 27 - Miss Clara
Barton of the Red Cross Society arrived here to-night from
Washington, and she, with the entire Red Cross force, will leave
Tampa to-morrow for Key West.
Times, April 29, 1898.
TAMPA - April 28 - Gen. Wade and his staff made an official call to-day on
Miss Clara Barton and they had an important conference of half an hour.
The exact nature of it is not known, but Miss Barton admitted that her
future movements were concerned in it. To-night Miss Barton and those of
the society who were with her left on the steamship Mascotte for Key West.
Thursday, April 28 - Tampa - Sent
word to Gen Wade he is the son of "old Ben" he calls with Lieut
Alma We take carriage and visit camps 9th inft - 4th inft Capt
Hall - all genial, glad to see us. Mrs Towne had arranged her
church tea for tomorrow but changes the day to Wed. All the
Military are invited and all came at 4 pm. I receive with Rev
Dehart he [illegible] - clergyman. A lively
entertainment of all Tampa. Tel [telephone] Atlanta [?]
to send on supplies for com ca.. Father Tyrell who is ill - others
of com call for them Cubans - we still adhere [?] to Father
Tyrell - pack trunks pay rent to May 12 $62. Gen Wade wants rooms,
we hold ...[ illegible]
were taken at the Towne residence at 350 Plant Avenue on Thursday,
April 28, at a "Military Tea" given by the ladies of the Hyde Park
Guild. It is the day she spent in Tampa on her way to meet
the State of Texas in Key West. Clara mentioned the next
day, those who were on the train to Port Tampa to board the
Mascotte: Dr. Joseph Gardner and his wife Enola, Miss Lucy
Graves, four nurses, Dr. E.Winfield Egan (Red Cross Surgeon), Mr.
C.H.H. Cottrell (Red Cross Financial Secretary), J.K. Elwell, and
J.A. McDowell. The photo is most likely those persons.
Notice the four nurses in the photo, along with two other women
(Enola Gardner and Miss Graves) and 6 men (only one not named.)
American Red Cross Blog
below from "The
Red Cross in Peace and War" - A PART OF THE RED CROSS CORPS
that was working with the Reconcentrados in Cuba before the
declaration of war, waiting at Tampa, Florida, for the Red Cross
Relief Ship “State of Texas,” to carry them back to Cuba to resume
their work. The address of the house can be seen just above
the small U.S. flag on the wall behind the nurse.
Military tea in honor of Gen. Wade and staff at
the home of Mr. & Mrs. J. Mack Towne in Hyde Park, Tampa, Fla.
Clara Barton is seated in the center of the group.
Place your cursor
on the photo to see persons identified compared to picnic photo.
L to R: J.K.Elwell, J.A. McDowell, nurse1, Dr. Jos. Gardner,
unknown man1, nurse2, Miss Barton seated, unknown man2, nurse3, unknown
man3 (may be David L. Cobb, Red Cross Counsel), Enola Gardner, nurse4,
The four nurses appeared in
another photo (see further down) and are identified by Miss Barton in a
letter she wrote on March 22, 1899.
They are Miss Isabelle Olm, Miss
Annie McCue, Miss Blanche MacCorriston, and Miss Minnie Rogall. (not
necessarily in order here.)
Photograph by Gevit Parlow.
Other photos by Gevit Parlow
See Clara's journal for April 27 & 28
Towne was the owner
of Towne's Tampa Steam Laundry. Photo at right shows
J. Mack Towne seated at center with his staff and his son, D. P.
Towne dressed in black, standing next to him, 1903.
Another photo was taken at the same occasion on
the front porch of the Towne residence.
Clara Barton (at center) and some of the same Red Cross volunteers
outside the home of J. Mack Towne located at 350 Plant Avenue.
Clara Barton and her Red Cross volunteers outside the
home of J. Mack Towne at 350 Plant Avenue.
Photo from Tampa Tribune Online article by Paul Guzzo, credit to Tampa
Bay History Center.
Below: The Towne residence in 1903.
Illustrated" at Internet Archive, compiled and published by C. E.
Bissell and Roy Dougherty in 1903.
Photo by Fred Barker.
Below, from the
Clara Barton/Red Cross scrapbooks online at the Library of
On the next two pages, Clara turned her
journal sideways and wrote the following:
If the people desire me to return
to Cuba and distribute their gifts, I am willing to do so.
In the present condition of affairs I cannot do this without
the fullest and strongest authority from our government.
The proper division of this relief
should be as follows:
The New York committee to collect, ship and place the relief
on the island. General Lee to be responsible for receipt of
such supplies, reporting to the government as at present, and
conferring with the NY committee.
The Red Cross to receive the
supplies, through the consuls if there, and be responsible for
their distribution, reporting to the NY committee as the
responsible agent of the government.
|Thursday, April 28
to Key West to join the relief ship "State of Texas"
In her book, The
Red Cross, A History of this Remarkable International Movement in
the History of Humanity, Clara wrote about this day:
In the meantime, Dr. Jos. Gardner and
wife, of Bedford, Ind., had joined our party at Tampa; and
soon after Miss Barton, Dr. Egan, Mr. D. L. Cobb* and Miss Lucy
M. Graves came along, and it was arranged that the entire
party was to leave Tampa on the evening of April 28, to go aboard
the steamer "State of Texas," at Key West, and remain on her until
the army had made a landing in Cuba, when it was expected that we
should be able to resume our work there. The day of the evening we
were to leave Tampa, Mrs. J. M. Towne, the lady at whose house our
party was stopping, gave a reception in honor of Miss Barton, to
which General Wade and the army officers who were then stationed
there, and many ladies and gentlemen of that fine little city,
were invited. It was a most brilliant and enjoyable occasion, the
uniforms of the officers and the lovely toilettes** of the ladies
making a picture that will long remain in the memories of those
who saw it.
Lewis Cobb was counsel to the National Red Cross.
**Toilette - Dress, attire; costume.
In her journal, Clara wrote: ..."at 7:30
train leaves for the Mascot to Key West. We all take it,
Dr. & Enola [Dr. Joseph Gardner and his wife Enola], Miss
Graves [Lucy], four nurses, Dr Egan, Cotrell, Elwell,
McDowell. Mr. and Mrs. [H.B.] Plant came out to see us
at hotel and came to reception. We reach boat and leave
at 10. o'clock.
Lee's marriage to Dr. Gardner in 1888, she was Clara's friend
and secretary. When Enola announced to Clara that she
was to marry Dr. Gardner, she promised that she and her
husband would continue to work with her anywhere they might be
Lawrence County Museum of History
Clara and her entourage leave Tampa to join the relief
ship State of Texas in Key West
Friday, April 29
Mascotte to Key West
- After landing in Key West she meets Hubbell and passengers of the
State of Texas, Captain Young, "she is far off." Gives papers
to Commander Forsyth who refers her to Capt. Harrington of the
Puritan who came on to her tug. Delivered papers and went onto
the ship. "A nice ship, well manned. Supper. Mr.
Mann historian, Mr. Bangs, Mr. Duncan, supper, room, bed.
See journal pages for April 28 & 29
in Key West for clearance from the US Navy to enter Cuba
Saturday, April 30 - Onboard the State of Texas, Key West harbor
- Clara spends much time on the ship docked in Key West, waiting for
the Navy to allow the State of Texas to pass through the blockade
with their supplies. She writes about many things in the
oncoming weeks. The events of the war, the business of the Red
Cross, banking activities, shore excursions, etc. She uses up
the pages in her 2nd book on her activities concerning Cuba and
starts a new book where her handwriting vastly improves. On
May 10 she goes in to detail about the "Prize ships"--ships that the
U.S. has captured and brought to Key West with their crew.
Clara records the names of some ships and tells about
distributing food and supplies to them. All this goes on for
about a month.
While we were lying at Key West there
was scarcely a day passed that some of our vigilant blockading
squadron did not bring in from one to three captured prizes;
sometimes large steamships, and from that class through the
various grades of shipping down to fishing smacks; and in the
course of a couple of weeks there were between thirty and forty of
these boats lying at anchor in the harbor, with their crews aboard
under guard. Somehow it was forgotten that these poor foreigners
must eat to live; or else perhaps somebody thought that somebody
else was responsible for this very important matter; be that as it
may, they were unprovided for.
The boats, of course, had a small
amount of provisions aboard when they were captured, and while
that lasted all went well; but in a few days their supply was
exhausted and calls were made on the United States Marshal, in
whose charge the prisoners were, for food. That officer, having no
contingent fund on which to draw, was in despair, and came to Miss
Barton, who at once reassured him by saying that she would attend
to the matter and would provide for all the prisoners until such
time as he could get his petition through the departments at
Washington. Accordingly several boatloads of provisions were
hastily gotten together and taken in tow by a steam launch which
landed them alongside of each prize. Miss Barton personally
visited these boats, and with the aid of an interpreter she
learned the needs of the crews, and not only supplied them with
food, but she arranged to take letters from all who wished to
communicate with friends and relatives in Spain and elsewhere, and
forwarded the letters to their destination.
May 1 - Clara goes to church in Key West with Mrs. Gardner.
Notes on plans with Capt. Harrington, to see Spanish General Blanco,
get food ashore under flag of truce. Clara writes letter to be
taken to Admiral Sampson.
See journal page for May 1
May 2 - Onboard the State of Texas - She sends a message to
Admiral Sampson to asking to allow the ship to pass the blockade
surrounding the island.
Ad. S. [Admiral Sampson] before I was up--copied it autograph and
gave to Mr. Cobb to take to Capt. Harrington on Puritan to send to
Admiral - Mr. Cobb did not find Capt. H and retained the letter.
Meanwhile came a call from typical Navy man Capt Chadwick he is one
of the persons that fill the space all up in an instant. He
had to say that the Ad[miral] had received word of our arrival our
papers and had sent his reply which he delivered to me. He
said the plan of the blockade was to keep food out of Cuba, while
mine was to get it in. I talked with him very low and slow
mentioned that I had addressed a letter to the Ad. which he wished
to see. I send it to him from the Press Book. He grew
more considerate, said I had best see the Ad. He would take me.
Read what Clara wrote in her book "The Red Cross" about her
rendezvous with the State of Texas, her encounter with
Admiral Sampson, and her time in Key West waiting for his permission
to pass the blockade.
Clara meets with
Admiral Sampson on his ship, the New York:
the admiral did not absolutely refuse to give me a flag of truce and
attempt an entrance into Havana; but he disapproved it, feared the
results for me and acting in accordance with his highest wisdom and
best judgment, I felt it to be my place to wait. By the concurrence
of the admiral our letters were both given to the public, and we
remained, as we had been, neighbors and friends."
William T. Sampson was the Commander of the U.S. blockading
and North Atlantic squadrons during the Spanish-American War of
1898. Prior to the war, he served in a variety of assignments and
rose to rank of Captain by 1890 and later became a Rear Admiral. He
was appointed President of the U.S.S. Maine Court of Inquiry, the
group that was responsible for the investigation of the incident in
Havana harbor. During the war with Spain, Sampson was in charge of
the North Atlantic and conducted the blockade of Cuba. Sampson
himself was not present at the battle when the ships under his
command destroyed the Spanish vessels of Admiral Cervera as they
attempted to escape from the harbor of Santiago. In nearby Puerto
Rico, Sampson commanded the blockade and bombardment of the San Juan
Although tedious, the wait in Key West was not without action.
Barton and her staff quickly turned their attention to the Spanish
crew of captured vessels, prisoners of war, offering them sustenance
under the auspices of the Red Cross. Again, “ease suffering” was her
philosophy. She explained that until then “they had only live fish
and brown sugar to eat.”
Friday, May 6 - Several pages of notes describing events,
activity and news up to this day, this day is the last entry for
notes in this journal, still on the Texas in Key West.
See journal page
See details in Clara's book "The Red Cross."
At this point, Clara's
journal notes some statistics about the town of
Bejucal, a small town near Havana.
3/4 hour RR to
Winne(?) Pop. 8000 in all, reconcentrados 2500, no hospital, need
is 300, public charity feed, daily death 10 to 12 persons. Fever,
wasting of blood, no clothing.
Saturday, May 7 - Clara starts her third book with notes on
Cuba, still onboard the State of Texas relief ship in Key West, she
refers to her first two books by description.
This is the third small book in which have been written notes of
Cuba. The first a red book commencing with the first of the
field - The second a long thin little gray book, picked up
incidentally, ending with May 6. These small books are to be
copied into a larger book when the time can be found to do it.
See cover of this book
See journal entry
From May 7 to May
17, while waiting in Key West, Clara writes about many things in
more legible writing than her previous journal; among some of the
various topics are: too much familiarity by the captain with the
nurses, feeding the captives on the 15 captured ships in Key West
harbor, and distribution of food for more ships, now numbering 20.
See beginning of this period in journal.
Wednesday, May 18 - J. K. Elwell left for Tampa to survey
the conditions and Red Cross' supplies.
See journal entry
Clara vents her
frustration while waiting in Key West
Saturday, May 21, Clara begins a long criticism of the U.S.
government and the Navy for their lack of compassion and vents her
frustration about the resulting futility of the of the Red Cross'
efforts. She vents her frustration when she recounts her
response to a correspondent from the London Standard who came by to
see her, writing that he could not understand why the Red Cross was
not in great preparation to treat the wounded or sick, then goes on
to explain their methods to him.
It is decided that
they steam back to Tampa then head for Washington to straighten
"...If we are
only a cute charitable society like the D.A.R then let us know it.
Let the country know it and be no longer deceived by our false
pretense. If we have no status under the treaty and it is
all --?-- and vested in the War Dept. then let it be known and let
us retire. We have no desire to try to serve a cause in
which we are neither recognized or wanted. If our Government
in the knowledge of the situation makes this decision, then we
will lay aside all further efforts. Make it known to the
world that America has no universal relief body, that its people
prefer to work only for themselves, and thus we have in reality no
longer a Red Cross. That our people prefer to aid its own
sick and wounded through its war department and therefore there is
no existing body in the U.S. through which other Red Cross
societies can aid. That this being the decision of our
government, after mature consultation with it, we decide that our
only course, regretful, humiliating and sad as it is, must be to
inform the other nations and return to them the funds already
sent, a larger sum that has ever been contributed by all of our
people to us for war relief and call it all closed. It is
possible we have done our work so poorly as to necessitate a
course --- --- on the part of our president and his cabinet,
better informed and with broader views, should revive the subject
and call for a revision of the Treaty of 1882. It was
decided that the captain be directed to steam for Tampa early in
See journal entry.
Telegrams were sent
to various people, including S.E.B. to be prepared to go to
Washington, that "we would leave Tampa Monday night."
Sunday, May 22
- Key West to Tampa - The State of Texas steams out
of Key West for Port Tampa at 8am, "...leaving a city of
conjecturing people. What are they going for and where?
Those who would go on to Washington were "C.B (herself)., Mr.
Kennon, Mr. Cobb."
See journal entry.
Monday, May 23 - Clara recalls the death of
her sister, Sally, as she sails from Key West to Port Tampa onboard
the relief ship "State of Texas":
"Twenty-four years ago today I reached Worcester having been
brought through from Washington to take my last look at poor dying
sister Sally. She could not wait and I arrived to find that
she had gone two hours before. Poor sweet soul, ready for
the Heaven ready for her. If for any at all events, rest
which she so needed, a useful life, with its joys, its sorrows,
its lover and its carer had ended, and its liver passed to the
beyond. Then followed my years of weakness and woe.
How I lived them I cannot conceive, and sometimes I find it an
equal mystery--why. Vester and Bernard and poor dear Minnie
have passed, and I here, 24 years older, well strong, striving
with the world, not one soul near me that I knew or had ever heard
of then. It is quite another world. In another few
years, I shall be to them what the others are to me--a memory,
See journal entry.
Clara in Tampa and the scene at the Tampa Bay Hotel
arrives in Port Tampa at
9:30am and spends some time onboard preparing for their trip to
Washington. They debarked at 4pm, took a train to the Tampa
Bay Hotel where she meets several people in the lobby. She
describes the scene at the hotel:
mixture of officers, reporters and sightseers. The first to
encounter was Mrs. Lee of the Period, next Mrs. Earhart of N.O.
a true type of the 'women of the period' determined to see and to
get all there was to be seen and had. Pushing women, still
good, active workers in their way. Mr. Kennon called on Gen.
Shafter who came downstairs to call on me. He made a pleasant
call, is a large, short, desperately swelled-out man, still a
rather fine-looking person. He knows nothing of the future.
Met several reporters, all pleasant but starved for news.
Hundreds in and about Tampa. Met Mrs. Cummings, the
daughter-in-law of Chester & Deborah Borden Cummings of
General Shafter at the
Tampa Bay Hotel, 1898.
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
others on the grounds of the Tampa Bay Hotel, 1898
Photo courtesy of the Harvard University Library, Dwight L.
Elmendorf Spanish-American War photographs
Brig. Gen. Joseph
Hamilton Lee, British attaché, and Count Gustav Adolf
Goetzen, German attaché
5th Army Corps
preparing to board the ships departing for Cuba, Port Tampa
Photo courtesy of Harvard Library Spanish American War Photographs
Clara stays at the home of Mrs. Porch, neighbor
of Mrs. Towne
Mr. Cobb drove to Mrs. Towne who came at once. We must go
home with her to stay. We drove up, house full. Met
Lieut. Hutton and wife. Col. & Mrs. Liecom who had met me at
Sorosis dinner. Mrs. Porch came to insist on my
sleeping in her house. The first thing was to show me
Margaret's picture painted for her in Chicago. "
good night's sleep in a lovely room. The parlor chamber,
this, like Mrs. Towne's own home beside it, was designed by Mrs.
Towne who has excellent taste. She is a loving, enthusiastic
woman, the picture of health, but that cough is the "canker in the
rose." She will be lucky to go early. Mrs. Porch, I
fear, will be left with the children. We found Mr. Elwell
there, who had done splendidly in the relief."
Cross nurses in Tampa, 1898.
From the Rollins College Archives
Caption from "The Red Cross in Peace and War" by Clara Barton. L
to R: Misses Isabelle Olm, Annie McCue, Blanche MacCorriston,
and Minnie Rogall, all from the New York Red Cross hospital.
Photo identification comes from
this letter of March 22, 1899 at the Library of Congress Barton
Papers Collection, written by Clara in response to
one she received from Miss James of Detroit, Michigan.
See the whole letter.
Emergency Relief at Port Tampa
At this time there were
several camps at Tampa and Port Tampa, and several thousand troops
were preparing for the invasion of Cuba; transports were daily
arriving at Port Tampa and were being placed in readiness to carry
this vast host to the “Pearl of the Antilles.” Those were busy days
for everybody, and the Red Cross doctors and nurses were called upon
hourly to render service to many victims of injury and disease.
(The Red Cross in Peace and War)
Tampa and the 2nd Lafayette St. Bridge from the Tampa
Bay Hotel, 1898
Photo courtesy of the Harvard University Library, Dwight L. Elmendorf
Spanish-American War photographs
Clara heads to Washington DC, Glen
Echo MD and New York
Tuesday, May 24
- Tampa to Jacksonville
- 6am - Clara takes a
carriage to train station in Tampa. Red Cross news was not very
good, said our "hospital ship" was in Tampa to gain the transports and
the NY papers tell of the troubles of the Red Cross and the War Dept.
A hot and dusty day, no accommodations on the train to Jacksonville and
the ride too rocky to write. Goes on to describe what she did on
the train. It stops at Waldo for dinner (lunch) and was in
Jacksonville from 4 pm to 7 pm.
See journal entry.
Wednesday May 25 on
train to Washington, arrive 10pm, takes train home to Glen Echo 11pm.
See journal entry
Saturday, May 28 in New
York City until June 1 - Conducting Red Cross business.
See journal entries.
Wednesday, June 1 - Leave for Washington to lobby
for authorization to cross the Navy blockade of Cuba.
See journal entry
Tuesday, June 2 -
Washington until June 14, Glen Echo. See journal entries.
While Red Cross President Clara Barton lobbied for authorization to
cross the blockade, many relief organizations throughout the country
adopted the Red Cross insignia to offer assistance. Scores of trained
nurses also rushed to volunteer. To accommodate the surge, the New York
Red Cross committee organized an efficient auxiliary relief to the army
that included recruiting and paying the nurses. Barton had neglected to
provide specific guidance from the headquarters. Instead, she saw the
young “branches” as evidence of the Red Cross success and another step in
her passion to bring nurses to the battlefront as an integral part of the
military. Clara did not realize that the adoring public would come to
associate the Red Cross, not with her, but with the tremendous work of
June 6, 1898, Secretary of War R.A. Alger sent Clara a letter
telling her that the “tender of services of the American National Red
Cross... "for medical and hospital work as auxiliary to the hospital
service of the Army of the United States, is accepted” and added that her
workers would be “subject to orders according to the rules and discipline
of war, as provided by the 63 Articles of War.”
The Red Cross in Peace and War
See journal entry
June 9 - Clara is home at Glen Echo, MD, conducting business of
the Red Cross operations.
See journal entry.
leaves Washington DC on June 14, 1898
heads back to Tampa
See journal entry.
Wed June 15,
arrive in Jacksonville late due to accident of another train. Missed
train to Tampa, stayed overnight in Jax. at Hotel Winslow.
See journal entry.
Thurs. June 16
Leave Jacksonville, arrive in
Port Tampa at 10:50 am. Baggage didn't arrive and had to stay at
Port Tampa another day.
Miss Barton rejoined our
party on June 16, being accompanied by Mrs. J. Addison Porter, the wife
of the secretary to President McKinley, who went with us on the “State
of Texas.” Miss Barton had been the recipient of such assurances on her
recent trip to Washington from the heads of the various government
departments, that she believed that the Red Cross would receive the most
cordial recognition from the army and navy as an auxiliary aid, and
would be able to co-operate with them in the utmost harmony. Although
the mission of the steamer “State of Texas” was to render relief to the
Cuban reconcentrados, it was tacitly understood and believed by all that
every possible aid would be extended to the army and navy forces
whenever it was necessary or called for. All of the government
transports carrying General Shafter’s army had sailed from Port Tampa,
bound for Cuba, when, on June 17, the “State of Texas” weighed her
anchor and started for Key West, where we arrived on the following
The Red Cross in Peace and War
Friday June 17
Clara leaves Port
Tampa on the State of Texas at 7am.
See journal entry.
Sat. June 18
Arrives after lunch time at
Key West on the State of Texas.
See journal entry.
The relief ship State of Texas leaves Key West for Cuba,
Monday June 20
A photomontage of
Barton’s return to
Cuba and time on the ship the State of
Texas. From The Red Cross in Peace and War,
courtesy of the New York Academy of Medicine
The State of Texas left
Key West on June 20, reaching the entrance to Santiago harbor on
June 25, and proceeding eastward to Guantanamo Bay, where arrangements
were made for the relief of Cuban refugees. The ship then returned
to Siboney to render service to soldiers wounded in the fight at Las
Guasimas; Red Cross nurses and surgeons worked in connection with the
regular hospital service; by the 9th of July the society was feeding
refugees at several points on a line extending east and west nearly sixty
miles from Guantanamo Bay to Caney.
See journal entries.
Tuesday, June 21 -
On the relief ship "State of Texas," Clara writes letters all day long at
sea. See journal entry.
Wednesday, June 22
- On the relief ship "State of Texas," Rough seas, nearing west point of
Cuba. Clara is up at 2am, sick.
Thursday, June 23 -
On the relief ship "State of Texas," Storm abates, more calm.
Friday, June 24 -
On the relief ship "State of Texas," southern coast of Cuba, calm seas.
Bettina Lesser remains very sick. Skirting the coast.
Saturday, June 25 -
On the relief ship "State of Texas," Morning, among the fleet at Santiago.
Head to Guantanamo, arrive in harbor around 6 pm.
Returning to the Battlefront in Cuba,
June 26, 1898
Functioning under the realm of humanitarian relief, Barton followed
Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders to Guantanamo Bay. Yet the
prospect that she would go to the battlefront seemed dismal. She met with
resistance from army surgeons. She wrote in her journal: “All
seemed interested in the Red Cross, but none thought that a woman nurse
would be in place in a soldier’s hospital; indeed very much out of place.”
She reflected that it was the same old story and wondered what gain there
had been in the last thirty years.
The Spanish American War Centennial
See journal entry.
Marine encampment at
Guantanamo, June 1898
from the Library of Congress
- 30 - In Siboney, army surgeons at the American hospital rebuffed Clara's
offer to help and so she turned her attention to the adjacent Cuban
hospital. Soon the Americans saw that the nourished, clean and cared for
patients provided a stark contrast to their plight and changed their
minds. The surgeons then requested Red Cross assistance.
During the July 1st Battle
of El Caney wounded poured into Siboney. Barton, Sister Bettina, Dr.
Lesser and the Red Cross team worked round the clock.
From The Spanish American War
Inside a hospital tent in Siboney, 1898
Photo courtesy of the Harvard University Library,
Edwin Emerson Rough Rider lantern slides
Capture of El Caney, El Paso
& fortifications of Santiago, July 1898.
Photo from Library of Congress
Santiago refugees at El Caney, 1898
Library of Congress
Sixteenth infantry in San Juan creek bottom, under
Spanish fire from San Juan Hill, July 1st, 1898
Library of Congress
July 1 -
Onboard the State of Texas, nearing Santiago and in harbor, news of the
fighting. The captain of the "Harvard" approaches the State of Texas
and tells him to get his ship out of the way at once so his ship can land
his troops on shore. As the Texas pulls out of the harbor, Clara and
the Red Cross staff watch the troops land as bombardment of Aguidores 5
miles west takes place and other US ships keep up rapid fire.
Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill which they
captured, Battle of San Juan, July 1, 1898 by William Dinwiddie
Library of Congress
July 2 -
Hospitals are filled with the wounded, reports that the Spanish
deliberately fired on the hospitals and the wounded. General Shafter sends
orders for the Red Cross to seize any empty wagon coming in and send it to
the front with supplies which are badly needed. Clara decides to go to the
front with it personally the next day.
July 3 -
Clara, Dr. Gardner and his wife, Dr. Hubbell and Mr. McDowell all leave
for the front with two six-mule wagons of supplies.
On the second day of the July 3rd San Juan battle, Barton received a
message that the wounded desperately needed care at the battlefront.
Ensuring the supplies were loaded in the only two wagons available, she
commandeered a hay wagon and proceeded over hills to a valley surrounded
by dense jungle and mountains. She reached a collection of tents, the
First Division Hospital of the Fifth Army Corps. Here she complained the
conditions were far worse than anything she had seen during the Civil War.
47 Wounded men lay everywhere, exposed to the tropical elements made worse
than ever by the rainy season. More than eight hundred men were
“recovering” from surgery, some sheltered by palm leaves, many lying
naked, in pools of water, exposed to the elements. Those more able greeted
her with a delighted roar: “There is a woman! . . My God, boys, It’s Clara
Barton. Now we’ll get something to eat.”
From The Spanish American
This photo is titled "Clara Barton and fellow Red Cross
workers posed on dock. Cuba. 1898"
the Library of Congress but Clara is NOT identified in the markings on
it as any of the persons in the photo, nor does any person in the photo
resemble Clara. The caption, from unverified data does not include
Clara, but does name Dr. & Bettina Lesser, Dr. Julian Hubbell, E.
Winfield Egan, Mr. & Mrs.
S.E. Barton, & Myrtis Barton (Stephen E. Barton's daughter.) Photo by George P. Hall, N.Y.C. obtained
from Library of Congress
Place your cursor on the photo to see identification.
July 4 -
Clara's journal describes the scene as ships fly the Star-Spangled Banner
waving proudly, in contrast with the Red Cross flags flying at the tents
of the wounded and dying.
Setting up an emergency
station, Clara worked relentlessly providing the best care her resources
permitted. Throughout the war, she was the only female nurse allowed to
work at the front. In fact, some of the later criticism that she faced
arose from her willingness to minister to the Spanish soldiers as well.
Barton arranged with General Shafter for these soldiers to receive
emergency care and to return behind their own lines under a flag of truce.
To Barton, most trying of
all was her continual struggle to maintain her authority to administer
care for all at the battlefront. She fought her cause with a sharp tongue
and penned her anger to her journal. Her fight against gender
constraints loomed large in her records. “You have been to the front,”
inquired one Major. “I should think you find it very unpleasant there.
There is no need of your going there—it is no place for women. I consider
women very much out of place in a field hospital.” Retelling her
experiences, Barton justified her place at the frontline, “I must have
been out of place a good deal, Doctor, for I have been [in the
battlefield] a great deal.” Yet the Major ignored her response. “That
doesn’t change my opinion, if I had my way I would send you home,” he
said. Barton was undoubtedly furious.
The Red Cross' success, in
part, was due to Barton’s avowed belief in the full rights for women. She
hoped the result of her battles would bring “progress of humane sentiment
. . . perfectly equal rights, human rights . . . and the advancement of
the civilization and enlightenment of the world.”
From The Spanish American War Centennial
Putting an ambulance wagon together
Photographic history of the
Spanish-American War :a pictorial and descriptive record of events on
land and sea with portraits and biographies of leaders on both sides.
New York : Pearson Pub. Co., c1898. THREE FAMOUS COMMANDERS Page page
292 (seq. 293) Repository Collection Development Department, Widener
Library, HCL Institution Harvard University
- Siboney - It is decided to leave Siboney Harbor and spend the day
cruising the vicinity.
- Santiago de Cuba - The Texas drifted out overnight, staff goes in small
boats to visit the wrecks of Spanish war ships on the beach. Clara
communicates to Capt. of the New York if they can enter Santiago harbor,
he advises them to go to Guantanamo.
The Relief Expedition Enters Santiago - July 17, 1898
The surrender of Santiago having been arranged to take place at ten
o’clock on the morning of July 17, and Miss Barton being
anxious to get to that
city at the earliest moment, knowing full well the terrible conditions
that existed there, the steamer “State of Texas” steamed down from Siboney
that day to the entrance of Santiago Bay,
and led the naval procession to the city's docks, much to Clara's delight,
the American flotilla, with Barton standing on the forward deck,
...queenly and majestic.”
July 17 - The relief ship
waits at Santiago harbor for fleet to enter first before delivering their
supplies. Entering around 4pm, they are overcome with emotion and sing
"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow" and "America" while tears fill
their eyes. Most mines being removed or destroyed, they pass historic El
Morro and move slowly toward the city.
Food entered the harbor in
advance of the forces--on the State of Texas, flying the Red Cross flag
and carrying food and medicine for the wounded, starving, and dying, being
allowed to precede the warships by Admiral Sampson's courtesy.
Literature, An International Gazette of Criticism, New York, Jan 27, 1899
sent word to Admiral Sampson that she was ready to go in to the city
whenever he was ready to have her; and he answered that he would send her
a pilot to take her ship in as soon as the channel was made safe by the
removal of torpedoes that had been planted by the Spaniards. Accordingly
about 4.30 in the afternoon a Cuban pilot came aboard the “Texas” from the
flagship “New York” and we were soon on our way to Santiago, where we
arrived just before sundown.
We came to anchor just
off the main wharf and Messrs. Elwell and Warner went ashore to make
arrangements for warehouse room and to engage men to unload the ship on
Miss Barton pushed to get her nurses access to the war wounded on both
sides, organized relief aid delivery to Santiago, and established soup
kitchens, clinics, and orphanages. As journalist George Kennan
observed: “I did not happen to see any United States quartermaster in
Cuba who, in the short space of five days, had unloaded and stored
fourteen hundred tons of cargo, given hot soup daily to ten thousand
soldiers, and supplied an army of thirty-two thousand men with ten days
rations. It is a record, I think, of which Miss Barton had every reason
to be proud.”
The Red Cross in Peace and War, Washington, D.C.: American
Red Cross nurses en route to Cuba. Photo courtesy
American Red Cross blog.
1898 - Clara fell several days previous, hurting her
right eye, flies troubling her, both eyes sore, she fears poisoned by the
flies. Having been refused permission to relieve the suffering in Havana
and unload supplies, Clara and the Red Cross leave with their mission not
accomplished and head to Tampa onboard the "Clinton." En route to Tampa.
Clara was quite ill, her eyes troubling her a great deal, she was being
tended to by day by Lucy Graves, by night by Miss Fowler, Dr. Egan
Earlier, in July, the Clinton
was used as a yellow fever hospital ship.
Image from Congressional Record, Conduct of War With Spain
Sat. - Egmont Key, quarantine station for detention and disinfection for 5
days. Arriving early morning, they go ashore in the afternoon, facing
legions of ferocious mosquitoes.
Clara passes through
one last time, 1898
Sep. 9 Fri
- Egmont Key, onboard steamer Clinton, Port Tampa - Clara and the ladies
board a small steamer which left Egmont Key at 8 pm and arrived at Port
Tampa around midnight. Lucy Graves was quite ill.
Sep. 10 Sat - Onboard steamer in Port Tampa, onboard train - Except for
Miss Fowler and Mr. Van Schelle (who went to the Arno), the party remained
on the steamer all day, leaving it in the evening to take the train for
the north. Letter dated Sept. 10 from Clara "Expect to arrive Washington
Monday morning…Leave here tonight, Saturday."
|During the year prior to the
outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Spain, Cuban
families were fleeing from the island, and this exodus continued
until war began. The refugees, numbering several thousand, took up
their abode at Tampa, Key West and other Atlantic and gulf ports.
They had been obliged to leave their native country hastily, leaving
nearly all their personal property behind them, and in a short time
after their arrival in America were actually without food and with
no means wherewith to purchase it. Committees and agents of the Red
Cross were established in both Tampa and Key West, and acting as the
distributing agencies for the supplies forwarded by the Central
Cuban Relief Committee, the refugees were cared for.
list of Cuban refugees, etc, fed from Cuban relief stores at Tampa,
Florida, during summer and fall of 1898" by Samuel S. Partello, Asst. Surgeon & Field Agent, American National Red Cross, Tampa. Images at
Library of Congress. Listing is alphabetical and shows address, number of
children boys/girls, and dates that food and clothing were delivered.
Throughout the war,
Barton’s team was continually overwhelmed with the amount of work. The
army’s meager resources did little to supplement Red Cross supplies. In
fact, Red Cross supplies targeting for starving Cubans went to supply the
army. Nurse reinforcements recruited by the New York committee arrived in
eastern Cuba, but the army refused them permission to land. To Barton,
most trying of all was her continual struggle to maintain her authority to
administer care at the battlefront. Surgeon General George M. Sternberg
adamantly reiterated it was the government’s responsibility to provide
medical care for the military—no female nurses were required. He somewhat
reversed his decision after the publicity exposing the dreadful conditions
in the recruiting camps and the military camps in Cuba. Outbreaks of
disease, malaria, yellow fever, typhoid and dysentery posed such a problem
Sternberg allowed female nurses to attend the camps and the hospital
transport ships. The New York Red Cross sent 700 nurses to the camps and
hospitals. Hearing of their heroic efforts, the public lionized the
nurses. Barton remained in the field.
Clara Barton's 1898 Battles in Cuba: A Reexamination of her
October 1898 -
After the Spanish-American War, Miss Barton was honored by newly formed
veterans groups. She was named honorary president of The National Society
of the Spanish War. Initially, she accepted the position, but resigned
when she learned that African-American veterans would not be accepted into
the society. Clara Barton's strong sense of equality is clearly stated in
I have received a letter from a friend
[Susan B. Anthony]
quoting from The New York Tribune of a recent date, a statement of
conditions of membership in your society, in the following words,
‘Membership is open to all patriotic White Americans...’ I beg to call
your attention to the fact that the forgoing limitation was never
brought to my attention until now. If you will reflect a moment you will
see how utterly impossible it would be for me to be connected with any
society that upholds the discrimination against people of color on
account of their color.”
From "Clara Barton, A Lifetime of Service," Clara Barton National
letterhead, 1899 - From Library of Congress
Page 7 of Clara Barton Papers: General Correspondence, 1838-1912; Elwell,
J. K., 1900-1905
writes "The Red Cross in Peace and War" amidst concern and criticism
Clara returned from Cuba to a
storm of criticism. Ongoing problems arising from her accounting reemerged
with great intensity; there were concerns that her inadequate
record-keeping made it difficult to monitor the organization. Why was
she in the field and not directing operations from the Red Cross
headquarters? Why had she aided the Spanish captives at time of war?
Criticism pointed to the fact that she worked authoritatively and
Hurt by such charges, Barton
retreated to her home in Glen Echo, Maryland, to write a book, The Red
Cross in Peace and War. Published in 1899, half of the book describes the
Red Cross's role in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
In his State of the Union
message in December 1898, President McKinley praised the work of Clara
Barton and the Red Cross during the Cuban crisis.
But continued help in Cuba was
needed; Clara estimated that at least 50,000 children, unfed, unclothed, unhoused, roamed the streets of Havana. By 1899, Barton had
recruited some 700 nurses. Barton again approached McKinley,
proposing to return to Cuba to help orphan children who had lived in the
concentration camps. Clara met resistance from the New York chapter of the
Red Cross, who felt she was getting too old for such work.
The American Red Cross
returns to Cuba,
After painful negotiations
with Washington officials and with the New York Committee, the Red Cross returned
to Cuba in March of 1899 to administer relief made possible by the
remaining $50,000 in the treasury of the Central Cuban Relief Committee.
Clara's 5th journal with
notes on Cuban relief are also missing, but details of her involvement in
Cuba can be gathered from the Red Cross Correspondence files at the
Library of Congress; which provided the information below.
H.H. Cottrell, 1880
Photo from Telegraph Age, Vol. 26
Charles Cottrell was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1848. He studied
telegraphy in the office of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railway after
finishing his schooling. At age 14 he had is first position as
operator at Bayard, Ohio for the railroad telegraph for 3 years. He
became a first class operator and went to New York in 1865 where he
took a position with the American Telegraph Co. During the next 6
years he worked in telegraph offices in Philadelphia, Washington,
Atlanta, Boston, Worcester, Louisville, Buffalo, Chicago, Omaha and
Ogden. In 1871 he accepted a position with the Western Union
Telegraph Co. in New Orleans where in 1875 he was appointed chief
operator. In 1875 he joined Associated Press and was sent to their
London office. Shortly after returning to the US, he located
again in New Orleans where he stayed through the Yellow Fever
epidemic of 1878. In 1879 he reentered the Associated Press in
Washington DC, then in New York in 1886 for United Press where he
worked for 11 years as operator and later as cashier. For
several years he was secretary and treasurer of the New York Red
Cross hospital, and a short time before the Spanish American War, he
went to Cuba as treasurer of the American Red Cross Society,
remaining until the close of the war. He was then engaged as
assistant to Clara Barton, closing up the financial affairs incident
to the society's activities in the war. He was then age 50 and
looking around for a place to settle down. He selected New
Orleans, returning there in 1900 and remaining there in service to
the Western Union Company through 1919, where he was "extending his
good fellowship which makes steadfast friends of all new
acquaintances." at the time of the writing of this biography.
Telegraph & Telephone Age, Vol. 37, 1919.
On March 14, 1899, Drs.
Alexander Kent, J. B. Hubbell, Mr. A. W. Kent and C.H.H. Cottrell left for
Havana by Southern Railway via Miami, to be joined by W.S. Warner, Geo. W.
Hyatt and Dr. J.S. Sollosso in Havana.
Dr. Alexander Kent was a
surgeon from the Jacksonville chapter of the American Red Cross.
Clara wrote to her nephew, Vice President of the Cuban Relief Executive Committee in
New York, on that day: "It was expected...that I would be able to go to
Cuba and conduct work personally, but other matters of great importance to
the Red Cross require me to remain here for the present. I hope..to visit
the island soon." On March 16th, she again wrote to S.E. Barton in New
York City, "I am glad that you think it is better for me not to go, for
it was something I greatly dreaded to do. I am sure that the parties who
go and those whom they will send for will be quite equal to that work."
Work began to prepare the
hospitals with much-needed medicine and supplies gathered from all over
the U.S. but the Red Cross continued to be plagued by the government in
Cuba who repeatedly wanted to levy duties for items they deemed not to be
supplies for use in hospitals, such as clothing and food. Clara
repeatedly corresponded with U.S. government officials haggling over the
definition of "use in hospitals" and "supplies for hospitals."
A March 18th cablegram
received at Red Cross headquarters in Washington DC from Red Cross staff
in Cuba stated "Landed supplies yesterday, quartered at house of Señora
Jorrin in the Cerro. Drs Hubbell and Carbonell have gone to Guines. Dr.
Sollosso's hospital now ready to open." On the same day, Clara wrote
from Washington DC to Dr. Alexander Kent in Havana stating that supplies
landed without duties and "P.S. I am sending this acknowledgment
hastily in order to catch the first steamer from Tampa."
On March 25th Clara sent a
letter to Dr. Alexander Kent in Havana "nurses whom I will send will
leave here Tuesday morning at 11 oclock. Miss Adams, Mrs. Fannie B. Ward,
Mrs. Capron, and a nurse from Philadelphia, Miss Wheeler."
Several letters to suppliers in the southeastern United States indicate
many shipments being sent to Cuba, one letter which on March 28th was sent
to Capt. Robt L. Brown, Asst. Depot Quartermaster, Tampa "We may wish
to make occasional shipments via Tampa...if you will tell us when the
first transport leaves for Cuba, and about when the following one will."
In another letter on March
28th, to Dr. O'Neill in Philadelphia: "We are sending to Havana Tuesday
morning five or six nurses...on the 11 oclock train going by way of Miami,
and in a letter to C.H.H. Cottrell in Havana "We are sending this morning
5 nurses and one diet cook: Mrs. Fannie B. Ward, Mrs. A.K. Capron, Miss
Elsa Trotzig, Miss Ruthett Adams, Miss Ellen Betts, Mr. String (Diet
Cook). Trotzig & String from Assoc. Soc. of Philadelphia, maintained by
To Drs. Alexander Kent &
Hubbell in Havana, she wrote the same as above but with "Accompanying
the party will be Mr. Joseph Steinmetz, engineer, and Mr. Guy King,
Architect, sent by Assoc Soc. of Phil which proposes to construct a large
institution near Havana as a children's hospital, afterwards to serve as a
permanent home for children. Steinmetz & King to select a location and
between Clara, Washington and Havana indicate her preoccupation with
proper documentation for the use of the supplies. Some in
particular, dealing with the insistence of keeping taxes from being levied
on the supplies. She turns down an offer from the US Army in Havana
who proposed that the Red Cross turn over the supplies to them for
distribution to avoid the duties. Clara insisted that because the
supplies were donated to the Red Cross from the American people, the Red
Cross must maintain stewardship and oversight of them, so she refused to
relinquish possession of them.
In a letter to Dr. Alexander
Kent in Havana, Clara expresses her intent to go down to Cuba; "Ever
since you went away I have been planning week by week to get a few days to
go and see you....But on Tuesday, May 2nd,., I intend to start for Havana
via Miami...I cannot stay long, but shall be very glad to see you and your
In late April, Clara arranges
for four more nurses to be sent from the Philadelphia Red Cross, then adds
a fifth nurse, Miss Koehler, all leaving from Washington's Penn Station on
May 2nd for Havana via Miami.
On May 2nd, Clara wrote memos
to her staff at Red Cross headquarters, instructing them on what to do in
her absence. To Edward K. Balcom, whom she left in charge of general
office matters, instructions to attend to all financial matters and turn
them over to Mr. Edson. "Permit no property to leave the office."
and "Correspondence to be in charge of Lucy Graves." To Lucy
Graves she wrote, "Balcom in general charge of the office,
correspondence to your special care. Answer in usual form, forward
official letters to me in Havana, as well as personal mail. Will
notify when to stop forwarding letters."
Travels by Train from Washington to Miami, Then Steamer to Havana
Clara Barton left Washington
DC on the Southern Railway to Miami on May 2, 1899 at 11:15am, to board a
steamer there for Cuba. In early May, Lucy Graves corresponded to
others that she expected Clara to be in Cuba for 2 or 3 weeks.
Clara Barton in center of ring
of children at orphan's camp of Red Cross, Cuba, circa 1899.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
When Clara arrived in Cuba,
Red Cross workers had already been there for nearly a couple of months. Disagreement soon
erupted between Clara and those on the committee who felt she could better serve the
organization in an administrative capacity from Washington, D.C. Though the controversy
and criticism deeply disturbed Clara, she again showed amazing vitality.
Clara resented such treatment, which made her last trip to Cuba her most
unpleasant. Barton did what she could for the children while she was
there, but she left Cuba discouraged about the future of the Red Cross.**
Her orphan asylums cared for
at least two thousand of these unfortunate waifs. With the help of her
staff and of prominent Cubans, Clara also established a well-equipped
hospital in the suburbs of Havana, strengthening the local Cuban Red Cross
organization. All this was appreciated in Cuba. But the ingratitude came from
the growing body of critics within the American National Red Cross, who
were concerned over the inadequate coordination between the central body
in Washington and the state societies, over the tangles with government
officials, and over what were regarded as other evidences of faulty
leadership.** Within a few years, the Red Cross was to be reorganized
under new leaders, with a closer tie to government.
American Philanthropy Abroad, by Merle Curti
On June 2, Lucy Graves
updated Clara on various office events and correspondences she's written,
including "People inquire when we expect your return, and I say we
don't expect it at any special time, but are prepared to give Miss Barton
the warmest of welcomes whenever she comes." Also to Dr. O'Neill
in Philadelphia, Miss Graves wrote, "We also believed that Miss Barton
would return by the first of June. However, a letter received from her a
day or two ago states that the work in Cuba at this time is such that she
cannot say positively when she will return. Dr. Kent returns this week."
Clara's Sixth Journal of Notes on Cuba
On page four of Clara's
6th journal of notes on Cuba, Clara records "Sixth of small notebooks on
Cuba following the 3rd red book which commenced with Jan. 1899. The Cuban
diaries preceding this are the red books, one narrow gray book, and the
black pocket diary of the latter part of 1898. This book was purchased in
Key West on the way to Havana with the five Philadelphia nurses with Mr.
Cobb, White and Van Adsten(?) April 6, 1899. Commences Jun 1, 1899
Thursday, its predecessor closing May 31, 1899." (Clara is
mistaken about the date of purchase for this book, she didn't travel to
Havana with the 5 Philadelphia nurses until May 2, 1899, and it was
through Miami, not Key West.)
The sixth journal opens
with Clara in Matanzas recording an unsuccessful attempt to see Gen.
Nelson in Matanzas and then going to Havana to look for him.
The ensuing pages record
the work in Cuba and details of her travels. Then on
July 7, 1899, she leaves Cuba on the SS Havana, bound directly for New
York. On July 16, 1899, Sunday, she wrote, "Woke this morning to a
warm, pleasant day, entered Gulf Stream at excellent speed for only a
"home line" and not an ocean steamer. Expected in make the run in 3 days
and arrive NY on Tuesday."
So on Clara's final visit to
Cuba, she bypasses Tampa on the way to Cuba and on the way back home.
See a timeline of events (with links to her
journal images) which summarizes Clara's travels to and from Cuba through Tampa,
and events afterward to the end of the year 1898, here at TampaPix
the friction and Clara's suspicions that went on behind the scenes of the Cuban campaign,
by Elizabeth Brown Pryor in "Clara Barton, Professional Angel" here at
After the Spanish American War, the face of nursing and especially army
nursing changed. The soldiers’ deaths from disease, led to major health
reforms including the establishment of the Army Nurse Corp. in 1901.
Clara was not a part of this new effort—and her contributions dimmed in
nursing history, as did her presence within the Red Cross organization.
Cross files for incorporation
On June 6, 1900, the
incorporation of American National Red Cross provided for protection of
the organizations important insignia. In August of 2007, Johnson & Johnson
sued The Red Cross over use of the red cross symbol. The two had
shared the symbol amicably for more than 100 years — Johnson & Johnson on
its commercial products and the American Red Cross as a symbol of its
relief efforts on foreign battlefields and in disasters like floods and
filed in Federal Court claimed that Johnson & Johnson has used the red
cross symbol since 1887 on a wide range of products, including wound care
products and first-aid kits, which include gloves, wipes, bandages and
cream. The company entered into an agreement with the American Red Cross
in 1895. The agreement acknowledged Johnson & Johnson’s exclusive right to
the red cross as a “trademark for chemical, surgical and pharmaceutical
goods of every description,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says
that the American Red Cross has the right under a Congressional charter
awarded in 1900 to use the red cross design in connection with its efforts
to provide voluntary relief. “Carrying out a commercial enterprise or
business is not and never has been one of the purposes of the American Red
Cross,” the lawsuit said.
time to time, the American Red Cross sold products bearing the symbol as
fund-raising efforts. Jeffrey J. Leebaw, a spokesman for Johnson &
Johnson, said the company had no objection to that. But in 2004, the
American Red Cross began licensing the symbol to commercial partners
selling products at retail establishments. According to the lawsuit, those
products include humidifiers, medical examination gloves, nail clippers,
combs and toothbrushes.
In May of 2008, Southern
District judge Jed Rakoff said the Congressional charter for the Red Cross
gave it the right to use the symbol even for business purposes. (Here’s
the opinion, via How Appealing.) In his second ruling dismissing part
of the case — the first one was in November — Rakoff said that charitable
reasons for Red Cross’s business ventures made them all the more
reasonable. “The fact that the ultimate purpose of these licensing
activities is a ‘charitable purpose’ — i.e. to raise funds that A.R.C., a
not-for-profit organization, can utilize for its charitable endeavors —
only further emphasizes their legitimacy.”
New York Times
Wall St. Journal Law Blog
O'Dwyers - Johnson & Johnson Eats Crow, Settles Lawsuit
8, 1900 Galveston, Texas, hurricane and storm surge
Based in Galveston and
Houston, Miss Barton directed her last major field relief effort in the
wake of a storm that left 6,000 dead. In a two-month period, the operation
distributed $120,000 worth of money and supplies, as well as 1.5 million
Aftermath of the Galveston hurricane and storm surge, September 1900.
Photo from Ekonomika.It
At the turn of the century
Miss Barton lived frugally and modestly as before and still maintained a
youthful attitude, keeping up with the times and welcoming new technology
in her home and office. Her continued role as president of the Red Cross
brought her accolades and praise, and conversely an equal amount of
criticism and complaints.
"Clara Barton and Mrs. Rich seated on porch of Clara Barton house, Glen
Echo, Md., surrounded by others;
Harold Riccius, aged 10, extreme lower right" (lower left.), 1900.
Library of Congress.
|Clara Barton in Russia, 1902
Original photograph retouched with color. Clara Barton photographed in
1902 while attending the Seventh International Red Cross Conference in St.
Petersburg, Russia. She is wearing the amethyst pansy and Red Cross pin
given to her by the Grand Duchess of Baden (Germany) and the Imperial
Silver Cross of Russia given to her by Czar Nicolas.Photo from the National Park Service
From a photo taken in St. Petersburg,
Russia, in July 1902, showing the decorations conferred upon her by
the Czar and the Empress Dowager.
Image courtesy of Library of Congress.
she led the US delegation to the Seventh
International Conference of the Red Cross in St. Petersburg, Russia where
she was presented the Silver Cross of
Imperial Russia, the nation's highest civilian honor, awarded her by Czar
Nicholas II in memory of her relief work in Russia many years ago.
Clara as President of the American Red Cross, working
at her desk at headquarters in Glen Echo, Md., 1902
Photo from the National Park Service
Clara Barton, 1904 - She is wearing the amethyst pansy and smoky
topaz brooch given to her by the Grand Duchess Louise
Photo from Wikipedia
Although aligned with the
Universalist Church, Clara Barton became a defender of Mary Baker Eddy and
the Christian Science faith. Like many people of the Victorian era, Miss
Barton was also interested in faith healing, astrology, and spiritualism.
In December 1903
Miss Barton travelled to Butler, Pennsylvania for a typhoid fever epidemic
where she distributed supplies, and then turned the relief project over to
In 1904 Miss Barton
published A Story of the Red Cross. During this time her presidency
and administration fell under scrutiny and attack, with the management of
the organization's finances a source of debate. Disagreements over
Barton's inability to delegate authority and her insistence upon total
control of the organization's finances led to a revolt of the board of
directors in 1902, started by Mabel Thorp Boardman. Then, in 1903, after a
U.S. Senate investigation, which revealed poor business practices,
President Theodore Roosevelt withdrew federal patronage from the American
National Red Cross.
Finally, at age 82,
without the energy to fight her critics any longer, Clara resigned from
her presidency on May 14, 1904 in the wake of mounting criticism of her
management style, ability, and age, and retired to her home in Glen Echo
and Mabel Thorp Boardman became the new president. Barton then served as
president of the National First Aid Association, which endeavored to teach
first aid to people nationwide, from 1905 to 1912
National First Aid Association of America illustrated bandage from Library
Clara's final work for
relief efforts was with the short-lived National First Aid Association of
America, established in
April 1905. She served as honorary president
for 5 years. The organization emphasized basic first aid instruction,
emergency preparedness, and original first aid kits were also developed.
Ambulance brigades were formed in conjunction with police and fire
the association would flounder, by 1909 first aid training would be
incorporated as one of the essential functions of the American Red Cross.
With the passage of time, Clara's vision would prove to be true: first aid
practiced in the home would help more people than the Red Cross ever
could, and emergency preparedness would prove to be the most important
element of disaster relief.
In the final years of her life, Clara wrote a
short autobiography entitled The Story of My Childhood, published
in 1907. But she would not live to write the story of her incredible
lifework. For a woman who had endured and accomplished so much—who had
devoted so much of her life in helping others to live—the force of life
within her had become so strong that even her death had become a struggle.
Miss Clara Barton and household, Glen Echo, Maryland, circa 1904.
Left to right: Leland Barton,
Mrs. Col. Richard C. Hinton, Dr. Julian B. Hubbell, Mrs. Mary A. Hines,
Miss Clara Barton, Howe, Miss Ruthett Adams, Miss Susie Birch Jennings**
from Library of Congress, with unverified, old data from an old caption
JHU Press Blog, Finding Clara Barton - American National Red Cross
Photographs Collection, Library of Congress
**It is the opinion of TampaPix that this is Lucy Graves. Compare
to woman at far right, this photo.
Clara on steps with unidentified man who appears to be her nephew, Stephen
Undated photo from Library of Congress.
At the age of 90 and battling pneumonia, on April
12, 1912 Clara Barton finally succumbed to death at her home in Glen Echo and was
buried in the family cemetery plot in Oxford, Massachusetts.
Though she had been the center of controversy in
all of her work throughout her long life, in the end Clara outlasted her
critics, and always would be remembered for her compassionate work in the
field, as well as for her legacy of the Red Cross which thrives today.
A young man who witnessed her work at the typhoid
fever epidemic in 1903 at Butler, PA, commented on Miss Barton's
presence there that night in a way that sums up what so many persons she
assisted had thought of her:
And we pictured the light (of the lantern)
going on and on through the night until it should stop over the stricken
town of Butler, and the suffering people there would look upon it as the
light of a great soul that had come to them out of the darkness,
bringing comfort and healing and the calm spirit that banishes all fear.
Her contributions had an incredible and lasting
impact on the American social landscape; Barton dedicated her life to the
betterment of the human condition in wartime and peace. Her description of
her work at Antietam provides a vivid portrait of her life and legacy:
We worked through that long bloody night
together, and the next morning the supplies came up. . . . My strength
was all gone. . . . I lay down on [the floor of a wagon], and was jogged
back to Washington, eighty miles. When I reached there, and looked in
the mirror, my face was still the color of gunpowder, a deep blue. Oh
yes I went to the front!
Clara Barton's "Extra Mile" marker on the "Points of Light Volunteer
Pathway" in Washington DC.
of Light Monument is a one-mile walkway in Washington, D.C.,
honoring actions and commitments to service that have transformed
our nation and the world.
Through the monument, we honor civil rights
leaders, including Susan B. Anthony, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
and founders of some of the world’s most important social change
institutions. In doing so, we tell the connected story of how the
actions of these trailblazers turned into powerful movements that
shaped history and continue to influence our world today.
On Oct. 14, 2005, President and Mrs. George
H. W. Bush dedicated The Points of Light Monument, inducting its
first 20 honorees. To date, 33 medallions have been placed, paying
tribute to the work of 36 individuals. Located just blocks from the
White House (starting at Pennsylvania Ave. and 15th St., NW), the
pathway of medallions will eventually stretch one mile and include
The Extra Mile begins
at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street, NW and
continues north on 15th Street to G Street, NW. There, at the Old
Ebbitt Grill, it turns east on G Street for two blocks to its
intersection with 13th Street. As honoree medallions are added in
future years, the Pathway will be continued on G Street.
Barton Early Life through 1897 Clara Barton
1898 through 1912 Clara Barton
Spanish American War Timeline
Photo and Information sources:
American Red Cross Blog
Barton's mills in Oxford, Google Books: History of the Town of Oxford,
Massachusetts: With Genealogies and Notes
Biography of Clara Barton "The True Heroine of the Age" Life stories of Civil
Bordentown Historical Society
National Park Service Wordpress A tiny witness grown grand MAY 25, 2011 /
Civil War Trust
Barton at Weebly.com
Clara Barton Birthplace Museum
Clara Barton, by Susan and William Harkins
Clara Barton earliest known photo ca 1850 Civil War Scholars
Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, by Barbara Somervill
house in Glen Echo in 1904
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Clara Barton in the Civil War: Facts, Timeline & History Study.com
Clara Barton in the Civil War: Facts, Timeline & History
Clara Barton: In the Service of Humanity by David Henry Burton
in Tampa at 305 Plant Ave
Red Cross Blog
Clara Barton journal at Library of Congress
Clara Barton's life as written in 1867 in Woman's Work in the Civil War: A
RECORD OF HEROISM, PATRIOTISM AND PATIENCE BY L. P. BROCKETT, M.D.,
Clara Barton Papers Library of Congress
Clara Barton, Professional Angel By Elizabeth Brown Pryor Google Books
photos from the National Park Service
portrait ca 1865 Brady National
Portrait Gallery Face to Face
Clara Barton, The Story Of My Childhood - Google books
Genealogy of Stephen Barton
Google Books - History of the Town of Oxford, Massachusetts: With Genealogies
and Notes on
Grounds at Andersonville, Georgia Library of Congress
Heritage Education: Medical Angels - Clara Barton and the Red Cross
History of Phrenology - The Fowlers
History of the Town of Oxford, Massachusetts: With Genealogies and Notes on
Persons and Estates, 1892
National Park Service - Andersonville Myth:
National Park Service Clara Barton Chronology
National Portrait Gallery
Barton, Stephen, Jr.
Stone Schoolhouse Fairhaventours.com
Lorenzo Fowler Medical Antiques Archives
- National Park Service - Mysteries and Conundrums Mystery
undone: Clara Barton’s Fredericksburg hospitals
Admiral William T. Sampson Library of Congress
Sally Barton Vassall Clara Barton Birthplace Museum
Sinking of the USS Maine
Spanish American War
History SPRING/SUMMER 1998 VOLUME 20, NUMBER 1 “THE ROCKING-CHAIR WAR”:
VIEWS OF TAMPA IN THE NEW YORK PRESS DURING 1898 by William A. Lorenzen IV, USF
The Red Cross in Peace and War
The Women who went to the field by Clara Barton Life
Stories of Civil War Heroes