Clara Barton’s Red Cross Ambulance, 1898

Red Cross Ambulance

Please note: In July of 2011, the Clara Barton Ambulance was replaced as the 3rd Floor East Landmark Object by the Civil War Draft Wheel.

This ambulance is one of eleven vehicles purchased by the Central Cuban Relief Committee of New York for use by Clara Barton and the American National Red Cross.  The committee sent the ambulance to Camp Thomas, an army debarkation camp in Chickamauga, Georgia, before the 1898 outbreak of the Spanish-American War.  The Red Cross nurses at Camp Thomas helped care for U.S. Army soldiers called to Cuba, many of whom suffered that summer from typhoid. After the war, the Red Cross sent this ambulance to Clara Barton for use at her home in Glen Echo, Maryland, the organization’s headquarters and distribution center for relief supplies.

As the founding director of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton was no stranger to battle but she loathed it.  “The war side of war could never have called me to the field,” she explained.  “I hate it.  Only the desire to soften some of its hardships and allay some of its miseries ever induced me . . . dare its pestilent and unholy breath.”