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Shortly after the outbreak of the American Civil War, Clara Barton’s Ladies’ Aid Society began collecting and distributing medical supplies to the Union soldiers despite opposition from the War Department. However, in 1862 Barton gained permission to work on the front lines. She distributed stores, cleaned field hospitals, and applied dressings after several horrific battles including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Cold Harbor. In 1864, she was appointed “lady in charge” of the hospitals for the Army of the James by Union General Benjamin Butler. Postwar she ran the Office of Missing Soldiers, whose purpose was to find or identify soldiers killed or missing in action. Barton was introduced to the Red Cross on a trip to Geneva, Switzerland, and would found the American Red Cross upon her return.