Hundreds of Socks:
Among the artifacts found in the attic above Clara Barton's rooms were 171 whole socks, as well as nearly 100 carefully severed sock tops and bottoms. Why save dirty and worn socks? Harsh weather conditions and constant walking took a toll on soldiers' feet. Fresh socks were needed to prevent blisters, frostbite, and gangrene. Unprepared for the war, the Union Army could not keep the troops adequately supplied. Charitable organizations, such as the Sanitary Commission, exhorted women to knit socks for soldiers. Perhaps Clara Barton collected these used cotton socks on the battlefield, bringing them home to wash, mend, and eventually redistribute to troops.