Timing was key for Carrie Bauer when she took on the role of Clara Barton in a local documentary, "Clara Barton at Fairfax Station."
"I'm just the right age to do Clara in her Civil War years. The more I read about her, the more I find me and her are alike," she said, referring to the multi-career trail that Bauer and Barton chose. Clara Barton was a patent clerk in the 1860s, who jumped at the opportunity to help soldiers in the Civil War and eventually started the American Red Cross.
Bauer finished her first career in the Air Force and is now an assistant states attorney in Baltimore, Md., as well as a re-enactor in Civil War dramas.
"I went into law in my mid-30s. Every trial attorney is kind of a frusturated actor," she said.
Woodbridge resident Sheila Burns is the creator, producer, writer and director of the video, which will now be used as a learning tool for students, as well as a documentary of the history of Fairfax Station and women in history. She received no financing and hopes to sell it through catalogs.
"She [Barton] felt she could do something in that situation, and she did," Burns said.
The story was set in Fairfax Station near the train depot, where wounded Union troops were awaiting train transportation back to their lines after the battles of the second Manassas. Barton worked independently, carrying food and water to the dying men. Burns used sets at St. Mary's Church and the Fairfax Station railroad museum as well as Valley Crest park off Gallows Road. For the battle scenes, which incorporated armies of soldiers, gun fire and cavalry, Burns went to a re-enactment of the 42nd Massachusets Army at Cedar Creek.
Burns was glad cameraman William "Woody" Everett was able to get shots at the re-enactment that were pertinent to their story.
"Woody was able to get the cavalry, actual re-enacting officers, coming across the field," she said.
The video was premiered for a limited number of invited guests at the Channel 10 studios on Sunday, April 7. It will be featured several times during April on Fairfax Channel 10.
"There were so many wounded and dying men, the Army would not take care of them. Among the volunteers was Clara Barton, a clerk from the Patent Office," Burns said, narrating the video.
Barton also helped at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Fort Wagner, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor. She established the American Red Cross in 1881.
Bauer talked of Barton's place in history and her sense of the Renaissance woman.
"She was ahead of her time for the 1960s, much less the 1860s," Bauer said.
Alexandria resident Susan Kelly played the part of a nurse who was a friend of Barton's.
"It's very important to me for the public to know it's not just the soldiers on the field that were suffering, it was the women too. A favorite part was being able to really feel where Clara was at that time," Kelly said.
Kelly is an independent historian, whose work includes a documentary at Fort Ward last year, a program on the C&O Canal, the Tudor Museum and an upcoming special at the Mosby Museum in Warrenton next July. She is also a part-time teacher at Hunter Woods Elementary School in Reston.
Joan Rogers is the historian at the Fairfax Station museum, where a scene with station executive JJ McKricket was filmed, reading a letter.
"So many people really have no clue of our history," she said.
Ron Beavers was discovered for the part of J.J. McKricket at the post office as he mailed a letter where Rogers had set up camp for a museum-related promotion. He grew a period-type beard and got into his role.
"This is pure fun for me. In April I'll be part of the president’s cabinet in another film. Not only do I dress up, I start looking the role," he said, as he stroked his beard.
Beavers is a railroad buff as well.
"This is a labor of love for me," he said.