Guide to the Central National Soldiers' Home
Guide to the Central National Home - Section Three


Items of Interest,

 

Culled from the Annual Report for Year ending June 30, 1890.

 

Excursions – 61

Total No. of visitors during the year - 210,700

Inmates committing no offenses - 4,979

No. of blind - 58

No. of insane during the year - 68

No. treated in Hospital - 1,408

No. treated in quarters - 2,929

No. of pensioners at present, about 2,400

Amount sent to pensioners' families, $117,606

Amount paid to pensioners direct,  $251,655

 

 

In What War Served.

 

War of 1812 - 12

Mexican war  - 166

Civil war - 6,257

Total present last year - 6,435

 

Nativity.

 

No. of members native born - 2,241

No. of members foreign born - 4,194

 

 

Disability.

 

Loss of limbs - 230

Other wounds - 1,410

Blindness - 58

Insanity – 58

Other diseases - 4,679

 

 

 

Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg.

 

Facing the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, beside the Big Lake and between the White Line and the Fifth Street Electric Railroads, stands the round lofty structure of the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama. Its location at the Home is perfectly fitting. Many of the veterans who are here spending their declining day, and thousands of visitors as well, bore an honorable part in that decisive conflict of the War. Where in our broad land could this great historic object lesson be more appropriately placed?

Few visitors to the Soldiers' Home leave the grounds without looking at this wonderful work of art, and many who have seen it once return again and again to renew their first impressions. The time selected by the artist for his representation is the afternoon of the third and closing day of the battle, July 3, 1863, when General Pickett made his famous charge. To the south and west are the Confederate army under General Lee; while on the north and east are the splendid divisions of the Army of the Potomac under General Meade.

The Confederates saw that on this day the Union lines must be broken or they would be compelled to give up their invasion of the North. The morning was occupied by Lee in preparations for a crushing attack upon the Union center, and by Meade in carefully strengthening his position. About noon all was completed. Over both armies fell the stillness of anxious expectation. It was broken by a solitary shell from a Confederate battery, the signal for their guns to open fire. The Federal artillery replied. For three hours a prodigious hail of shells fell upon both armies. At 3:00 o'clock Lee ordered the famous advance, which will go down to history as "Pickett's Charge."

General George E Pickett, commanding one of Longstreet's divisions, advanced with his six brigades down the low range of hills on which they had stood, across the intervening valley and up the opposite height. Terrific discharges of grape and shell smote but did not shake their steady ranks. Up to the low stone wall which sheltered the Federals the heroic advance was continued.

General Lee from the opposite height watched the progress of his attack. Once the Confederate flag is seen to wave within the enemy's position. Then the battle cloud gathers around the combatants. When it lifts again the Confederates are seen broken and fleeing down that fatal slope, whose grass is wet with bloody dew. The attack had failed. The Union was saved.

It would be ill-judged economy to visit the Soldiers' Home and fail to see the great Cyclorama of Gettysburg, where

 

"General Lee,

Flower of Southern chivalry,

Baffled and beaten, backward reeled

From a stubborn Meade and a barren field."     

 

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