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History of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers
Attractions of the Home




               On reaching the precincts of the Home the visitor in alighting from the cars steps upon a convenient platform; then ascending either to the right or the left, by broad stairways of unique design, he finds himself on the portico of the depot. This building is constructed in the Gothic style of architecture and presents a highly picturesque appearance. On both sides of the building are balconies, ornamented with railings of tasteful pattern and supplied with comfortable settees. The sitting and refreshment rooms are neatly furnished, and afford the accommodation of hot coffee, ice-cream, and other refreshments, at the regular city prices. Passing through the rear entrance of the depot the visitor reaches, by means of steps constructed of rough-hewn stones from the Home quarries, abroad and sloping avenue. After pausing to admire a spacious rustic summer-house, he proceeds farther on and arrives on an open space, from whence a magnificent picture presents itself to the view. At the right is a beautiful flag-staff, with the dear old flag floating high in the breezes of heaven. The siege-guns and mortars, with pyramids of shot and shell, and a battery in position as in battle, fill the beholder with thrilling memories. And standing almost directly in front is the imposing head-quarter building, which, in addition to the offices, contains the large Putnam Library hall. Then turning the eye to the right, the beautiful Home church is in full view; and beyond, on a knoll, shaded by forest- trees, stands the residence of the chaplain; and, still farther to the right, the magnificent and commodious hospital charms the beholder; and a little farther on the neat cottage of the resident surgeon, shaded by trees and surrounded by a lovely lawn, completes the picture in that direction. As the visitor looks to the north-westward he beholds the soldiers' monument, rising from a hill-top in the distance, which marks the place where the heroes sleep. Keeping the same position, he may turn the eye to the left and observe a rustic arbor, the grotto, the springs, the flower-garden, the fountain, the conservatory, and the lakes ; and still letting the eye sweep onward, he sees the rustic bridges, the beautiful groves, the deer-park, the veteran spring, the governor's residence with its surrounding trees and flowers, the residences of the treasurer, the secretary, and the steward, all beautifully located on the borders of the grove; also Music Hall, the long line of neat and comfortable barracks, where twenty-five hundred veterans rest from the fight; the large and comfortable dining-hall, kitchen, bakery, laundry, workshops; the tasteful band pagoda, the Home-store building, and the quarter- master and commissary store building, which make this splendid picture complete. Then from this point the visitor may choose his route and feast upon the wonders of the warriors' resting-place, not forgetting to follow a gentlemanly guide beyond the woods and looking in upon the farm, the farmer's residence, the vegetable garden, the barn, the stable, and the magnificent stock that graze upon the broad acres of the Home farm.




               Consists of brass pieces, fully mounted and formed in battle array. From this battery are fired the salutes announcing the rising and the setting of the sun. The whole forms the picture of a regular garrison.




               This building is located on the main avenue, a little to the south and east of the chapel, and is really the key by which all that is interesting and attractive is to be reached and studied. This structure is 130 by 41 feet, three stories, the third being a Mansard, constructed of brick, with Dayton limestone trimmings and surrounded by broad verandas that completely embrace the building. The first story, which is twelve feet in height, is set apart to the head-quarter officers, consisting of a well furnished suite of rooms for the governor of the institution and the secretary, and one each for the adjutant and the treasurer. These rooms are approached from the south, and command full views of the premises in almost all directions.

               The great feature of this building is the library and reading-room, which is one of the most beautiful and complete in the State of Ohio. This room is 104 by 41 feet. It embraces both the second and third stories, which furnish an apartment nineteen feet in height. The room is lighted by day from ten windows each on the north and south sides, and at night by Frink's cone reflectors. It is light, airy, and cheerful. The walls are painted a neutral color, which, while it is pleasant to the eye, harmonizes with the handsomely frescoed ceiling, and affords a charming background for the one hundred and fifty chromos, engravings, and photographs that adorn the walls.

               The walls terminate in a tastefully frescoed cornice. The ceiling is frescoed in irregular panels on the outer borders, which embrace a light drab field. On the latter is a central figure, representing a tasteful combination of all the army badges, which at once becomes both significant and beautiful. On the west is an illuminated representation of the goddess of war, and on the east a representation of the goddess of peace. Figures showing the genii of music, art, literature, the army and navy, occupy other and appropriate places.

               At the east end of the spacious room is what is known as the Putnam Library. It comprises complete copies (forty volumes) of the London Art Union, all handsomely bound in morocco, Audubon's Birds, Grecian Antiquities (four large volumes), Mediaeval Architecture, the complete works of Dickens, Scott, Cooper, and others of the most valuable of English and American authors. These books are inclosed in a case that completely fills the east end of the hall. The case is constructed of black and white walnut, with massive doors filled with plate glass; and it should be stated that it was constructed throughout by the soldiers of the Home. Over the library is massive ornamental scroll-work, in the center of which is the portrait of Mrs. Putnam's son.

               At the west end of the hall, in a case of but little less proportions, is the collection known as the George H. Thomas Library, which embraces all books belonging to the institution not donated by Mrs. Putnam. A neat wire screen protects the books from intruders. Scroll-work, like that at the east end, surmounts the case, and is handsomely dispersed about the picture of the lamented Thomas.

               On the floor are fourteen stands, each large enough to hold from four to six papers. Forty daily, one hundred and ten weekly secular, and one hundred and fifty weekly religious newspapers are supplied to the rooms, besides all the leading periodicals of the country. The floor is covered with matting, the room supplied with tables and chairs, the library case embraced by railing, and every provision made for the safety of the books, the comfort of the readers, and the complete appointments of a first-class library. Well might Chaplain Earnshaw point with pride to the result of his labors. The formal opening of the library took place in April, 1871.

               It was quite proper that the acquisition of such an auxiliary to the Home should be properly celebrated. To this end a day was set apart for the formal opening of the library, and a number of distinguished gentlemen from abroad were invited to speak to the soldiers. Ex-governor Dennison of Ohio, Lieutenant-governor Cumback of Indiana, General E. F. Noyes of Cincinnati, Hon. Samuel Galloway of Columbus, and Ex-secretary Cox of Cincinnati, were invited to make short addresses. All responded except Governor Cox, who was unexpectedly called elsewhere. These gentlemen were the guests of Colonel Brown, the efficient governor of the Home, and, after dinner at his residence, they repaired immediately to Music Hall, where the opening ceremonies were to occur, and where a large audience had already assembled, embracing not only the soldiers of the institution, but many ladies and gentlemen from Dayton and elsewhere.

               The speaking having ceased, on motion of Col. Brown, the soldiers adopted a vote of thanks to the orators, and clinched it with three hearty cheers and a tiger.

               All were then invited to the library-room, where, until darkness began to gather upon the landscape, visitors remained admiring the ample provisions they had just dedicated to the use of those to whom the country owes a debt, the interest of which it can alone hope to pay.

We close our description with the following beautiful and appropriate tribute from the pen of the ex-officio librarian, Chaplain Earnshaw:


               "The Putnam Library is the gift of Mrs. Mary Lowell Putnam, of Boston, Massachusetts, to the veterans of the 'National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers,' at Dayton, Ohio, as a memorial of her gallant son, Lieutenant William Lowell Putnam, of the twentieth Massachusetts regiment of infantry, who fell, mortally wounded, at the battle of Bali's Bluff, and died the following day; thus offering up his young and beautiful life to maintain the honor and integrity of his country,

               "There could be no more fitting illustration of the pure patriotism and magnificent heroism that characterized the young men of our country at the time when 'traitors insulted our flag,' than that furnished by the young soldier whose honored name this superb library bears. Though very young,

he had spent seven years in Europe, completing his education, and traveling over most of the continent; but, at the first sound of war, he hastened home to place himself in the front ranks of his country's defenders; and, in less than three months from the time he enlisted, his name was placed in the bright galaxy of the 'martyrs to liberty.’

               "And those of us who had the honor to serve in the same glorious cause, and have so fortunately survived to enjoy the blessings he died to purchase, may look upon his face (so finely delineated by the artist), which adorns the beautiful hall, where the rich gifts of his loving mother are treasured, and ever revere his glorious memory and strive to emulate his noble example.

               "'At the age of eighteen,' writes Dr. Guepin, of Nantes, 'he returned to us a young poet and serious thinker, under the form of a tall, handsome youth, as modest and reserved in society, as firm and courageous in the practice of his duties. His dream for the future had not changed; it was still that of serving the interests of his country and humanity as an historian.'

               "In addition to the fine collection of standard and illustrated books in the library, Mrs. Putnam has presented about two hundred paintings, steel engravings, chromos, and other pictures, in appropriate frames, making a most interesting and valuable collection, and furnishing elegant adornment for the walls of the room; and also a superior camera for viewing pictures; all of which she has delivered to the Home free of any expense.

               "That this munificent gift is duly appreciated by the inmates of the Home is shown by the constant use of the books the number of volumes taken out being greater in proportion than that of many larger collections ; while the admiration and encomiums of the thousands of visitors form a perpetual tribute to the noble donor."




               A very interesting collection of relics, consisting of shells, bayonets, and other implements of war, from many battle-fields. Among other attractions we mention:

A superb pulpit Bible, by Rev. Wm. Herr.

A beautiful kaleidoscope presented by Lieutenant H. E Scott.

Miniature cottage home, presented by Mr. T. K. Kibby.

A section of the backbone of a whale, presented by Major Bickham.

Piece of Andersonville stockade and dead-line, presented by Miss Eaton.

Piece of stockade found in underground tunnel laid by Union prisoners to escape from the Salisbury, North Carolina, prison-pen, presented by Sergeant Richardson.

Ivory carvings done in India, presented by Edward Hardcastle to Mrs. Mary Lowell Putnam and by her presented to the Home.

Centenial cup and saucer used at the tea-party, Boston, December, 16, 1873, donated by Mrs. Putnum. Also cup and saucer from the Philadelphia centennial tea-party, donated by Mrs. General I. W. Hoffman, of Philadelphia, Pa.

Fine stereoscopic views.

General Grant's saddle from Fort Henry, February 7, 1862, to Appomatox, April 9, 1865.

Theatrical sword taken from one of General Zollikoffer's aids at Mill Springs, Kentucky, presented by Colonel F. T. Foster.

Hand-lathe made at Nashville, Tennessee, by a soldier at the close of the war for Major-general G. H. Thomas, and by his widow presented to the Home.

A musical clock performing a variety of favorite airs, presented by W. McGrew, Esq., of Cincinnati.




               With its tapering spire pointing to heaven, is a neat and tasteful edifice, built in the Gothic style of architecture, of freestone faced with a light reddish stone, which has an excellent effect with the American ivy growing upon the walls. The windows are of stained glass; the interior is frescoed with much taste, and the national colors are draped across the ceiling. Back of the pulpit and near the ceiling is the seal of the institution wrought in stained glass, with the inscription, "The Nation to her Defenders." In front of the minister's desk there is an 'elegant ebony flower-stand, placed upon which is usually a vase of freshly-cut flowers. The floor is covered with handsome carpet, and seats cushioned. The wood- work is of walnut and ash, and on the back of each seat there is a rack containing a Bible and hymn-book. Indeed it has all the minor things which make a temple of God inviting. The magnificent set of plate used for communion and baptismal services comprises eight beautiful and massive pieces, and are the gift of Messrs. Adams & Chandler, of New York City. The laying of the corner-stone of this church was made a most interesting occasion; the exercises consisting of numerous addresses by several distinguished statesmen and by ministers representing various denominations, music from the Home band, singing by the choir, and a national salute from the battery. The list of articles deposited in the corner-stone is as follows:


Copy of the Holy Scriptures and hymn-book.

Constitution of the United States.

Blue book containing the names of the president, vice-president, and officers of the United States army and memers of congress.

Charter of the National Home and by-laws adopted by the Board of Managers.

Annual report of the Board of Managers to congress, detailing the work of the Home for the year 1867.

History of the Central Home, with report of number of inmates during the year 1868, with their ages, disability, and nativity.

Names and photographs of officers of the Central Home.

Names and photographs of the Board of Managers.

One copy of each newspaper on file in reading-room of the Home.

Copy of Oldroyd's picture, "Might of the Republic."

Copy of hymns sung on the occasion of the corner-stone laying, with names of speakers.

Names of master-builder and architect.

Names of landscape gardener, and contractor and photographs.

Photographs of inmates in the Home and their names.

Photograph of Lieutenant W L. Putnam, who was killed at the battle of Ball's Bluff, October 21, 1862, and son of the donor of the magnificent Putnam Library.

A miniature flag of the country.


               The chaplain, W. Earnshaw, was formerly pastor of a church in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and chaplain of the 49th Pennsylvania volunteers. Entering the army on the 16th of April, 1861, he continued in active service in the field throughout the entire war, and to its successful termination. He is and has ever been an active and earnest worker in everything appertaining to the soldier and tending to promote his happiness and welfare. In the language of a late visitor to the Home, "Chaplain Earns-haw even now looks more like a warrior than a minister, though he certainly fills the latter capacity admirably."

               Morning and evening services are held in the church each Sunday, and in the hospital building every Sunday afternoon. To instruct, improve, and purify the mind of so varied a congregation his eloquent discourses are free from the tone of sect or party. The pure and simple truths of religion, based upon the divine teachings and readings, are earnestly and zealously imparted; and it may with truth be said that all and every one might take part in the services and not fail in receiving benefit thereby. Weekly prayer-meetings are held and form pleasant reunion with a considerable number of the inmates. Sabbath-school, under the direction of Lewis J. Jones, superintendent, is also held in the morning, and is well attended. Persons not residents of the Home frequently attend the morning service. Large ministerial bodies and Sabbath-schools frequently visit the Home, and interesting exercises are held in the church. On a late occasion Bishop Simpson addressed the veterans in a few appropriate remarks which were greeted with applause. He expressed gratification at seeing the bountiful provision made by the government for the veterans, not as an act of charity, but as one of gratitude for services rendered and sacrifices made in defense of the nation. He related an interview with Secretary Stanton, upon whom he called in the darkest hours of the war, and when he was about to leave, Mr. Stanton asked him to pray with him. The secretary, though not a member of the church, had trust in God and faith in the power of prayer. At Mr. Stanton's request the bishop had not related the circumstance until since Mr. S.'s death. The Catholics also hold services in the church semi-monthly, on Thursday mornings. The Rev. Messrs. W. Carey and Charles Hahne, priests from Dayton, officiate. These services are largely attended by the men of that faith, and are greatly appreciated by them. On these occasions the Catholic altar is placed where the pulpit usually stands. Rev. Richard Gilmore, now bishop of Cleveland, formerly officiated here. No other instance of the kind can be found, in this or in any other country, where Protestants and Catholics worship in harmony in the same church. And why not? seeing we worship the same God, believe in the same Christ, and strive for the same heaven.




               The opening of the new hospital building was a great day at the National Home. Governor Hayes of Ohio, Governor Baker of Indiana, General R. C. Schenck, General August Willich, General T. J. Wood, Dr. Erastus B. "Wolcott of Milwaukee, of the Board of Managers, Rev. W. H. Thomas of Brooklyn, and other invited guests, left the city of Dayton in carriages at nine o'clock. On reaching the grounds a salute was fired from a section of artillery. The Home Band met the procession at the porter's lodge, and all were conducted to the officers' head-quarters by an officer, the soldiers cheering as the visitors approached. Here they were cordially received and welcomed by Colonel E. F. Brown, governor, and other officers. Though the hour was comparatively early, large numbers from Dayton and the surrounding country, besides a few from abroad, had gathered upon the grounds. The fire 'company was out with their engine in holiday attire. Tents were pitched irregularly on the grounds. The soldiers of the Home were out in their best "bib and tucker." The morning was bright and beautiful. Everything about the place looked fresh and pleasing, and the landscape was glorious. The hospital building is almost immediately north of the barracks on an open ground, a little declining from the latter. The position, though somewhat lower, is conspicuous and convenient. Manager Gunckel has not fallen into the error of hiding the hospital in some obscure place. It is the prominent object. Approaching the building from the main entrance, it stands the first important edifice of the Home. It is a beautiful brick building of three stories. The main front is two hundred and ninety-three feet in length, but is broke by a center forty feet wide, with wings on either side that comprise the remainder of the front.

               Large single windows light the first and second stories of the building, while the third story has dual windows that relieve the front and add much to the beauty of the structure. Four feet of the basement walls, which are of blue lime- stone, can be seen above the grade line. This is rock-faced ashlar-wark, capped with a course of Dayton limestone, upon which the brick super-structure rests. The towers rise from either end of the edifice. These are each twelve feet square, their diagonals being placed on a line with the side and end walls of the wings which represent the wards. These towers are one story higher than the building, and terminate in ornamented roof and; pinnacles. Besides adding greatly to the appearance of the building they also serve a valuable purpose in connection with the wards, to which allusion will be made hereafter. The center of the building projects from the wings twelve feet. This projection in turn has a front projection three feet deep and four feet wide. The latter is carried up from the foundation to the top of the building in the form of a tower, and terminates in an ornamented observatory that is the most elevated and central figure of the edifice, the dome being one hundred feet from the base.

               Midway between the center and the lateral towers, at either end, the wings are broken by another projection which presents three faces, and forms in each ward a bay window out of which three windows look upon the beautiful grounds. These are carried above the building and terminate in octagonal towers of one story, each face of the octagon being pierced with a window. The lateral towers, or those at the ends of the wards, have a flaring projection of eight feet six inches, and the face striking the lines of the front and ends diagonally, present an appearance both novel and pleasing. The immense structure is thus relieved in front by five projections, and the whole surmounted by seven towers, from any of which splendid views of the grounds and surrounding country can be obtained. Embracing the front of the center is a massive porch forty-one feet long by ten feet wide, surrounded by an ornamented balustrade. This is approached by a flight of molded and returned steps of Dayton limestone, and the whole constitutes the main entrance to the building. The window and door-sills are of Dayton stone, while the caps, cornices, tower, balustrades, and pinnacles are of galvanized iron, painted and sanded in imitation of stone. The roof is slate, tastefully ornamented. So much for the exterior of the building, which is massive without being cold and varied without in the least shocking the plainest taste.




               But after all, however beautiful and necessary may be architectural design and external beauty, it is the interior arrangements and appointments that give this its chief value. You enter the center of the building through a great door, six feet six inches by eleven feet, with elliptic head. The casings, jams, carved trusses, and cornice are painted and sanded to imitate stone. The storm door, inner door, and vestibule are of native white walnut of rare beauty. Passing these you are in the administrative part of the building, which embraces the whole of the center, and has a front of forty-four feet and extends back one hundred and thirty-one feet. You stand in a hall nine feet wide, flanked by a reception-room on the right twenty-one by fourteen feet six inches and on the left by the surgeon's office, a room of the same dimensions as the former. Passing these, which are appropriately furnished, you reach a hall eight feet in width, running parallel with the building. Looking now to the north or south you behold a beautiful architectural picture. Through the open doors the wards, with their pure white walls and party-colored wainscoting, are half revealed. A long line of Corinthian columns, supporting the ceiling, stretch out the full length of the wards. Neat cots, with their spotless coverings, are arranged with the regularity of men in battle. Everywhere there is something suggestive of comfort. Each wing has a ward on each floor, making six wards in all. The latter are one hundred and fourteen feet six inches long by twenty-eight feet wide. The ceiling is thirteen feet from the floor. The walls are wainscoted three feet two inches from the floor, with ash and black walnut alternated, while above they are plastered and present a plain white surface. Through the center of each ward a row of Corinthian columns, painted green, and bronzed, support the ceiling and floor above, and very much improve the general appearance. Allusion has already been made to the bay window in each, and to the two towers at the end. These towers are all in direct communication with the wards. They furnish apartments for bath-rooms, water-closets, urinals, etc.; and while they are so arranged as to be entirely disconnected with the wards, they are so constructed as to permit the best ventilation possible. Each ward in the administrative part of the building has an apartment set apart for the wash-room. The wards of the second and third floors are of the same dimensions as the one described, and similarly furnished. Each is supplied with dust and linen drops, extending from the floor to the basement. They are well lighted and ventilated according to the most improved plans. Attached to each ward, but located in the administrative part of the building, are rooms for library and attendants. A large elevator is provided upon which the sick may be laid and carried by steam from the basement to the floors above. The main stairway is in the center of the building; and in addition, each wing is supplied with a staircase extending from cellar to attic, affording ample facilities for egress in case of an extraordinary emergency. Each floor is supplied with a dining-room, located in the rear of the center of the building. These rooms are forty-one feet by thirty-one feet six inches, and are cheerful, beautiful apartments. They have capacious pantries and sitting-rooms, and besides, they communicate with the kitchen by dumb-waiters. The doors generally throughout the building are of choice white walnut; and the uniform wainscoting of the wards, halls, and dining-rooms in alternate pieces of light and dark wood produces a very pleasing effect.




               Contains a kitchen, scullery, bakehouse, and dining-room; also the necessary workrooms, apartments for the help, and operating-room, and apparatus for heating the building; and in the extreme north end is a mortuary apartment. The inner walls are hollow, to guard against external dampness; and while the whole building is heated by steam passing through coiled pipes in the basement, the wards and other rooms are supplied with grates for open fires. Nothing appears to have been omitted that would contribute to the comfort or safety of the patients. The beds are single iron cots, covered with superb hair mattresses almost as soft as down, and far more healthful. The sheets are linen and the blankets of fine wool. Each cot is covered with a white counterpane. This whole department is in such admirable order that an inspection speaks more for the efficiency and ability of the matron, Mrs. E. L. Miller, to whom this is confided, than any word of commendation that could be printed.

               Wherever her work is visible there is neatness, cleanliness, and tastefulness. Others may occupy places of more distinction, but the sick soldier will readily testify that no one contributes more to his comfort.

In order to guard against fire and the effects of boiler explosions a brick building, twenty-five feet by one hundred and ten feet, has been erected two hundred feet from the main building. This contains the steam boilers and is the fuel receptacle. It connects with the hospital by a tunnel over seven feet square, in which are the steam and water pipes, besides a small railway for transporting coal.




               The work has been done by the following persons: Stone-masonry, Felix Gieger; brick-masonry, Hiram Bosler ; galvanized iron and slating, W. F. Gebhart; heating, Brooks & Light; gas-fitting, R. Ogden all of Dayton, Ohio. The plumbing was done by J. & J. Gibson, of Cincinnati.

               The entire glazing, painting, varnishing, bronzing, and sanding were done by the day, under the superintendency of Mr. Win. Thompson, a veteran who resides at this Home.

               The carpenter-work and plastering were also done by the day, under the superintendency of Mr. A. McHose, prior to his resignation. The great bulk of the work was superintended jointly by Mr. McHose and the architect, C. B. Davies; since the resignation of the former, by the architect and Captain George Beard, late foreman, but now assistant superintendent and purchasing agent.

               The designs and plans of the building were made by Mr. C. B. Davies, and the whole was erected and finished under his superintendency; and to him especially belongs whatever of credit the public deem due for the building as it now stands. This elegant and well-arranged building, acknowledged to be the best constructed and best adapted hospital in America, cost $185,000, and is designed to accommodate three hundred persons.

               For that unfortunate class of patients who have lost the light of reason, frame buildings have been erected contiguous to the hospital; but with the continuing and growing improvements of the Home, it is in contemplation to erect a handsome and commodious brick building corresponding with the hospital, which, when completed, will afford every comfort and convenience for the requirement of those patients. Drs. McDermont and Dunlap have had the care of the sick; and it is needless to say that everything that the best medical knowledge, skill, and attention could avail has been given to them. Dr. McDermont, who has recently resigned on account of ill health, has been succeeded by Dr. James M. Weaver.

               The residence of the surgeon-in-chief is only a short distance from the hospital, and the Ass't. surgeon has a residence in the main building.

Sympathy for the returned soldier, and a disposition to alleviate his present condition, has been evinced by the rich gift of a very handsome carriage and pair of horses, for the purpose of enabling hospital patients from time to time to enjoy drives in the neighborhood. This noble gift was made to the Home by the ladies of the North Ohio Soldiers 7 Aid Society, represented by Mrs.B. Rouse president, Miss Mary C. Brayton secretary, and Miss E. Terry treasurer, of Cleveland, Ohio. The total expenditures for hospital supplies for the year 1874 amounted to $13,410.32.




               After a gentle walk from the hospital, and passing through a handsomely decorated arch, we enter a lovely dell where the art of the florist and botanist have been brought into requisition, a landscape garden, with nature's choicest flowers of beauty and fragrance to delight the eye and charm the senses, the conservatory and greenhouse, with plants from the tropics and trees bearing their delicious fruits. Creeping vines adorn the rock-work, and rustic seats are conveniently placed for rest and pleasure. Three mineral springs are converted into drinking-fountains; and it is not too much to say that nature and art combined have succeeded in creating a little paradise of beauty and grace.

               An inmate has charge of the conservatory; and the pleasing occupation of cultivation of the plants and flowers is performed by inmates, which, in addition to the enlivening beauty of the flowers, is a very successful one as a source of profit, choice bouquets and collections of flowers being eagerly sought for by visitors and the citizens of Dayton. On the edge of the garden are rustic summer-houses. On the surface of the lake of considerable extent the graceful swan may be seen majestically sailing; and parties in pleasure-boats, provided for the purpose, are gayly plying the oar. Mr. Frank Mundt, the florist and gardener, began his career in Germany under the instruction of his father, who was a florist as well as landscape and architectural gardener under the grand duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. In 1868 the grounds presented but few romantic features, and to the experienced eye of Mr. Mundt offered a prospect far from encouraging. As one of the early inmates of the

Home, he set to work with a zeal and energy truly commendable. He vigorously sought material from the surrounding country, and collecting together all the vines and wild flowers he could find, he planted them promiscuously in the crevices of rocks and upon the hill-sides. They took root quickly, imparting to the uncultivated grounds a delightfully romantic appearance. His almost magical transformation excited the wonder and admiration of every beholder, and thousands who were attracted to the spot expressed their gratification in enthusiastic terms. Here flowers have since continued to multiply and replenish the Home grounds. Mr. Mundt's next step was to construct a temporary greenhouse, to enable him to cultivate such flowers as he could find in the vicinity or that might be contributed. In this laudable effort he was greatly aided by the active exertions of Mrs. Elizabeth Kohrer of Germantown, Ohio, who contributed a large number of plants, and manifested her great interest in the new enterprise by increasing her contributions as occasion required. Too much praise can not be accorded to this estimable lady who has aided so largely in adding to the beauty and adornment of the Home. At this time Mr. Mundt was acting as vegetable gardener, and the rough old greenhouse which he erected is still preserved as a landmark. A practical turn was now given to the affair by the Board of Managers, and extensive arrangements were made to bring order out of chaos. Mr. Davies, the architect, was selected to lay out the garden in walks, promenades, and flower-beds, and Mr. Mundt, who was appointed florist, assisted by the labor of the inmates, actively carried out the work under the eye of Colonel E. F. Brown, who by no means allowed the work to slacken until the bright anticipation of the Board of Managers was fully realized. Major-general John H. Martindale, one of the Board of Managers, manifested the liveliest interest in the work, and as a tribute to his interest in the enterprise the magnificent conservatory ornamenting the garden was named in his honor. Before entering the conservatory the visitors may obtain a refreshing draught from the spring, the natural formation of which has elicited the admiration of thousands of persons who have visited the Home. Creeping vines and begonia leaves hang in graceful clusters on the rocks above the basin into which the sparkling element is constantly flowing. Standing upon the left side of the basin a glimpse may be obtained of a natural grotto, formed of rocks in layers so even and regular in their arrangement as to convey the impression that they had been laid by the hand of man. Looking far beneath this beautiful formation is a spring of great depth, and which in its perennial course flows steadily into the basin. At a short distance from it is a chalybeate spring possessing rare medicinal properties. It is of great depth and inexhaustible in its supplies. Passing through beautiful winding walks and ascending and descending by several stone flights we reach the




               This is a neat structure of octagon form, and is the abode of several hundred of God's little songsters. Nearly all of these birds are natives of the Home. At all times their united singing produces a melody of sound in song and chorus not often enjoyed by the lovers of nature's music. Those who would wish to enjoy a first-class concert should not neglect to visit the aviary. The groves of the Home abound in many fine specimens of the feathered race, consisting of canaries, mocking-birds, robins, woodpeckers, etc., many of them of rare beauty. In the aviary are some fine specimens of German singers. The rivalry between the American and German singers consists in the one excelling for beauty of plumage and the other for superiority of vocal power.

               Thus it seems that the reputation which has been accorded to Germany as the land of song is sustained by the birds of the air. Near the aviary is a pagoda, which overlooks




               From this point may be obtained an open view of the lake, garden, and conservatory, with ail their attractive surroundings. The view may be enjoyed quietly seated upon a bench, or in a pleasant patent swinging-chair suspended from the center of the roof. The waters of the lakes swarm with fishes, while upon the surface noble specimens of American and European swans, Muscovy ducks, wild geese and wild ducks, and other fowls are gracefully gliding. A heavy gun mounted upon a pile of rough stones in the center of the lake and a miniature floating light-house all form a pretty and inspiriting picture. Descending a single flight of steps we are surrounded by lovely




               These are laid out in the most tasteful and artistic manner, their effect being greatly heightened by a rudely-constructed fountain and fish-pond, containing gold fish, and other specimens of the finny tribes. It would be utterly impossible to attempt, within the prescribed limits of these pages, anything like a description of the magnificent beauty of the flower-beds. It must therefore suffice to say that they contain the choicest flowers, and the richest and rarest to be found anywhere. Near the flower-beds are large wire cages containing eagles, owls, and other birds. There is also a small pond containing alligators, the gift of Mr. A. L. Ross of the Merchants' Hotel, Dayton,




               This attractive conservatory is constructed in strict accordance with the best known principles of garden architecture. It is the finest example of a tropical conservatory, while the plants are in excellent condition, reflecting the highest credit upon the head gardener and florist, Mr. Mundt. The fine palms and musas give it a splendid tropical effect, and the beauties of all are considerably enhanced by the elevated walks on the exterior, which enables the visitor to inspect the plants above and below. We name among the beautiful collection




               This is a plant of great beauty, with large leaves, the upper part of the leaves spreading out; the rich metallic luster, upper and under sides; and yet it is abundantly distinct. It obtains the height of four feet. It is a highly ornamental plant, and has many attractions. A fine specimen of the alocasia from this conservatory was recently conceded a premium at the Southern Ohio Fair.




               This fine plant is six feet in height, and is all times a noble plant. But when in bloom, its beauty is greatly enhanced; for although the individual flowers are unattractive, yet as they are arranged in drooping pannicles some two or three feet long, the whole presents a fine appearance. From the pith of this plant, which is very white, the beautiful rice-paper of the Chinese is made.




               This plant and its varieties, American aloes as they are popularly called, are many of them familiar plants, and have the character of blooming once in a hundred years. This seems extraordinary, but is to some extent true, for they attain maturity very slowly; but when this condition is reached the plant sends up a flower-spike, and this perfecting dies, on account of the flower stem being the terminal bud, and from its great size completely exhausting the plant. It would therefore be equally true to assert that they bloom only once in a thousand years. But to imagine that they require to grow a hundred years before blooming is certainly fallacious, although they are no doubt many years arriving at a flowering state.




               This plant is originally from China and Japan, but has been introduced into Cuba and various other islands. It is now even more plentiful in

the home of its adoption than in its own country. It produces a beautiful crown of pinnate, dark green leaves, from two to six feet long. In Saxony its leaves are extensively used at tunerals as emblems of immortality. Two other beautiful palms, the date and the chocolate, adorn the conservatory.




               Is a native of Mexico. It is twenty-one feet in height, with spreading branches bearing prickly pear, from which whisky is distilled by the natives

of Mexico.




               Derives its name from its serpent-like appearance. It is twenty-two feet in height. This fine specimen received a premium at the late Southern Ohio Fair.




               This is a plant to which any description would fail to do justice. It is frequently expanded at Christmas with thirty or forty spikes of its lovely queen white flowers.


               Leaving the conservatory, the visitor soon arrives at several beautiful artificial lakes. In the center of one of them is a lovely




               "Which forms a truly romantic picture. It is bordered with rough stone, while its rich green foliage and drooping willows excite the admiration of the beholder. The island is inhabited by duck and other fowls who bask in the sunshine of delight on their little island home. Numerous rustic bridges crossing and re-crossing the lake enhance the beauty of the same, while




               Claim the eye on every Side. The largest and handsomest of these groves is abundantly supplied with comfortable seats. During the summer season the inmates go there to enjoy their siesta. Some indulge in a peaceful slumber, while others, with books in hand, may be found seated beneath the branches of an umbrageous oak, and, while the little songsters make sweet melody from above, draw largely from the fountain of knowledge. In the immediate vicinity are the ice-houses, and the pump-house by which the water from the lakes is forced by a steam-pump into the work-houses attached to the barracks. This water is used only for washing purposes, the springs and wells affording ample supplies for all other purposes.




               Here are to be seen from fifty to sixty deer, several of which were sent from Lookout Mountain. They are attended by an old soldier who was once deer-keeper for the king of Prussia. They have been so domesticated that they are quite tame, and instead of running away will bound forward and allow themselves to be patted, and turn their great wandering eyes idly upon any who may notice them. Some fine specimens of elk are also to be seen here.




               Though not extensive, its well worthy of attention. It contains the great bear of the Rocky Mountains and two smaller bears, which have been taught by their keeper (formerly a wild-beast-tamer in a menagerie) to perform many laughable antics. There is also a wolf, cunning foxes, and any number of sly old coons. In a small inclosure is an interesting family of English rabbits, pigeons, and antelopes two does and one buck, not far from the menagerie is a fine




               Containing an almost inexhaustible supply of stone, which has been and is still largely used in the construction-work of the Home. Near the quarry is a spring of delicious and wholesome water; also a magazine. Adjoining the quarry is a strong inclosure containing two buffaloes.


               A large grove is now reached in which are the quoit and croquet grounds.




               The residence of the governor is a frame mansion-house built in a unique design of architecture, surrounded with ornamental walks, and a similar structure stands not far from it. Between the two is




               Containing billiard-tables, bagatelle-tables, and a bowling-alley. In the upper portion of the building are the quarters of the band, with a room for study and practice. The band is composed wholly of disabled soldiers, and is under the direction of Edward Pohlmeyer.




               Is a room in which all of the public exercises of the institution are held, and will accommodate about eight hundred persons. Neatly frescoed on the ceiling are symbols and mottoes, suggestive of the great contest in which we were engaged. That next to the stage has the names of Washington and Lincoln. Another represents two hands clasped, and the words, "The Constitution and the Union." The stage, which is neatly finished with drapery and a drop-curtain, has upon either side of the proscenium representations of war emblems, with the words, "Our friends in need and our friends indeed," while the scene in the rear has for its center the coat of arms of the institution; that of the Goddess of Liberty presenting a cup of water to a soldier who has lost a limb in the service, with the motto suggested by Secretary Stanton. On either side are the emblems of peace. The entire front of the stage is adorned with flowers, presenting a spectacle of much beauty, which is one of the most suggestive features of the hall. Over each of the score of windows and doors is the name of some great battle of the war. There is Shiloh, Spottsylvania, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, Fredricksburg, New Orleans, and others. During the winter varied entertainments are given, such as vocal and instrumental concerts, performances ventriloquial and magic, the delivery of lectures by distinguished lecturers, performances by the Home minstrel troupe, dramatic performances, etc. The musical clubs and choirs from the city and neighborhood make frequent visits and volunteer delightful entertainments. Traveling lecturers as well as musical troupes render their

services without charge. Large meetings and reunions are held, which are addressed by distinguished speakers from all sections of the country.




               As we enter the camp we meet with men from every loyal state and from every corps and regiment that took part in the great struggle. Many are stumping along with an artificial leg, and many an empty sleeve flies idly in the breeze doubtless the largest number of one-legged and one-armed men in any one institution in the world. A larger number move only by the aid of crutches. Others there are with all their fair proportions; but a single glance will show the sign of the campaign, and that the hardships of the tented field have broken down their strong constitution, leaving only the wreck behind. All, however, have a comparatively cheerful expression, and are probably discussing some question of the day or enjoying the pleasures of smoking the fragrant weed. The men are in uniform dress, as the rules require. Fronting the principal barracks is a beautiful lawn, in the center of which stands the




               This a highly ornamental structure and is brilliantly lighted with gas for the evening concerts, which are given regularly every evening in pleasant weather.




               Are large three-story frame houses detached, there being a space of from fifty to sixty feet between each, laid out and ornamented and kept as lawns.

               Each barrack is one hundred feet long by twenty-five, with French roofs of uniform size and appearance. They have windows on four sides, have no partitions to interfere with the perfect and natural ventilation, and are admirably adapted for sitting and sleeping rooms, each floor accommodating about forty men. It is a real pleasure to walk through the neat and comfortable barracks. Each soldier has the regulation iron bedstead, well supplied with bedding. By each bed is a wardrobe for the clothing. The walls are adorned with flags and pictures, and all the rooms are scrupulously neat. Many of the inmates have trunks; and the regulations permit great liberty as to personal arrangements. Each barrack is under charge of a sergeant, who must report every morning the exact condition of his command. They are lettered and numbered like the different companies of a regiment, and police and sanitary regulations are enforced throughout with an approach to military exactness. The barracks represent, as it were, one side of a street or thoroughfare, on the opposite side of which are similar barracks. In the center of these buildings is the




               This new and superb structure is, except the hospital, the largest building and the most imposing of any in the Home. The building is admired not only for fine architectural effect, but for its great durability of construction, and reflects the highest credit upon the good taste and mechanical skill of Capt. D. F. Giddinger, the Home builder, under whose immediate supervision all the plans and details of construction have been admirably executed. The building is ninety-seven feet four inches by one hundred and thirty-one feet eight inches, measured on the outside face of the brick wall line, and is three stories high. The main wall of the first story is eighteen feet, the second story is sixteen feet in the clear, and the third story is fourteen feet. The outside brick wall is one foot six inches, or the width of four bricks in thickness, and the pilasters project eight inches from the outside and inside face of the walls of the superstructure. The foundation upon which the edifice has been reared is of a substantial character, being built of solid stone. The foundation wall is three feet wide and seven feet high. The door and window sills are the best quality of Dayton limestone and finished in a workman-like manner. The walls of the building are composed of the best quality of brick, well and thoroughly laid in good mortar of fresh-burned lime and clean white river sand. The outside face of the walls are of good weather bricks of a dark and uniform red color, all of which are neatly laid and flush pointed. The walls are bonded at every seventh course, and the pilasters are carried up true and plumb with quarter neatly turned at the top. The cut stone have been neatly set by the mason. All the walls and ceilings of the entire building, except the third, or Mansard, are well and alike thoroughly plastered with two coats of brown and one of white, and are sufficiently gauged with calcine plaster, so as to produce a smooth, white, hard finish. The cornices, door and window caps, and all the capping, crest, and railing on the Mansard-roof, with all the ornaments and dormer-windows, are composed of number twenty-six galvanized iron and finished in highly ornamental style. The upright part of the Mansard-roof is covered with the best quality of western Vermont slate, and is of that kind known to the trade as unfading green and purple slate. The best part of one third of the roof-center is cut of hexagon pattern. The slate is secured to the roof by galvanized slating nails in each slate, while all the flashings are of tin. This roof has been designed by Captain Qiddinger upon the plan of the Howe truss, and may be termed a truss-roof.



               The building is entered by nine spacious doors of unique design. There are four entrances on each side and one in front.




               Sixteen iron columns of the Corinthian order add ornament and strength to this floor and support the floor above it. There are twenty-eight tables in all, to which access is had by center and side aisles. These tables are neatly constructed, each being three feet wide and seating forty men, or in all eleven hundred and twenty men. Connected with it are the necessary pantries, closets, and wash-rooms. The second floor was originally intended for an upper dining-hall, which may at any time, if found necessary, be converted to that purpose; but at the present time it is used as a barrack, and has sleeping accommodations for three hundred men. The third floor, having a height of fourteen feet, is sustained from the roof with heavy iron rods, which afford great strength. It has been partitioned off into sleeping-rooms, of which there are eighteen, each room accommodating twelve men.




               The spacious new dining-hall, with capacity to comfortably seat over eleven hundred persons, was opened December 25th, 1874, with an inaugural dinner, music, speeches, and other appropriate exercises. The dinner was one of magnificent proportions, and with a few exceptions was the same as is served every day at the Home. The bill of fare was as follows:


               Fresh oysters, stewed, Christmas beef, roast, celery, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, cucumber pickles, bread, butter, crackers, mince-pies, coffee, nuts, apples, and oranges. Some idea of the proportions of the dinner may be had from an enumeration of the quantities of various articles of food served. First: seven hundred half cans of oysters, ten barrels of potatoes,

nine hundred pounds of beef, three hundred and sixty gallons of coffee, one hundred and forty-five dozen celery, two thousand and eight hundred oranges, eight barrels of apples, four hundred mince-pies, sixty-five gallon-cans of tomatoes, one hundred and forty-five pounds of candies and nuts each, four hundred and twenty-five pounds of butter, two hundred and fifty two-pound loaves of bread, and six thousand burr pickles.

               At one o'clock the bugle sounded the dinner-call, and one thousand one hundred and twenty veterans, without falling into column or observing any particular order of march, went into the hall quietly, and in the best of order took their seats at the table, the proceedings being accompanied with music from the Home Baud. Governor Brown gave notice that the invited guests

and the remainder of the veterans not accommodated at this sitting would be summoned to a second table in due time by the bugle-call. Chaplain Earnshaw then asked the divine blessing upon the dinner, after which the veterans commenced the discussion of the good things before them.

               The invited guests were the contractors, artisans, mechanics, and laborers who had been employed on the building, and in addition, a number of ladies and gentlemen of Dayton.

               At about two o'clock those who had not eaten at the first table were summoned to the hall, and found a bountiful dinner spread for them. After it had been disposed of, and the hall filled with veterans from the outside, the naugural exercises commenced. Colonel Brown delivered the first speech, from which we make the following extract pertinent to the subject:

               "The present plan, like the other, drawn by our own architect, Lemuel P. Porter, was submitted for examination and adopted by the Board on the first of April, 1874. Preparations were then made, and material ordered, but no active operations were began until the middle of May. The great perplexity, for many weeks, was the difficulty of removing the old dining-hall, which was composed of an old barn forty by fifty, with wings on every side, which acted as a stay or brace to hold the old barn up. Then, in this building we had two hundred men who had no other place to go, and exactly what to do in this dilemma was a very troublesome question. But finally Councilman Hammond was induced to undertake the work of removal, with all its mortal freight included, and with all his snapping of cable-chains, ropes, and timbers, to say nothing of eyes, he succeeded beyond our most sanguine expectations, and the main building and the several wings soon walked off to another locality, and the foundation was cleared of rubbish. He was well aided by most efficient workmen, and Edward Lynch with his faithful squad was always on hand to aid and encourage in the work of removal. No sooner was the way cleared than Tom White followed with his excavating force, and in a very few days the place was prepared ready for the foundation and cellar walls. The contract for the walls had been let to Messrs. Ila and Lee Lynam, of West

Dayton, and aided by the efficient force of good workmen, the foundation walls soon invited the ornamental stone bases, which Messrs. Weber & Huffman were not slow in supplying. Then came the very important brick superstructure, which had been let by contract, after a close and spirited competition, to Jasper Billings. No time was lost, and in a few days the work began to show; and almost magical were the transformations. Brick followed brick, story upon story, until all said, 'This is wonderful.' Then followed the truss-roof, with its heavy timbers and strong iron, under contract with

Messrs. D. H. & C. C. Morrison, under whose inspiration, aided by a force of efficient workmen, the building was soon ready for the roof. Then followed Messrs. William Gebhart & Co., with the roofers, and in an incredible short space of time the building was under cover. There was then no delay, and before a test of the roof could be made the plastering was well under way, and rushed forward as rapidly as possible under contract by W. H. Finch. Thus I have very imperfectly sketched the rise and progress of this building, which I had almost likened to Solomon's temple. But so far I have not mentioned the master-builder. Of course this temple is unlike Solomon's, in that it has much wooden material, even from the base to the dome. All this structure has required a master-builder, a Hiram Abiff, so to speak, whose business it was to lay down the plans from time to time upon the trestle-board, a skilled workman who could be relied upon, to see that each brick and stone and timber, and all iron and glass and every sort of material was properly adjusted, that when completed it would be a perfect building, and do credit to the Solomon's the wise men of the Board of Managers who had so generously and considerately directed the grand structure to be built for our use. The selection for this important post was our worthy master-builder, Captain D. F. Giddinger, and were he not so modest and retiring in his habits and tastes, I would almost venture the prediction that he feels a little pride and no small degree of satisfaction at the result of his labors. Constantly at his post from early morn to dewy eve, through the sultry heat of a long and unusually scorching summer, day after day and week after week has he steadily and persistently continued his labors, never tiring, never ceasing, ever watchful and always faithful. While I may safely compliment every contractor and every workman upon this temple of ours for prompt and efficient labor and mechanical skill, it will be readily conceded by all that to Captain Giddinger belongs the honor of the skillful and efficient master-builder. He has had his soul in the enterprise; and who can blame him if as he sits at our feast to-day his heart is made glad by the joyous looks of the good friends gathered around him.

               "It would ill become me, as I stand here to-day with these numerous evidences of the skilled painter before, behind, above, beneath, and all around me, not to give a word of praise to the artisan who has so faithfully performed his part. To our own Frank McGlinchy and his very efficient and skilled assistants we are indebted for a most elegant and tasteful job. These iron columns, strong and smooth as they left the hands of W. P. Callahan, would scarcely be recognized as the gilded pillars of this temple. So also while we look to the right and left, and a little above us, are we reminded that our long-tried and faithful gas-fitter, James P. Heaten, has added his skill, and rendered our temple pleasant at night as well as by day. The mild temperature of the hall reminds us that the steam-fitters have also added their skill. The entire work of the steam-fitting, for heating purposes as well as for domestic use in the building, has been done by our own mechanics, under the direction of the chief engineer, Mr. W. G. Crutchfield, and his excellent assistant, Thomas Hinton. It is a matter of great pride with us that so much of this structure has been built within our own resources the entire excavations for the foundations and cellars, the carpenter-work, save such as could be done by machinery, and much of the painting and glazing, the gas, steam, and water-fittings. Now I wish it were in my power to tell how earnestly all persons interested in this work have performed their allotted parts.

               "As the cost of all public buildings is a matter of interest, and which always can not be found out, I wish to give the true figures as shown by the books. By a close estimate an appropriation of $27,000 was asked of and granted by the Board of Managers. The following are the exact expenditures:


Ila and Lee Lynam $ 370.00

Webber & Huffman 751.50

Jasper Billings 4,780.00

D. H. & C. C. Morrison 2,420.56

W. F. Gebhart & Co 5,100.00

Mitchel & Rowland Lumber Co 3,431.49

W. H. Finch 1,220.00

W. P. Callahan 1,239.50

John Rouzer 1,095.00

Young & Young 750.12

Brooks & Light 910.06

E. T. Carson & Co 822.74

R. S. Hoglen & Co 689.15

C. H. & D. Railroad Co 507.59

William H. Shank 251.22

Brownell & Kielmeir 187.02

Sundry small bills 1,143.53

Total $25,678.03


Balance of appropriation unexpended $1,321.97


               "The unexpended part of the appropriation will fully complete the building. I present these facts and leave it to others to discuss and determine in their own minds as to the economy of these expenditures."


               After Colonel Brown, Chaplain Earnshaw was the next speaker. He made an appropriate and eloquent speech, in which he referred to the custom of inaugurating each new building at the Home with appropriate exercises. They all remembered when the invalid veterans were transferred from the barracks to the palatial wards of the new hospital; then again the dedication of the church which was built upon the broad foundation of charity. This he regarded as the most important occasion of the kind that had occurred at the institution. When the Home for disabled soldiers was first established it was said that the spirit which caused its erection would soon die out, and the veterans would be left to care for themselves; but as each successive building goes up and is dedicated, it shows that the institution is a permanent one, and that the people of this republic would not forget those who defended it and made it in truth the home of the free, which it had not been until the abolition of slavery. Chaplain Earnshaw spoke at some length, the foregoing being not even a synopsis of all his remarks.


               "Sweet Land of Liberty 'tis of thee," was sung, and then the following letter from Mrs. Putnam to Chaplain Earnshaw was read:


"68 BACON STREET, December 22, 1874.

               "DEAR SIR I received your very interesting letter yesterday afternoon, just after I had sent off a box to the Home.

               "You may well say that you think I shall be surprised to hear the number of books (thirty-one thousand three hundred and eighty-eight) that have been read at the Home during the year 1874. It is indeed wonderful.

               "It gives me great pleasure to learn that the books which went in the last box were acceptable. I trust there are some in the box which is on its way to you that will give pleasure. I have been so fortunate as to find a copy of Winckle's Cathedrals of England and Wales. It contains several views of all the finest cathedrals, with an account, historical and descriptive, which will I think be very interesting to your more serious readers. You will find in this box some books sent by my nephew, Charles Lowell. Among others, Lossing's Field-Book of the War of 1812, The Days of Bruce, Alfred the Great, by Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown's School-Days, by Thomas Hughes, Back-Log Studies, by Warner, The Hymnal, Old and New, etc.

               "I thank you very much indeed for your kindness in proposing to give my portrait a place in the valuable history of the Dayton Home which you have been preparing. But I can not but believe that, even when writing to ask my assent, you must also have anticipated my answer. I am deeply grateful, but it is impossible for me to accept the honor designed me. I am sure that you will understand my feelings, and that I need not make any prolonged explanation.

               "I shall look forward to the pleasure of reading your history of the Home. With great regard,



The following telegram was also read from Mr. Carson:


"CINCINNATI, December 25, 1874.

               "COLONEL E. F. BROWN:

               "Greetings of the season to yourself and the noble institution over which you preside. I regret I can not be with you to participate in the joyous festivities of the day. 'Peace on earth, good will to men.' E. T. CARSON."


               Captain Thompson, the steward at the Home, who is, by the way, one of the most popular officers of the institution, was called upon for a speech. He responded with some reluctance, but made a neat, brief speech. The dining-hall is especially connected with his department, and in his remarks he referred to that fact, and also the gratification of himself and the officers and men at the Home on account of its completion.


               At the conclusion of his remarks Colonel Brown proposed three cheers for the occasion, which were given with a will, and the crowd dispersed.



               The dining-hall, set for dinner, is a beautiful sight, with its long tables covered with neat cloths, shining ware, and comfortable appointments. Here, too, are flags and pictures, giving the walls a cheerful look. The bill of fare is quite generous, being different for every day in the week. Here is a specimen of that which governs from December till the spring vegetables come in:



Breakfast Boiled ham, potatoes, brown bread, butter, coffee.

Dinner Roast mutton, potatoes, tomatoes, pie, bread, butter, coffee.

Supper Bread and butter, gingerbread, fruit, tea, beets.



Breakfast Corned beef, potatoes, bread, butter, coffee.

Dinner Macaroni soup, boiled beef, potatoes, bread, crackers.

Supper Mush and syrup, warm biscuit, butter, cheese, tea.



Breakfast Irish stew, potatoes, bread, butter, coffee

Dinner Pork loins, kraut or turnips, pickles, bread, butter, coffee.

Supper Bread, butter, cake, fruit, tea



Breakfast Beef, stewed onions, potatoes, bread, butter, coffee.

Dinner Mutton pot-pie, tomatoes, brown and white bread, coffee.

Cold beef, beets, bread, butter, tea.


               The steward has some liberty to vary this, but not to reduce the general average. Just back of the dining-room is the grand kitchen. Five enormous coffee-caldrons, containing eighty gallons each, hold just enough for each meal; and four soup-kettles, with a capacity or one hundred gallons each, supply the soup for one dinner. These are run by steam supplied from the laundry some rods away. The pot-pie for Wednesday requires twenty-one sheep, seven barrels of potatoes, a hundred pounds of flour, and six dozen eggs no pot-pie to spare either. Fifteen barrels of "heads" supply cabbage for one dinner. The ordinary dinner, without soup or pot-pie, requires seven hundred pounds of meat. The last poultry dinner, a treat, required just one ton of dressed fowls. On Easter morning the veterans ate three thousand eggs and thirty large hams. The bulk of hash is incredible. Such an amount of cooking done by a few men, and so cheap, raises the question if there is not a better day coming when several families shall club together and do their cooking in the same manner, at about one fifth the cost and trouble each family now has. The laundry department cleans twelve thousand pieces per week, at a very small cost. This kitchen and bakery are regarded, by all who are competent to judge, among the best in the land.


               Jack Easy, formerly of company D, second Maryland volunteers, thus expresses himself concerning the larder of the Home:


               "It is impossible to say, after enjoying the comforts of this Home and its outside beauties, that republics are ungrateful. The man who would say it has neither heart for home or country left, and when death finds him the ocean ought to be his resting-place. The hospital here is a palace in itself, and the bill of fare for those who are sick or lame or convalescent beats anything of its kind in this or any other country. Some of the dishes are fricasseed chicken, bass, rice-pudding, egg, custard, etc. I have boarded outside and paid $5 per week for far poorer living than I get here for nothing but faithful service to the country in its hour of need. The national boarding-house can't be beat. Most people who keep boarding-houses outside expect to make a fortune in a few years out of their boarders; widow landladies I include, and grass widows are the worst of the class.

It is a cold leg of mutton for dinner, served up in cutlets at night, and in the morning tempts you in the shape of hash; and if it is not disposed of at that meal, it will come up again as soup a la mode. The French name helps it to digest.

               "I knew a grass widow who commenced taking boarders when she was worth but $45; now she owns two brick houses and several lots, and goes to Newport to catch sea-breezes.

               "But in this hospital and Home they have no fortune to make, as the nation pays the bill; so there are no ten minutes for meals. We do not rush ahead like the outside world, but take things easy."

               "We conclude this article with the following interesting statement kindly furnished by the steward, Captain Wm. Thompson.


               The proportion of articles issued daily per man is about as follows:


Bread, crackers, and biscuit 13 ounces.

Meat and fish 12 "

Butter 2 "

Tea and coffee 1 1-16 "


               In the month of October, 1874, the following quantities of articles were delivered from the bakery:


Bread 48,092 pounds.

Biscuit 7,188 "

Cake 3,200 "

Cookies 1,674 "

Pies 4,464


               In the production of these articles two hundred and sixty barrels of flour were used. The following quantities of other articles were also used during the month:


Fresh beef. 30,730 pounds.

Corned beef. 2,572

Ham 3,728

Mackerel 2,737

Mutton 5,116

Pork loin 1,800

Shoulders 2,175

Butter 1 1,093

Cabbage 3.463

Cheese 1,338

Coffee 3,362

Eggs 1,507 dozen.

Milk 2,077 gallon.

Potatoes 6,070 bushel.

Sugar 6,420 pounds

Tea 457 "

Tobacco 800 “


               Capt. Wm. Thompson, besides performing the arduous and responsible duties of steward, has likewise under his supervision the following industrial branches: Cigar, stocking, broom, and soap factories, and paint, shoe, tailor, upholsterer, and harness-shops. The ability of Capt. Thompson is plainly visible in the various departments. The total cost of subsistence for the year 1874 was $134,593.55.




               Is a large substantial structure, built of brick, and is three stories high. All the washing for the Home is done here by steam. On the first floor are immense washing-machines, worked by steam power and tended by inmates of the Home. Above are the linen, pressing, and repairing rooms. The clothes, after being pressed and folded, are brought into the linen-rooms and given in charge of the superintendent. The garments are then placed upon shelves divided into compartments, each division receiving one particular kind of garment. A strict account is kept of every article given out and returned, in order to prevent confusion and loss. Every week the sergeant of each barrack makes a requision for the number of garments required for the men in his charge. The garments drawn, consisting of shirts, drawers, socks, pillow-cases, sheets, and towels, are delivered in systematic order to a detail of men. On Monday morning the clothing worn the previous week is returned in the same orderly manner. The laundry forms a great object of interest to ladies visiting the Home, and they are frequently heard to make many witty remarks as they behold the lords of creation applying themselves vigorously in removing the terror of wash-day. The bathroom is near the laundry, thus practically illustrating our faith in the proverb, that "cleanliness is next to godliness." John M. Beck, Supt.

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