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History of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers
The Daily Routine



               At sunrise the morning gun awakens the sleepers from their peaceful slumbers; "then merrily sounds the bugle-horn." Succeeding the reveille the morning ablution is performed, and then at the sound of the bugle all proceed to the great dining-hall. Breakfast over, working parties proceed to their employment, and others divide their leisure hours according to their inclination or to circumstances that may present themselves. At nine o'clock the bugle sounds the sick-call, and those having any ailment or pain to complain of may call upon the surgeon and receive such attention as their cases may require. Dinner at twelve; supper at six. At nine o'clock the bugle sounds the tattoo, when lights are extinguished and quiet reigns throughout the camp.




               This occurs once a month. The barracks are put in a state of perfect cleanliness and apple-pie order, and all are expected to be present in full uniform and answer to their names. On one of these occasions a good joke was perpetrated, which is thus related by one of the Home correspondents:

At the National Asylum at Dayton, on muster and inspection, which occurs once a month, every man is expected to be in uniform; and after roll-call Colonel Brown, the governor, goes along the line and questions every one who is not so clothed. Some have for excuse that they have just come in and that they have not had time to draw them yet; others that they are at the tailor's being altered, etc., which excuses elicit various remarks from the colonel, jocular or otherwise generally the latter. On inspection the colonel said to a man in citizen's clothes: "Have you a uniform?" "Yes, sir." "Where is it?" "In my box, sir." The colonel with some asperity, " Were you ever a soldier?" "No, sir." Reply with more vim and dignity: "Yes, you were, sir; you were ," when the man quickly interrupted him with, "No, sir; I was a sailor" Exit the

colonel (and his staff) with the laugh “reyther agin" him.




               Occasionally there is an auction sale of condemned quartermaster's stores in the Home, which is largely attended by citizens. There is also an auction sale held several times during the year, which is largely attended by the inmates. At this sale, which usually takes place in the evening, the unclaimed effects of men who have died in the hospital are offered for sale and disposed of to the highest bidder, the governor of the Home acting as auctioneer. The articles consist of clothing, pocket-books, cutlery, watches, etc. The bidding is lively and amusing, and the usual interchange of jokes that characterize the city auctions are indulged in by both auctioneer and bidders, creating great merriment for the time being.




               Associations designed to promote the moral and physical welfare of the men of the Home have been well organized and successfully conducted.




               This club has a neat uniform consisting of white caps and shirts, dark-blue pants, and stockings with cross stripes of white and blue. The club has played some very successful match games with clubs from the city, often coming out winners.




               This society was formed by the veterans of the Home upon the suggestion and assistance of Hon. L. B. Guuckel, the resident manager, and its officers. The objects of the society are to erect a monument on these grounds in order to perpetuate the names and memories of the men who have died or may die and be buried in the asylum cemetery, and also to collect relics of every battle-field of the late war, and mementoes of the men who fought the battles; and last, but not least, to collect, arrange, and preserve the materials for a history of the institution. One of the results growing out of the organization of this society is the beautiful monument which now adorns the cemetery. The membership is not confined to officers and inmates, but is open to all persons who desire to join male or female.




               This post has a large membership, and is composed of some of the best material in the Home. The organization is carried on with a great deal

of energy ; and its appearance on parades, at funerals, or on festive occasions, never fails to elicit admiration. Their meetings are often of a very interesting character, as will be seen from the following sketch:


               "The members of Veteran Post No. 5, G. A. R., after their usual business on Monday evening was concluded, stacked arms and held a camp-fire meeting at which the scenes so familiar to old soldiers were again represented. Coffee-cooling, pork, hard-tack, anecdote, and song served to bring back to their remembrance many such evenings spent in the front when all was 'quiet on the line,' but where the surroundings were not quite as secure as they were found to be on this occasion.

               "It having been reported to Post Commander D. F. Giddinger that there were deserters in the camp, two details were made by him to secure them, resulting in the capture of comrades Colonel E. F. Brown and Captain W. H. Lough, who were brought in under guard and made to contribute their share to the fuel of the camp-fire.

               "Though excellent speeches were delivered by the worthy ch'ef cook, Comrade Jones, Comrade E. F. Brown, and Chaplain Earnshaw, the free and easy comfort of camp life was well observed and the amusement kept lively by songs and repartee, Comrades Wearing and May contributing largely to the former. It is intended that a camp-fire shall be lighted monthly, to which the members of neighboring posts will be invited, and which, if as successful as that of

last evening, will add much to the attractions which the Grand Army of the Republic has for all old soldiers."




               Lookout Lodge has a membership of over two hundred, and is considered one of the finest lodges connected with the order. It has been in existence for the past eight years, and has been instrumental in rescuing many a veteran from a drunkard's grave. It comprises in its membership a considerable amount of intelligence, and its meetings are rendered very attractive by interesting literary exercises.




               This organization originated in the Home but is conducted on a somewhat different basis from the Good Templars, as will be seen from its plan of operations.

               The name is "The Guardians," implying that the members should be in some respect guardians of each other, and influentially conservators of general morals. All persons, even children of understanding, are eligible to membership. The pledge is a solemn public promise to abstain from the use of liquor as a beverage, also from the buying, selling, or making of any and all liquors that will intoxicate, and to aid the intemperate in reformation and repress the habit of imbibing stimulating drinks. The officers are chosen quarterly, by ballot, the duties being as in similar societies.

The meetings are held once in two weeks, on Friday evening.


               Following the successful example of the Rev. Father Theobald Matthew, the obligation may be taken for a limited period, that is, for twelve or six months; the permanent members take it for life, avoiding ceremony and formality. The mode of address is by calling an officer or member "mister" (mutatis mutandis, as to ladies). The important part in the order of business is in the entertainment, the meetings being always public and open. This consists of essays, addresses, debates, selections, recitations, some "feast of reason and flow of soul," vocal and instrumental musical performances, after which new members will be admitted, the ceremony being simple and brief, then general business and adjournment.

               The above named organizations, it is almost needless to say, have the hearty approval of the Board of Managers and of the officers of the Home. Chaplain Earnshaw has devoted himself unreservedly to the advancement of the interest of the two temperance organizations, and is an active member of both, seldom, if ever, absenting himself from any of the meetings. The use of intoxicating liquors in the Home is a subject which has occasioned the Board of Managers much concern, as will be seen from the following extract from one of their late annual reports, which we subjoin:


               "Were it not for the existence of intoxicating liquors for sale in the immediate vicinity of all the asylums, which were purposely located at some distance from cities, so that the men might not be led into temptation, there would be no more difficulty as a rule in the management of the soldiers and in maintaining discipline by the officers of the institution than there would be by a judicious parent in the management of his household.

               "Indeed, in many respects the soldiers resemble children, in their entire dependence on those to whom they look for orders and direction; and then the habit of discipline in the army contributes largely to the cause of order and obedience to rule. From nineteen twentieths of the soldiers in the asylum, nothing would ever be heard requiring any exercise of authority, or be of any trouble to the officers of the asylum, were it not for this besetting sin of the soldier; in fact, one great cause of the disability a vice perhaps contracted in the army comes from indulging to excess in intoxicating liquors. There are one-legged and one-armed men who, while in our institution, can earn and if they would work in the same way in a private establishment the employer could afford to pay them three to six dollars per

day, and who therefore at first would seem hardly to come within our rules as "soldiers so disabled as to be unable to obtain a living or support themselves;" yet these same men when left to themselves outside in one fortnight would most generally find themselves without money, with even the clothes they have on furnished by the Government sold, themselves clothed in rags, the inmates of some alms-house.

               "The effect of intoxicating liquors upon these men raises a very serious and difficult problem for solution in the government of the institution. What shall be done to a man who, deliberately, day after day bursts out of bounds against orders, tempted by the intoxicating stimulant which the harpies who keep it are glad to sell to him to his ruin? Shall he be expelled from the institution at once and forever for violation of its rules, and for having made a beast of himself by an almost criminal indulgence, or shall we not rather look upon this mental and physical condition of the soldier, with this not to be restrained appetite for strong drink, as a part of his disability, contracted while in the army and in the line of his duty, and discipline him by confinement for his own good until the liquor can be got out of him while under restraint, and still keep him in the asylum because of his disability, applying all the correctives and incentives which we can throw about him for the restraint of his appetite and his reform ?

               "The Board as a rule have adopted this latter course toward these unfortunate men; and it is only when this vice of drunkenness is complicated with other vicious habits or other vicious acts, so as to make the possessor of it otherwise dangerous, criminal, or absolutely so bad as to become a disgrace to himself and the institution, that we have not retained the soldier so afflicted in our several branches, and only discharged him dishonorably, finally, when he is otherwise vicious and incurable."

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