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History of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers





               The reunion and basket picnic of the one hundred and tenth, ninety-fourth, seventy-first, and forty-fourth Ohio regiments at the Soldiers' Home drew together a larger crowd than has heretofore assembled on a similar occasion. The regiments were all represented, all the surviving members of several companies being present, and they were accompanied by vast crowds of people of both sexes. It is estimated that fully five thousand persons were brought to the city by the railroads, who, with the citizens of Dayton that went out to the Home, made a vast multitude. Every addition that could be made to the means of transportation to the Home was brought into requisition. Extra cars were put on the Third Street route, and the street was thronged with express-wagons, omnibusses, and carriages, but still numbers of people were compelled to walk. It was like a Fourth of July scene on the grounds. The park, the wood, the lawns, and avenues were filled with people, here in groups, there in pairs, and there again in crowds.

               Governor Allen, accompanied by a number of prominent citizens of Dayton, arrived on the grounds at 11:00 A. M., and was received at head-quarters by Colonel E. F. Brown, governor of the Home, who conducted him to the speaker's stand. As the gubernatorial party ascended to the platform the Home Band struck up "Hail to the Chief," and the distinguished gentleman was greeted, with a spontaneous outburst of applause. Colonel Brown, on the part of the regiments on whose invitation Governor Allen was present, and also in behalf of the officers and men of the Home, delivered the address of welcome.




               “Governor Brown, citizens, and soldiers: This is one of the most agreeable days of my life, rendered so by the honor conferred upon me, by the kind reception tendered me by the officers and inmates of this institution, and the vast multitude before me. In passing my eye along the line of these structures, and over the beauty of these grounds with their ornaments, I know that every dollar appropriated by the Government for the Soldiers' Home has been honestly applied to the purpose that it was intended that purpose was to promote the happiness of that portion of the community wounded in the war. The traveler in making the journey of the earth will find no institution like this. It is superior to any similar institution of other countries throughout the world. It was organized wisely and economically and placed under the supervision of the ablest and purest citizens of the country and soldiers of the army. The men intrusted with this great work have been faithful to their trust, and have managed the affairs of the institution so wisely and economically that it is an honor to the whole country; and it is a blessing to the wounded soldiers. They have done their duty well; we see evidences of it here to-day. The Government has done no more than it was in honor bound to do; it is our duty to provide for those who were disabled in defense of the country. This has been the policy of all governments in ancient and modern times. In the ages of antiquity the disabled soldiers were taken care of. The Greeks carried this idea so far that they sent into exile seven of their victorious generals because they did not take time to bury their fallen soldiers even in the midst of a campaign. They would not accept such an excuse as that. It is especially the duty of the United States to provide for her wounded soldiers. Here we have no large standing army; never shall as long as we remain free. We do not need them, because every man is a soldier and a patriot that has interest in the country. We keep a few soldiers to occupy the forts and to keep the Indians in check on the frontier; but we do not keep any to bayonet unoffending citizens to the ground."


               At the meetings held by the several regiments, resolutions were passed tendering their thanks to Governor Brown and the officers and men of the Soldiers' Home. This proceeding was highly appropriate, for Governor Brown and his subordinates were untiring in their attentions to the visitors. They accompanied them about the grounds, pointed out the objects of interest, and in every way they could extended a soldier's kindly greeting to a soldier.




               Seldom has a more spontaneous and general outburst of enthusiasm ever been witnessed at the Home than that displayed on the occasion of General Hooker's visit to the disabled soldiers.

               The general, accompanied by Major-general Wood and Manager Gunckel, of Dayton, arrived at the asylum at 10 o'clock A. M., and was met at the gate (the entrance to the asylum grounds) by Colonel E. F. Brown, governor of the institution, accompanied by the celebrated Home Band. The party was escorted up the avenue leading to the institution by the band, the guns on the parade-ground at the same time firing a military salute in honor of the distinguished visitor. In front of head-quarters was erected a triumphal arch decorated with evergreens, bearing the inscription, "Welcome to General Hooker, the hero of Lookout Mountain." As the carriage drove along the lawn in front of the barracks, where nearly all the soldiers able to leave their quarters were assembled, cheer after cheer rent the air as he passed along the line. The formal reception was advertised to take place in Music Hall, and as soon as the doors were opened, it was quickly filled to overflowing, every available spot for standing-room being occupied.

               The general's appearance on the stage in the hall was greeted with enthusiastic applause, during which the band struck up "Sherman's March through Georgia." He was introduced to the audience by the governor, Colonel E. F. Brown, who, after referring briefly to his distinguished services in the army in connection with the veterans before him, in behalf of the Board of Managers, officers, and inmates of the institution bade him a hearty welcome. The general on rising to his feet was once again greeted with three times three by the "boys," nearly all rising to their feet by general impulse. He was evidently taken by surprise by the cordial welcome extended to him on all hands, and exhibited slight embarrassment and no small degree of emotion, but controlled himself sufficiently to reply in an eloquent and appropriate address, during the delivery of which he was frequently interrupted by applause and laughter. At the close of the exercises a large crowd of soldiers lingered outside the hall, where he was again welcomed by expressions of love and respect ; indeed, it appeared to an observer as if the enthusiasm of the veterans was only restrained out of sympathy for the general himself, on beholding his present physical condition.




               On the afternoon of April 18th, 1871, the members of the Great Council of the Improved Order of Red Men visited the Soldiers' Home, and were met at the gate by the courteous officers of that institution, armed with tomahawks. The pipe of peace was smoked, when the Red Men were captured and taken in charge by the officers. A very interesting welcome address was delivered by Chaplain Earnshaw and responded to by the great chief of records, Betts. The visitors were highly delighted with their visit, and unanimously voted the officers of the Home as whole-souled and genial gentlemen, and congratulated the inmates that such true-hearted men were permitted to contribute to their happiness in their unfortunate condition.




               General Sherman arrived at 6:00 A. M., and proceeded to the residence of J. W. Stoddard, Esq., where he was entertained. By eight o'clock crowds of persons had taken up the line of march from the city and country to the Home, crowding the dusty highways.

               At 9:30 A. M. General Sherman, accompanied by Mr. Stoddard and Hon. L. B. Gunckel, arrived at the grounds, where the General of the army of the United States was received with military honors. A graceful triple arch spanned the gate, inscribed in front,


"Honor to the Brave !


From Atlanta to the Sea!"


On the other side,


"In memory of our Fallen Comrades."


               Following the Soldiers' Home Band, and escorted by a guard of honor, General Sherman proceeded to the Home. Passing the battery he was greeted with the customary general's salute, and in front of head-quarters struck the head of the line of veterans drawn up in form to receive him, the orphans of soldiers from the Home at Xenia on the extreme left, the firemen of the Home with their gay uniforms and shining apparatus on the right. Rising, with his head uncovered, General Sherman saluted the veterans and proceeded to Music Hall.

               The ceremonies there were brief. The soldiers' orphans from the Home at Xenia occupied the right of the hall, the G. A. R. the center, and the veterans, with a few civilians, filled the remaining space. On the stage was Resident Manager Gunckel, General Sherman, Lieutenant-governor Lee, Major-general T. J. Wood, Major-general W. H. Gibson, Chaplains Byers and Earnshaw, Rev. W. W. Ramsey, Rev. R. A. Sawyer, Rev. J.R.Hughes, and others. General Sherman was greeted warmly by the veterans who recognized him at once.

Hon. L. B. Gunckel, with his usual good taste and dispatch, promptly arose and said:


               "It was related that a gentleman once kindly offered to introduce an old French soldier to Napoleon. 'Thank you,' said the veteran, who had followed Napoleon through all his campaigns, 'thank you, but we've seen each other before.’ He said he would not repeat that mistake by presuming to introduce their distinguished guest, General Sherman, to his own soldiers, they had met each other before. He simply desired in behalf of the veterans and of the officers and managers to thank General Sherman, that on a day observed all over the country, when a hundred cities would have been proud to have claimed him as their guest, he had chosen to come back to his old soldiers and unite with them in doing honor to the memory of their fallen comrades. Because these veterans had loved him as their leader, and now they had reason to love him as their friend, they bid him a welcome a thousand times welcome to their home."


               After the applause had subsided, General Sherman arose and addressed himself to his "old comrades" and the assembly. He told them that he did not come to make speeches to them, because he knew that others had prepared for that; but he came to see how the old soldiers were getting along ; to see whether his country and his countrymen were doing their duty by those who had served them faithfully; whether the country was doing justice to the old soldiers. Even the short time he had been there had justified his hopes. He would say that from his observations that if there is a predominant feeling in the country, it is that the old soldiers who suffered for their country should spend the rest of their days happily; that, they should have the best compensation that a grateful country could wisely and justly offer them. This is no charity, but only what the veterans have a right to demand; and to get this they have only to ask it. It was pleasant to him to feel assured that he could now go elsewhere and tell other old soldiers how happy the veterans are at your beautiful home. General Sherman proceeded to speak of the expenditures of the Government at the present time for pensions, and in other ways for the benefit of soldiers, his remarks being perfectly soldierly, and in marked contrast with the ordinary political rhetoric of the times upon such occasions. He proceeded to reiterate that no patriot ever thought of the military asylums as a charity, but as a matter of justice to men who had sacrificed everything for the flag. And this entitled them to demand just what they have at the Home. It was a proud thought to him that no demand had been made; but the country had not only fulfilled its contract with the soldiers, but it had manifested a sense of honor which is above all contracts". General Sherman now briefly and eloquently touched on the past, which, he said, he dare not venture upon, for lie knew not where it would take him. The inscriptions about the halls, names of many great battles, re-called scenes and incidents which fill a soldier's heart; things worthy of perpetual remembrance ; things which can not be forgotten; things and incidents and scenes that will bind our hearts and our Union together forever and ever. (Applause.)

               Colonel Brown now announced that after a song by the soldiers' orphans they would repair to the cemetery; and at the word of command by Mr. Cooper, a merchant of Xenia, eighty-three little fellows, girls and boys, led by a lad of thirteen or fourteen, sung "Red, "White, and Blue,' with cheerful voices, and in excellent time and measure.

               The procession to the cemetery was under command of Colonel Brown, and formed in the following order: 1. Music; 2. Military escort of General Sherman; 3. Grand Army; 4. Soldiers' orphans; 5. Orator (General W. H. Gibson), Chaplain Earnshaw, invited guests, and veterans; 6. Citizens and fire department of the Home.

               This formed a picturesque pageant passing through the pleasant grounds and groves to the cemetery, into which none passed but the orphans, guests, orators, decorative committees, and a company of veterans with the full equipments of soldiers The great crowd of citizens encircled the quiet forest cemetery, outside a cordon of solemn veterans, who contemplated the one hundred and twelve grassy graves before them with serious mien. In the center stood General Sherman and a group of guests surrounded by soldiers' orphans. A broken cannon, wreathed with memorial flowers, formed a pretty perspective to the striking tableau. A touching and beautiful prayer was offered by Rev. R. A. Sawyer, of the Third Street Presbyterian church, when the following graceful and pathetic opening address was delivered by Chaplain Earnshaw:


               General Sherman, ladies, and gentlemen: In the name and behalf of Veteran Post No. 5, G. A. R., I greet you on these sacred grounds. You come here by invitation to join us in paying a tearful tribute, expressed in the beautiful and touching language of flowers, to the memory of the gallant dead whose sacred dust lies here under our guardianship.

               The peculiar relation the men who sleep beneath these grassy mounds sustains to our country calls for services somewhat extraordinary. When the "war of five hundred battles" closed these men, unlike tens of thousands, had no happy home to go to and there receive the welcome plaudits, and have placed on their brows the victor's laurels by the fair hands of admiring loved ones. They had fought as bravely, and surely they had suffered as much as others; but not until this great republic had spread her grateful and protecting wings over them and threw her mighty arms around them by means of this great national institution, did they feel that they had found a resting-place for their tired and scattered bodies a home and a peaceful place in which to die.

               It is proper then that you, kind friends, should take the places of father and mother, brother and sister, in the solemn ceremonies held here to-day. And how strikingly and affectingly appropriate it is that these dear little orphans, whose fathers' graves are this hour receiving similar honors on distant southern battle-fields, should be the ones selected to-day to lay our hearts' tribute on the breasts of these sleeping heroes. And it is eminently fitting that the illustrious commander of our armies should make a pilgrimage from the center of the government to this place of all others in the land, thereby showing how his great heart can love and revere the memory of our gallant dead.

               Since our organization three years ago we have stood by to see one hundred and forty of our comrades "mustered out" of service on earth for "promotion," we trust, in the "army of heaven." And here are their graves. Let us with full hearts do them honor, ever remembering how cheerfully they buckled on their country's armor, and how they stood by the dear "old flag;" how they lingered and suffered for years ere they were permitted to die. "May their patriotism and their deeds of valor live forever."

               The tableau of strewing flowers upon the graves was very beautiful and impressive, and the moral irresistible. General Sherman afterward spoke of it as a scene to make patriots and soldiers.

               Colonel Brown, governor of the Home, advanced and said that while General Sherman had refused to speak, he knew he would upon demand; and presently the requisition was so mandatory that refusal was out of the question.

               General Sherman said again that he did not visit the Home to make speeches, but he had been gratified beyond measure to visit this beautiful place. It had surprised him. He had not anticipated what he saw. It was gracious in the sight of man, and he doubted not it was so in the sight of God. The scenes and incidents of the day were very beautiful. They were grateful to an old soldier. He was sure that all the veterans before him would feel better to know that after he dies some sweet little child the child of some brave soldier would strew his grave with flowers in memory of the good deeds he had done. He knew that he felt better when such thoughts came to him as they did now. The moral lesson was forcible. It impressed the mothers and these fathers about us. It enkindled patriotism; it made soldiers for future wars. It was beautiful to be under the influence of scenes like this. These beautiful beeches, which were not new to him because he had been familiar with them for fifty years and more, and not very far from this place, for he was born and raised in Ohio, he said, were the best temples for thought and free intercourse better far than churches surmounted by the tallest steeples. It had been well said that the groves were God's first temples.

               The General then addressed himself more directly to the soldiers. He knew they felt kindly toward him. They had been together in times that tried men. They had been true to each other, and God knows they had tried to be true to each other. They had been together amid scenes which knit men to each other. No other men knew how they feel. No other men knew how worthy their deeds are of perpetual remembrance. God forbid that we should have more war in his time; yet we may have war, and such scenes as have been witnessed to-day will make soldiers for our armies, for soldiers see that our countrymen are grateful and will redeem their promises. Again thanking the audience for their personal compliments to him, General Sherman bowed and retired, when after a benediction of Rev. Mr. Ramsey the audience dispersed, and the procession moved back to head-quarters where it was dismissed.

               General Sherman was now conducted through the new hospital and all the various departments of the Home, and then after a generous luncheon enjoyed by many others at Colonel Brown's quarters, he was conducted back to the city to participate in the decoration ceremonies of Dayton.

               The visit of the General was very grateful to the old soldiers, so many of whom had served under his command in various fields, especially from Atlanta to the sea; and he said it was especially pleasant to him, because facts were presented to him of which he did not dream. The Home was beautiful to him, worthy of the Government, and reflects great credit upon those who have transformed it into an asylum of genuine beauty and thorough comfort. It was, in short, a fair redemption of fair promises to soldiers of the republic.




               Soon after one o'clock the President, accompanied by Attorney-general Akerman, Hon. L. B. Gunckel, and General Wood, followed by visitors from a distance, the Dayton committee, and a long procession of carriages, proceeded rapidly to the Soldiers' Home in a cloud of dust that utterly prevented sight-seeing. At the gate of the Home sentries were on guard as in camp, and presented arms upon the approach of the commander-in-chief. So all the way up the grand avenue. As the procession approached the battery a thundering salute of twenty-one guns was fired; the band played "Hail to the Chief," and afterward," The Conquering Hero Comes."

               Turning the corner at head-quarters a thousand veterans were seen drawn up in accurate line upon the parade-ground, officers in front, as on dress-parade. The carriages passed through an arch inscribed:



Vicksburg and Appomattox.


               The arch was crowned with a portrait of the president, and guards were on the top and at the base on either side, making a striking tableau.

The President and his company drew up and alighted in front of the colors, and after saluting the officers passed in review down the front and up between the lines which had assumed the open-order form. Afterward the President took position on the right of the line and the veterans passed him in review, in columns of fours, to the chapel. "While the men were passing into the chapel the President was driven about the grounds.

               At about two o'clock the President appeared upon the platform of the chapel and was greeted with hearty applause. He sat upon the right, and was the object of unusual observation. Manager Gunckel, Attorney-general Akerman, Governor Brown, and others also, had seats upon the platform. Ladies were seated upon the right and left, and the auditorium was crowded with eager veterans. After music by the Home Band, Manager Gunckel addressed the President as follows:


               Mr. President: The officers and veterans of this the central branch of the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers have placed upon me the very pleasant duty of giving you a formal welcome, and of extending you the freedom and hospitality of their home. They bid you welcome as the president of the United States; welcome as the commander-in-chief of the army and navy; welcome as one of the Board of Managers, ex officio, of this and the other branches of the national asylum; welcome as their dear old commander, who shared with them the sufferings and dangers of war, who led them from battle to victory, from Fort Donelson to Appomattox. Seventeen hundred and fifty disabled soldiers unite cordially and heartily in this welcome. They are not all here to-day. Three hundred are upon hospital beds, and as many more are absent on furlough visiting relatives and friends. Of those that are here, nearly fifty are blind, some two hundred have lost each a leg, over one hundred and fifty have lost each an arm, a few have lost both legs, and a few others both arms. All have been honorably discharged from the army during the war of 1812 or the recent one for the suppression of the rebellion, and all have been disabled by wounds received or sickness contracted in the service. Some of them served under your immediate command, others see you to-day for the first time. In all probability few of them will ever see you again; but they will all bear with them through life the pleasure of this happy day.

Sometimes when depressed with sickness and pain they have feared that you had forgotten them, and ceased to care for or sympathize with them; but all their doubts and fears are dispelled to-day, and they now feel and know that you are their friend, and the friend of all disabled soldiers, and the friend of the widows and orphans of their fallen comrades. Their happy faces show how much your visit has gladdened their hearts; for whatever their ages or disability, all are young and well and happy to-day. Welcome then, Mr. President, a thousand times welcome, to the Soldiers' Home.

               President Grant, who arose when addressed by Mr. Gunckel, and stood during his address, advanced a little, and with a modesty that encroached upon timidity, said, substantially, that to the veterans before him on this occasion he desired to express his sincere gratification to meet them.

It gratified him to see them so comfortable and happy. They had received their wounds in an honorable cause and deserved the gratitude of the people. It was true that this was the first time he had visited them; but this was owing to circumstances he could not control. Hereafter he would make it a point to visit them not only at this Home but at the others. After again expressing his sympathy with the veterans who had been disabled in the honorable cause for which they fought, the President thanked them for their cordial welcome and resumed his seat, the veterans giving him nine hearty cheers.

               The President was taken from the chapel to the library, where he recorded his autograph; thence to the hospital, where he spent a half hour inspecting that department and chatting with afflicted veterans; thence to the garden and barracks; concluding his visit by calling at Governor Brown's quarters, where he was courteously entertained. At about five o'clock he returned to the city.

               Mrs. Grant and her daughter, Miss Nellie, meantime were quietly escorted to the Home by Judge Lowe. They had declined all formal receptions and courtesies, preferring a quiet visit.




               In compliance with an invitation from the officers in charge of the Soldiers' Home, Mr. James E. Murdock read to the invalid soldiers. In order to do so he gave up an engagement for the evening, sacrificing, as he has ever done, his own interests for the good and even for the pleasure of the soldiers. No more enthusiastic audience could have greeted the eminent elocutionist and patriot, nor indeed a more appreciative one; for to almost every soldier he appeared as a friend, seen and heard by southern camp-fires and in hospitals, not so long ago that their wounds are yet healed, although we sometimes seem to forget we ever had a war.

               The same love of country that had led the soldier to do battle in her defense and carried the reader to the rostrum to provide for his helpless little ones, now held them en rapport, as Murdock read to crippled soldiers of the march, the battle, the bivouac.

               Mr. Gunckel introduced Mr. Murdock with well-chosen words of eulogy, heartily responded to by the soldiers. The entertainment was of that charming character when the reader seems less a teacher than a friend, talking to soldiers familiarly about what was to them most interesting. The poems read were of the highest order, chiefly of the war, the Destruction of Senna-cherib; the Fight at the Ford, from T. Buchanan Read's poem; the Wild Wagoner, of the Alleghany; Sheridan's Ride; Barbara Freichie, all given in the inimitable style that has made Murdock the greatest reader of the age, linked together by incidents of battle and personal reminiscences of the great generals, particularly of Grant and Sheridan. In referring to the dark

days of national disaster following the death of Abraham Lincoln, the four years of Andrew Johnson's disgraceful occupancy of the presidential chair, he said that the great artificer had found that link in the chain of our national history defective, and casting it out had welded together Lincoln and Grant, clasping over his unworthiness the hands of justice and right.




               Mr. "William Horace Lingard and his splendid comedy troupe visited the Soldiers' Home to entertain the veterans in whom they manifested intense and sincere interest with a matinee. The prevalence of the horse-disease made it impossible to provide transportation for the company. Colonel Brown telegraphed that every horse in the institution was afflicted with epizooty. "With characteristic promptness, the manager replied that the Lingards would certainly come "if they had to foot it," and foot it most of them did, carrying their baggage to the terminus of the street-railroad route. Arriving at the Home, the Lingards were most hospitably received by Colonel Brown,

Chaplain Earnshaw, and their ladies, and after partaking of an excellent Thanksgiving dinner were conducted to the Music Hall, which was crowded to excess with disabled veterans. The performance commenced with the charming comedy of "Delicate Ground," with Mr. Lingard and Miss Alice Dunning Lingard in the leading role. Next came Lingard's unsurpassable songs and sketches, which pleased the soldiers beyond words. Lingard's impersonation of General Grant was the signal for loud and prolonged applause, and then came repeated calls from all parts of the house for "Butler," "General Butler." Mr. Lingard appeared before the curtain and expressed his regret that he could not accede to the request of the audience, as he did not have General Butler's "make-up" with him. He assured the soldiers that they were always in his recollection, and that he would ever be ready to second their wishes whenever he visited Dayton. He thanked his attentive audience, and retired amid a storm of huzzas. The afterpiece, "A Day After the Wedding," introduced Miss Dickie Lingard, Mr. and Miss Hudson, and Mr. Ryer to splendid advantage. They all did their utmost to please, and displayed their respective abilities in a masterly manner. At the conclusion of the performance Colonel Brown addressed the veterans. He said that through the kindness of Mr. 0, G. Bernard the Lingards were enabled to give them this pleasant and entertaining matinee, and that to him and the party a vote of thanks was due; and he proposed for them three cheers, which were given with a hearty good- will. In response to the colonel's question whether the soldiers desired another matinee from the Lingards at some future time came a simultaneous shout of "ay" that truly indicated the welcome in store for them. As the party left the ground, one by one the soldiers heartily shook hands with them; and while the beautiful northern lights were illuminating the heavens, one could not, help but be touched with the outward emotion that pervaded the vast multitude as they, one and all, bade the Lingards "good-by," and " God bless you."




               The disabled veterans can never say to the ladies of Dayton, "I was sick and ye visited me not," for almost daily the wards of the hospital are brightened by faces that call to mind wife and daughter and sister. Without disparagement to others, especial mention is due to the Women's Christian Association for the systematic and careful manner in which the duty of comforting those in misfortune is performed.

               Two most enjoy able events at the hospital reading-room have recently been given under the auspices of this association. The first was given by a portion of the teachers and young lady pupils of Cooper Seminary, assisted by Professor Roberts, of Yassar College; and the earnest attention and frequent applause were proof that the delightful music was thoroughly appreciated. In truth, the veterans at first were in some danger of losing the full enjoyment of the singing by their interest in and admiration of the bright, happy young faces, so suggestive of once sunny but now widely-separated family circles. The second concert was given by ladies who have come to be familiar at the

Home, and are felt to be almost personal friends to each soldier Mrs. and Miss Sanford, Mrs. Huffman, Miss Wagoner, Mrs. John H. Winters, and many others.

               Previous to the concert several appropriate selections were most feelingly sung in the wards, in which were many men not able to leave their beds ; and the scene will be long remembered by those who witnessed it.

We doubt if the ladies thus kind to the sick and often disheartened soldiers realize how much good their visits do, or how many heart-felt blessings follow them to their homes.




               When Anna Dickinson visited the Home she came upon the stage characteristically cool, self-possessed, and as manly as can be imagined; laid aside her hat and gloves with imperturbability; and then she had a trial. Something less than a thousand one-legged, one-armed, and otherwise maimed soldiers sat before her. Anna had seen many such when they were suffering from fresh wounds and desperate camp-sickness during the war, arid had done a good woman's part in alleviating their sufferings. She has wept with them in camp, soothed them in sorrow, cried over their tortures, and sympathized with and comforted them as a sister would. But she had seen nothing like this war-picture. When she turned to the veterans the whole panorama of war presented itself to her vision. Her beautiful eyes filled with tears, which she tried in vain to fling away with her white-jeweled fingers, and then with a half sob she said, "I knew, when I was asked, that I couldn't talk to you; but I can cry with you." Had it been mere acting it would have been perfect; but everybody saw how truly womanly it was; and it was the best thing that has happened in that way at the Soldiers' Home.

It made other people not used to the melting mood whip out their handkerchiefs. The women in the audience cried, and the men felt very much in love with Anna. After this perfectly happy episode, Anna was herself again. Eloquence flowed as water from Horeb when the rod of inspiration opened the rock. She reminded the gallant men before her of the struggles and trials, of their warfares, of the cause which enlisted their services, of the principles for which they bled, of the honors they had won, of the gratitude to which they were entitled, and of the love they commanded from good women and good men. Full of passionate earnestness, she had the veterans soaring with the mightly voices of soldiers in victory, then weeping like women. The scene was hard to describe, though delightful to witness and to feel. Anna and the woman surpassed all she had ever accomplished as the advocate of the cause which had engaged her eloquence for so many years. Nobody could describe the enthusiasm of the veterans. Anna Dickinson's visit will long be cherished by the veterans as a delightful episode. After an address of an hour she enjoyed the hospitalities of Colonel Brown, and then visited all the departments of the Home, lingering most lovingly in the hospital, where the sweet attentions of women are so full of blessings to suffering soldiers.




               Mr. Bayard Taylor visited the Home with Mr. Gunckel; and after inspecting the buildings and grounds he found himself in Music Hall, before a large audience. The soldiers gave him an enthusiastic welcome, and he made them a pleasant speech, closing with a recitation of the beautiful ode written by him and delivered at the inauguration of the National Monument of Gettysburg.

               Mr. Taylor says that in his travels he has found nowhere a home for disabled soldiers so comfortable, pleasant, and delightful as the one here at Dayton. A compliment from such a source may well be gratifying to all concerned in building up and sustaining this great institution.




               When the Grand Lodge of Freemasons was in session in Dayton it accepted, with many thanks, an invitation to visit the national Soldiers' Home, and agreed to visit the institution as a body. But the pressure of business and the desire for an early adjournment prevented the programme from being carried out. However, about one hundred of the number went out and were formally welcomed by Mr. Gunckel in behalf of the managers and General Ingraham in behalf of the officers and men. Responses were made by Hon. Mills Gardner, of Fayette County, General Thomas L. Young, of Cincinnati, and Chaplain Byers, of Columbus.

               The visitors were then shown over the grounds and into the several buildings, and entertained with music, etc. They all expressed their surprise and delight at what had been accomplished in the short space of one year, and the very great pleasure which the visit had afforded them of seeing one of the noteworthy institutions of the country.




               Among the noted personages who visited the Home, the names of Horace Greeley, Wendell Phillips, Archbishop Purcell, and Henry Vincent are not to be overlooked. Want of space necessarily precludes the particulars of the warm reception they received.




               From our description of the Home and its various attractions it must not be inferred that the presence of woman's gentle influence is invisible. To the contrary, the wives and daughters of the officers and others intimately connected with the Home take a lively interest in all the various associations, celebrations, and amusements. On decoration-day they are particularly active in contributing to the beautiful floral and other tributes; and they have from time to time contributed largely to the enjoyment of the inmates by getting up and actively participating in grand

tableaux, and dramatic and musical exhibitions.




               Lowell is the name of a distinguished family of Massachusetts, descended from Percival Lowell, a merchant, who emigrated from Bristol, England, and settled in Newbury in 1639, where he died January 8, 1665. Mary Lowell (Mrs. Putnam), an American authoress and daughter of Charles D. D., an American clergyman, and sister of the distinguished American authors, James Russell and Robert Trail Spencer Lowell, was born in Boston, December 3, 1810, and married April 5, 1832, to Samuel R. Putnam, a merchant of Boston. Her mother, a native of New Hampshire, descended from the Scandinavian family of Trail, or Troil, of Orkney Islands, celebrated in Scott's "Pirate." Possessed in an eminent degree the faculty of acquiring languages, Mrs. Putnam's attainments in this direction are extraordinary, comprising not only Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and the modern tongues of western Europe, but Swedish, Danish, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Turkish, Sanskrit, and several other oriental languages. She has contributed many articles to the North American Review, and to the Christian Examiner; and two of her articles in the latter journal (November, 1850, and March, 1851), in reply to Professor Bowen's attack on Kossuth and other leaders of the Hungarian revolution in 1848-9, attracted much attention, and had a marked influence on public opinion. In 1851 Mrs. Putnam went to Europe with her husband and children, where they resided, chiefly in France and Germany, till 1857, meantime prosecuting her studies in languages and collecting materials for a history of Hungary. The pure patriotism of Mrs. Putnam and her zealous devotion to the interest of the disabled veterans are carefully set forth in the library article. How dearly she lives in the hearts of these men is best described in the ovation which she received on the occasion of her visit to the Home on the fourth day of July, 1872. The account of this brilliant reception and ever memorable occasion we quote from the Dayton Journal of July 6, 1872:




               "No public occasion during the brief history of the Soldiers' Home possessed so much interest either to the inmates or to the citizens of Dayton as the celebration of the Fourth at that institution on Thursday. The presence of Mrs. Mary Lowell Putnam made the attraction of the day. And it should not detract from the patriotic impulses of the people on the national anniversary that the manifestation of respect, admiration, and reverence for this noble-hearted and patriotic American woman was the prominent feature of the celebration. Her name and her generous interest in the comfort and welfare of the veterans were known to every one. To the thousands who visit the Home the Putnam Library was an ever present testimonial of her enlarged liberality and constant care for the needs of the disabled soldier. The peculiar circumstances under which that woman's heart of hers was moved to the manifestation of its kindly sympathy for the veterans make up a part of the sad history of the war, and were known to every one. All were ready and anxious to do honor to the mother who thus sought to find a solace for the loss of her son who died righting for the nation, by acts of munificent generosity to those who had been disabled in the same deadly strife. So the presence of Mrs. Putnam was an event anxiously looked for, and its actual accomplishment the occasion of great-rejoicing.

               "A more delightful day could not have been desired for the celebration of the national anniversary. Successive showers of rain, with any amount of lightning and thunder, had cooled and purified the atmosphere on Wednesday evening, and with the dawn of the morning of the Fourth came a realization of the 'change which had been wrought by the storm of the previous night. The 'fervent heat' which for the days preceding had well-nigh melted 'the elements,' as well as embodied humanity, came not as before on the wings of the morning, but instead, a cool, refreshing breeze and a partially clouded sky. The dust, which like an unquiet spirit had come only to disturb and annoy, was effectually laid, and all nature grew bright, refreshed, by the rain-fall, and delivered for the time from the scorching heat. The mercury might have been humiliated by its sudden fall if the thermometer can be supposed to rejoice when its tube is filled with expanding quicksilver. If one hundred is its glory, eighty may be its shame.

               "It is not surprising therefore that as the people breathed an atmosphere which reminded them of an iceberg rather than of the 'fiery furnace,' they should have rejoiced in the good day which had come to them.

"Before ten o'clock in the morning the road to the Soldiers' Home was thronged with vehicles. The street-cars had been running full for several hours. The celebration at the Home was the great attraction. The buildings and grounds of that institution were dressed in holiday suits in honor of the day generally; but especially for the reception of a distinguished guest and her party. The buildings were dressed in bunting; the old flag was floating from the tall staff and housetop, veranda and doorway, while the beautiful Chinese lanterns, showing the national colors and inscriptions of welcome, were hanging in profusion at head-quarters, officers' residences, and barracks. The scene was most delightful and inspiring.

"Of course all eyes were turned upon Mrs. Putnam. Everybody was anxious to see her. During, the few minutes of a halt, hundreds of persons on the veranda of head-quarters, and on the lawn, without offensive obtrusiveness, were able to gratify their curiosity by a glance at the face of the lady with whose name they were so familiar and whose generous nature had already endeared her to them. If there were any of the gazers who waited for a sight of the lady to confirm the admiration of her character, which they had so often expressed, the confirmation came at the first glance. Hers was a very delightful face to look upon, intellectual, joyous, fairly radiant with delight as she looked for the first time upon the surroundings and saw before her and around her the buildings and the lawns of the Soldiers' Home, in which she had been so long and deeply interested. Before her was the beautiful arch with its inscription of affectionate welcome; to her right the head-quarters with a tribute of remembrance and greeting suspended above the entrance to the Putnam Library, in which her gifts could be counted by the thousands; to the left the barracks, and in front the veterans in double line waiting to become a guard of honor to the one they so loved and revered; and then the more distant buildings, the lake, and the splendid view of the south-east, including a part of Dayton and the country in the dim distance beyond, came in to complete the picture. It is not surprising that the lady was charmed with the prospect, and with the appreciation of the feeling which had called forth thousands of people to join in giving her a cordial and heart-felt welcome to the Soldiers' Home.

               "Ten o'clock was the hour fixed for the commencement of the ceremonies of the day. The veterans were in line in front of the barracks, the porticoes were filled with ladies, groups of men were seen everywhere upon the lawn and the roadside, all anxiously waiting for the signal-gun which should announce the coming of the guest whose reception was to begin the exercises of the celebration. Constant inquiries were made to learn if possible why the coming was delayed. An hour of restlessness and anxious expectation had passed before the signal-gun was fired. It was known then that the reception party  were in sight. The artillery continued its thunder until Mrs. Putnam and her friends reached the front of head-quarters and in sight of the arch bearing the inscription, 'Welcome, Mary Lowell Putnam, our friend and benefactress.' In the carriage in which Mrs. Putnam was seated were General John Coburn, orator of the day, Hon. Lewis B. Gunckel, local manager, and William Earnshaw, chaplain of the Home. In the second carriage were Miss Putnam, Mrs. L. B. Gunckel, Mr. E. T. Hardcastle, and Mr. Charles Lowell.

               "Moving from the front of head- quarters the Putnam cortege passed to the left and in front of the line of veterans drawn up to receive the lady of so many pleasant remembrances. Each unarmed veteran raised his cap, and the officers and the company with muskets came to a present arms. The band played 'Hail to the Chief,' in compliment to General Coburn, we presume, as the review proceeded. Passing along the front of the barracks, the party made a

detour to the right and returned to the front of the old head-quarters. Here there was a short halt, when Bunker, the photographer, on the roof of the veranda of the library building, took a picture of the scene embracing the arch, the barracks, the veterans in line, and the thousands of spectators. After this brief delay the veterans marched to the right, east of the arch, and passing the carriage in which Mrs. Putnam was seated greeted her with hearty cheers. They bore banners with inscriptions of 'Welcome, Mrs. Putnam;'

'Welcome, General Coburn.' The procession was then formed and proceeded to the grove, which is usually devoted to orations and ceremonies of a public character. The stand had been properly decorated and carpeted for the occasion, and Mrs. Putnam and her party, with General Coburn, the orator of the day, were escorted to seats upon the platform. The exercises according to the programme then proceeded in order. After a prayer by the Rev. P. C. Prugh, there was music by the band. Manager Gunckel now stepped to the

front and made the following address of welcome:


               "Veterans. Many of you will remember that four years ago to-day, from this very stand, I read a. letter just then received by our worthy chaplain from a lady, kindly offering to donate some books for the use of the sick and disabled soldiers. She lived in a distant state; had never been at the Soldiers' Home or in Dayton; was not acquainted with a single officer or man in the institution; but her noble, sympathetic heart told her that here was an opportunity to do good to do good to those who, like her own gallant son, had suffered that the Union might be preserved and freedom for all established. The Home was then in its infancy. We had neither church, library, or reading-room indeed, little more than shelter and provisions for the physical wants of the men. The offer was therefore most opportune, and, I

need hardly say, gladly accepted. In a few weeks the books came, exceeding in number and value our expectations. After a little while came another installment, not only of books, but of rare and beautiful pictures, carefully and handsomely framed for the reading-room. A few months later came more books and more pictures from the same blessed source. And so for four years, at intervals of only a few months, have come more books and more pictures, until the pictures number over one hundred and the books nearly two thousand, the latter comprising many rare publications, and constituting one of the best selected and for its size most valuable libraries in the West.

               "This noble, generous, patriotic lady, whom you may well call 'FRIEND and PATRON,' is for the first time our guest today; and I am most happy, in the name and on behalf of the managers, officers, and veterans to bid her welcome to the Soldiers' Home, and to extend to her and her friends its freedom and hospitality. At other times we have welcomed to this National Soldiers' Home the President of the United States, the governors of states, generals and admirals, senators and representatives in congress, men and women distinguished in literature and science; but more unitedly, more heartily, and more joyfully than we have ever before welcomed man or woman do we now welcome MARY LOWELL PUTNAM!

               "Three hearty cheers, indorsing the address and greeting the lady who was the subject of it, were given with a will by the veterans.

               "Mr. Gunckel then led Mrs. Putnam to the front of the platform and formally introduced her to the veterans and the audience generally. She was received with applause, and gracefully bowed her acknowledgment. Mr. Gunckel conducted her to her seat, and handsome bouquets were presented to Mrs. Putnam and party, the orator of the day and the reader of the Declaration of Independence.

               "Colonel Brown, who is always the master of ceremonies on public occasions at the Home, and attends with such promptness and precision to the duties of his position, now introduced Professor U. T. Curran, of Cincinnati, the reader of the Declaration of Independence. The professor acquitted himself in first-rate style. We have rarely heard so impressive and truly artistic reading of the paper which inaugurated the Fourth of July as our national holiday.

               "Again there was music by the asylum band; and afterward Colonel Brown introduced General John Coburn, of Indiana, the orator of the day. He was a gallant soldier during the war, and is an able, forcible, and eloquent speaker. The reader will be impressed with the progressive ideas which General Coburn enunciates and with the clear and earnest manner of their presentation. He struck out in a new line, leaving the old and beaten track usually followed by orators on the Fourth of July. He commanded the close attention of a large audience of veterans and citizens during the entire hour occupied in the delivery of the oration."




"NATIONAL ASYLUM, July 7, 1672;


               "After a most pleasant and ever to be remembered visit of three days, Mrs. Putnam has taken leave of us. Her presence here was the realization of thousands of wishes expressed in as many times during the past four years, and has made every one of the hundreds of men here happier and better for it; and the time will be fixed in their memories as one of the pleasantest episodes in their experience of Home life.

               "Her arrival on the Fourth has already been chronicled, and amid all the bustle and excitement of the various sports and the going to and fro of thousands of visitors, her presence was the acme of interest and attraction, and her deportment was such as to elicit expressions of earnest esteem from every one. But it was on the succeeding day that the qualities of her heart found their best expression; for she spent the entire day in visiting the hospital, where every detail of arrangement received her closest attention. Every bedside was visited and its occupant cheered and encouraged by such kind, sympathizing words of comfort as only a bereaved mother can impart; and no one of them but will bear to his dying-day a refreshing, encouraging remembrance of the good influences she everywhere shed around her. Many were the heart-felt words and still more expressive tears which did homage to her kindness. On Saturday she spent the day in visiting every part of the extensive grounds, including the farm and dairy, and thence to every workshop, for whose details she evinced great interest and admiration, as well as satisfaction that she found so many who were, nothwithstanding their disabilities, able to do something for themselves. In the afternoon every barrack was visited in turn; and here her desire for the comfort of the inmates was again manifested by the closest examination into the arrangements for their welfare.

               "In the evening, from eight to nine o'clock, a grand reception was given her in the library, where a dais had been erected and a most comfortable chair placed for her convenience and rest after the fatigues of the day. But with most lady-like modesty she declined the pre-eminence, and heroically stood on the floor while nearly seven hundred men presented their cards and were introduced by Governor Brown; and to each one greeting, whether in English, French, or German, she made a pleasant response in the language of the visitor, her face all the while lighted up by smiles of kindness warmed by charity. The scene was a most interesting" and memorable one, and will never be forgotten by any participant in it.

               "On Sunday she attended divine service in the chapel; and again her presence was productive of good in procuring a larger attendance on the faithful ministrations of the chaplain than usual. Her visit was worthily closed by another attendance on worship at the hospital, and her leave-taking was followed by the benedictions of every inmate.

               "In the afternoon she was called on by all the sergeants as a committee to present to her an album, which had been hastily prepared, containing sentiments of regard and thankfulness from a large number of men. One of the number said a few words in presenting it, and for a few moments she could hardly speak for emotion, but finally returned her thanks in a few appropriate and well-chosen remarks.

               "In all her visits Mrs. Putnam was accompanied by her daughter, Miss Georgiana Lowell Putnam, whose bright and kindly smiles and sweet tender words were a most fitting supplement to her mother's sympathizing condolence.

               "They were accompanied by a gentleman who had been the school-fellow and friend of Mrs. Putnam's sons in Italy, Mr. Harcbcastle, now a banker in Bombay, India, whose love for the sons now finds expression in the tenderest regard for the bereaved mother and her family, and whose interest has led him to make the long journey thence for the sole purposes of visiting the places where his friend's interests are centered, and to aid them in their every wish to fulfill the obligations they owe to the noble dead and the suffering living. Mr. Hardcastle brought with and donated to the Putnam Library two magnificent and very valuable volumes, one a series of photographs of scenery in Ahmedabad, India, a rare book, not to be obtained in the ordinary way, the other a more superb volume of photographs of views in all the principal Italian cities, bound in Rome, in vellum and gold, and of rare excellence of workmanship. The photographs are of a character to create envious feelings in the breast of every American artist who may be fortunate enough to see them.

"And so the noble, generous party have gone; and they carry with them the best wishes of which the heart is susceptible. That God may guard and protect them wherever they may be, is the prayer of C. H. FERNALD."


               Mrs. Putnam sends on each anniversary of the death of her noble son, Lieutenant Putnam, a wreath of flowers exquisite in their beauty and arrangement. This wreath is placed in a glass case beautifully wrought and just over the picture of the young hero, and there it remains the admiration of thousands until another comes to take its place; thus perpetually expressing in the sweetest language of flowers a mother's love.

               Mrs. Putnam seems never to lose sight of the interests of the veterans at the Home, taking every proper occasion to manifest her kindness by gifts Which are not only highly appreciated, but are a permanent addition to the means of instruction and amusement. Every one feels the deepest gratitude, but have no way of manifesting it but by regrets of their inability to make a suitable return.

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