1865, April 8: Wisconsin Soldiers’ Home Closer to Becoming a State Home
The Prescott Journal in its April 8, 1865, issue printed extracts from the Legislative Committee on Charitable and Benevolent Institutions. The only report we are publishing is the one on the Wisconsin Soldiers’ Home.
WISCONSIN SOLDIERS’ HOME.
With regard to this institution the committee report as follows :
In April, 1864. about forty ladies of Wisconsin, discovered that sick and disabled soldiers of this and adjoining states were constantly passing through the city of Milwaukee. Cases of unusual suffering were brought to their attention when sick and disabled soldiers had arrived in the city without money and without any knowledge of where to go for the actual necessaries of life. This often produced great suffering, and these ladies, in the kindness and humanity which usually characterizes their sex, associated themselves together to engage in the laudable undertaking of providing a home for all sick, disabled, or indigent soldiers who arrive at Milwaukee, where they could be provided temporary rest and entertainment, and when too sick to proceed on their journey, they would receive such medical aid as they required, and such kind and careful nursing as can only bestowed by their sex.
During the year, or since the 15th day of April last, the number of sick and wounded soldiers who have been cared for at the “Home” is 2,500, of which number over three fourths were Wisconsin citizens. The total number of meals given since the opening is 15,517. In addition to the above over 2,000 soldiers have been entertained each way, on their passage to and from the State. Over 400 sick and wounded soldiers have received medical or surgical attention up to the 1st day of March.
The number of deaths at the “Home” has been fifteen, of which number fourteen were from Wisconsin, and one from Minnesota.
The expenditure in money, up to the 1st day of March, was $4,076,44, all of which was raised by voluntary contributions, and nearly all in the city of Milwaukee. In addition to the above, large contributions of necessary articles have been received from all parts of the State.
Owing to the increased demands upon the hospitality of the “Home,” the expenses have constantly increased from $100 per month to $800 per month.
To be able to provide for the wants of the soldiers, as above set forth, these benevolent ladies, aided by the liberality of the several Railroad Companies, (who carry not only the ladies of the “Home,” but all parcels designed for that institution, without fee or charge) have found it necessary to travel from place to place, and by their eloquent appeals enlist the people of each locality in this enterprise, and in this manner have been able, for nearly one year, to accomplish all for which it was originally designed.
Not satisfied with furnishing a temporary “Home” and the entertainment for their fellow creatures in distress, this society of ladies, in the goodness of their hearts, have conceived the idea of establishing a “Permanent Soldier’s Home,” to accomplish which it has been, and will continue to be necessary, with the most indefatigable industry, perseverance, and energy to travel all over the State of Wisconsin, and levy voluntary contributions upon the charity, liberality and generosity of the people, in behalf of this undertaking. In addition to the above, it is their intention to hold a Fair, to commence on the 28th day of June, and to continue for two weeks.
The committee commend to the Legislature, and through them to the people of this State, the objects for which this Fair will be held, and we hereby cordially invite all the citizens of the State to co-operate with the ladies of the “Home” in their endeavors to ameliorate the condition, to some extent, of such of our soldiers as shall be so unfortunate as to return maimed, crippled, or in any manner disabled.
The experience of this institution has demonstrated the necessity for the establishment, sooner or later, of a permanent Soldiers’ Home for disabled discharged soldiers, who have no home, and who must otherwise become objects of charity.
The “Wisconsin Soldiers’ Home,” proposes to erect buildings which shall be an ornament and an honor to the State. The Legislature has, at the present session, passed an act of incorporation for this “Home,” and there can be no doubt, it will ere long be an institution of which the people of the State may well be proud.
The committee extend to the ladies who compose this society, their most cordial approbation and commendation, for their self sacrificing devotion, their kindness and benevolence, their perseverence [sic] and industry, and also for the financial ability and business capacity which characterizes their efforts in this behalf.
In view of the facts above set forth, the committee recommend that all the people of the State shall have an opportunity to contribute to this laudable enterprise, and therefore ask the Legislature to appropriate to the “Wisconsin Soldiers’ Home” the sum of $5,000.