HISTORY OF THE
NATIONAL HOMES FOR VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS
The history of the Soldiers Home, is, in many ways, a history of how our country has evolved in its treatment of our nation’s veterans. Following the Civil War, Congress recognized that many of the volunteer soldiers had sustained injuries resulting in disabilities and needed more care than had traditionally been provided. Congress made a commitment that the federal government would take responsibility for the health and well-being of these disabled soldiers. As part of that effort, Congress chartered a network of Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established by Congress in 1865 and was one of President Lincoln’s last acts of legislation. The legislation marked the beginning of our federal government's commitment to the care of our veterans.
Milwaukee was one of the original three Soldiers Homes, in addition to Homes in Dayton, Ohio and Togus, Maine. Eventually, the network of Homes totaled 11.
The Milwaukee Soldiers Home, originally called the Northwestern Branch, is an important example of how veterans' benefits and health care developed in the United states and is demonstrated through the evolution of the buildings that have been added over time.
The Home’s only admission requirements were proof of an honorable discharge from the Union military and medical testimony confirming an injury that rendered the soldier unable to earn a living by ordinary means.
There is a reason Milwaukee was the site of one of the original Soldiers Homes, and we have the women of the West Side Soldiers Aid Society to thank. Click here to continue and learn more.