Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)
Hayes, Paul G.
Hallowed ground, pp. 29-36
0 aleria A partly cloudy day provides contrasts of shading to otherwise pure white headstones in the national military cemetery at the Soldiers Home. Some 37,000 veterans and spouses are buried here. Starting with a veteran of the War of 1812, they represent all American wars since. The cemetery still is active and open to veterans. denominational chapel, a firehouse, fine homes for the director and staff, a head- quarters, and many auxiliary buildings. Inevitably, a military cemetery began to grow west of the Soldiers Home. Its function, of course, was to receive vet- erans of the Civil War and, as it turned out, all later American wars. As many as 3,000 invalid and aging men at a time were housed and cared for at the National Soldiers Home. The pop- ulation changed with the wars, Civil War veterans first, then veterans of the Indian Wars, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. A veteran of the War of 1812 is buried at the cemetery, as are a few who served in the Mexican War. A WOMAN'S WORK That there is a national soldiers' home in Milwaukee is due to Wisconsin's women. Economically the Civil War lifted Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Demand grew for wheat, wool, wood, and other com- modities that grew inland, and these were shipped eastward through the bustling port of Milwaukee. A labor shortage-no state sent more men per capita into battle than Wisconsin- forced farms to mechanize, and farm implement factories hummed. Wisconsin's population grew from 776,000 in 1860 to 868,000 in 1865; Milwaukee's from 45,000 to 55,000. The Badger State was thriving. While the war brought prosperity and some profiteering, Wisconsin's citizens were mindful of its cost in lives lost or damaged. Governor Louis P. Harvey, appalled by reports of suffering by Wisconsin soldiers at the Battle of Shiloh, led a mission to Tennessee to distribute 90 boxes of medical supplies for the wounded and ill. 30 SUMMER 2005 WISCONSIN ACADEMY REVIEW 49111--
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