University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)

Hayes, Paul G.
Hallowed ground,   pp. 29-36

Page 30

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. 
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. 

Go up to Top of Page