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  • National Home For Disabled Volunteer Soldiers Basin

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    National Home For Disabled Volunteer Soldiers Basin - Reverse marked, with the seal of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers with the words "THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS / MARCH 3 1865 / THE NATION TO HER DEFEENDER".

    The government commissioned Glasgow Pottery of Trenton, New Jersey, to make pottery for the home in 1899.  On the reverse of the pottery was the seal of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.  It pictures a soldier and Lady Liberty. The "kindling" is a rolled-up document with a wreath around it and a sword through the wreath. In 1930 the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers became part of the Veterans Administration. Glasgow Pottery was founded in 1859. The pottery made white granite, hotel and steamboat china, and souvenir china. It also made pottery for various branches of the armed services. The pottery was sold in 1906.

    The National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established on March 3, 1865, in the United States by Congress to provide care for volunteer soldiers who had been disabled through loss of limb, wounds, disease, or injury during service in the Union forces in the American Civil War. Initially, the Asylum, later called the Home, was planned to have three branches: in the Northeast, in the central area north of the Ohio River, and in what was then considered the Northwest, the present upper Midwest.

    The Board of Managers, charged with governance of the Home, added seven more branches between 1870 and 1907 as broader eligibility requirements allowed more veterans to apply for admission. The effects of World War I, which resulted in a new veteran population of over five million men and women, brought dramatic changes to the National Home and all other governmental agencies responsible for veterans' benefits. In 1930 the Veterans Administration was established, to consolidate all veterans' programs into a single Federal agency. The several wars since then in the 20th and 21st centuries have resulted in more veterans needing services.

    The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was originally called the National Asylum in the legislation approved by Congress and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in March 1865. The term "asylum" was used in the 19th century for institutions caring for dependent members of society, such as the insane and the poor, who were thought to temporarily suffer from conditions that could be cured or corrected.  But, the term had some negative connotations. In January 1873, the Board of Managers gained approval of the name, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

    From the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, the small number of veterans of American wars had three sources of assistance from the Federal government. The government offered land grants to veterans as compensation for their service, particularly following the Revolutionary War, when it used the land grant system to develop unsettled territories of the new nation. In 1833, the Federal government established the Bureau of Pensions, which made small cash payments to veterans. The low numbers of the veteran population and the more attractive offer of free land kept the pension system relatively small until after the Civil War.

    In 1811 the United States Navy was authorized by Congress to establish a permanent shelter for its veterans; construction was started in 1827. The United States Sailors' Home, located in Philadelphia as part of the Navy Yard, was opened in 1833.  In 1827, Secretary of War James Barbour suggested a similar institution for the Army, but Congressional lack of interest and funding meant such a project was delayed.

    In 1851, legislation introduced by Jefferson Davis, senator from Mississippi and former secretary of war, was enacted by Congress. It appropriated funds for construction of the United States Soldiers’ Home. The Soldiers’ Home was open to all men who were regular or volunteer members of the army with 20 years' service and who had contributed to the home's support through pay withdrawals.

    When the Soldiers’ Home was being organized in 1851 and 1852, it was intended to have at least four branches. Its organization and administration were based on the army’s command structure and staffed with regular army officers. The Soldiers’ Home was managed by a board of commissioners, although drawn from army officers; each branch had a governor, deputy governor, and secretary-treasure; the members were organized into companies and the daily routine followed the military schedule; all members wore uniforms; and workshops were provided for members wanting or required to work.  When the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was being organized in 1866, the National Soldiers’ Home assisted the asylum’s board by explaining its regulations and offering suggestions.

    The Civil War was the first event in the history of the United States considered to be national in the scale of citizen involvement, and in its effects on the daily lives of people communities in both the North and the South. The Civil War was a war of volunteers, both military and civilian. Very early in the war, it became clear to social leaders in the North that new programs were required to deliver medical care to the wounded beyond what was available through the official military structure.

    The leading civilian organization was the United States Sanitary Commission; it secured permission from President Lincoln in the summer of 1861 to deliver medical supplies to the battle front, build field hospitals staffed with volunteer nurses (mostly women), and raise funds to support the commission’s programs. As the war continued, civilian leaders began to address the issue of caring for the numerous veterans who would require assistance once the war ended. Members of the Sanitary Commission favored the pension system rather than permanent institutional care for the disabled veteran; the commission feared that a permanent institution would become a poorhouse for veterans.  Other groups favored as strongly the establishment of a soldiers’ asylum, to ensure provision of quality care. The groups gathered information on European military asylums, particularly the Invalides in Paris. They tended to find evidence to support their opinions on either side of the concept of a soldiers' asylum.

    When President Lincoln signed legislation creating the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in March 1865, the nation was in a period of heightened emotional response to the approaching peace. The victory of the Union was seen as the triumph of the nation. The creation of a national institution to serve the veterans was an affirmation of that national victory. When the institution was established, supporters likely had a limited awareness of the potential need among future veterans. But, more than 2,000,000 men served in the Union Army, a third of the white men of military age (13 to 43 years old in 1860). If the number of men disabled in service equaled a sixth of the soldiers who died in the war, the number eligible for admission to the National Asylum would have been more than 300,000.


    Inventory Number: VET 105