Both individuals and organizations became concerned over the needs of disabled and elderly Civil War veterans in the years following the war. One in Connecticut, Fitch’s Home for Soldiers and Their Orphans, opened in 1864—before the war ended.
A soldiers’ home in Georgetown, Kentucky, was the first Confederate home that opened. A few states operated separate homes for Union and Confederate soldiers. No federal funds were given to Confederate veterans.
At least one facility, Kansas Soldiers’ Home in Fort Dodge, welcomed both Union and Confederate soldiers.
Fort Dodge, built in 1865, was about 5 miles from Dodge City. It was a fort before becoming the Kansas State Soldiers’ Home that opened in 1890. The home used many of the old buildings.
Times were rocky in those early years for veterans. Quarreling and drunkenness got some folks dismissed. The home had to collect and remove croquet sets when some residents used mallets during quarrels.
July 4, 1890 proved to be a special celebration at the home. Dodge City citizens visited the event recognizing both Union and Confederate veterans.
Soldiers who had fought in the Mexican War and Indian battles lived in the home and, later, black veterans were also welcomed.
Visitors are invited to tour several buildings at Fort Dodge Soldiers Home.
-Sandra Merville Hart
“Fort Dodge,” Kansastravel.org, 2017/07/07 http://www.kansastravel.org/fortdodge.htm.
“Kansas Soldiers’ Home,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_Soldiers%27_Home.
“Old Soldiers’ Home,” Wikipedia, 2017/07/04 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_soldiers%27_home.