Dayton VA Medical Center, Ohio

Virtual Museum

 

4. Headquarters

Headquarters buildingThe Headquarters is on the north side of the Main Campus. It is an imposing brick structure surrounded by broad verandas, with a sundial in the front. The first story is used for the offices of the Governor, Treasurer, Secretary, and Adjutant. Colonel Edwin Brown was Governor of the Central Branch from 1868-1880. General Marsena Patrick has been the Governor since September 23, 1880. General Patrick's service during the Civil War included being the Provost Marshal General of the Armies operating against Richmond. This position required a hard and harsh disciplinarian, and it called for a man of absolute integrity. General Patrick was appointed Governor because of his known character, and because it was thought a model for the government of the other Soldiers Homes should be worked out at the Central Branch. He addressed a Committee of Congress, which was investigating all Soldiers Homes in 1884 with the following dramatic conclusion:

"I am a man of strong convictions. I fear God and Him only. I shall not depart, while the little life that is left to me shall remain, from the principles I have laid down through my life for my guidance."

Interior of Putnam LibraryColonel Jerome B. Thomas has been Treasurer since our inception. Mr. Justin Chapman is currently Adjutant. The second story of the Headquarters comprises the library and reading room. This spacious room is 19 feet in height with handsomely frescoed ceilings. Cone reflectors shed brilliant rays for illumination at night. One hundred and fifty chromos, engravings, and photographs adorn the library walls. This room contains the renowned "Putnam Library", contributed by Mrs. Mary Lowell Putnam, of Boston, Massachusetts, as a memorial to her son, William Lowell Putnam, who fell in 1861 at the battle of Ball's Bluff. The Veterans in the Home constructed the massive bookcase of black and white walnut in the Putnam Library. Since 1868, Mrs. Putnam has sent boxes of books five times a year. She sends a wreath to hang above his portrait on the bookcase at each anniversary of her son's death. At the opposite end of the room is the "Thomas Library" containing books contributed by the old soldiers and admirers of the lamented General George H. Thomas. As of June 30, 1885, there are 14,812 books in the library collections. In the past 12 months, 54,802 books have been checked out. We currently subscribe to 228 newspapers and 36 magazines.

 

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