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BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME.
OFFICE OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE
Washington, D. C., October 26, 1878. SIR: In accordance with the requirements of Article I, of the 66 regulations for the general and internal direction of the Soldiers' Home," which directs that the board of commissioners," at their meeting in October, will make an annual report of their proceedings to the Secretary of War for the information of Congress," I have the honor to report for the year ending September 30, 1878, that all the duties devolving upon the board in the management and direction of the affairs of the Home have been regularly discharged. The meetings of the board have been held monthly and all the members have been present at each meeting. The accounts of the treasurer have been audited at each meeting during the past as well as in previous years, and all matters requiring the disbursement of funds have been carefully considered upon estimates submitted by the officers of the Home, and none have been undertaken without the authority of the board.
The internal direction of the affairs of the Home has been capably managed by its officers, who have been constant and zealous in the discharge of their duties. The standard of discipline necessary to the management of a large and constantly increasing number of inmates of all ages, conditions, and dispositions has been sustained, but no unnecessary restrictions have been imposed upon their movements. Members of the Home become inmates voluntarily, so far as the regulations of the institution are concerned, and are permitted to withdraw upon signifying such desire, though the number of readmissions in any one case may be limited according to circumstances. Their temporal wants have been abundantly supplied and every reasonable and proper desire gratified, so far as could be consistently done. Religious services, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, have been regularly held in the Home chapel, and since the last annual report, at the request of a number of German inmates, provision has been made for service once every two weeks for preaching in the German language. The provision for the care and treatment of the sick has been as complete as science and the advantages of the experience of the Army Medical Department could make it, and the small percentage of deaths among a number of men, a great proportion of whom have been broken down by disease or exposure incident to the service or disabled by wounds, attest the care and skill bestowed in this department of the home.
The items of general improvement to be reported are few. The Home farm which was added to the grounds on the east side two years ago has been put in complete order, and the work of bringing it to a high state of cultivation satisfactorily begun. The new library building has been completed and the library removed from the main building to it,
and the rooms thus afforded are now being put in order as additional sleeping-rooms for the inmates. The building known as the “Riggs Mansion,” which was upon the grounds when they were purchased for the Home, and which was put in thorough repair inside last year, has been remodeled outwardly by the removal of the old dilapidated porches and the construction of new ones. The usual repairs to buildings and fences have been made as required. The most important work of the year has been the erection of a new engine-house at a point west of the hospital where the water-supply could best be controlled, and placing therein two new steam-pumps of sufficient power to force, through pipes running to the several buildings, not only the water required for all purposes of daily use, but for such extraordinary supply as might be required in case of fire.
A new lodge has also been erected at the northwest entrance, known as “ Scott Gate."
In the month of February of this year, on request from the executive committee of an association of enlisted men of the Army, permission was granted for the erection in the Home grounds, with funds contributed specially for the purpose by enlisted men, of a monument to the
memory of Henry Wilson, late Vice President of the United States. The plan proposed was for a granite sarcophagus four feet three inches by seven feet six inches at the base, and five feet one inck high, with the following inscriptions in raised letters: On one side, "Henry Wilson, the Soldiers' Friend.” On one end, “Died Vice President of the United States, November 22, 1875.” On the other side, “ Erected by the enlisted men of the Army.” A site was selected near the Home chapel, and the work has been completed.
The roster of officers of the Home, in which there have been no changes during the year, is as follows:
Col. J. H. Potter, Twenty-fourth Infantry, governor.
The record of inmates shows the following changes :
Number receiving the benefits September 30, 1878...
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOS. K. BARNES, Surgeon General U. S. A., President Board of Commissioners. The Hon. SECRETARY OF WAR.
STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDING.
OFFICE OF BUILDING FOR
Washington, D. C., July 1, 1878. SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations in the construction of the building for State, War, and Navy Departments for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878:
CONDITION AT CLOSE OF LAST FISCAL YEAR.
By reference to my last annual report it will be seen that at the close of the last fiscal year, during which operations had been confined solely to the east wing, the brick and stone masonry of this wing had been essentially completed, as was also the iron framework and part of the fire-proof concrete covering and slating of the roofs of the two long curtains. The last stone was subsequently set on July 14, 1877. A contract was in force, and considerable progress made by the contractor, for the construction of the iron-work of the remainder of the roof of this wing; that of the center and small pavilions, and most of the interior work of the whole wing, then awaited the protection from weather to be afforded by a fully-completed roof. At this time nothing existed inside the wing other than bare brick walls with openings for doors and windows, cast iron columns and pilasters, and bare fire-proof flooring of wrought iron beams and brick arches, while outside only the front area walls had been built, but no excavation or grading required for the approaches had been commenced.
EAST WING, OR NEW NAVY DEPARTMENT.
CONSTRUCTION OF ROOF.
On July 9, the first load of iron-work arrived for the small pavilion roofs, and their construction was commenced on August 2. The ironwork for the center pavilion roof began to arrive on September 10, and its erection commenced immediately. On the 27th of the same month the two main roof-trusses were in place, and on the 19th of October the framework and iron purlins of the center pavilion roof, and the entire wrought and cast iron work of the small curtains and pavilions, were finished.
Shortly after this the iron chimneys were built, and on the 20th of November all of the iron-work of the roofs was finished.
During the month of August and early in September the concrete covering and plastering over a corrugated iron arching on the more gentle slopes