About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Central Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Dayton, Ohio and other sources. The lesson was written by Paul LaRue, history teacher at Washington Senior High School in Washington Court House, Ohio with help from his 2003-2004 history class students. The lesson was edited by the History Program staff of the National Cemetery Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson covers aspects of late 19th-century U.S. history, social studies, Civil War, Reconstruction, and geography. Students will gain an understanding and appreciation for the challenges involved in carrying out a program to care for the needs of Civil War veterans and to mark their graves after their deaths.
Time period: Civil War Era to 1929
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To outline the steps the U.S. government took to care for and honor its veterans after the Civil War.
2) To explain how the success of the Dayton soldiers' home launched a nationwide system.
3) To list at least three factors officials used in creating standards for burial markers and compare and contrast the options considered to meet those standards.
4) To locate a veteran's grave in their community and research and write a biography on the life of that veteran.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps of the location of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in the United States and the cemetery layout;
2) four readings about the history of the soldiers' home and national cemetery, burial practices, and a poem honoring those who die during war;
3) one illustration of a letter regarding the selection of headstones;
4. five photos of the cemetery, monument, and grave markers.
Visiting the site
The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, including Dayton National Cemetery, is now the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and National Cemetery. The historic district includes 261 acres of the original Soldiers' Home and Cemetery, including 44 contributing buildings. The district is located at 4100 West Third Street in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton National Cemetery is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is one of 120 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers' lots managed by National Cemetery Administration (NCA). For more information, contact the Dayton National Cemetery at (937) 262-2115 or visit the NCA website.
For information about visiting the VA Medical Center, please call (937) 268-6511, or visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website.