I received the following request from the Soldiers Home.
SOLDIERS’ HOME, Memphis, Tennessee
January 11, 1864
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Department of the Tennessee:
Since I made application for the building known as the Union Hospital (now vacated), I am informed by the quartermaster (Captain Eddy) that a portion of the lower part of the building is leased to private parties. This, however, will not interfere with its use for a soldiers’ home, provided one of the large rooms on the ground floor, together with the wing on Court street and the upper part of the main building, can be obtained. If this building cannot be turned over, I am informed by the rental agent there are others soon to be vacated, which will answer the purpose, although not quite so centrally and conveniently located.
The building we now occupy is situated distant from the steam-boat landing about 1 1/4 miles. Only 100 men can be comfortably quartered; we frequently have from 200 to 300, and often compelled to send men away. Owing to the distance from the river the Sanitary Commission found it necessary to build a temporary lodge near the landing to accommodate those who stop over only for a few hours. By having the home nearer the river this additional expense will be saved, and the number of soldiers detailed in this service.
The home has now been in existence eleven months, during which time we have entertained over 16,000 soldiers, furnished nearly 40,000 meals, and 13,000 lodgings. It gives me great pleasure to mention that during that time, with but one instance, soldiers have conducted themselves in a most respectful and gentlemanly manner.
We require no guard; soldiers come and go as quietly as if they were entertained at a hotel, never remaining longer than to obtain orders, transportation, or attend to such business as brings them to the city. I have trespassed upon your time, trusting, however, that the few simple facts may be interesting to you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. E. WATERS, Superintendent Soldiers’ Home
I am willing to grant their request with the request that the building be guarded. It has a good effect of preventing layabouts.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Memphis, January 14, 1864
These papers are referred to commanding officer of Memphis, through General Hurlbut.
Soldiers’ homes are only necessary at a point where soldiers discharged, going on furlough, and returning are liable to delays. Cairo, Memphis, and Vicksburg are such places, but all must be watched lest they become receptacles of idlers and loiterers. If the quartermaster has a suitable building not in public use I approve the application of it to the Sanitary Commission as a soldiers’ home.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General