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BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME.
THE SOLDIERS HOME,
Washington, D. C., August 19, 1902. SIR: Under the requirements of section 1 of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1883, prescribing regulations for the Soldiers' Home in the District of Columbia, I have the honor to submit the following report of the Board of Commissioners of the Soldiers' Home for the year ended June 30, 1902, and to invite attention to the following table showing the changes that have occurred in the number of beneficiaries during that period:
This shows an increase of 5 beneficiaries on the rolls since the last annual report.
The number (1,399) on the rolls June 30, 1902, is accounted for as follows:
Present at the Home, 885, 59 more than last year; on out-door relief, 360; in the Government Hospital for the Insane, 25; on furlough, 55; absent sick in the general hospital at Fort Bayard, N. Mex., 71; and 3 suspended.
The daily average number of inmates present during the year was 896. Last year the average was 870 and the preceding year 838.
The total number of deaths was 102. Last year it was 75. Of the ·102, 36 died in the Home hospital, 24 on out-door relief, 2 near the
Home, 6 in the Government Hospital for the Insane, 31 at the general hospital at Fort Bayard, 1 on furlough, 1 accidentally killed, and 1 died in his quarters at the Home.
During the year temporary relief was given to destitute discharged soldiers (volunteers and regulars) who were not entitled to admission to the Home to the extent of 12,526 meals, and 295 were provided with lodgings for a few nights each.
The following statement shows the amounts received and expended during the year and the amount of the permanent fund of the Home deposited in the Treasury of the United States:
$4, 836. 43
Remaining on hand June 30, 1901.
From the permanent fund
$252, 788.09 Permanent improvements
65, 708. 18
334, 353. 49
318, 496. 27
Balance on hand June 30, 1902..
15, 857. 22
As shown by the foregoing statement $65,708.18 were expended during the year in permanent improvements and repairs, the details of which are given in the reports of the governor and the treasurer of the Home.
Some of the principal items of current expenditure were as follows: Subsistence
$55, 756. 26 Clothing.
20, 060. 70 Extra-duty pay to inmates
33, 690. 13 Out-door relief.
30, 378. 00 Fuel for the Home
21, 285.81 Expenses of inmates at hospital at Fort Bayard
24, 994. 15 The current expenses were materially greater than in former years, owing, not alone to the high average number of inmates cared for, but to the increase in the cost of all food and other supplies, and to the constant outlay necessary to keep up the miles of roads and walks, the care of the grounds, garden, farm, and dairy, and all the other numerous matters which come under the head of expenses in the administration of the current affairs of an institution of this kind.
As shown above, the expense of keeping beneficiaries suffering from consumption in the general hospital at Fort Bayard was about one
tenth of the whole current expenditures of the Home, and the amount paid for outdoor relief was about one-eighth of the current expenses.
The construction of new buildings and additions and repairs thereto forms a separate expense account under the head of "Permanent improvements," and was not so large as in former years.
In this connection the board desires to invite attention to the necessity for the construction of a new mess hall, plans for which are awaiting the action of the Secretary of War, it being deemed highly desirable that the necessary preparations be made at an early date in order that work can be commenced on the building early in the coming spring.
The treasurer's account of funds received for the inmate pensioners shows that he had on hand June 30, 1901, $50,595.95; that he received during the year $163,734.40, and paid to pensioners and legal heirs of deceased inmates $159,603.54, leaving on hand, deposited in the United States Treasury, as required by law, $54.726.81.
The pension money of inmates is paid quarterly to the treasurer by the United States pension agent in this city and is held by the treasurer in trust. It is paid monthly to the inmates under the supervision of the governor of the Home, whose report shows that of the 885 inmates 731 were receiving pensions ranging from $6 to $30; one receiving $36 and one $72 per month.
There are 167 beneficiaries who served in the war with Mexico, 301 who served in the civil war, and 326 who served in the Army since the commencement of the war with Spain. A total of 794 who had war (other than Indian war) service.
The nativity of inmates is about one-half American, one-fourth Irish, one-sixth German, and the balance are natives of other countries. Their ages range from 22 to 90 years. One hundred and seventeen are over 70
age. The attending surgeon reports that 650 patients were treated in the hospital; that the daily average was 103.97, and the average age of patients admitted was 53.48; that 2,562 were treated at sick call, and the proportion of deaths to 100 inmates per annum was 3.75.
The sanitary condition of the Home and grounds has been excellent throughout the year. The water supply and drainage are satisfactory, and there has been no prevalent or epidemic disease among the inmates.
With the view to securing greater efficiency as well as economy of service in the electric-light plant at the Home, the Secretary of War, on the recommendation of the Board, approved the expenditure of $15,000 for the purpose of enlarging the present plant, and the work is now progressing toward completion.
The Board has authorized the preparation of preliminary plans for the erection of a new administration building, which is deemed to be very necessary, the building now used for the purpose being inadequate.
The account of the farm and dairy shows that the cultivation of the farm and the establishment of the dairy have proved profitable in producing early and late vegetables and better quality of milk than can be supplied by contract.
The act of Congress approved January 19, 1891, requiring the treasurer to keep the current funds on deposit in the Treasury of the United States has been complied with, and all supplies for the Home which could be conveniently purchased by contract were so procured.