The Soldiers Home Cemetery, designed by Thomas Van Horne, was established at the Northwestern Branch in 1871; prior to that time, the Home buried its soldiers in private cemeteries in the Milwaukee area. There are two sections of cemetery at the Northwestern Branch. The main section of the cemetery, about 36 acres, is west of the historic campus and physically divided from it by the railroad line, but clearly visible from the western area of the historic core. Another five acre section is west of the building complex. The cemetery holds a 1900 reception building and a 1928 comfort station. The granite Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument was erected in 1903 In 1937 the name was changed to the Wood Cemetery, in honor of General George Wood. In 1973, it became a National Cemetery. NHDVS, Julin
Say the words “Soldiers’ Home” now, and they bring up first of all one picture: A summer afternoon, one of those endless summer afternoons of early childhood. Two flaxen-haired urchins, girl and boy, waiting patiently outside of the Home Chapel. The funeral procession forming, and the children following it over the hill to the cemetery.
There was a funeral almost every day, and Bebby and Dick attended quite regularly. First marched the fife-and-drum corps. Then came the firing squad, with muskets reversed. The coffin was carried on an artillery caisson and covered by a large American flag. Behind it marched a detail from the deceased veteran’s Home company.
In later years, when the band was required to attend all funerals, it made a more imposing showing, doubtless. But to Bebby’s ears the true martial music is that of a fife-and-drum corps. The band played Chopin’s Funeral March, and played it very creditably. But the fife-and-drum corps accompanied the old soldier to his long rest with the stirring strains of “How Firm a Foundation.”