The Dayton National Cemetery was established in 1867 by President Abraham Lincoln as a place to inter veterans who died while under the care of the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and Seaman. The name was changed to National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Central Branch.
The first internment was of Civil War veteran Pvt.Cornelius Solly on September 11, 1867. The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers then became part of the newly formed Department of Veterans Affairs in 1930. The administration of the cemetery was transferred to the National Cemetery Administration in 1973.
Since 1867, the Dayton National Cemetery has interned over 54,000 soldiers. Soldiers from every American conflict from the Revolutionary War to present day are buried at the cemetery.
Atop a central mound within the cemetery stands the Soldiers Monument. The cornerstone of the Soldiers Monument was laid on July 4,1873, and covers a time capsule. The Soldiers Monument is comprised of a 30-foot marble column, mounted on a granite base and crowned with an ornamental cap. "To Our Fallen Comrades" is one of the four inscriptions on the base. A Civil War Soldier at parade rest surmounts the marble column. The foot of the column is surrounded on the base by four figures representing the Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Navy.
Benjamin Henry Latrobe designed the column, which previously adorned the façade of the Bank of Pennsylvania. Latrobe is most noted for his work on the White House and the Capitol in Washington D.C. He is credited with introducing Greek Revival as the style of American national architecture. President Rutherford B. Hayes delivered the dedication address and unveiled the monument on September 12, 1877, with about 25,000 visitors attending the ceremonies. The Central Branch Veterans erected the monument as an everlasting symbol of gratitude to those who gave their life in defense of the Union.