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IKe Story of 
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„ A , Ll i£. N „. ( ;P UNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 

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New England's Army Cantonment 

William J. Robinson 

Author of "Fourteen Months at the Front " and Boston Globe 
Correspondent at Camp Devens 

Price #3.00 




New England's Army Cantonment 

William J. Robinson 

Author of "Fourteen Months at the Front " and Boston Globe 
Correspondent at Camp Devens 

Price $3.00 

Copyright, 1920 


William J. Robinson 






Major General Henry P. McCain, U. S. A. 

Commander of the Plymouth (12th) Division and later cantonment 
commander at Camp Devens 

Camp Devens is the only national encampment in New 
England. The work done there in preparation for the World 
War measured fully up to the country's expectations. Every 
New Englander and every man who served at Camp Devens 
will be interested in an account of its activities. 

"Forging the Sword" gives in chronological order, from the 
arrival of the first man at Camp Devens to the demobilization 
of the 26th Division, a full account of how New England's man- 
power was assembled, equipped, trained, and thousands sent 
across to fight. The author, Mr. William J. Robinson, corre- 
spondent of the Boston Globe, is equipped by nature and by 
experience to undertake this important work. 

He lived in the cantonment for more than a year. He did 

not simply exist there. He was always on the job regardless 

of weather or other conditions. He had access to all places 

and to all formations, and he saw the troops being equipped, he 

saw them in training, and he saw them during the distressing 

epidemic of influenza. He knew the officers and thousands of 

the enlisted men, and associated daily and freely with them, on 

and off duty. He was liked by them and had their confidence. 

What he has written can be relied upon as the true story of 

Camp Devens. I am pleased to commend his story of how the 

sword of New England was forged to all who are interested in 

Camp Devens and to all who are justly proud of the part 

played by New England in the great war. 

H. P. McCain, 

^ . Major-General, U. S. A. 

December 1, 1919. 


A suggestion is really a germ. A request might be called a 
germ grown up. And an order — well, everybody who has 
been in the army knows what an order is! 

Now there are without doubt many better qualified to turn 
out a history of Camp Devens than the writer of this volume, 
and for that among other reasons it is hoped that this book will 
not be considered a history by prospective readers of its pages. 
If they start with the idea of reading a history, they will be 
disillusioned before they get very far. But the idea of a 
"story" of Devens has been suggested, requested and "or- 
dered" — all three, and the compliance of the writer will be 
found on the pages following. 

As a story containing most of the high lights of the activities 
at Camp Devens it is the honest belief of the writer that it will 
be found sufficiently accurate. That many, many details have 
been necessarily omitted is granted. It pretends to be a gen- 
eral story of what happened at New England's cantonment 
during the World War, garnished with lighter details here and 
there to give courage to any disinterested reader into whose 
hands it may fall; that and nothing more. As such it is 
offered to those who are interested. 

If any credit is to be given for the publication of the story 
here described, the major share of it belongs to the Boston 
Globe. That newspaper published more news of New England 
troops during the World War than any other Boston daily, and 
carried in its columns nearly three quarters of a million words 
of news regarding the troops at Camp Devens alone. 

The Globe was also the only New England newspaper to 
have a staff correspondent accredited to the first New England 
division overseas. A Globe staff correspondent was kept at 
Camp Devens from the time the first National Army recruit 


arrived there on September 5, 1917, until July 5, 1919, when 
practically all of the New England men returning to civilian 
life through Camp Devens had been discharged. 

Much credit is also due Mr. Laurence L. Winship of the 
Globe staff, who was the first representative of that paper to 
be stationed at Camp Devens, and who "covered" the 76th 
Division during the major part of its training there. The 
greater portion of the facts pertaining to the 76th Division 
contained in this volume were gathered by Mr. Winship. 

Thanks are due the military authorities at Camp Devens for 
their extreme kindness and great assistance in providing 
official data of varied nature, and to Major-General Henry P. 
McCain, Captain R. G. Sherman, Camp Adjutant, and other 
members of the Headquarters Staff in particular, for their en- 
couragement and help. 

To George H . Davis, J r. , Leonard Small and Arnold Belcher, 
Globe staff photographers; to the Globe itself and to Captain 
Livingston Swentzel, U. S. Signal Corps, are due credit for the 
great majority of the illustrations. 

The writer only asks that this story be accepted as an honest 
effort to record, for the benefit of those interested, some of the 
most important facts and events concerning New England's 
greatest war camp. 



Foreword by Major General H. P. McCain vii 

Preface ix 

chapter page 

I. The Campsite in the Wilderness i 

II. Astonishing Construction and First Arrivals . . 7 

III. How the Draft Worked 15 

IV. The 76TH Division Is Organized 24 

V. "In the Army Now" 32 

VI. The First Forty Per Cent 45 

VII. Training Begins 54 

VIII. The Secretary of War Comes to Camp .... 63 

IX. Off Duty and On 72 

X. The 76TH Stands Inspection 80 

XI. Christmas and Progress 90 

XII. Finishing Touches 99 

XIII. Bon Voyage 108 

XIV. General McCain and the 12th Division . . . 115 
XV. In the Grip of the Flu 128 

XVI. The 12TH Division Breaks Some Records .... 139 

XVI I. The Beginning of the End 147 

XVIII. "Mopping Up" 154 

XIX. The Arrival of the Y-D 160 

XX. "Apres la Guerre" 165 


Chapter I 

One spring day in 191 7, a group of army officers, together 
with a few civilians, drove by automobile from the headquar- 
ters of the Northeastern Department in Boston to the little 
railroad town of Ayer, Massachusetts. Their cars continued 
through the town almost to the Shirley line where the Mohawk 
Trail crosses the Nashua River. 

There the cars stopped and the party alighted. They 
climbed to the brow of a steep hill just off the main road, at the 
top of which was located a dancing pavilion. Evidently it was 
the spot they were seeking, for there they stood for some time, 
pointing off into the distance, asking questions of some of the 
civilians and making notes. One of the officers seemed to 
command the respect and deference of the other officers in the 
party. He was Major-General Clarence R. Edwards, recently 
come to New England to take command of the Northeastern 

For some time these people tramped about a trackless waste 
of sandy land, profusely covered with scrubby trees and 
bushes. Finally they entered their automobiles again and 
drove away. 

Shortly after he returned to Boston General Edwards sent a 
lengthy and detailed report with recommendations to the War 
Department in Washington, and soon there came an announce- 
ment from Washington to the effect that a military cantonment 
for the district of New England would be built at Ayer, and in 
that cantonment would be trained the men of New England 
and northern New York State who were selected by the Gov- 


ernment to serve in the army we were about to raise to throw 
into the World War. 

Thus was the site for New England's National Army can- 
tonment selected, quickly, quietly and without any pomp or 
ceremony. For speed was a vital factor in the raising of our 
armies, and the more quietly it was done the more quickly 
would results be realized. New England didn't pay a great 
deal of attention to Camp Devens at first. Afterwards the 
camp became the hub of our own particular little universe. 
Scarce a family in the six New England States that didn't have 
some relative or friend at Devens. It would be difficult to find 
a person in these Northeastern States who was not in some way 
interested in it. We flocked to the camp in person on Sundays 
and holidays, by the thousands and hundreds of thousands. 
We looked longingly for letters from Devens. Every time 
the telephone rang there was the possibility that it might be 
Devens on the line, and every telegraph boy might bear a 
message from this city which grew up almost over night. 

But just at the very first our thoughts were elsewhere. 
Things were happening so fast, event following event with such 
rapidity, and each stirring us so deeply that a mere feat of 
building construction passed almost unnoticed. Our hearts 
were pretty full during those summer days of 191 7. Registra- 
tion day, June 5, when 10,000,000 of our young men were listed 
for service in the military forces of the United States, brought 
the war up to our front doorstep, but with our boys still at home 
and no date set as to when they would be called away, our 
eyes were still fixed on the shores of Europe. 

Perhaps it would be safe to say that the war really began for 
us when "Black Jack" Pershing landed in Europe. Then it 
was that we began to realize that our sons were soon to go 
forth to battle. Pershing was to be their commander-in-chief, 
and he was at last "over there." 

Then came July 4. No single event during our first six 
months of participation in the war so stirred us as did the re- 


ception accorded the first of our troops to reach Paris. There 
was but a single battalion of them, slightly more than 1,000 
Yankee soldiers. But when we read of their arrival and of 
how thousands of little war orphans bent their chubby knees 
and bowed their little heads as our Star Spangled Banner was 
carried through the Paris streets by this little band of Yankees, 
our hearts began to burn with that pride of country which 
proved to be one of our greatest assets during the conflict. 
Our sons began to talk of "when we get over there," and we 
knew that the time was approaching. 

Every country in the world, especially those which were 
allied against Germany, marveled at the manner in which we 
decided to raise our armies. France, of course, had compul- 
sory military service before the war, but she was amazed that 
America should start immediately with a form of conscription. 
England didn't resort to conscription until she had been fight- 
ing nearly two years. And here was a vast country of more 
than 100,000,000 people whose historical associations and 
political traditions emphasized the liberty of individual choice 
even in war, adopting at the outset a form of compulsory 
military service. It was astonishing! They were at a loss 
to understand it — then. 

And right here the writer desires to take issue with those who 
term our manner in raising our armies "conscription." Per- 
haps it was just that in the strict grammatical sense of the 
word, but it was not so in spirit. It was "Selective Service, " 
the fairest and most sensible manner of raising an army. And 
while the service demanded was compulsory in a manner, the 
men who were selected for service in the National Army were 
not "conscripts" in the popular sense of the word. 

For no men ever made better soldiers than did these sons of 
ours who were content to present themselves to Uncle Sam and 
say: "Here I am; you know where I can best be of service. 
Put me there. Teach me what you want me to do, and I'll do 
it as best I can. " These men came willingly and gladly. Our 


Government declared that this was the most effective way of 
raising a vast fighting machine, and the men who went into 
the service under the Selective Service Act were obeying the 
best judgment of the powers in Washington. 

The soldier who stands up today and throws out his chest 
and voice in the boast that he was a volunteer makes a fool of 
himself, and it will be noticed that few of our New England 
soldiers do it. Those who went across with the 26th Division 
and were consequently in France months ahead of the New 
England National Army men were fortunate indeed, but there 
were hundreds of other National Guard men — (many of the 1st 
Maine Heavies, for instance) — who were left behind and did 
not get across until after the National Army men. They were 
the unfortunate ones. And it will be noticed that the American 
Legion, that magnificent organization of the men who fought 
their country's battles and returned home safely, does not dis- 
criminate between the National Army man and the National 
Guard man and the Regular. Each did his best according to 
his qualifications and the orders of our Government, and it was 
because of this that the War Department eliminated all dis- 
tinction between the three classes. 

New England really had the war brought home to her on 
July 9, when President Wilson issued a proclamation calling 
the entire National Guard of the United States to the colors. 
That meant separation from some of our own, but after all it 
was only a comparative few. Those people who had dear ones 
in the National Guard felt the cold clutch of War's hand on 
their hearts, but for the rest of New England there was still 
nothing but uncertainty. 

It was not until July 13, when official announcement was 
made from Washington that the W 7 ar Department wanted 
687,000 men in the first draft from the 10,000,000 between 21 
and 31 years of age who registered under the Selective Service 
Act on June 5, and that as many men as was necessary to pro- 
duce this 687,000 would be called, that New Englanders gen- 
erally felt the first horror of the war upon them. 


For no family with a man between 21 and 31 in it knew 
whether they would be called upon to send one of their dear 
ones or not. It was the element of uncertainty that made it so 
hard. But the men themselves were ready. They had given 
their local draft boards the necessary data from which to reach 
a decision as to who should go first, and they waited, calm, 
confident, ready and willing if called. 

Massachusetts, having the greatest population of any of the 
New England States, was called upon to supply the greatest 
number of men for the first draft. In all, New England was 
asked to provide 37,438 men as its first contingent. The New 
England States were called upon for the following numbers: 

Massachusetts 20,586 

Connecticut 10.977 

Maine 1,821 

Rhode Island 1 ,801 

New Hampshire 1,204 

Vermont 1 ,049 

Total 37.438 

It was stated that these men would be sent to Camp Devens 
for training, and then, and not until then, did the public inter- 
est really turn toward the cantonment, which had been under 
process of construction only about two weeks, and of which we 
knew very little, as never before in the history of our country 
had such an undertaking been even thought of. 

Forty thousand men (for there were some 2,000 odd coming 
to Devens from northern New York State also) from every 
walk and condition of life, herded together into one camp like 
so many cattle! The idea was revolting, not to say terrifying, 
and the more timid conjured up pictures of disease-infested 
holes, miscalled camps, such as were found during the Civil 
and Spanish Wars, where men died by the thousands of disease. 
That a modern city, even though it was constructed of wood, 


could be provided for this vast number of men in two short 
months staggered the imagination, and some of us actually 
scouted the idea as preposterous. 

Just two days after the announcement that we would be 
called on for these thousands came the word from abroad that 
the American Army in France had moved up close to the fight- 
ing front and that trench training "was begun without an 
hour's delay." 

Our men were in it — almost. They were at the front at 
least. We must back them up. The Yanks were ready, will- 
ing, eager. The big camp might not "come through, " but our 
men would, anyway. And so we decided that we were willing 
to be shown. 

Chapter II 


Nine weeks from the day on which the newspapers an- 
nounced that work had actually been started on New England's 
own military cantonment, the Fred T.Ley Company of Spring- 
field, Massachusetts, inserted a huge advertisement in all the 
Boston dailies announcing that Camp Devens — which had 
been named in honor of General Charles Devens, one of New 
England's general officers in the Civil War — was ready for the 
New England soldiers. But that camp was vastly different 
from the one that stands outside the village of Ayer today. 
In fact it was only about one sixth of the present camp. 

To New England then, however, it was a truly wonderful 
place. Our conception of a military camp had heretofore been 
a long grassy field gleaming white with tents, where at night 
the camp-fires shone brightly and the men clustered around the 
blaze and lifted their voices in song. It had been a mental 
picture of weary soldiers sleeping on the ground, while sentries 
paced around the cluster of tents in the darkness. 

The newspapers announced that Camp Devens was a city of 
comfortable buildings, two miles long by one and one-half miles 
wide, covering an area of 10,000 acres. Just before the "first 
five per cent" of New England's contribution to the army that 
was to turn the tide of battle against the Huns left their homes 
to begin their training, we began to realize that the seemingly 
impossible had been accomplished. A city of barrack homes 
for 43,000 men had sprung up on sandy hillsides and fields 
which nine weeks before were covered with scrub growth and 
trees, untenanted and unbroken by roads. 

They switched on the lights on the night of August 30. Not 


the fire light, but electric lights, thousands and thousands of 
them. And out of the darkness flashed a dream city, man- 
made magic, thousands of windows blinking brightly, a daz- 
zling vision rolling back into the hills like a dozen terraced 
Great White Ways. New England had beaten the rest of the 
country. Her cantonment was finished first, ready to receive 
its thousands of potential soldiers and house them comfortably. 

It had taken a civilian army to build this home for the sol- 
dier army. It was a triumph for American brains, American 
business organization, American labor organization, American 
mechanical devices, American materials from American forests 
and American factories, American transportation and, greatest 
of all, for American push. 

There were some 9,000 men in this civilian army, working 
under a mere youngster, Frank B. Rogers, who superintended 
the job for the Fred T. Ley Company. Rogers was so young 
that he had to register for the draft himself. The civilian 
army started to move out on August 28, their work completed. 
They had worked every day for nine weeks; Sundays, holidays, 
every day. For America was at war, and every moment 
counted. It was, indeed, as mixed a group of laborers as could 
be found anywhere, yet there was never a hint of labor trouble. 
For most of them knew what patriotism is, and as they sat 
down to every meal they ate on the camp site they were con- 
fronted by a little sign which read: 







And so, several days before the first men were due to arrive, 
this civilian army had erected more than 600 buildings, laid 

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more than 25 miles of sewer and water pipe — all of it buried 
under ground — had laid more than 400 miles of electric wiring 
— both light and telephone — had built nearly 20 miles of fine 
granolithic road, had dug a well of some 3,000,000 gallons 
capacity and had installed some 2,200 shower baths. They 
had used up 34,000,000 square feet of lumber, and tons of nails 
and other building material, and the camp was ready for New 
England's first contingent of recruits. 

When 1,000 officers, graduates of the Officers' Training 
Camp at Plattsburg, New York, arrived at Camp Devens one 
week ahead of the first five per cent of men to be called, they 
were so amazed at the vastness of the place that they didn't 
get over it for days. They found, to be exact, 199 company 
barracks, 74 officers' barracks, 300 large and small lavatories, 
ten regimental headquarters buildings, a large double divisional 
headquarters building, ten quartermaster storehouses, 15 med- 
ical buildings, three light and one heavy artillery buildings, 41 
company storehouses, a refrigerating plant; post-office build- 
ings, bakery, hospital buildings, fire stations, garages, stables, 
guardhouses, religious and recreational buildings and other de- 
tached structures enough to fill several pages. 

As soon as the buildings mentioned above had been com- 
pleted, many of the civilian army that had built them began to 
depart. But for months afterwards laborers and carpenters 
and steam fitters and engineers were still there, working in- 
cessantly, even while troops were training all around them. 
And they built and built until today Camp Devens is composed 
of more than 4,000 buildings and more than 50,000 men can be 
accommodated within its confines. 

The speed of these workmen caused even Captain Edward 
A. Canfield, construction quartermaster for the Government, 
to marvel. Eight weeks before the first men arrived at the 
camp there seemed to be just a little doubt in the mind of the 
captain as to the feasibility of the undertaking in so short a 
time. And this was only natural, inasmuch as it had never 


been done or even attempted before. Just before the first re- 
cruits arrived Captain Canfield cited to newspaper men, as an 
example of the speed with which the buildings were erected, 
the case of the hospital buildings, which were built at the rate 
of one every 40 minutes. The hospital was planned to ac- 
commodate 1,600 bed patients. 

When the thousand Plattsburg graduates, who were to com- 
mand the first of New England's National Army, arrived they 
were lost almost as soon as they entered the cantonment. Be- 
sides themselves and the 9,000 odd workmen and a few hundred 
other troops on duty at the cantonment there were about 
12,000 people on the grounds, but it seemed as though there 
was a man only here and there. 

But while New England people were interested in the size of 
the camp and all the wonderful details concerning its construc- 
tion, what they were more interested in were the conditions 
under which their sons and husbands and brothers and sweet- 
hearts and friends were going to live. They were gratified 
when they found out. The enlisted men found two-story 
wooden, sheathed buildings waiting for them. The upper 
story was a large dormitory room, without partitions, in which 
the iron cots for the whole company were ranged side by side 
in long rows. Each man was given a certain amount of floor 
space as well as air space for his own, and inspectors saw to it 
that each man had all that was coming to him. There were 
to be no congested sleeping quarters. 

The lower floor, they found, was divided into two long rooms, 
one a mess hall with long tables and benches and a big serving 
counter at the far end, and the other a living or assembly room, 
suitable for gatherings of different sorts, for lectures or study 
or recreation. Altogether they were by far the most comfort- 
able army quarters any one had ever seen provided for men 
who were going into field service. 

Outside of each barrack building was a lavatory building, 
containing modern shower baths and toilet arrangements, with 


running hot and cold water. The floor was of cement, and in 
the center of each building was a big boiler which provided the 
hot water and also kept the place warm, making a comfortable 
bath possible. 

The officers' quarters were one-story buildings, long and 
narrow, with kitchen and mess hall at one end. Along each 
side of the center hall running through the buildings were the 
bedrooms, about eight feet by twelve, one for each officer. 

When the camp was first opened the heating arrangements 
had not been installed, but they were not yet necessary. Later, 
however, and before the real cold weather came, more than 20 
central heating plants were built to provide steam heat for 
every building in the camp. Instead of running the steam 
pipes under ground they were run over head, each pipe having 
an outer covering, with an air space between. There was some 
question in the minds of many as to whether this scheme would 
work. But it did work perfectly, and on the coldest days in 
winter the barracks were warm enough to satisfy the most 

And there were electric lights in abundance. Alas for the 
blazing camp-fires of our imaginations, around which tired 
soldiers huddled and scrawled letters to us at home! Each 
building was as brilliantly lighted as almost any public building 
to be found in a large city. The transforming station, located 
just across the state road from the cantonment, received 
66,000 volts from the Connecticut Valley Power and Light- 
ing Company and then "stepped it down" to the required 

The water for the cantonment came from the largest dug 
well in New England, some 50 feet in circumference and 45 
feet deep. It was sunk on the side of a hill of water-bearing 
gravel, a mile and a half from the center of the cantonment. 
From the well the water was pumped into huge tanks and from 
the tanks it was run through California redwood pipes — a new 
thing in New England — used because it could be secured more 


quickly than metal pipes. It was said to give perfectly satis- 
factory use up to ten years. 

Through the underground maze of pipes, gridironed all over 
the cantonment, the water was pumped to four tanks of 100,000 
gallons capacity each, located on a hill at the other end of the 
cantonment, so that with these tanks full at one end and the 
pumping station at the other end of the water system there 
was good pressure all the time. 

And three fire-fighting companies were organized almost as 
soon as the buildings began to spring up. Lookouts were 
stationed on several hills around the camp, continually scan- 
ning the horizon through field glasses. It was not proposed to 
have this cantonment destroyed by fire, either through accident 
or enemy design, if precautions could prevent it. The first 
companies were officered by Chief Arthur H. Strong of Spring- 
field, Massachusetts, and Lieutenant W. H. Kirk, for thirty 
years in the fire department at Worcester, Massachusetts. 

The hospital was erected on a hill at the northwest corner 
of the cantonment area, a mile and a half from the infantry 
section, near the old Shirley turnpike and overlooking the 
Nashua River. Major G. I. Jones was the first officer in 
charge. Here were placed 1,600 beds scattered through 59 
ward buildings. And there was an isolation ward, an ortho- 
pedic ward, a neuro-psychiatric ward, operating rooms, labora- 
tories, and pretty nearly every kind of modern convenience 
and luxury to be found in any large city hospital, with this 
besides — a glorious pine grove with the best view of the can- 
tonment, where convalescents could spend their time while 
they were recovering their strength. 

Scientific sanitation was insisted upon by the Government 
officers from the very beginning. They condemned number- 
less springs, ordered change after change in the living arrange- 
ments for the workmen, and observed every possible precau- 
tion against disease and infection. The cantonment seemed a 
flyless, mosquitoless, insectless expanse. Everyone spoke of 


the healthy, natural conditions, with the dry, sandy location, 
and what nature didn't look after the sanitary workers did. A 
Sanitary Detachment from the Regular Army — three hundred 
officers and men from Fort Benjamin Harrison — worked day 
and night making the New England cantonment the healthiest 
spot in New England. 

Another advance guard that arrived before the hosts of New 
England's fighting men descended on the camp was the school 
for cooks and bakers, for from the outset Uncle Sam decided 
to have his the best-fed army in the world. Three hundred 
men with some experience in hotel and restaurant cooking, who 
joined the Regular Army, were sent to camp for instruction 
under Sergeant R. W. McAuley and J. Henry Ham, a former 
Boston hotel chef. They, too, were ready when the men began 
to arrive. 

In the lines of quartermaster storehouses, beside the miles of 
railroad tracks built for the cantonment, were tons and tons of 
provisions for both the inner and outer man. There was 
clothing enough for an army and food enough for several 
armies. Everything was in readiness, even to the officers. 

And how New England rejoiced when announcement was 
made that a New England officer was to head this modern 
division that we were called upon to provide! He was Major- 
General Harry Foote Hodges, Boston born, of an old and 
brilliant New England family, the "map maker of the Panama 
Canal"; he was considered by those in the service one of the 
brainiest engineering officers in the entire army, quiet, reserved 
and attending to just one thing all the time — his job. 

General Hodges' staff was of the same caliber. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Merch B. Stewart was Chief of Staff, Major Jonathan 
M. Wainwright, Assistant Chief of Staff; Captain Arthur F. 
Brown, Intelligence Officer; Major Harry L. Hodges (no rela- 
tion to the general), Adjutant; Captain Theodore E. Burleigh, 
Assistant Adjutant; Lieutenant-Colonel H. F. Dalton, Quar- 
termaster; Major Austin M. Pardee, Inspector; Lieutenant- 


Colonel E. K. Massee, Judge Advocate; Lieutenant-Colonel 
J. W. Hanner, Surgeon; Major J. L. Siner, Sanitary Inspector; 
Major George M. Peek, Ordnance Officer, and Major Charles 
A. Lewis, Signal Officer. 

This was the brilliant Headquarters Staff of what became 
the 76th Division, National Army, U. S. A. 

Other officers, including four brigadier-generals were also 
there, temporarily attached to Headquarters. But they were 
merely awaiting the arrival of the men who were to make up 
New England's first National Army Division. Later they 
organized and commanded brigades. 

Chapter III 

Bright and clear dawned the morning of September 5, 191 7 
— that historic day on which the first of New England's fighting 
hosts left their homes for the great adventure. They had been 
preceded, of course, by the National Guard men, but these 
did not go to Camp Devens, and besides, they were more than 
half soldiers before Uncle Sam ever entered the World W T ar. 

It would be futile to attempt a description of the feelings of 
the people of New England on that day. It marked the be- 
ginning of many partings, of many heartaches and of much 
sorrow and care and anxiety, but also of unbounded pride and 
patriotism and joy of service. Not a city, town nor village in 
the six New England States but what gave up at least one of 
its sons on that day. And they were all headed in one direc- 
tion — Camp Devens. 

In the larger places thousands turned out and gave these 
lads a rousing send-off, lasting in most cases from the head- 
quarters of the draft board to the railroad tracks at the station. 
Of course there were tears, but for the most part the Yankee 
spirit — that indomitable fighting quality that was to strike 
blind terror to the heart of the Hun — predominated, and our 
mothers and sisters and sweethearts sent their loved ones 
away with a smile. 

To Maine — the Pine Tree State — belongs the credit of hav- 
ing the first man report for duty in the National Army at Camp 
Devens. Ernest Glenwood of Perry, Maine, was the first man 
to have his name recorded by the receiving officers, and he was 
followed by Hazen Hoar of Calais. 

There were but 91 men in all from Maine to report as the 
"first five per cent, " and they started for Devens on the night 


of September 4. They came the farthest and they reached 
camp first, Maine thereby beating the rest of New England 
and northern New York State in getting men into the service. 
The contingent arrived at Ayer before daylight on September 
5, having come in on the Bar Harbor Express to New York. 
They occupied two special cars, which were dropped from the 
train at Ayer and the men were allowed to sleep until 7 o'clock, 
when they "turned out" and started their two-mile hike to 
the cantonment. 

And so it was that, very early in the morning, just three 
months after it had started with the registration on June 5, the 
draft machinery produced at Camp Devens the first recruits of 
New England's Division of the National Army. As faithfully 
as they had walked into the polling places on registration day 
to give their names to the Government, and with no more dis- 
play of feeling, the New England boys walked into the canton- 
ment and gave themselves to the Government. 

It all went on so smoothly, so easily, so quietly, the arrival 
of these first few hundred, that it was hard to realize that only 
the night before had President Wilson said "Come," and that 
this morning the boys had walked out of their homes and said 

"W 7 ho met you at the station when you arrived?" some one 
asked these young huskies. 

"Jack Frost," came the grave reply. 

It was impossible to miss a guess as to what part of New 
England that cheerful, hearty drawl was raised in. 

Soon a lieutenant, looking bright and dapper in his new 
uniform, appeared at the station and took the "rookies" in 
hand. He was the first representative of the force that was 
to control their military destinies that they had seen, and they 
regarded him gravely and with interest. At his direction they 
fell quickly into line, two by two, and headed for the canton- 
ment, led by the officer and a mounted orderly. 

"You're in the army now," called an old-fashioned New 

Major-General Harry F. Hodges 

Commander of the ?6th Division 

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England housewife from her doorstep, and she waved her 
broom at these lads marching by. 

"Yes ma'am," answered Maine cheerfully, and continued 
on his way whistling. 

Not twenty persons saw this long thin line of men plough 
its way through a mile of dust and sand to the cantonment 
entrance, but there they were greeted with three ringing cheers 
from the First Massachusetts Engineers, formerly the First 
Corps of Cadets and later the 101st Engineers of the famous 
Yankee Division. That was the only organized greeting they 
got, and they weren't quite certain whether "rookies" should 
cheer back, so they didn't. They just smiled instead, and 
their spirits leaped even higher. 

Brigadier-General F. D. Evans and Major Rhinelander 
Waldo, ex-police commissioner of New York, were in charge 
of some 200 officers who handled the registration of the first 
recruits. And these were recruits to delight the heart of any 
officer with an eye for promising material. For all their 
travel-worn, unshaved faces, their unmilitary garb, their 
glorious mixture of old suits and old hats, old suit cases and 
paper bundles and boxes, there was strength in their bodies 
and spirit in their eyes that showed through everything. 

Little wooden "box offices" — one for each of the six New 
England States and New York State — were set up just inside 
the cantonment entrance. Each man bore a card he had 
brought with him from his draft board at home. One by one 
they gave these cards to an officer and then waited until groups 
of eight were ready to be marched away to other buildings 
inside the camp. 

The Massachusetts quota followed the Maine men early in 
the forenoon. Few contingents in this first day's arrivals were 
of more than 10 or 12 men. Off to the barracks they went to 
be assigned to companies, to see the surgeons, to get their 
uniforms and to spend their first day in the ranks of the new 
National Army. 


Shortly following the arrival of the first small detachment of 
Massachusetts men came about ioo men from Connecticut. 
These were followed by in men from Rhode Island, nicely 
squaded together under the command of an ex-service man who 
had decided to get in again with the National Army lads. New 
Hampshire men were in before dark and they were followed 
by the contingent from Vermont, which didn't get in until 
after 10 o'clock in the evening. 

There was one feature connected with the entry into the 
service of these men that didn't prove popular. It was the 
tag they wore in their buttonholes. Only about half the men 
who came in on the first day arrived with their tags hanging 
from their coats. Others had taken them off and either carried 
them in their hands or had them tied to their bundles. The 
idea of being "tagged like so many prize oxen" didn't set well 
on the stomachs of these young huskies and they didn't 
hesitate to let it be known. 

Much to their gratification these men found that the officer- 
enlisted man barrier wasn't anything like what they had 
imagined it would be. There were a number of cases during 
the first day when "rookies," just arrived, recognized friends 
and former classmates among the officers at the receiving 
booths. And the officers made the first advances — an out- 
stretched hand and hearty smile and greeting. The ' ' rookies 
hadn't learned to salute yet, so they just showed their glad- 
ness in a manly, friendly way, and the officers were just as 

For that's the kind of an army it was. The West Pointers 
may have warned the Plattsburgers against fraternization with 
the men or they may not. At any rate the Plattsburgers just 
used horse sense, and by so doing they got better results than 
many of the " Pointers. " It certainly looked like a democratic 
army that first day. 

And when you start the story of what the first arrivals did 
during their first day in camp it is almost necessary to start 


telling the description of the cantonment all over again. It 
seemed as though every person in New England wanted to see 
it. If they didn't have a friend or a loved one already there 
they wanted at least to see how completely American emer- 
gency speed measures had tamed more than 10,000 acres of 
rough countryside into a military city. 

Besides being interested in the cantonment itself, all New 
England — and most of all the men who expected to be sent to 
Camp Devens — were interested in what was happening to the 
recruits who were among the first to go into the service. For, 
with very few exceptions, the military life was as so much 
Greek to Yankee folks. 

In general here is what happened to every one of the 40,000 
men who were sent to Camp Devens in the first draft. This 
was the program outlined by Colonel Arthur S. Conklin, 
commander of the 303d Field Artillery, who acted as com- 
mander of the 151st Field Artillery Brigade during the early 
days of the cantonment. 

The day of his arrival the recruit was met at the Ayer station 
by a detail of officers from the camp. It didn't make any 
difference whether he came alone or in a large party, the officers 
were always there, and it was simple enough to make known 
the fact that the cantonment was the destination sought. 

' ' What state do you come from ? ' ' was the first question asked 
a man by the United States Army. Then, on foot or by motor 
truck, the recruit was taken to the cantonment gate. 

There he found seven little wooden booths. On each of the 
first six was a big sign bearing the name of one of the New 
England States and the seventh was labeled New York State. 
The recruit picked out his home state box office and presented 
his draft card to the officer on duty inside. Immediately the 
officer stated which regiment or separate unit the recruit would 
be assigned to, and another officer or non-commissioned officer 
took the recruit in hand and conducted him to his barracks. 

Before he was sent into his barrack building he was shunted 


off to a field ambulance, which was set up in a field nearby, 
where a detail of army doctors examined him for evidences of 
pink eye, diphtheria, and other things that were not popular 
with the army authorities. 

Following this superficial examination the recruit entered 
the barrack building, which was to be his temporary home, at 
least. He proceeded through a room in which half a dozen or 
more officers were seated at tables covered with papers. It 
was much like going through a large tailoring establishment, 
for the recruit was passed from one group to another, each 
group taking measurements of his body. This was to find out 
what size uniform would be required for the particular recruit 
in question, and the ordeal, if such it may be called, took about 
ten minutes. 

After the measuring process the recruit was guided to a 
room upstairs. Here it seemed as though the captain in 
charge tried to see how many questions he could ask. This 
was to determine just what each man's education, trade or pro- 
fessional experience, natural adaptabilities and prowess in half 
a hundred different lines fitted him for in army life. All the 
answers "personal history, " so called — were carefully recorded 
for reference. 

Then, if it wasn't time for "chow," as the recruits soon 
learned to call their meals, came the business of getting a strong 
iron and wire cot and placing it beside the others in the com- 
pany dormitory to which the recruit had been assigned. After 
that the recruit went to more army doctors in the regimental 
infirmary, where a thorough physical examination, inside and 
out, was made. 

Meanwhile the officers in the "measuring room" had made 
out their lists of the uniforms needed right away and big motor 
trucks had roared off in the direction of the quartermaster 
storehouses, returning very shortly with everything in the line 
of clothing that a soldier could possibly require. The few 
hundred uniforms and kits drawn the first day didn't even 


amount to a nibble at the vast store Uncle Sam had laid in for 
these New England men. 

Then came the actual transformation, for which almost every 
man had been waiting from the moment he entered the can- 
tonment gates. The recruit was handed his uniform, his 
underclothing, shoes, socks — everything — and repaired with 
his fellows to the latrine at the rear of the barracks. Off came 
the old "civies," and every man went under the shower bath, 
for bathing was a popular pastime in that National Army of 
ours. After the shower the uniform, and these new-made 
soldiers stood regarding each other with grins — sometimes 
embarrassed, but more often rather proud. 

With the donning of the uniform there seemed to come some- 
thing more than a physical transformation. Was there a 
straightening of those already straight shoulders? Was there 
a new brightness in the eye, a squaring of the jaw? There was. 
And that was the mental, or, if you prefer it, the spiritual 
transformation. For these men the war had begun, and they 
were in it; in it up to their eyes and with all the ardor of their 
high young spirits and the strength of their vigorous young 

That was about all for the first day. They had supper. 
Then they hung around the barrack rooms, in some cases re- 
ceiving talks from men scarce older than themselves, but men 
who had gone through the training mill and were now army 
officers. Then to their beds: clean sacks filled with plenty of 
fresh, clean straw, and warm army blankets. 

At midnight of September 5, 1917, there were 510 New Eng- 
land men in the National Army cantonment at Ayer, the first 
five per cent of New England's first contribution to the war- 
time armies of America. 

And before they slept that night most of them had obeyed 
the first order that was issued from that mysterious place 
known as Division Headquarters, up on the hill at the far end 
of the camp. That order was a brief one. Its wording was, 
"Write home." 


It is of interest to note some of the first men to reach Camp 
Devens and report for duty. As has already been written 
Ernest Glenwood of Perry, Maine, was the first of all the New 
Englanders to report. Hazen Hoar of Calais was the second 
Maine man. John B. Murphy of Fitchburg was the first 
Massachusetts man to come in, and Herbert G. Frolander of 
Providence was the first man to report from "Little Rhody." 
The records do not show who came first from Connecticut, 
New Hampshire or Vermont. 

These lads were not thrown into camp on one day and then 
taken out the next, given a gun and ordered to "dig into it." 
Speed was essential, but the military authorities well knew 
that a short time was necessary in order for the men to get 
acclimated, so it was ordered that the actual training should 
not begin until the sixth day. 

But while they did not receive any actual military instruc- 
tion, many of the things that every good soldier must know 
were taught them on their second day in camp. After break- 
fast, which was at 6: 30— and there were many of those first 
men to arrive in camp who would have hooted the idea of even 
getting up at that hour before they jumped into the army — 
they were shown how to " police up " their quarters, to arrange 
their effects neatly and in a uniform manner. Then they 
started tidying up the area surrounding their barracks. From 
9: 30 until 1 1 : 30 they were taken on walking tours around the 
cantonment, and after a few of these the most of them felt that 
they were beginning to know something about the physical 
characteristics of the place. At noon they had dinner and 
then, until 3 o'clock, they spent their time fixing up their 
equipment. From 3 to 4 they took another walk for exercise 
and instruction. These walks did much to "harden them up, " 
though many of the "rookies" only realized it later. 

At 4 in the afternoon they were advised to become ac- 
quainted with the shower baths again, for — and it was im- 
pressed upon them again — bathing was to be a habit as well 


at a sanitary duty. At 5: 30 they had supper, and in the 
evening more letters home, more talks by officers and more 
"getting acquainted" with their "buddies." Taps and bed 
time came at 10 o'clock. The program for the next few days 
differed from this but slightly, and by that time the men were 
" jes' r'arin' t' go, " and real military drill and the school of the 
soldier looked mighty desirable. 

Chapter IV 

Friday morning, the day after the first New Englanders 
arrived in camp, came an announcement from Division Head- 
quarters that tickled these new soldiers as nothing had since 
they got into the army. And it pleased the home folks just 
as much. Men from the same localities throughout New Eng- 
land were to be placed in the same outfits, insofar as it was 
possible, and on the heels of this information came the table of 
organization for the 76th National Army Division. 

As the table of organization was announced, the name of each 
unit was followed by the names of the places from which the 
men making up each outfit would be selected. The table read 
as follows: 

301st Infantry — which later became known as Boston's Own 
Regiment: Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, 

302d Infantry — also an all-Massachusetts outfit: Milton, 
Rockland, East Bridgewater, Plymouth, North Attleboro, 
Braintree, North Easton, Fairhaven, Sagamore, New Bed- 
ford, Fall River, Taunton, Norwood, Franklin, Framingham, 
Quincy, Newton. 

303d Infantry: Eastern New York State. 

304th Infantry: Connecticut. 

301st Field Artillery — another all-Massachusetts unit: Ar- 
lington, Belmont, Concord, Melrose, Stoneham, Peabody, 
Waltham, Somerville, Maiden, Medford, Lynn, Salem, Marble- 
head, Beverly. 

Batteries A, B and C, 302d Field Artillery: Vermont. 

Batteries D, E and F, 302d Field Artillery: Connecticut. 

Batteries A, B and C, 303d (Heavy) Field Artillery : Maine. 

Colonel Frank Tompkins 
301st Infantry 

Colonel Charles C. Smith 

J02d Infantry 

Colonel J. F. Preston 
303d Infantry 

Colonel J. S. Herron 

304th Infantry 

Colonel G. jM. Brooke 

joist Field Artillery 

Photo by Bachrach, Boston 

Colonel A. S. Conklin 

303d Field Artillery 





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Colonel F. A. Pope 
301st Engineers 

Colonel H. P. Perry 
Depot Brigade 

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Maj. Wainwright Chap. Geo. O'Coxor Maj. Hodges 

Maj. Musgrave Maj. Weiscopf Capt. Harrower 


Batteries D, E and F, 303d (Heavy) Field Artillery: New 

301st Trench Mortar Battery: Connecticut. 

301st Machine Gun Battalion: Connecticut. 

302d Machine Gun Battalion — all-Massachusetts outfit: 
Gloucester, Ipswich, Newburyport, Tewksbury, Haverhill. 

303d Machine Gun Battalion: Connecticut. 

301st Engineers: Rhode Island. 

301st Field Signal Battalion: Largely from Lawrence, 
Massachusetts, with some college men placed in certain com- 

301st Supply Train: Brockton and Fitchburg, Massachu- 

301st Engineer Train: Uxbridge, Massachusetts. 

301st Ammunition Train: Worcester, Maynard, Hudson, 
Milford (all Massachusetts). 

Headquarters Train and Military Police: Gardner, South- 
bridge, Leominster (all Massachusetts). 

Headquarters Troop: Lowell, Massachusetts. 

1st Battalion, 151st Depot Brigade: New York State. 

2d and 3d Battalions, 151st Depot Brigade: Connecticut. 

4th, 5th and 6th Battalions, 151st Depot Brigade: North 
Adams, Adams, Lee, Deerfield, Northampton, Westfield, Wil- 
braham, Northfield, Ware, Brookfield, Winchendon, Spring- 
field, Chicopee, Pittsfield, Holyoke (all Massachusetts). 

Later it was necessary to make a few changes in this table, 
but for the most part that is how the first outfit to be trained 
at Camp Devens lined up as regards localities. And this ar- 
rangement added much to the spirit of the men. They were, 
for the most part, among their own folks — the boys they knew 
and had grown up with. It helped a lot. 

Commanding Infantry Brigades of this new Division were 
Brigadier-General F. H. Allbright, commander of the 151st 
Infantry Brigade, which was composed of the 301st and 302d 
Regiments of Infantry and the 302d Machine Gun Battalion, 


and Brigadier-General F. D. Evans, commander of the I52d 
Infantry Brigade, which included the 303d and 304th Regi- 
ments of Infantry and the 303d Machine Gun Battalion. 

Colonel Frank Tompkins, who was wounded while chasing 
Villa into Mexico, and who prior to that had been military in- 
structor at Norwich University, was given command of the 
Boston Regiment, the 301st Infantry. He had as second in 
command Lieutenant-Colonel Percy W. Arnold, who was later 
killed in France. 

The 302d Infantry was commanded by Colonel C. C. Smith, 
and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles A. Romeyn was second in 

Colonel J. F. Preston was given command of the 303d 
Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel G. W. Stuart was his 

Colonel J. S. Herron commanded the Connecticut Regiment 
— the 304th Infantry — and as his lieutenant-colonel he had 
W. G. Doane. 

The 151st Artillery Brigade was given to Brigadier-General 
William S. McNair, who was later to become a major-general 
when he got to France. In his brigade he had the 301st Field 
Artillery, commanded by Colonel George M. Brooke, with 
Lieutenant-Colonel N. B. Rehkopf next in command; the 
302d Field Artillery, commanded by Colonel Daniel F. Craig, 
with Lieutenant-Colonel Robert M. Danford as second, and 
the 303d Field Artillery — the "heavies" — commanded by 
Colonel Arthur S. Conklin, with Lieutenant-Colonel F. W. 
Stopford second. The 301st Engineers were commanded by 
Colonel F. A. Pope and F. B. Downing was lieutenant-colonel. 
Colonel George H. Estes commanded the Headquarters Train 
and Military Police. 

The 151st Depot Brigade, which was something new for most 
of us, and as to the duties of which we were not very clear, was 
commanded by Brigadier-General William W T eigel, who also 
became a major-general after reaching France, where he com- 


manded a division of his own. We found out soon after the 
Depot Brigade was organized that its function was to train 
men and have them in readiness to fill up the ranks of the divi- 
sion when those ranks became depleted in battle. This put as 
much enthusiasm into the men assigned to the Depot Brigade 
as to the men of the division proper, and strangely enough 
many of the Depot Brigade men got to France weeks ahead 
of the men in the division. 

From September 5 on, men continued to arrive almost every 
day. On the night of September 6 there were about 1 ,000 New 
England men in camp. The state of Maine men, who were the 
first to arrive, had learned how to salute; just about everybody 
had attended a free movie show in the Y. M. C. A. building, 
and many of the messes had made the acquaintance of the army 
baked bean. So things were apparently running smoothly. 

Day by day this army continued to grow. On Saturday 
night, September 8, it was stated that there were 2,018 men 
safely in camp, and the first reports of the doctors who gave 
these men their real physical examinations showed that, for the 
most part, the men selected by the local draft boards for active 
service were a husky, healthy lot. There were some cases of 
colossal stupidity or laziness or ignorance, but they were the 
exceptions. From some of the Boston draft boards came men 
who were actually cripples. One man had only one hand and 
some of the fingers were missing on that. Another man had 
only one eye, and one chap was so near death from heart 
disease that the doctors ordered that he be rushed back to his 
home as quickly as possible. 

When one draft board responsible for sending these men 
away from their jobs and their homes was asked for an explana- 
tion they stated that they "thought we wanted an army and 
surely something could be found for these men to do. " It was 
explained to them that we wanted an army, but it must be an 
army of fighting men, not of invalids, and so after a while 
the boards found that they were only making more work for 


themselves by sending such men, as others had to be sent 
afterward to replace those found unfit. 

These men who were unfit did not begin to show up until 
larger portions of the quota were called, for out of the first 
1,500 men to be sent to camp only six were found unfit for 

But any one who saw the crowd of visitors at Devens that 
first Sunday would have thought that at least an Army Corps 
must have been in camp there. Though there were only a 
little more than 2,000 men in camp it was estimated that the 
visitors exceeded 60,000. There was no way of telling just 
how many people came, of course, but the guards at the main 
entrance declared that over 20,000 automobiles passed through 
the gates and then passed out again. 

New England had turned out in force to see her sons. Among 
the vast throng were many who had dear ones at the camp 
already, but there were thousands more who didn't know a 
soul in the whole vast expanse of the cantonment, though many 
expected to have men of their own blood there before long. 
From early morning until late afternoon they came, from every 
corner of New England and eastern New York State; they 
came by train, by automobile and by trolley. 

Even the advance guard of this multitude, however, missed 
one of the most impressive sights New England had ever seen. 
It happened just after dawn. Several hundred American 
doughboys — for such our men became as soon as they donned 
Uncle Sam's uniform — knelt reverently in the dew and listened 
to early Mass by Reverend Father Thomas McGinn of St. 
Mary's Church in Ayer. Father McGinn later became post 
chaplain of the camp, but on that Sunday morning he was just 
a priest without any army connection. 

And from this came a "first message" that echoed the true 
spirit of New England, for he told them that they should have 
but one thought in their hearts and souls: to do their duty to 
their country. 


" No matter how hard the orders of the officers may seem, " 
said this gentle clergyman, "gaze upon the Cross and gaze upon 
the flag, and carry the orders out. You have given up the 
avocations of peace; you have left them for the service of a 
soldier. Let your constant thought be of 'My Jesus and my 
country.' " 

And besides seeing the camp, the thousands of visitors who 
came there that first Sunday wanted to find out just what the 
"rookies" thought of the army. They didn't know whether 
the men's mail was subject to the critical eye of a censor before 
it left the cantonment or not. We were very green about 
military matters during those first days. And it was quite 
droll to see a serious-looking civilian edge cautiously up to an 
obviously green recruit and ask, "What do you really think of 
it all?" 

Of course there were some complaints, but those who had 
been agreeably surprised more than offset the number who 
would not have been satisfied with anything. 

"I wouldn't leave this blinkety-blanked, cross-dashed army 
for money now," declared one healthy-looking specimen from 
New Haven, Connecticut. It was hard to make some people 
believe that anybody actually said that, but he truly did, and 
furthermore he appeared to mean it. 

His enthusiasm was one extreme, of course, just as the reply 
of a Dorchester, Massachusetts, boy showed the other extreme: 

"How is it going?" 

"Well, you know how it is; I don't have to say anything." 

The remarks betwixt and between were the ones that told 
the true temper of these new soldiers. Like this one from a 
Providence, Rhode Island, youngster, who was still clad in 
blue serge trousers, though the remainder of his apparel was 
regulation. A newspaper man shot the usual, "How is it 
going?"athim. He turned and smiled, "Going! It 'scorning 
— fast!" and he went chasing away after it, happy as a fresh- 
man dazed with new surroundings. 


And it was on this busy Sunday that a detachment of men 
from New Hampshire, headed by F. N. Beckwith, mayor 
of the city of Dover, arrived. The fact that this mayor had 
scorned to accept the exemption from service he might easily 
have had indicates pretty accurately the spirit of these men. 
With Mayor Beckwith were five other New Hampshire men — 
Maurice E. Hale, J. E. McCarthy and H. V. Clark, all of 
Dover also; H. W. Robbins of Somersworth, and Alfred E. 
Lemire of Rochester, were the other two. 

Many of the men from Boston and other cities and towns 
near the cantonment, who had already spent two and three 
days in the army, were granted their first army "leave," and 
went to their homes for the day, and with what these men 
told the home folks about the big camp at Ayer and what the 
thousands of visitors saw for themselves, Devens became 
pretty well known to us almost in a flash, and we began to 
appreciate something of what was going on almost at our 

The plan announced when the first recruits began to arrive, 
to the effect that actual military instruction would not be begun 
until the sixth day, was not rigidly adhered to, as much because 
the men themselves "wouldn't stand for the delay" as for any 
other reason. On the Monday following the first visitors' day 
(September 9), the New England men started their military 

Calisthenic exercises in the early morning, exercises that sent 
the blood leaping through those fine young bodies, got them all 
on edge, and that very morning they asked to be taught "some- 
thing about this game as long as we're here." So, beginning 
at the very bottom, they did start. It was only marching, in 
platoons and squads, for there weren't enough in each company 
barracks to allow for even a skeletonized company formation, 
but it was a start, and the men appreciated it. 

On Monday, too, 24 instructors arrived from the School of 
Artillery Fire at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and they started right in 


with the men who had been assigned to the artillery regiments. 
These instructors made the men feel that they were really get- 
ting down to business. 

And so it looked to those who were only observing what was 
going on. For, though the thought of France was far away 
from the minds of most of the new men, up at Division Head- 
quarters there were indications that officers were looking 
into the future. Lieutenant W. W. Cowgill, aide-de-camp to 
General Hodges, the division commander, was given a very 
significant duty to perform in addition to his others. He had 
huge maps of the many and various European war theaters, 
marked with every last detail of the country along the front. 
The positions of the various armies were also indicated 
minutely with colored pins. And each day the changes in the 
positions, as reported officially from the War Department, 
were marked out again and these changes studied long and 
carefully. Some day, perhaps, this skeleton of a big fighting 
machine would be "grown up," and would be holding a posi- 
tion on one of those fronts. And when that day came the 
machine was going to be ready. 

Chapter V 

September ii, just six days after the first of these new sol- 
diers had arrived at camp, is aday which none of them will ever 
forget. They had received farewells and many admonitions 
from their own folks at home. They had read of how Presi- 
dent Wilson marched at the head of the first detachment of 
National Army men to leave the city of Washington for the 
training camps, and they had likewise read the President's 
message to the men of our Nation, when they started out for 
this new adventure. But, on September 1 1 , the New England 
men in Camp Devens saw for the first time officially and most 
of them for the first time actually, the man who commanded 
them and under whose command they were to go to France. 
He was Major-General Harry F. Hodges. 

And with General Hodges, on this occasion, was Governor 
Samuel W. McCall of Massachusetts. The governor of the 
Bay State had come to Devens to say a few words, not only to 
Massachusetts men, but to the men of all the New England 
States, and to give them personally the greetings of that 

The occasion of Governor McCall's visit was also the first 
for the gathering together of the New England men who had 
come into the cantonment, and, while there were only about 
2,200 of them in all, to the amateur it seemed men enough for a 
whole army. Semicircled in a little slice of what was later the 
main parade field, ankle and knee deep in stubble and bushes, 
with the workmen's rough shacks for a foreground and the 
barren barracks rising on Infantry Hill as a background, these 
lads stood for more than an hour, before the little line of 



automobiles bearing the governor and the general and their 
respective staffs arrived at 5: 15. 

Standing there in the fading daylight, scarce more than half 
of them fully clad in the uniform of the country for which they 
were offering their all, these men heard the Chief Executive of 
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tell them that they 
represented "the physical prime of the normal American, the 
hopes and the aspirations and the ideals of America," phrasing 
just what their own officers and the visitors to the camp had 
been thinking ever since the magnitude of the task before the 
country hit them full in the heart with its beginning the week 

Almost before the line of motor vehicles had stopped, how- 
ever, Major-General Hodges, who was riding with Governor 
McCall, was on his feet in the tonneau of their machine. His 
first verbal greeting to his men was brief. Looking at this 
little group with pride he said: 

Men of the 76th Division, you are having the first military experience in 
your history on the soil of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Old 
Bay State. You are honored today by the presence of the Chief Executive 
of that Commonwealth, who has come to bid you welcome. 

That was all he said. The men received his brief message 
as soldiers; in silence, but they were gratified, nevertheless, 
even to have seen this man who was to lead them through the 
primary stages of their military experience and to know at 
least what he looked like. 

Governor McCall's message to them was not so brief, and it 
was of such a nature as to "warm them all up inside" and 
make them feel that their own folks were really behind them. 
Said the governor: 

I welcome you most heartily to this state. I welcome you as the advance 
guard of the new National Army. I congratulate you upon being under 
the command of General Hodges, your chief instructor, a man who has been 
a professor at our Military Academy at West Point and has himself grad- 
uated from that institution, a man who has won distinction and high honors 
through regular grades of promotion to major-general of the army. 



We are taking different methods, this year, of raising our armies than 
have been taken from the beginning of our Republic. Instead of appealing 
for enlistments the Government makes the selection. The country calls 
you to come to her help. Never before in this country nor in this world 
has a more democratic army resulted than this National Army will be. 
You represent the ideal of America, and we cannot say more for any army. 

I don't desire to use the word "class," for we have no classes in demo- 
cratic America. We have abolished the hyphen. You may have your 
origin in some foreign country in Europe, but, despite that, you represent 
our Republic and you represent the American people as a whole. 

Men, I feel sure you will continue to represent them and, if called upon 
to act, will remember the history of this country and make your actions 
worthy of it. 

Then the governor sat down. The men hadn't cheered 
General Hodges, but they began to applaud the governor 
before he stopped speaking and by their applause they showed 
that the sentiments he had expressed were their sentiments 
and that they would see to it that all he had spoken of was 
accomplished. Immediately following the governor's speech, 
the men were marched off the field, and the men from Maine 
and New Hampshire had what, in most instances, was their 
first glimpse of the governor of the state in which they were 
receiving their military training. 

These men were really getting down to brass tacks by now. 
Their preliminary training, or what should more properly be 
called the ' ' hardening up ' ' process, was progressing rapidly, and 
at the end of their first week at Camp Devens most of the men 
felt as though they had been in the army for months. 

And they were beginning to realize that, although they were 
away from their home and loved ones, people still cared a great 
deal about them and their welfare. They had the Y. M. C. A. 
and other welfare organizations with them always, and then 
the regimental funds were started. It was the 301st Infantry 
that first announced the formation of a regimental fund, and 
it was accomplished through the efforts of Major Edward 
(Pete) Bowditch, he of Harvard football fame. Major Bow- 
ditch announced within a week of the opening of the camp that 


a friend of his had already advanced the sum of $8,000 as a 
starter on the regimental fund, and that the fund would start 
to grow on that. 

These regimental funds and what they were to be used for 
were little known to the men at this time, but later they were 
to be much better known and appreciated, for they grew into 
thousands and thousands of dollars, and many a man had 
things in the army that he could not possibly have had had it 
not been for the regimental and company funds. 

On the day following the visit of Governor McCall, Governor 
Henry W. Keyes of New Hampshire made his appearance, 
coming to see the men of the Granite State who were already 
in the army. Governor Keyes, who was a crew man in his 
Harvard days, was accompanied by his two brothers, George 
T. and Charles W. Keyes. He went straight to Division 
Headquarters, where he told General Hodges and the news- 
paper men that his state had in view steps to be taken for the 
welfare of New Hampshire boys in the 76th Division, adding 
that New Hampshire would do as much for her men as any 
other state would do for hers. 

Soon after their arrival these New England youngsters, who 
were so willing to offer their lives for their country, got a dis- 
tinct shock. Orders came through from the War Department, 
when only five per cent of New England's first quota was in 
camp, that a special company was to be formed in the 151st 
Depot Brigade to house the conscientious objectors drafted 
into the service. This word immediately started a hunt among 
the men, by the men themselves, for these objectors who were 
not willing to fight for democracy. 

In the first five per cent not an objector was found, and the 
vanguard of the division began to prepare for any of the "yellow 
bellies" who might later make their appearance. And if any 
of these individuals could have heard the "midnight opera" 
that followed the orders to prepare for their coming, they might 
well have had a change of heart. In deep guttural tones would 


come the query from one end of the darkened bunk room: 
"What will clean our bayonets in the morning?" "Bloo-o-o- 
d-d-d!" would come the chorus in tones just as deep and 
ominous. But as a matter of fact none of them had bayonets 
yet, and when the "C. O.'s" did begin to arrive no blood 
was shed. 

By this time the drafted men were standing their own guards, 
and they found it an occupation none too well to their liking, 
though of course they performed their duties in the most con- 
scientious manner. Some extremely ludicrous situations arose 
during the first few nights when the National Army men were 
on guard, of course, and, though most of them have been told 
again and again, one or two may bear retelling here. 

A member of General Hodges' personal staff strolled down 
through the camp about midnight on one of the first nights 
drafted men had been posted. He was looking for material 
for a report to the division commander on how the men were 
picking up their duties. Near Headquarters he saw the form 
of a sentry through the darkness, and just to make sure that 
the man would see him in plenty of time to challenge, he 
coughed loudly. But the man paid him not the slightest bit 
of attention. So the officer strolled slowly up to him and made 
as if to go by. Right opposite the man he turned quickly and 
snapped out: 

"Well, have you anything to say to me?" 

"Gosh, yes," rejoined the "rookie." "I'd speak to any- 
body. I've been out here in the dark nigh on to two hours an' 
I ain't seen a soul." 

The man didn't mean to be careless. He simply didn't under- 
stand and, while he showed one extreme, the other was shown by 
the over-eager youngster who was walking his post about 9: 30 
the following night. The colonel of his regiment was taking 
his wife and daughter to their hotel outside the camp, when 
suddenly a "Halt! Who goes there?" rang out. The women 
jumped, but the colonel, quite pleased, replied : " Colonel Blank, 


with wife and daughter. " But the guard's reply nearly lifted 
the colonel out of his long riding boots. "Advance Colonel 
Blank and be recognized. Wife and daughter mark time. " 

The officers were patient and helpful, for the most part. 
Those who were not seldom held their jobs as commanders of 
men for very long. W 7 hen they were found unfit to guide and 
instruct these boys who were entirely green at the military 
game they were shunted to other jobs where they could be 
used without ruining the material that New England had given 
the army. 

For the most part the National Army lads liked their officers 
and the officers liked the men. The West Point officers, es- 
pecially the younger ones, learned almost as much from the 
Plattsburg officers as the Plattsburgers did from the Regulars. 
For these provisional officers had the personal touch that went 
so far in making America's emergency sword the keen, strong 
blade it proved to be. 

The officers were good fellows in more ways than one, as 
these 2,200 Yankee lads admitted less than ten days after 
their arrival in camp. For the officers at Camp Devens at 
that time dug down into their own pockets to the tune of $5,000 
to start one of the biggest ventures of its kind ever attempted 
in the American Army. It was the Devens officers' share of a 
$50,000 fund to establish a chain of vaudeville and motion 
picture shows in the camp for the benefit of the men themselves, 
in that the profits from the 10- and 15-cent admissions that 
would be charged were to go to the regimental funds of every 
unit in the division. Major Reginald Barlow of the 302d In- 
fantry, a well-known New York actor in civil life, started the 
project, which met with hearty approval throughout the camp. 

Even in those early days of the cantonment, however, the 
men were well provided with entertainment, for the Redpath 
Lyceum Bureau, with the permission of the War Department, 
opened up a big tent show in the little gully at the foot of In- 
fantry Hill, and there, seven nights a week, the New England 


soldiers could find up-to-date entertainment for about one 
fifth of what it would cost them in the city. Besides this the 
Y. M. C. A. had a movie show almost every night, and various 
societies and companies were coming to camp several times a 
week to provide entertainment for the boys. 

Many things were planned, of course, that never were real- 
ized, but the spirit that started the planning to do for these 
boys was what counted. The spirit manifested by the folks at 
home was admirable, but there was plenty of it in the army, 
too. For instance, quite a chunk of it was found right in the 
Regimental Headquarters of the 301st Infantry, the Boston 
Regiment, when Colonel Frank Tompkins took out his own 
check book and wrote out a check to provide two Ford motor 
trucks for his regiment, solely so his men could get their uni- 
forms and other supplies more quickly than by waiting their 
turn at the big army trucks. That spirit was what built up 
the fighting spirit in the men. 

"When we seen the 'old man' do that for us, we just felt that 
it was up to us to do a little somethin' for the army ourselves, " 
was the way one "rookie" put it. 

September 15 was one of the happiest days at Camp Devens, 
at least for the few men who were there. And it might be 
added that there were many days that were far from sad. But 
it was on that day that the New England men already stationed 
at the cantonment received their first big war weapons. 

About 4:30 in the afternoon Colonel Arthur S. Conklin, 
commander of the 303d Heavy Field Artillery, received word 
from the quartermaster that a train had just pulled into the 
Camp Devens siding with some guns for his regiment. Like a 
flash the word went down the line, and with yells of glee just 
about every man then in the regiment made a rush toward 
Headquarters. They were all anxious for a sight of the war 
weapons, and most of them wanted to share in the honor of 
unloading the first artillery to arrive at the camp. 

But, as it was later proven in this new army of ours, there 


was always some particular man who was best fitted for any 
job that might put in its appearance at camp, and this time it 
was William F. Cronin of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who 
was called upon. He had been with the Barnum and Bailey 
Circus and was used to unloading ponderous equipment 
from cars. 

" Can you get those guns off for us? " he was asked. 

"Sure," smiled he, "if you'll give me men enough. " 

There was no difficulty about that. Every man in the 
regiment wanted to have a hand in the work, supper or no 
supper. So about a hundred of them started in the direction 
of the quartermaster's tracks, and there, looking rather omi- 
nous to them, were four three-inch field pieces, a complete 
battery of field guns, lying on four fiat cars. 

There were fully a hundred men in the party that helped get 
those guns off the cars. They will tell you all about it. It was 
"the thrill that comes once in a life time." Under Cronin's 
direction runners were placed against the cars. The pieces 
were unlashed and swung around. Then it was a yell of " Let 
'er go, Gallagher," and down they rolled, the gleeful "rookies" 
clinging to the tongue of the caisson, and away they went with 
them up through the cantonment to the Headquarters Com- 
pany of the 303d, where the pieces were lined up for the awed 
inspection of the rest of the camp. 

And on the same day the comparatively few members of the 
301st Infantry — Boston's Own Regiment — were feeling pretty 
chirky, too. For they had gone through their first inspection 
by a general, Brigadier-General F. H. Allbright. Their officers 
were a little nervous, too, but when it was all over everybody 
was happy, including the general. For, although he was a 
Regular Army officer and accustomed to inspecting trained 
soldiers, he had used such words as "vim and snap," and 
"eagerness and willingness" in describing the showing of these 
soldiers of less than ten days, and it meant a lot to them. 

But the biggest task so far was approaching. The "first 


forty per cent" was due to arrive at Camp Devens on Septem- 
ber 19 — or at least the first part of that contingent was due on 
that date — some 20,000 men, a multitude compared to the 
number that had already arrived, and the transportation of 
these men as well as the caring for them as fast as they arrived 
was a problem that was taking much of the attention of the 

According to the schedule announced three days before these 
men were due to start, the men from Maine, New Hampshire 
and Rhode Island were to come in on the 19th, more than 5,000 
of them in all. On the 20th 4,390 men from Connecticut were 
to come. Massachusetts, exclusive of Boston, was to send 
6,021 on the third day, and on the fourth day northern New 
York State was to send 2,330. On the fifth day the city of 
Boston was to send 2,029, and then the movement would be 

This plan of transporting the men was drawn up by the 
American Railway Association and approved by the military 
authorities. The governor of each of the states involved also 
placed the seal of his approval on the plan, and so arrangements 
for the reception of these men were made on that basis. And 
the men already at camp — the first five per cent — were called 
upon to help get ready to receive their friends, which duty they 
performed with a will. 

Almost simultaneously came the announcement of the plans 
for the placing in the division of the men who were to come. 
The policy started on the arrival of the first five per cent was 
to be pursued right through the draft, according to the indica- 
tions, and men from the same localities were to be placed in 
the same or adjacent organizations. 

For Massachusetts, in the first forty per cent, the following 
arrangement of the men was announced: 

Men from To the 

Adams Depot Brigade 

Arlington 301st Artillery 



Men from 

East Bridgewater 
Fall River 

North Attleboro 
New Bedford 

To the 

301st Artillery 

301st Artillery 

301st Infantry 

301st Infantry 

303d Infantry 

Depot Brigade 

Supply Train 

301st Infantry 

301st Infantry 

301st Artillery 

Depot Brigade 

Depot Brigade 

301st Infantry 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

Supply Train 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

Headquarters Train 

302d Machine Gun Battalion 

Ammunition Train 

Depot Brigade 

302d Machine Gun Battalion 

302d Machine Gun Battalion 

Headquarters Train 

Depot Brigade 

Headquarters Troop 

301st Artillery 

301st Field Signal Battalion 

301st Artillery 

301st Artillery 

301st Artillery 

301st Artillery 

Ammunition Train 

Ammunition Train 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 



Men from 


North Easton 

North Adams 




Pea body 



















To the 

302d Machine Gun Battalion 

302d Infantry 

Depot Brigade 

Depot Brigade 

Depot Brigade 

302d Infantry 

301st Artillery 

Depot Brigade 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

302d Infantry 

301st Artillery 

301st Artillery 

Depot Brigade 

301st Artillery 

Headquarters Train 

302d Machine Gun Battalion 

302d Infantry 

301st Infantry 

301st Artillery 

Depot Brigade 

Depot Brigade 

Depot Brigade 

Depot Brigade 

Ammunition Train. 

While, of course, these were not the only towns and cities in 
Massachusetts to send men to Devens in the first forty per cent, 
they marked the centers from which the men were to come, 
and the men from the cities and towns surrounding these 
places were sent to the same organizations. As has often been 
stated, it was this arrangement of grouping men from the same 
localities in the same or adjacent units that went far in main- 
taining the morale at the beginning of our part in the war at 
the high scale it attained. 

As this program for sending men by the thousands unfolded, 
some of the older and more experienced officers began to have 
their doubts as to how the thousands were to be housed, large 
as the cantonment was. But the War Department provided 


for all that. For before the arrival of the 20,000 men during 
the five days, September 19 to 24, came the announcement 
from Washington that another $1,000,000 was to be spent at 
Camp Devens on additional barracks. And those who had 
already seen the cantonment gasped, while those who had not 
seen it began to do some wondering about what kind of a place 
this could be, where $1 ,000,000 could be spent so easily. They 
had other gasps coming to them, however, for still more millions 
were to be spent before Devens was what it afterwards became. 

Through it all these veterans of ten days were preparing for 
the coming thousands. They had already learned to speak of 
the coming forty per cent as " rookies, " but it is not on record 
that any of these ten-day soldiers had gone quite so far as to 
term themselves "veterans. " Their preparations consisted of 
cleaning up barracks that were as yet unoccupied. The offi- 
cers had been busy among their men instilling into .them the 
belief that theirs was the best regiment in the division, a verbal 
food which the "veterans" digested joyously and with a gusto. 

And then came a bombshell. Not literally, of course, but 
to some of the men it might almost as well have been. On 
September 18 orders came from Washington to transfer 500 
of the comparatively few men at Devens to other regiments 
already formed at Massachusetts and other New England 
camps. These "rookies" were going to fill gaps in various 
regiments of Edwards' 26th (Yankee) Division, which was just 
about ready to go overseas. 

Some Massachusetts men went to Boxford, others to Fram- 
ingham and still others to Westfield; Maine, New Hampshire 
and Vermont men went to Westfield; Connecticut men went 
back to their home state, to Camp Yale at New Haven. The 
orders came through to each regiment to have their men ready 
in an hour and a half. Five minutes later it was changed so 
that they were to have their men ready in an hour. And so 
they hustled. The men were to be seen all over the canton- 
ment, pouring out of their barracks, some in full uniform, some 


in half military and half civilian clothes and many still clad 
completely in "civies. " 

Frantically they gathered their belongings together and as 
soon as the last man from each company was ready they went 
straggling along the six rough roads that led to Post Office 
Square, in the center of the camp. From there they proceeded 
to the quartermaster tracks and boarded trains. 

It would be equally untrue to say that they were happy or 
that they were sad. Some were pleased and some weren't. 
There was the spice of adventure about their sudden move- 
ment, and nearly every one of them knew in his heart that he 
was headed for an early trip across the Atlantic. The Connect- 
icut men were frankly pleased that they were "going back to 
God's country," but many a man was sad that he was not 
going to be on hand to greet the thousands who were due to 
arrive on the morrow. 

These were the first troops to leave Camp Devens, just 
thirteen days after their arrival. Before the "buddies" they 
left behind had really earned the right to call themselves 
soldiers, this little group of 500 men had landed with the 
Yankee Division on foreign soil, and today some of them are 
sleeping there, having paid the full price of patriotism. 

Chapter VI 

The coming of the first forty per cent of the first New 
England quota to Camp Devens was the most inspiring sight 
of the early days of America's part in the war. There was 
no secrecy connected with the event. It was one of the few 
things that we were all warned about and given an opportunity 
to watch. 

And we were not the only ones to watch it, for, just as the 
first thousands were reaching the cantonment at which they 
were to receive their military training, through the long lines 
of husky youngsters stretching from the cantonment gate 
clear down the road toward Ayer as far as the eye could 
see, a foreign potentate, a visitor to the United States from 
the Orient, was carried into Camp Devens. And so the 
coming of the "first forty per cent" to Devens served as some- 
thing of a promise to one of our Allies. 

Viscount Ishii, head of the visiting mission from Japan, was 
in New England on an official visit, and no visit to New Eng- 
land during the war could be called in any measure complete 
without a sight of the New England National Army canton- 
ment, one of the finest and biggest in the country. 

Riding with Major-General Hodges, the cantonment com- 
mander, and personally attended by Ambassador Sata, the 
Japanese representative at Washington, the head of the 
Japanese mission watched with amazement how quickly and 
quietly and happily and smoothly this never-ending stream 
of young men flowed into the military service in answer to 
the call of democracy. In the automobile with Viscount 
Ishii and General Hodges was Mayor James M. Curley of 



With eager interest the Japanese nobleman questioned 
General Hodges about the cantonment and the system of 
inducting the men into the service. Their activities of the 
past few days had somewhat worn out the visitors, but this 
sight of thousands of young giants arriving to throw themselves 
into the fight revived them, and their expressions of surprise 
and pleasure were good to hear. With General Hodges they 
made a tour of the cantonment, noting every detail of the 
huge machine that so soon was to turn out the best fighting 
men in the world, and before they left they congratulated their 
soldier host on the marvelous things that were being accom- 
plished. The picture of New England that they carried away 
with them was the picture of a country militant, a country 
burning with patriotism and of men filled with a resolve to do 
their duty with every atom of energy and strength that filled 
their strong young bodies. 

On September 19 there were 2,127 men due to come into 
camp. They were the quotas from Maine, Rhode Island, 
Vermont and part of New Hampshire. Because of the 
distance they had to travel, few got in before noon. It was 
not until 3 o'clock in the afternoon that they really began to 
arrive, but then they came fast. 

Vermont was the first in on this day — 420 lean, husky lads 
of pure old New England stock, the very best kind of soldiers 
we had. They went through the "receiving mill" in the 
smoothest manner imaginable and were assigned to the 302d 
Field Artillery. The first detachment came from Bennington 
County, 57 of them, headed by Benjamin D. Cleveland of 
Manchester, an old 5th Massachusetts Militia man. Each 
group of men had some member of the group in charge. 
Usually this leader was appointed either by the draft board or 
the men themselves before they left their home towns. 

New Hampshire was the next. There were only 97 men in 
this group, but they came in with spirit enough for 10,000. 
A few of them were from Berlin, and they bore signs announ- 


cing what they were going to do when they reached a certain 
other Berlin that was rather well known. These signs the 
men carried — there were few contingents to arrive without 
them — furnished one of the most interesting sidelights in the 
whole interesting spectacle. 

These lads had received the greatest send-off in the history 
of the country. They had been banqueted and showered with 
gifts, extolled and praised and glorified and sent away on the 
crest of a wave of enthusiasm and patriotism that did not 
diminish for days. The New Hampshire and Maine and 
Vermont men showed that as soon as they arrived, and the 
same was true of the Rhode Islanders, who arrived later in the 
day. The Maine men, 727 strong, all decorated with various 
kinds of badges and streamers and armbands, travelled on 
special cars. They were seven hours late reaching Ayer, but 
that didn't matter to them. Better late than never was their 
attitude, and they marched happily away to the 303d Heavy 
Artillery, there to join the New Hampshire men. 

Rhode Island came in with a rush; 884 men destined for the 
301st Engineers. They were headed by James L. Doherty, 
a former policeman. Each man wore a white armband 
bearing the letters "N. A." in red. 

They were swallowed by Camp Devens just as swiftly as 
were their predecessors. It was incredible — the smoothness 
with which the receiving machinery worked. It almost 
seemed that there was no limit to the number of men that 
could be handled by these few officers and the clerks in the 
seven little booths on the receiving field. 

The Manchester, New Hampshire, delegation came by 
automobile, 35 machines stretching out into a sizeable column. 
They didn't arrive until the morning of September 20. They 
were accompanied by Mayor Spaulding of Manchester, and 
their cars were loaded down with gifts from their friends and 
relatives who had watched the procession start off. 

A few more men from Maine continued to straggle in on the 


20th, and among them was Vladek Cyganiewiez, better known 
to sport lovers as Zbyszko, heavy weight wrestler of world- 
wide reputation. Soon after his arrival, however, his six feet 
and 232 pounds of brawn and muscle was pushing a broom 
in his company barracks. Such was life in this army of 

The Connecticut men came on the 20th, 4,000 of them. 
And the first 1,000 got a taste of what seemed to be real war 
weather, for they arrived in pouring rain and had to march 
about a mile and a quarter through mud and water that might 
well have rivaled the famous Flanders mud. They were 
assigned to the 304th Infantry, the 301st and 302d Machine 
Gun Battalions and to the 302d Field Artillery. 

Massachusetts' thousands began to arrive at 9 o'clock on 
the morning of September 21. The first to reach Devens 
came in automobiles. They came from the nearby towns of 
Leominster, Clinton and Lancaster. Then came the men 
from Arlington and Winchester, headed by Chief of Police 
Urquhart of Arlington. In the Winchester quota was 
Herbert W. Kelley, famous Harvard quarter-miler, a gunny- 
sack slung over his shoulder, his shirt open at the throat. 

Then came 427 men from Fall River and 291 from New 
Bedford. They had brought brass bands with them, and 
from their appearance the bandmen had been working ever 
since they left their respective cities. As soon as these men 
had passed through the receiving booths, they fell in behind 
their bands and were played up through the camp to their 
barracks to the tune of "Where Do We Go from Here?" 

That was the spirit of the men. Too much can't be said 
about that quality. They knew that this was only the first 
stop on the new adventure they had undertaken. They wanted 
action and they wanted it quick. The camp was filling up 
fast and, with all this pep and snap and ginger just bubbling 
out of its occupants, something was due to happen pretty 

Lt.-Col. Romeyn 

Col. Arnold 
(killed in France) 

Maj. Waldo 

Mat. Collins 

Photo by Sarony 

Chap. Edwin A. Flynn 

Mat. Carpenter 

Maj. Hadley 

Maj. Porter 

Maj. Stebbinj 

£t 4lJL 

'Chow!" It Didn't Taste so Bad After a Day Spent as Below 

For the Boys Even Had to Break Out Their Own Roads in Winter 

Lt.-Ccl. Sinclair 

Maj. Barlow Maj. Homer Gage 

Capt. Fcannell Chap. M. J. L^^'CH Capt. E. C. Edwards 

Sgt. F. \. Beckwith Chap. T. F. Lynch Sgt. " Bill " Cunningham 


It is impossible, of course, to set down just how each indi- 
vidual city or town quota came in. It was all about the same, 
the biggest holiday event in the lives of the men who were 
entering the service, to all appearances. Everybody was 
wondering at it and at the lack of friction that marked the 
mobilization of New England. Nothing but the best of good 
nature, accompanied by the heartiest co-operation from the 
men themselves, was to be seen. 

Mayor Foss of Fitchburg led in more than 50 men from his 
city at 11:15, an d almost simultaneously there arrived hun- 
dreds from Worcester, Lowell and Lawrence. 

Mayor Ben Haines of Medford came in proudly with 28 
men. He only should have brought 20, but he declared that 
eight others insisted on coming at once and they threatened to 
walk if Mayor Haines wouldn't bring them along. So he did, 
and they were accepted and allowed to stay. And they called 
that drafting an army ! 

Framingham came in shortly after 1, to be followed imme- 
diately by the Waltham quota, in charge of Elliott Frost, well- 
known captain of a Yale crew. Cambridge and Somerville 
came in on the same train and at the cantonment entrance 
they were met by Lieutenant Brennan, who knew personally 
many of the men and who was greeted by them as "Jim." 

And so it went; something extremely interesting about the 
arrival of each contingent. From all parts of New England 
long railroad trains were rushing, bearing their human freight 
to Camp Devens, where that freight was shortly to be trans- 
formed into a formidable fighting machine. But they came 
gaily, the sides of the railroad cars bearing chalked challenges 
to the Kaiser and his brood, and their hearts filled with the 
desire to be of service. 

Massachusetts, having much shorter distances to be covered, 
came in so fast that sometimes there were as many as 1,500 
men massed together on the receiving field. But they didn't 
have very long to wait, as a rule, before they were hustled off 


to the regimental area to which they had been assigned, there 
to be greeted by the "veterans" of two weeks and to be wel- 
comed into the fold of the family that was known as the 76th 

The delegation from Tewksbury, Methuen, Chelmsford and 
Dracut rather lifted the receiving officers, used as they were 
by now to the unexpected, off their feet. Led by Captain 
Peter F. Graham of Methuen, a Massachusetts State Guard 
officer, 71 men from these four towns marched onto the receiv- 
ing field in column of fours, in good military step, snapped into 
"company front," right dressed and stood rigidly at attention 
while their papers were being gone over by the receiving 
officers. Then, very gravely, they broke into a column again 
and marched away to their barracks. And General Hodges, 
standing on the sidelines, watched it all with a gleam in his 
eye that could not by the worst cynic be construed as anything 
but sheer delight. 

There was only one feature of the arrival of these men that 
in any way approached the semblance of a farewell. Seventy 
Lexington, Belmont and Watertown men had been addressed 
that morning on Lexington Green by Governor McCall. 
Then they came to camp, accompanied by Judge A. P. Stone, 
James H. Vahey and other prominent men. As they left the 
automobiles and started for the receiving booths, the judge 
and his associates went down the line shaking every man by 
the hand and wishing him good luck and bon voyage on his 
trip to Berlin. 

Saturday, the 22d, saw more men coming in and some going 
out. The men coming in were from New York State, 2,300 of 
them, and those going out from New Hampshire, Rhode 
Island and Connecticut, 25 from each state. These were sent 
to Boxford, there to become members of the 26th Division, 
instead of the 76th as they had expected. Their going caused 
considerable excitement in camp, as it began to look to many 
as though immediate overseas service was in store for most of 


the men who came in. These 75 men went out to their new 
duties clad in civilian clothes, with the exception of a few here 
and there who had parts of the regulation uniform. 

And General Hodges saw them go, too, and he hated to lose 
them. He felt that he didn't want to lose sight of a single 
one of these young men who were so rapidly pouring in, 
offering themselves to him to be turned into soldiers. Talking 
to newspaper men the general declared all these things and 
added that he was greatly pleased at the generous manner in 
which New England was prepared to look after them. 

Sunday, the 23d, was one of the biggest days in the history 
of the camp up to that time. Not only because the Boston 
men were coming in nearly 1,600 strong on that day, but 
because 100,000 visitors were there to see for themselves how 
the men of New England were mobilizing for war service. 

And so, on this Sunday afternoon, more than 1,500 city lads 
arrived, shouting, singing, cheering, attended by relatives and 
friends and by just about every small boy in the vicinity of 
Ayer village. Along roads that were black with automobiles 
and pedestrians they came, crowding their way through to get 
into the army. They knew that they were all destined for 
the same regiment, Boston's Own — the 301st Infantry — and 
they were excited and happy about it. Also, they were 
anxious for a sight of the man who was to command them, 
Colonel Frank Tompkins. 

They knew something about him before they ever thought 
of getting into the army. They had heard of how this dash- 
ing cavalry officer had run Pancho Villa all over Mexico and 
how he had been wounded during the chase across that hell of 
burning desert sands. He was their hero before they ever saw 
him, and he remained so until the end of the war, in which he 
was to be badly gassed by the Germans. 

And Colonel Tompkins was watching these men who 
were to be his come into camp. He sat on the top of a 
big boulder and saw them piling into the barracks that had 


been set aside for the 301st Infantry. And he smiled as he 
looked on. 

"Lord, but Boston ought to be proud of these boys," he 
said; "and she will be, too, or I'll miss a guess." 

Western Massachusetts sent in men that Sunday, too, and 
they all went to the Depot Brigade. More men went out on 
the same day, bound for the country from which the up-state 
men had come. Two hundred of them went to Westfield, 
Massachusetts, to fill up the ranks of the 104th Infantry. 
They had been in camp only a matter of hours, but all but 34 
of them went away in uniform. That's how fast things were 
beginning to move at Camp Devens. 

There were now approximately 20,600 men in camp, a size- 
able group on which to begin work. Of these only about 2,000 
were Regulars. The rest were green, as regards military 
matters. But on Monday morning steps were taken toward 
the elimination of the verdant hue. Training was started. 
The officers began teaching the men how to march and in this 
way they combined the preliminary training with the harden- 
ing-up process. 

The "rookies" liked it, too. They sang as they marched 
and they were positively hoggish for information and detailed 
instruction. They were eating like horses, too, some of them 
getting better chow and more of it than they had ever had 
before in all their lives, and they started to fill out and get 
husky and brown and healthy. 

Just the daily consumption of food was a staggering item 
for people who were unused to operations on such a large scale. 
Each day these men were consuming, among other things, the 

Flour 21,375 pounds 

Beef 16,638 pounds 

Bacon 4,270 pounds 

Baking powder 95 pounds 

Baked beans 1 ,425 pounds 

Rice 1 ,450 pounds 


Potatoes ii ,450 pounds 

Onions 4.250 pounds 

Tomatoes 1,184 pounds 

Prunes 500 pounds 

Jam 1 ,000 pounds 

Coffee 1,500 pounds 

Butter 2,000 pounds 

Milk 700 quarts 

And yet this huge daily consumption didn't even make a 
visible impression on the vast store that was kept on hand. 
Colonel Dalton, the division quartermaster, announced that 
they could send the men to Devens just as fast as they pleased, 
so far as the food for them was concerned, as he proposed to 
keep one full week's supply of all commodities for 43,000 men 
ahead at all times. And he did it, and the boys grew fat and 
hard and husky. 

Chapter VII 

The arrival of the first 20,000 was followed by a settling 
down process. Courses of training were mapped out in detail 
by unit commanders, and the young officers started to learn 
bayonet fighting under the tutelage of Major Reginald Barlow, 
then of the 302d Infantry, but previously of the British Army, 
with which he fought in South Africa during the Boer War. 

The sorting out of the men began, too, for it was not the 
purpose of this army to try to fit square pegs into round holes, 
and if a man was in the infantry when better fitted for the 
artillery the authorities wanted to know about it. They found 
out, too, and shifted the men around, never losing sight of the 
fact that men were to be kept, in so far as it was possible, in 
outfits made up of men from their own particular corner of 
New England. In this sorting-out process each man was 
questioned individually regarding his previous experience in 
every line of work, and with the full history of the man before 
them the officers decided where he could render the most 
efficient service. 

A spirit of competition was started among the various outfits 
soon after the arrival of the "first forty per cent." Brigadier- 
General F. H. Allbright, commander of the 151st Infantry 
Brigade, held an inspection one morning of the men who had so 
far been assigned to him. It was a nervous morning for the 
men and officers both, but they came through it in admirable 
style. The general looked over each man individually. And 
then — he complimented them! And they were the happiest 
young animals to be found in fourteen counties. 

The brigade was then put through its paces, company by 
company, and when it was all over Company E, of the 301st 


Infantry, was adjudged the best outfit insofar as that morn- 
ing's work was concerned. That was what started the com- 
petition, and the men of other companies settled down to work 
like beavers to wrest from Company E the "title," as they 
were pleased to term it. It was fast music after that, and the 
"title" passed from company to company so fast that before 
long it was impossible to tell which was really entitled to it or 
whether any individual outfit was. 

After he had watched that brigade of his working out for 
a while General Allbright one day calmly announced that 
these men were shaping up so well that he was convinced that 
they would "be as good as Regulars" when they were fully 
trained. Coming from a Regular Army man this meant much. 

On the last day of September the first schools were started in 
the 76th Division, by order of General Hodges. There were 
only six of them, each school specializing in some branch of the 
military service. Later there were to be almost ten times as 
many, but for a starter they established a school for officers in 
equitation, a school for stable sergeants, another in hippology 
and veterinary medicine, one for horseshoers and others for 
cobblers and saddlers. Lieutenant-Colonel N. B. Rehkopf of 
the 301st Field Artillery was placed in charge of the schools, 
with Major F. B. Edwards as assistant. 

The month of October saw the 76th Division really getting 
down to business. Rejections began to mount up, too, neces- 
sitating that other men be sent from civilian life to replace 
the men who were discarded. There was much criticism of the 
draft boards in general, some of it unjust and some of it not. 
It was inevitable that in any undertaking of this magnitude 
mistakes should occur and also that some parts of such a 
ponderous machine as the Selective Service system should 
function with too much zeal and not enough discretion. 

It is to the everlasting credit of New England, however, that 
by far the greater part of the men sent to camp by the draft 
boards were just the kind of material the army wanted — 


strong, sturdy, clean, upstanding youngsters, full of patriotism 
and fight and eager to learn and go across as quickly as possible. 

There have been many events at Camp Devens that created 
excitement and pleasure and surprise. There was always 
something unusual going on. But few of these startling events 
equaled the advent of the first band to be formed by the 
National Army men, pitifully small and squeaky as it was 
compared with the magnificent musical organizations that 

The first band to be formed at Camp Devens was composed 
of fifes and drums, played by the men of the 151st Depot 
Brigade. There were only seventeen pieces in the whole 
aggregation, but they played loudly and proudly enough to 
have been a combination of the best efforts of John Philip 
Sousa and Arthur Pryor. Their instruments had been sup- 
plied by the Depot Brigade officers, who dug down into their 
own pockets to get them. 

Any member of that band can tell you when it made its first 
public appearance. It was on October 2, and when it came out 
in all its glory, the fact that a very pretty race had been going 
on " underground " became known also. Shrilling and thump- 
ing one of the three numbers the members knew, the band 
marched through the camp. Everything was serene until they 
came to the barracks of the 301st Infantry. 

Then there was commotion and excitement, much of it. 
The Boston men nearly went crazy. They hooted and howled 
at the sweating, shrilling, pounding Depot Brigaders. They 
jeered and yelled and raised blazes generally, because — well, the 
301st were just about ready themselves to produce the "First 
National Army Band at Camp Devens," and the disappoint- 
ment was too much for them. 

But utterly oblivious to the torrent of the sarcasm hurled at 
them, the wailing, whistling fifers and the rumpety-tumping 
drummers pursued their triumphant way until they reached 
Division Headquarters, where they apparently got their second 


wind and nearly demoralized the entire Headquarters staff, 
which came out of the Headquarters building in one grand 
rush to see this miracle. And General Hodges listened, too; 
and he smiled with pleasure. For his men were " really getting 
into it." 

It was just a week later that the Boston Regiment's band ap- 
peared. And, despite the fact that they were running second 
in the musical race, their appearance caused even more excite- 
ment than the Depot Brigade filers had. For they came out 
with the first semblance of a real military brass band with the 
courage to toot its way through the regimental streets of Camp 
Devens. And they had nearly thirty pieces, instead of less 
than twenty. 

There were several famous musicians in the 301st Infantry, 
the most noted being Albert Stoessel, formerly of the St. Louis 
Symphony Orchestra. Under the tutelage of these artists the 
band had been built up and trained to a point where they dared 
show themselves together in the day time. The first duty they 
set for themselves was to serenade their beloved colonel, Frank 
Tompkins. It was supposed to be a surprise party, too, and 
certainly the colonel appeared to be surprised when he went 
out to greet the musicians, after they had offered their best 
efforts in front of Regimental Headquarters. 

Sergeant Jesse Illingworth, an old time soldier, had been 
elected leader, and he was the proudest man in all New England 
when Colonel Tompkins took him by the hand and con- 
gratulated him. The colonel spoke words of praise to the 
men, also, and then, in that way of his that the men all came 
to love, he grinned and waved his hand in the direction of 
Division Headquarters. 

"Come on, men," he said. "Let's go up and serenade the 
general; let's show him some real music." 

And up to Headquarters they went, countermarched like 
veterans in front of the Headquarters offices, and while Colonel 
Tompkins went inside to get General Hodges they played as 


they had never played before, with every breath and effort 
there was in them. If the memory of the writer serves him 
correctly, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier" was one 
of the very few pieces they knew, but they didn't play it on 
this occasion. 

When they thought the general had had enough they 
stopped. The "old man" went down and spoke to them and 
then returned to Headquarters, where he shook hands with 
Colonel Tompkins and said a few words to him. 

"He says, Tt's the best band he ever heard,' " announced 
Colonel Tompkins to the newspaper men as he started after his 
band, and as he said it the happy colonel grinned with pleasure. 

During the first week in October the "second forty per cent" 
of New England's first offering to the National Army arrived. 
When they had passed through the receiving machine there 
were more than 37,000 men in camp, and the War Department 
started them on the regular course of training that had been 
mapped out by the general staff. 

The training schedule provided seven hours' work a day 
for the men, and, with the exception of hours spent on night 
marches, and in night trench work, in the various trench sys- 
tems that were built throughout the cantonment, this plan of 
work was adhered to while troops trained at Camp Devens. 

The War Department ordered that one hour each day 
should be spent in calisthenics. For the most part this work 
was done in the early morning. The 301st Ammunition Train 
evolved a scheme to make "Kelly's Thenics" a more popular 
form of diversion, however, for the band assembled in front 
of the Train Headquarters each morning, and after consider- 
able drill the men learned to go through their exercises in per- 
fect time to the music. It was almost like dancing, and it 
made one of the prettiest sights of the camp, and thousands of 
people came to Devens early in the morning for the sole pur- 
pose of watching the 301st Ammunition Train. 

Three hours a day, during the first week, were allotted tg 


infantry drill, one hour for preliminary training for target 
practice, one-half hour for conferences, one-half hour for in- 
struction in guard duty, one-half hour for instruction in the 
care of the rifle and one-half hour for inspections. 

But, besides all these forms of actual military training pre- 
scribed by the War Department, there were so many other 
activities that the days were mighty full. The second Liberty 
Loan had started and Colonel E. K. Massee, division judge 
advocate, had been appointed Liberty Loan officer for the 
entire camp. He set the quota for the 76th Division at 
$1,000,000. It was his idea that these righting youngsters 
could show the rest of New England that they were not only 
willing to give their time and risk their lives for Uncle Sam, but 
were also ready and eager to lend to him a goodly percentage of 
the comparatively meager amount the Government allowed 

No sooner had Colonel Massee's purpose been announced 
than the entire division fell into step and set themselves to 
making good the colonel's promise. It fell to Sergeant-Major 
William Augustine Flaherty of the Boston Regiment to buy the 
first Liberty Bond sold to a New England doughboy at Camp 
Devens. Bill had been an actor, playing under the name of 
William Augustine. His home was at 30 Houston Avenue, 
Milton, Massachusetts. Later he was sent to France to report 
for duty at Pershing's Headquarters and there he won his 
commission and was transferred to the Yankee Division. 

Devens did not neglect sports. Lieutenant W. W. Cowgill, 
at that time General Hodges' only aide-de-camp, was made 
division athletic officer, and set to work to hunt out the football 
material. He found it, scads of it. Both among the com- 
missioned officers and the men were stars from almost every 
college in the country. His project won their immediate sup- 
port. The Camp Devens football team began to shape up and 
the spirit spread among the various regiments until foot- 
balls and baseballs were flying every spare minute. 


Another phase of the training, that at first caused some 
people to laugh a little, was the singing classes. One day a 
man called Vernon Stiles, a concert singer, appeared at Head- 
quarters, presented his credentials and announced that he had 
been sent by the War Department Commission on Training 
Camp Activities to teach the soldiers at Camp Devens how to 
sing. Some of the old and more hardened army officers looked 
a little bit astonished and allowed privately that they didn't 
envy Mr. Stiles his job. It didn't phase the singer a bit, 
however, and after the first few weeks some of the skeptics had 
the shivers running up and down their backs when they heard 
thousands of doughboys roaring out the most inspiring war 
music any nation ever heard. 

There is little question now that the teaching of our fighting 
men to sing was one of the greatest morale builders that was 
produced during the World War. It has been an army adage 
that "A singing army is a fighting army." That is true. 
If you don't believe it, ask the Germans. For ours was a 
singing army. 

Then, just as these thousands of New Englanders were 
getting into the swing of it and had set out to make theirs the 
best division in the whole United States Army, the hard luck 
that followed the 76th Division throughout its career began to 
show up. 

One day General Bliss, chief of staff, sent word from Wash- 
ington that the Camp Devens "surplus men" were to go to 
Georgia to fill up National Guard divisions in the South. 
Nobody knew at that time just who were our "surplus men," 
as there were fifteen per cent of the first draft still to come to 

It developed, however, that the negro troops were to be 
placed in separate divisions, and because of the large colored 
population of the South many southern white divisions had 
great gaps in their ranks. Division Headquarters at Devens 
was all broken up over the anouncement, but orders must be 


obeyed and the men were sent. In the meantime there wasn't 
a man in camp who wasn't worrying about it and hoping that, 
somehow or other, he would be allowed to stay with the 76th. 

The work was getting all-fired interesting and they were just 
beginning to know each other and to know their officers. 
Bayonet training had begun and they were learning how to fire 
their rifles even before they had learned how to march and drill. 
In some cases men were actually practicing going over the top 
in the trenches that had been constructed in various corners of 
the camp. And every battalion in camp had started taking 
long daily hikes of five to eight miles. Tramping through the 
crisp New England air, over a gorgeous autumn countryside, 
with a hot meal at noon prepared in their own "slum guns," 
wasn't such awful hard medicine to take, after all. Then, 
too, all kinds of nice things were to be had at Camp Devens, 
and one never knew what would be found at other camps. 

The main building of the Knights of Columbus was officially 
opened at Camp Devens on October 12. State Deputy Daniel 
J. Gallagher, assistant district attorney of Suffolk County 
(Massachusetts) came up and delivered an oration, and the 
K. of C. turned the building over to the men for their use. 
It had in it pool tables and victrolas and player pianos and 
books and magazines and a dance floor and almost every kind 
of recreational apparatus known to man, and the men could 
use all at any time they chose. There was also a big boxing 
night in the building once a week, as well as many other forms 
of entertainment, and everything was free of charge. It wasn't 
much wonder that the men didn't care about leaving Devens. 

Something of a surprise came early in October when volun- 
teers for immediate overseas service were called for. It 
happened that the men required were highly skilled mechanics 
and men with other special training, but in some companies, 
just as a test, it was announced that volunteers for immediate 
service at the front were wanted at once. Almost invariably 
the entire command stepped forward. The men selected were 


sent away in groups of one hundred or a little over, and they 
went so suddenly that they scarcely had time to say goodbye to 
their own "buddies," let alone to their families. From this 
time on the men continued to go out of Camp Devens, destined 
for the most part for overseas, so constantly that it was im- 
possible to keep track of them. In some cases men were in 
France less than a month from the day they were inducted into 
the service. Frank Sibley, in his story of the Yankee Division, 
has told of some of these men who landed with the Y. D., and 
of the spirit — though without the training — with which they 
went into the fight. 

Chapter VIII 

There were none prouder in the whole 76th Division on the 
13th of October than the men of the 1520! Infantry Brigade. 
This was the first brigade to get together in a single formation 
at Camp Devens, and the parade and review was "pulled" so 
quietly that scarcely anybody outside of Brigade Headquarters 
knew what was happening until it was all over. 

Early in the morning of the 13th General Evans, the brigade 
commander, rode out into the fall sunshine and found two regi- 
ments, almost up to full strength, and a machine gun battalion, 
fully equipped, lined up in perfect formation. They were the 
303d and the 304th Infantry Regiments and the 303d Machine 
Gun Battalion. The regimental band of the 301st Infantry was 
on hand also and this band played the whole I52d Brigade by 
its general when they passed in review. 

The effect of the review was twofold. It showed the military 
authorities how swiftly the men were coming along, and it 
made the men realize how rapidly they were being developed 
into a real fighting organization. It had the effect of raising 
their morale even higher and of giving them a pride in them- 
selves and in the organizations to which they belonged that 
could be obtained in no other way. 

It was about this time, too, that stories began to circulate 
through New England regarding Camp Devens. No one 
could possibly believe that these stories emanated from the 
men who were in the service there, for even the inevitable 
soreheads would not stoop to tell such deliberate lies. Typical 
of these stories was one which alleged that four men had been 
brought to camp under arrest and had been immediately taken 
out and shot. It sounds foolish now, but there were hundreds, 


yes, thousands of people who were worried by this particular 
yarn and Division Headquarters was swamped with telephone 
calls, telegrams and letters. 

At any rate, delegations from various states began to arrive 
at camp to look their men over. Of course they found them 
happy, contented and well cared for. Investigations as to 
the sources of these stories were made and it was finally 
decided — (not by any people with the spy mania, either) — 
that they had been started by enemy agents, which was prob- 
ably true, whether the alleged agents were in the pay of the 
Hun Government or not. 

Impetus was added to the training of the troops when the 
announcement was made at Division Headquarters that an 
Officers' Training School was to be started at camp early in 
January. One man out of every ten in camp would be selected 
to train for a commission. Everybody had a chance. It was 
up to the men themselves to show that they were fitted to hold 
a commission and the best of the division would be selected. 
If the men thought they had been exerting their best efforts up 
to this time it appeared that they were sadly mistaken, for 
they started to dig into the dirt with their toes as they never 
had before. 

This new-fangled wrinkle in raising Democracy's Army was 
followed immediately by another just as new but which caused 
a great deal more astonishment. They had measured the 
bodies of these men as they came into the service. They had 
measured them for their uniforms and also for a record of their 
stature and some idea of what kind of work they would be best 
fitted for. Now they began to measure their brains, and some 
of the more old fashioned among us snorted with disdain. 

But, snorts or no snorts, that's what they did just the same. 
A quiet young man wearing the uniform of a lieutenant ap- 
peared one day and declared that he was a psychologist, sent 
by the Great Father in Washington to measure the brains of 
the New England soldiers, make a record of them and forward 

Battery E, 302D Field Artillery, Visits Boston 


■Vi ^^^^RaiS^^^K^^^rif'^^t^'^k'fcrWa 


Some of the 302D Infantry Show Home Folks What Real 
Soldiers Are 

Photo by International Film Service, In* . 

The Gas Defense School. Read's fob the Cloi d of Chlorini 
That ls Coming 

The Hostess House 

The Camp also Boasted Its Own Theatre, The Liberty 


a copy of the record to Washington. It was one of the most 
successful experiments ever attempted in the American Army. 
He was Lieutenant W. S. Foster, formerly of Cornell Univer- 
sity, and soon he had a staff of "nut pickers," working under 
him there at Devens, that was kept busy for months. 

There were two different tests, one for officers and one for 
men, with another for men who were unable either to read or 
write. Everybody had to take it and everybody was marked 
under a set of rules laid down by the department at Washing- 
ton that had charge of the work. Nobody was supposed to 
know what he made at the "nut" tests, but it became known 
soon after they were started that some of the officers had 
fallen down miserably, while some of the more stupid appearing 
of the enlisted men had made a brilliant finish. 

Taken all in all, however, the "nut tests," when compared 
with practical results afterwards, showed that the men and 
officers both did just about what the psychological tests showed 
might be expected of them, and a man's mark in his psycho- 
logical examination soon began to count for something when 
promotion time came. If an officer failed too miserably he 
was investigated further and an effort was made to find out 
what, if anything, was the matter with him. 

No one was better able to judge the value of all these new 
methods of training and classification than an old and success- 
ful soldier, and one of our most successful ones came to Camp 
Devens, soon after the New England men had hit their stride, 
to look them over. He was Lieutenant-General S. M. B. 
Young, U. S. A. (retired), one of the only three living lieuten- 
ant-generals in the whole United States Army. He was a 
veteran of every war since '6i, and he knew a thing or two 
about the army and the training of troops. 

General Young made a tour of the cantonment and was 

shown what the men were doing. He had been sent by the 

War Department, by the way. He had lots of nice things to 

say about Devens and about the men, but, what was more im- 


portant, he said that what he had seen of our army as it pre- 
pared for service in the World War was almost the realization 
of the fondest dreams he had always had for the preparation of 
the army of the United States. He drew a word picture of the 
difference between the way our army used to get recruits for 
war service — when the recruits came in groups of 10 and 20 — 
and the way they came in now — by the thousands. The 
general sighed a little as he made the comparisons. 

Finally, when the first "rookies" to arrive at camp had been 
in the service about six weeks, came what everybody had been 
waiting for and what most of the men had pictured their train- 
ing as consisting of: a real trench attack and a sham battle. 

On October 23, Captain George Hoban's Company H of the 
304th Infantry was sent into the trenches with the warning 
that it was to be attacked. Captain William E. Davidson's 
Company E of the same regiment was told that the enemy 
was holding a series of trenches and that he was to be 
driven out. The men had been trained to some extent in the 
most approved methods of trench warfare, but this was their 
first actual experience against living, breathing, yelling, eager, 
flesh-and-blood antagonists, even though they were their own 
"buddies." A whistle blew — and then the fun began. 

Charging like madmen, most of them forgetting what they 
had been told about how they were to advance, Company E 
set sail for the "enemy." As the first advancing doughboy 
appeared there was a terrific clicking of rifle bolts all up and 
down the trenches, but of course there was no ammunition, 
and Company H became indignant. 

"How in hell are we goin' to stop 'em when we ain't got no 

"Lay down, you ox! Don't you know you're dead? I've 
bored you clean through the pantry four times now." 

"Dead? Why you half-blind she-mule, where do you get 
that stuff? We've got yuh so scared yuh can't even pull your 


"Can that stuff. I've hit you an' you're dead and you 
know it." 

"You're a liar. You're the one that's dead. My bayonet's 
stuck in your wishbone right now — or it would be if I had one." 

"Whadyamean dead, you big fourflusher," etc. 

And so it went. Few remember now which company was 
adjudged the winner, and few care — now. But whichever one 
it was, the other company was the winner the next time. For 
that's the way it was arranged. But what everybody does 
remember is that the spirit exhibited by the men on that aus- 
picious occasion augured well for what was to be expected of 
them when the real thing came. 

October 23 will stand out in the mind of every man who was 
at Camp Devens on that day for still another reason. That 
was the day on which the first steam was turned on, one of the 
most welcome events in the whole history of the cantonment. 
For it must be admitted that some of the men had been none 
too comfortable o' nights. The weather had been nippy and 
of course with so many men sleeping in one room it was neces- 
sary to have all the windows open. The result was, well — 
chilly, unless one was fortunate enough to have some extra 
bedclothing besides the three blankets issued by the army. 
Most of them had extras, but they were happy to see the steam, 
or rather to feel it, and thereafter they were as comfortable as 
it is possible for human beings to be. 

Secretary of War Newton D. Baker paid a surprise visit to 
camp that fall too, and, incidentally, it was the only visit he 
made to Devens during the whole period of the war. He 
arrived one afternoon alone, unattended even by a secretary, 
and of course he found the camp in its worst possible state, for 
it was raining pitchforks and hammerhandles. Mr. Baker, 
however, wasn't bothered a bit by it. He was scarcely there 
long enough, for he was hurrying to Manchester, New Hamp- 
shire, and had merely stopped at Devens in passing. He went 
to Major-General Hodges' headquarters, sat there for about 


half an hour and smoked his pipe, while members of the staff 
were called before him and questioned. Then he jumped 
into an automobile and hurried away again. 

Nobody knew why he came, at least nobody who would say 
anything about it, but his visit caused the finest flock of ru- 
mors that was ever loosed in an army cantonment — Devens was 
to be closed as it was too cold to train men there during a New 
England winter and all the men were to be sent South for their 
training. The division was going overseas at once and com- 
plete its training there. Any suggestion made by any per- 
son as to why the secretary of war had visited Camp Devens 
flew from lip to lip with the swiftness of a prairie fire. But 
nothing happened and the training went on just the same. 

Something new was happening each day, and one of the 
somethings that happened early in the game was the beginning 
of gas training. Opposite the Base Hospital two little build- 
ings had been erected without anybody paying much attention 
to them — at first. But before they were ready to go across 
every man in the division, from the commanding general down, 
knew both little houses and knew them well. They also knew 
the trenches and dugouts that were dug just outside the houses. 

This was the Gas Defense School, through which every 
officer and man had to pass as a part of his training. One 
house was devoted to the lachrymating or tear gas, and this 
the men entered without any protection. The gas they got 
was only about one twentieth as strong as that they were told 
to expect from the Germans, but it gagged them and made the 
tears flow from their eyes until they were unable to see, and 
taught them the smell of the stuff as nothing else could have 
taught it to them. 

The other house was used for various other kinds of poison- 
ous fumes the Huns were using against our men. This house 
they entered with their masks on. It was done simply to give 
them confidence in their gas masks and to teach them how 
necessary they were. 


The trenches surrounding the school were equipped with 
dugouts that were supposed to be gas-proof and probably they 
were as effective against the gas as any dugouts that could be 
constructed. "Classes" of men were placed in these trenches, 
distributed along them as they expected to be distributed 
along the trenches opposite the Germans later on. Off in 
front of them were placed containers filled with chlorine and 
other deadly fumes. 

Suddenly, and without warning, the gas was released. In 
clouds it arose and was carried toward the trenches filled with 
men. Lookouts in the trenches sounded the warning, masks 
were quickly adjusted and the men allowed the gas to sweep 
over them. Some of them were ordered to the dugouts, and 
there in those little holes in the earth they learned to fight this 
silent death, with fires, with fans and with beaters and spades 
with which they literally shoveled the yellow poison from their 
retreat. It was about the most realistic piece of training they 
received on this side of the water, and later many of them were 
thankful for it. 

Right in the middle of this training, which seemed to grow 
more interesting every day, the orders, forecast by the an- 
nouncement of General Bliss a few days before, that the 
"surplus men" from Camp Devens were to be sent to the 
South, came through. Eight thousand men were called for 
and, of course, 8,000 were sent. They went to Camp Gordon 
at Chamblee, Georgia. There was not a unit in the 76th 
Division that didn't lose some men. They were the cream of 
New England. The blow was one of the hardest the 76th 
Division received. And it received many. 

Folks began to be more interested than ever in what their 
men were doing as the reports of their activities went into thou- 
sands of homes through the newspapers and through the letters 
of the men themselves. They began to wonder whether all 
these strange things were making much of a change in their 
boys, and the throngs of visitors grew larger than ever. 


Toward the last of October, on the 25th to be exact, Gov- 
ernor R. Livingston Beeckman of Rhode Island came up to 
see the men from his state. Like the live wires they were, they 
staged a regimental review of the 301st Engineers, the outfit 
from Little Rhody, for the governor and his party. It was 
the first regimental review "pulled" in camp and they went 
through it like veterans. 

Standing beside Colonel Pope, commander of the regiment, 
Governor Beeckman watched the men swing by, and as each 
company passed his amazement grew. 

"Can these be the men I saw parading through the streets 
of Providence only four or five weeks ago?" he asked. "How 
has this thing been done?" 

And still they continued to pass, splashing through the mud 
caused by the recent rain, until every man had gone by. Then 
Governor Beeckman spoke to them. He was just about to 
leave for a visit to the battlefronts of Europe and he told 
them that they had given him a wonderful message to carry 
to the boys over there, a message that he would not fail to 

Governor Keyes of New Hampshire paid a flying visit to 
camp on the same day. He was on his way to Washington, 
but he found time to look in on the men from New Hampshire 
and tell them that every man, woman and child in the Granite 
State was behind them, heart, soul and body. Governor 
Keyes was accompanied by Adjutant-General C. W. Howard, 
Major E. W. French and Major G. W. Morrill. 

On the following day, the Boston Regiment received visitors. 
Headed by Mayor James M. Curley, the City Fathers and 
nearly one hundred other visitors came to Devens to see the 
boys from Boston. The regiment was brought out and put 
through its paces. It was on that occasion that the men of 
the 301st Infantry were addressed collectively by their colonel, 
Frank Tompkins, for the first time. It was a message that 
none of them who are still alive will ever forget, for it was the 


talk of one fighting man to a large group of men of his own 

"I want you men to know that I consider you have deliv- 
ered the goods," said Colonel Tompkins. "I know you will 
continue your splendid work until the end and after. I expect 
you Boston men to write your mark deep in the breast of the 

And they did it, too; but not as the 301st Infantry. 

Mayor Curley spoke, and when he had finished the flag of 
the city of Boston was presented to the regiment. It was 
received by Color Sergeant James H. Connolley, who had 
formerly been a Brookline policeman. It was taken to France 
and is now safely back in Boston. 

Chapter IX 


Late in October came word from overseas that America had 
fired her first shot into the Germans. Our artillery was in 
position, pounding away at the Boche and some of our troops 
were in the line. The word sent an electric shock through the 
76th Division, and they "got down to it" as they never had 
before. On the same day the Boston Regiment was parading 
through the streets of its own city in full equipment, its band 
blaring forth the message to the Home folks to dig down into 
their pockets and back up the boys by sending the Liberty 
Loan over the top and the Kaiser into the swill barrel. 

The day following, the first of the foreign officers that had 
been promised us arrived. They were veterans of the war and 
knew every trick of the trade. They were French, Lieutenant 
Drieu de La Rochelle (a Blue Devil), Adjutant Georges 
Rennandin, and Sergeants O. Chevallier and Mouilland. 

Two days later more of them came, Captain Henri Amann, 
for whom Amann Field was named; Lieutenant Thierry J. 
Mallet, another Blue Devil, and Lieutenant Paul Perrigord. 

Scarcely waiting to unpack their baggage, these veterans 
reported themselves to Major-General Hodges, were assigned 
to quarters and began to teach the latest thing in fighting to 
men who were the most eager to learn that the Frenchmen had 
ever encountered. New England had truly hit her stride and 
the 76th Division was on its way with all sails set and colors 

It was almost impossible to keep track of what was going on 

at Camp Devens after that. More than a dozen newspaper 

men, who were there to do nothing else but follow the training 

of the division, were kept going night and day in an effort to 

keep up with events. 



The foreign officers brought from France new sketches of 
trenches, as well as all the very latest wrinkles in warfare, and 
arrangements were made, through the various military com- 
missions in the United States, to keep these new wrinkles 
strictly up to date and to keep the new soldiers thoroughly 
posted on the ever-changing conditions in the battle zones. 

Night attacks were started in November. Real grenades 
began to arrive, and Lieutenant Mallet got the training of his 
grenade throwers and bombers really started. Parties of men 
were to be seen almost every night, after darkness had fallen, 
starting away for the various "sectors" in the camp, and soon 
afterwards the sky might be lighted like a Christmas tree. A 
"fight" was going on somewhere out there. 

One very pleasing incident occurred early in November. 
Congressman James A. Gallivan paid a visit to camp. This 
was a pleasure to the Boston men anyway, as "Jimmy" 
Gallivan was popular. But the pleasantest part of it all was 
that the Congressman went away declaring that the spirit of 
the fighting men from his home state had simply "floored" 
him, and the conditions under which they were living and 
training were simply fine. The gentleman from Massachu- 
setts had come to Camp Devens prepared to see the New 
England men suffering all kinds of hardships and discomfort. 
He had got the idea from stories he had heard in Boston. His 
disappointment pleased him no less than it pleased the men 
themselves and the camp officials. 

The so-called "welfare organizations" were getting into 
their stride by this time. Recreation buildings were springing 
up all over the camp and along the road between Ayer and the 
cantonment gate and in the town of Ayer itself. The Y. M. 
C. A. had huts in every section of the cantonment, with more 
than three score secretaries on duty. The Knights of Colum- 
bus were firmly planted in the camp and were growing and 
spreading rapidly. Boxing, basket-ball, pool, music, bowling, 
reading, writing, helpful advice and scores of other good 


things were on tap day and night for the men in uniform. 
These folks were really interested in them, and they showed it 
after the fashion of real friends. 

The Salvation Army had a hut that was really a half-way 
station between Ayer and the camp gate, and the "S. A." 
despite the handicap of not being inside the cantonment did 
some fine work for the men. 

In Ayer itself the War Camp Community Service had estab- 
lished a Soldiers' Club on West Street. Here the men found 
everything that was to be found in the recreation huts within 
the camp, with a fine cafeteria where meals could be bought at 
reasonable prices. 

And besides these recreation buildings the people of the 
town of Ayer have it to their everlasting credit that they did 
their utmost for the soldiers. Hundreds and hundreds of 
officers and men who served at Camp Devens made lifelong 
friendships among the people at Ayer. 

It was a very peculiar situation that the town found itself in. 
Its normal population before the war was about 2,500. Sud- 
denly 40,000 men were dumped into an area just outside the 
town. Sixteen times as many men as there were people in the 
whole town suddenly moved in. But the little New England 
hamlet spread its arms wide and gathered them all in, and the 
men enjoyed the sensation. 

The local Knights of Columbus rooms were thrown open to 
the men and their friends, regardless of color or creed. They 
were welcomed and made to feel at home, and the little council 
bore the added expense without a murmur. 

Thousands of the men found "hang-outs" in Ayer where 
they delighted to congregate after their day's training — just 
places where they could sit around and smoke and gossip and 
josh. It was much like the famous "hang-outs" to be found 
in any college town, where generation after generation gathers 
during off hours. 

Hundreds of men who trained at Camp Devens will remem- 


ber "Tom" Raftery for the rest of their lives. "Tom" was 
the manager of A. Shuman & Company's branch store at Ayer. 
The Shuman people sent him up from Boston soon after the 
camp opened. " Tom " was an old baseball player. He used 
to be with the Cleveland Club, and he was one of the best 
"mixers" in New England. Always on the job, yet he always 
had time to meet and make friends. That was his specialty, 
making friends, and once he made them he kept them, to the 
benefit of the men themselves and also to his firm's. 

Then there was "Joe" Markham's store in Depot Square. 
' ' Joe ' ' was an Ayer man . The coming of the camp disarranged 
the old order of things for him, but he accepted the new order 
philosophically, and his friends are now numbered by the 
thousand. It was men like these who did wonders, generally 
without realizing it, to keep the morale of the Camp Devens 
soldiers high, and they saw American soldiers come and go by 
the thousand. 

As soon as the camp opened the state of Massachusetts sent 
state police to Ayer. The "camp followers" of previous wars 
were expected to materialize in this one again. The state 
police were to keep the camp clean. And they did. They 
really constituted a vice squad, and as the result of their work 
Camp Devens was among the cleanest cantonments in the 
country. Old army officers spoke of it and wanted to know 
how it was accomplished. 

Governor McCall selected Inspector Edward P. O'Hallorhan 
of the Newton police force to head the squad. He got the city 
of Newton to give Mr. O'Hallorhan a leave of absence. Mr. 
O'Hallorhan picked his men with care. There were only a few 
of them, but they did the work of many. Best known among 
the state police at Devens were Lawrence Schofield, James 
Devereaux, Frank Hale, Stephen Bresnahan, Edward McCabe 
and William Cannon. Kindly, big-hearted men they were, 
who believed in tempering justice with mercy, and using lots of 
plain horse sense. Many a young girl, who might have been 


sent away to an institution of some kind, was sent back to her 
home with a warning that she could hardly forget. These were 
the ones who were just foolish. But dozens of others — yes, 
hundreds — who came to Camp Devens to prey on the New 
England fighting men, went away much faster than they came 
and to a place where they would have a chance to think it over 
for a few months. 

Mrs. Mary A. Sughrue was sent to Ayer by the Common- 
wealth to act as police matron, and it was to this motherly, 
big-hearted woman that many a foolish young girl owes 
"another chance. " She was loved by the whole town and by 
every soldier in camp who knew her. To Mr. O'Hallorhan, his 
men, and Mrs. Sughrue, working in conjunction with Chief of 
Police Patrick J. Beatty of Ayer, belongs the credit of keeping 
Camp Devens the most vice-free camp in the country. 

The local clergy also took an interest in the men of the camp, 
despite the fact that the population of the town almost doubled 
soon after the camp opened, making just twice as much work 
for them. Father Thomas P. McGinn, pastor of the local 
Catholic Church, was made post chaplain by the military 
authorities. He had in his parish also Father Thomas J. 
Brennan, a young priest with a big heart and a genial smile and 
a vast knowledge of young men. These two clergymen placed 
themselves at the disposal of the soldiers, and were ready at 
any time of the day or night to help in any way they could. 

It really was almost like a large family, that town of Ayer 
during the war. Everybody was pulling together to make the 
soldiers happy and to help them in every way possible. The 
results justified the time and trouble. 

On November 5 Major Reginald Barlow's theater opened in 
the building that had formerly been occupied by the canton- 
ment restaurant for workmen. No one who was present will 
ever forget the opening night. It was an unqualified success 
and a monument to the energy and foresight of Major Barlow, 
who recognized the needs of the men. 


Maine men of the first draft won't soon forget the 6th day of 
November. Governor Carl Milliken of Maine came to camp 
on that day with $1,000 for the mess fund of the 303d Field 
Artillery, which was the Maine and New Hampshire Regiment. 
Governor Milliken will remember the day, too. He found the 
men from his state waiting for him in the Y. M. C. A. audito- 
rium. His excellency was almost carried off his feet as he 
stepped to the platform. As Governor Milliken entered, 
Sergeant "Bill" Cunningham got to his feet. 

"Now, men, let it come; all you've got!" 

And it came; a screaming whistle from 1,400 lips, a crashing 
drumfire of "boom-booms" and three long "Governor Milli- 
kens" at the end. It was a most startling procedure. Not a 
bit military, you know, and all that sort of thing, but, Lord! it 
sounded good to Maine folks. 

When the governor recovered from that hair-raising demon- 
stration he spoke to the regiment. He told them that the 
state of Maine was behind them, heart and soul and pocket- 
book. He said that the whole state was proud of the 303d and 
that the home folks were relieved when George McL. Presson, 
adjutant-general of Maine, had spread the good tidings that 
the men were comfortable and happy and not suffering, as had 
been reported. 

But these informal proceedings, while all right on such oc- 
casions as this, had to be curbed somewhat. A tightening up in 
the matter of discipline was ordered. The word was sent out 
that these chaps weren't "boys" any more. They were men 
now, and as such they would be expected to live up to the full 
meaning of the word in the army. And they did. 

Lieutenant Perrigord of the 14th Field Artillery, French 
Army, opened his school in the handling of the French auto- 
matic rifle. Other schools were opened almost every day. 
This, together with the tightening up of discipline, meant 
business. All day long and sometimes all night the men were 
out on the cold New England fields and forests. As winter 


drew on it became known that there was a slight shortage of 
overcoats, and there were still 10,920 men of the first draft yet 
to come in. But the authorities found ways to keep the men 
warm until the overcoats arrived, and the training went on 

The first bombing field to be established in America was laid 
out at Camp Devens under the direction of Lieutenant Mallet, 
the French instructor in that art. It was a sea of shell holes 
and torn ground. There didn't seem to be any system to it. 
But there was, and day by day the men learned more and 
more about that system from behind the concrete wall where 
they threw their grenades. 

Target practice started for the whole division on November 
20. A huge rifle range had been constructed across the main 
road between Ayer and Shirley from the camp. It was a cold 
day when the first shots were fired, but every man on that 
range was just aching to get out to the firing point and cuddle 
the butt of his rifle against his cheek and fire his first shot. 
General Hodges was down to see how his men would shoot on 
the first day and he went back to Headquarters the happiest 
man in fourteen counties, for these lads could shoot naturally. 
Yes, he was happy despite the fact that each regiment in his 
division was shy at least 400 men. For if all the men yet to 
come were like these it would be almost no trouble at all to 
make soldiers of them. 

On November 22 the advance guard of the British instruct- 
ors arrived. They came straight from the trenches to co-op- 
erate with their brothers-in-arms of the French Army in 
whipping the Yankees into shape for service "over there." 
They were Captain E. O. Hodson, Rifle Brigade, and Company 
Sergeant-Major R. V. Larkin, instructors in machine gunnery; 
Captain J. W. Turner and Sergeant A. Lewis, instructors in 
gas defense; Captain J. E. L. Warren and Sergeant T. Moyles, 
instructors in the trench mortar, and Captain J. E. Hughes 
and Sergeant W. A. Ropen, instructors in bayonet fighting. 


In November came the first definite announcement as to 
how the men from the various states, who had been inducted 
into the service up to that time, had shaped up physically. 
From September 5 to November 10, there had been rejected 
for physical reasons 4,281 men. Of these 2,008 were from 
Massachusetts, 1,012 from Connecticut, 620 from New York, 
231 from Rhode Island, 199 from Maine, 130 from New 
Hampshire and 81 from Vermont. This, considering the 
mistakes that were bound to occur while the draft machinery 
was getting under way, was considered a creditable record. 

Chapter X 

There had been many big movements of troops into Camp 
Devens up to this time, but the biggest movement out of camp 
up to that time came on the day before Thanksgiving, when 
20,000 New England soldiers went to their homes to celebrate 
the great New England feast day. It seemed as though the 
stream of trains that puffed out of Ayer would never end, but 
it did, and the lads got home. Besides these who went to 
their homes, 1,000 more were dined by families in and around 
Ayer; another exhibition of the patriotic spirit of Ayer people. 

But those who remained in camp, and there were approxi- 
mately 7,000 of them, didn't suffer by any means. The home 
folks who were drawing mental pictures of their sons eating 
slumgullion at Camp Devens on Thanksgiving day, would 
have received a shock could they have looked into the mess 
halls at dinner time. These 7,000 men had 15,000 pounds of 
turkey cooked for them, with a reserve of 35,000 pounds in 
case the first meal should prove insufficient. They had 
cranberries, nuts, cake, candy, ice cream, cigars, cigarettes — 
everything that an epicure could possibly think of to tickle the 
palate and comfort the inner man, comfort him until he rolled 
groaning upon his bunk. Pies arrived in camp by the motor 
truck load, good old-fashioned New England pies of flaky crust 
and generous "innards," so that the only thing that was 
missing was the home folks and the faces of loved ones. And 
in many cases they were on hand, too, for where it was possible 
to do so the home folks didn't bother getting dinner at home. 
They came to Camp Devens and had dinner on the Govern- 
ment, and Uncle Sam was glad to have them. The dinner 
was the big incident of the day, but there were many other 
features — dances, shows and concerts galore. 


There is one little incident that deserves mention in this 
little story of Camp Devens. It is one of the things that we 
like to remember about New England people. One little 
woman up in Nashua, New Hampshire, wrote to the command- 
ing general asking to have a "lonely soldier" sent to her house 
for Thanksgiving dinner. She wrote: 

"I don't care who you send me. No matter if they can't 
speak English even. If they're good enough to fight for my 
home, they're good enough to eat at my table." 

It takes all kinds to make a world, of course, and while it is 
so much more pleasant to remember only the good and forget 
what little of the unpleasant there was, there is another inci- 
dent, in direct contrast to the above, that is too rich to be 

Another woman, much better supplied with this world's 
goods than the little New Hampshire woman, wrote asking 
that forty soldiers be sent to her house for dinner. It wasn't 
on Thanksgiving day, but it was not so very long afterwards. 
In her letter she specified that she did not want any men "of 
Hebrew or Irish extraction." No comment on the feelings of 
the officer who received the letter is necessary. He sent the 
forty men and none of them could be accused of being either 
Irish or Hebrew. He sent the woman forty lads from the 
sunny Southland — colored soldiers from Florida. No ac- 
knowledgment of his favor has been received to date. The 
men had a good time, despite the "sudden illness" of the 

Just after Thanksgiving the 76th Division temporarily lost 
its commander. General Hodges, accompanied by a few of his 
personal staff, left quietly one day and was not seen at Camp 
Devens for several weeks. They went to France for a tour 
of the battle lines. With their departure Brigadier-General 
William Weigel, commander of the 151st Depot Brigade, and 
later a major-general himself, took command of the camp and 
the division. 


Soon after General Hodges' departure came the first inspec- 
tion of the whole 76th Division. The occasion was the visit 
of Assistant Secretary of War Benedict Crowell. A big review 
had been planned at first, but on his arrival in Boston, Secre- 
tary Crowell talked with Headquarters by telephone, and it 
was decided to hold the inspection instead. One battalion of 
troops was reviewed, however; the first battalion of the 303d 
Infantry, hailing from Schenectady, New York, and vicinity, 
and commanded by Major W. H. Neil. Major-General John 
L. Chamberlain of the Inspector General's Department ac- 
companied Secretary Crowell. 

This inspection of the 76th was one of the most peculiar 
affairs that Camp Devens had seen up to this time. For the 
men were lined along the sides of the roads through the camp, 
miles and miles of them. They were cold and uncomfortable, 
standing for hours in the slush and snow, waiting until the 
secretary had passed them. The inspecting party rode in 
twelve automobiles. They drove at the rate of ten or twelve 
miles an hour. The entire inspection lasted about an hour. 

The one thrill of the day was furnished by Major Reginald 
Barlow's battalion of the 302d Infantry. For the benefit of 
the secretary, and in order that he might see the men in action, 
a specimen of the training that was being carried on by the 
authorities was given. 

Major Barlow stood at the top of a hill near the post-office. 
At the base of the hill in trenches were Companies A and C of 
the 302d. These companies were made up of men from Fall 
River, and were commanded by Lieutenant Robert Cutler. 
At a blast of Major Barlow's whistle two waves of men charged 
up the hill, over two lines of trenches, through barbed wire and 
shell holes and down the other side, jabbing their bayonets 
into dummies. 

" Remember, only six inches of steel and don't dirty the hilt," 
warned Major Barlow as his men passed. It was neatly done 
and won the praise of the visitors. 


And Company A of the 301st Infantry had its barracks in- 
spected, an unpopular event, even when the inspection is by 
your own officers. But Mess Sergeant William F. Norton of 
East Boston found out somehow that General Chamberlain 
likes fresh shoulder with lots of fat on it, and so the shoulder 
was there to be inspected. After it was over and the sighs of 
relief had been drawn and drawn again, it was agreed that the 
secretary and the general "look at every last thing and don't 
say much." They sampled some things, too. 

General Weigel then asked : "Where do we go now?" "That 
bakery smelled awfully good," smiled Secretary Crowell, but 
the party went to the general's house for lunch. 

During his visit Secretary Baker's representative saw some 
of the difficulties of training a division at Camp Devens in 
winter, but he didn't see them all, for the weather was "sloppy" 
while he was there. Ice and slippery roads and grounds, cou- 
pled with bitter New England winter weather, made the lot of 
the doughboy a hard one. Sometimes it was more than 30 
degrees below zero, and at least one fatality was due to the ice. 
While drilling one day Alfiero Olivelli of 21 Salem Street, 
Boston, a member of Company M, 301st Infantry, slipped and 
fell on the ice, striking his head and receiving injuries which 
resulted in his death a few hours later. On the same day, 
Herman F. Wood of Fall River narrowly missed death when the 
man in front of him slipped and his rifle struck Wood on the 
head, rendering him unconscious. 

The 301st and 302d Artillery had their troubles with the 
icy roads, too. They had just received their horses when the 
bitter weather set in, and their task in leading and exercising 
their mounts was to keep on their feet themselves, keep the 
horses on their feet, if possible and, if they did fall, to keep from 
falling under the feet of the horses. 

For a time it looked as though the Depot Brigade men might 
be training for service in France ahead of the division, for dur- 
ing this cold weather many of them were living in the trenches, 


sleeping under ground and getting hardened generally. At 
this time it was so cold that it was impossible for the men to 
fire their rifles on the rifle range. And it was regular trench 
life that these men were living in the trenches. It was almost 
as much as your life was worth to try and visit the trenches at 
night, but the officers and men both appreciated visitors just 
the same. One newspaper correspondent tried it alone one 
night. He knew where the trenches were, and in the blackness 
he groped his way to them safely. Suddenly, however, he was 
nearly startled out of his skin by a voice of a sentry behind 
him. A bayonet crept up close to his back and he was ordered 
to proceed to Battalion Headquarters. At last a dugout was 
reached, and the sentry announced that he had a prowler 
but didn't know whether to place him under formal arrest 
or not. 

"Major," cried the scribe, without giving the officer any 
identification, "I've got a thermos of hot coffee and some 
doughnuts and sandwiches and ... " 

"Come right in out of the dark," cried the voice heartily, 
and without asking who it was. "No, sentry, this man is not 
under arrest. He is a friend, a friend indeed!" 

And the sentry went back to his post wishing he had searched 
his prisoner first. 

Many of the weather difficulties were soon at least partially 
overcome, however. Many of the companies had creepers 
issued to them so that the danger of slipping on the ice 
was practically done away with. Nevertheless a little ditty 
known as the Devens Weather Dirge became very popular. 
It ran: 

"Sherman said that war was Hell, 
'Twas fifty years ago, 
But Sherman never was at Aver, 

So Sherman didn't know. 
Hell is hot but Ayer is not, 
It's twenty-eight below; 
That's why we're going over there. " 



" Hip, hip, hurrah, we'll give them three times three! 
Hip, hip, hurrah, no more cold Ayer for me. 
Sherman said that war was Hell 
But Hell would freeze in Ayer, 
That's why we're going over there." 

At intervals the cold was so intense that drilling out of doors 
was impossible, but on these occasions the drill would be car- 
ried on in the barracks, and in one building a machine gun 
emplacement was built and the training went on regardless of 

The first machine gun was actually fired at Camp Devens on 
December 5. "Top Sergeant" Charles B. Farrington of Com- 
pany C, 302d Machine Gun Battalion, fired the first shot, and 
the excitement and joy of the men as that indescribable "rat- 
tat-tat-tat" echoed over the snowy land and the bullets kicked 
up snow and dirt in the embankment several hundred yards 
away was worth going miles to see and hear. The first machine 
guns issued at Ayer were Colts that had been built for the 
Russian Government, so straightway they were christened 
" Kerenskies. " And as the first little "Kerensky" barked 
forth 45 shots in less than five seconds, the men just wriggled 
with delight and yelled: "O, come hither, you Huns!" 

And right at the beginning the New England machine gun- 
ners started clipping records. The British instructors told 
Company C of the 301st Machine Gun Battalion how to mount 
them and instructed them in detail as to the British system. 
They said that the Tommies at the start usually took about 
15 seconds to mount them. Lieutenant George C. Wilkins 
gave it to thirty of his men and they did it the first time in 
nine seconds flat, beating the Britishers by six seconds. 

The British officers and non-commissioned officers took a 
mighty interest in their prot6ges. They liked them and they 
wanted to impart to them all they knew of the war game. 
Their bayonet instruction was little short of marvelous, and 


the Yankee lads soon came to understand what their instruct- 
ors meant by getting the punch behind the bayonet work. So 
well did the Englishmen teach these lads of ours, that pretty 
soon it was hard to realize that it was only dummies these boys 
were charging and stabbing. 

The British theory was, apparently, that when you charge a 
German you can win half your victory by scaring him. And 
in order to scare him it is necessary to put the yell of a Coman- 
che warrior into the sucking dove class and to make the face 
look as nearly as possible like a concentrated reproduction of 
Dante's vision. After our lads got into their stride it was 
extremely ludicrous to see the expressions that would spread 
over the faces of visitors who happened to wander into a bay- 
onet class in action. For the yells of these youngsters were 
hair-raising and sometimes their language in addressing the 
dummies was not the kind to be found in a Sunday School 

Their instructions from the British noncoms. were some- 
thing along this line: 

" Blat at 'im like a bloody banshee! Cuss 'im off the fyce o' 
the earth. Look at 'im so bleedin' fierce that 'ee'll think yer 
goin' t' bloody well chaw 'im h'up, 'stead o' stickin' 'im with 
yer byonet. 'Owl at 'im like 'ee'd stole yer lawst drop o' rum. 
Roar at the blighter like a lot o' bloody lions wot's off their 
feed. Now go at 'em again!" 

With teeth gritted in a perfect frenzy of rage, and yelling 
like young Sioux braves, the class in bayonet instruction would 
charge the dummies. It sounded pretty good to them, and 
when it was over they turned and looked at their British friend 

"That," said the Britisher bitterly, "was a 'ell of a mess! 
W'y do yer want t' h'apologize t' the bounder? 'Ere, give us 
yer byonet!" 

Taking the rifle and bayonet and throwing his British cap to 
one side the cockney backed off, eyeing the dummy nearest 


him malevolently. His eyes gleamed brighter and brighter and 
fiercer and fiercer and his lips began to curl back over his teeth 
in a fiendish snarl. Suddenly he crouched, ripping off a string 
of curses that would make the blood of a thug run cold. Then, 
with a screech of fury that fairly raised the hair on the heads of 
his pupils, he leaped at the dummy and sank the cold steel 
into its wishbone, assuming that it had one. At least the 
thrust was where the wishbone ought to be. 

"That's summat like it," he said as he turned toward his 
class. "But," apologetically, "H'im a little bit orf form 
myself just now." 

And people used to think of military training simply as 
marching and drilling! 

Yes, indeed, many a good New Englander got the start of his 
or her life, as the case happened to be, on suddenly running 
into a piece of real fighting training in progress. It took them 
a little time to get used to it, for at first they couldn't seem to 
realize that these things were being taught their boys in order 
to save life, that is, American life. 

Later on battles were fought at Camp Devens almost every 
day, and many a man was "bunged up" in those battles, lit- 
erally as well as figuratively. Black eyes and bloody noses 
were almost sure to follow bayonet attacks, and bruises were 
commonplace, for these men were going at it in earnest. 

Many a visitor to Camp Devens just happened in on a 
"battle. " One example is as good as another. Picture for a 
moment : 

A whistle sounded shrilly in a deserted farmyard, which 
was now a part of the cantonment. It brought Lieutenant 
"Tommy" Thatcher, Harvard football player before he went 
to bayoneting, jack-in-the-boxing out of a deep trench. He 
was followed by seven others. 

Up a steep they scooted, their rifles gripped and wicked 
gray steel showing deadly in the sunlight. They reached the 
crest and there the hill dropped perpendicularly. With a yell 


and a snarl and a growl (these chaps had learned the trick from 
the Britishers) — all rolled into one utterance — they leaped into 
the air and down to the ground eight feet below. 

Before even their feet had touched the earth their bayonets 
were buried in sandbags, which represented the enemy. Al- 
most in the same movement the bayonets had been jerked out 
again. The eight men sped on in an even line for another ten 
yards and each bayonet found another mark, a "German" 
dummy of reeds suspended from a gallows. 

The line of men moved on faster for another twenty yards 
to another line of dummies, another gnashing shout, another 
jabbing and still another charge, on to a third line of "Ger- 
mans." Then came the biggest test of all. 

Lieutenant Thatcher's head peered over the top just long 
enough for him to glimpse the target. Then he gave his orders. 
The muzzles of eight rifles nosed swiftly out over the terrain 
and forty shots rang out in almost as many seconds. Almost 
every bullet found its mark in the silhouetted heads of Fritzies, 
Heinies and Hunies, which were nestled against a hillside, some 
distance away. 

This was known as the assault course. 

It was the same in almost every arm of the service. The 
men were being taught what they had to do under, as nearly 
as was possible, the conditions under which they would have 
to do it. They weren't just being told. They were being 
shown, and after they were shown they were doing it. 

When the war training for the 76th Division really started 
there were 34 different schools running in various parts of the 
cantonment. Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Croft was head of 
the entire group of schools, and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles E. 
Romeyn was in command of the school of the army. They 
weren't all fighting schools, of course. There were cooking 
schools and horseshoeing schools and saddlers' schools and 
equitation schools and schools of field fortifications and 
almost every kind of military school you could think of. But 


they were graduating classes fast, for their students were bright 
and eager and willing. 

And as they progressed their training became more technical 
and difficult. There were accidents, of course. It is hardly 
possible to play with fire continually without getting burned. 
But the victims of the accidents usually had the satisfaction of 
knowing that their misfortune had warned hundreds of their 
buddies. One man, however, was the victim of one of the 
most deplorable accidents that happened at Camp Devens 
during the entire history of the camp. He was Corporal 
Timothy J. Daley of Waterbury, Connecticut. During bay- 
onet practice one day he ran upon the bayonet of another man 
and was almost instantly killed. He was a most popular lad 
and a very promising young man. His death in such an 
unfortunate manner cast a gloom over the entire camp. 

Chapter XI 

December 13 was Connecticut's day at Camp Devens. 
Governor Marcus H. Holcomb came. He watched the 304th 
Infantry — that wonderful regiment composed almost exclu- 
sively of Connecticut men — go through its newly learned paces 
in the trenches. He saw all the various methods of attack 
and defense that they had learned up to this time, and the 
governor, getting along in years, enjoyed every minute of it. 

Then he addressed them, the regiment having been gathered 
together, for he had brought among other things from their 
home state a message that they were to carry with them during 
the rest of their military service. And, also, he had that which 
every soldier should treasure among the dearest of his military 
possessions, a stand of colors for the regiment. It was an 
American flag given to the 304th Infantry by the citizens of 

In a stirring speech to these men of his native state, Governor 
Holcomb also gave them a piece of advice, which, as nearly as 
can be ascertained, was followed by every man who had an 
opportunity to put it into practice. Raising his right arm high 
above his head, his whole frame vibrating with feeling, Gover- 
nor Holcomb cried: 

"When you go over, men, shoot straight and take damned 
few prisoners!" 

Colonel J. S. Herron, commander of the 304th, responded 
feelingly to the governor's address, accepting the colors on be- 
half of the regiment, and assuring the governor that they would 
be guarded with the life of every officer and man in the outfit. 
The flag was turned over to Color Sergeant Charles Jackson of 
Waterbury, Connecticut. Then followed a review of the 304th 


Infantry and also of the 303d Machine Gun Battalion, which 
contained many Connecticut men. Major Fred C. Bradford 
commanded the Machine Gun Battalion. 

Devens men hailed with delight the opportunity offered by 
the Government for enlisted men to become officers if they had 
the necessary qualifications and could "deliver the goods." 
It was a fine Christmas present for several hundred men, when 
they found that they had been named by their commanding 
officers as eligible for the O. T. C. Many men applied, but as 
is always the case, comparatively few were chosen. Five 
hundred and twenty-four men from Camp Devens got the 
opportunity to start the course, but it was a rigid one, and 
many were disqualified early in the game. Approximately 
half of the number who started finished the course. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Moor N. Falls, who went over to France 
with General Pershing and then returned to help train men, was 
named as commander of the school. The other officers of the 
school were Captain Joseph Sidorowicz, adjutant; Lieutenant 
W. H. Rumpf, assistant adjutant; Captain Birnie L. Brunson, 
quartermaster; Lieutenant Roy B. Kenyon, assistant quarter- 
master. The instructors were Major Ralph Lowell, Depot 
Brigade; Captain John C. Shaw, Depot Brigade; Captain 
D. G. Hunter, Depot Brigade; Captain P. A. Merriam, Depot 
Brigade; Captain C. K. Clark, Depot Brigade; Captain Alex 
Kendall, Depot Brigade; Captain Robert C. Booth, 303d 
Infantry; Lieutenant George Cockrell, Divisional Trains; 
Lieutenant P. D. Hill, 301st Infantry, and Lieutenants F. B. 
Sampson, Clarence B. MacNeill, H. B. Hinman and J. A. 

The school started on January 5 and lasted until April 5, and 
some of the boys who thought they had worked hard before 
found that they had another think coming after they got into 
the Officers' Training School. It was one of the most gruelling 
tests any men were called upon to undergo in training, but it 
turned out a fine body of officers. 


There aren't many men who will forget their first Christmas 
in the army. Nor their second, either, for that matter. But 
the first one was perhaps the more memorable of the two, so far 
as Camp Devens was concerned, for these lads were so recently 
away from home, and the thoughts of the home folks were 
centered on them, while their thoughts were on where they 
might be spending the next Christmas, their hope being, of 
course, that they would be back home by that time. 

It seemed as though everybody set out to see how much they 
could heap on the men in the army in the way of Christmas 
presents. It happened at Camp Devens that an epidemic of 
measles was raging, and for that reason comparatively few men 
got to their homes. Only about 4,000, as a matter of fact, 
while some 21,000 remained in camp. 

The pity of it is that the people of New England couldn't 
have spent Christmas eve of 191 7 at Camp Devens, for they 
would have learned more things about Christmas spirit there 
than in a lifetime in civilian life. It is well-nigh useless to try 
to paint a word picture of the scene. But just one little inci- 
dent, one that was typical of the spirit throughout the entire 
cantonment, brought moisture to the eyes of just about every- 
body who saw it, and at the same time a glow somewhere 
within the body, at the center of whatever it is that governs 
our emotions. A religious person would call it the soul. 

But religious or not, no one who was there will ever forget 
their feelings at seeing whole companies and regiments of 
khaki-clad young men gathered together in the wet snow and 
the darkness, while bright Christmas lights pierced the black 
and sparkled out a Yuletide greeting, and as the hosts gathered 
around a huge Christmas tree erected in the snow, "O, Come, 
All Ye Faithful" echoed out across those barren white plains 
from the throats of hundreds of strong, clean, virile young men. 
You may have heard the Christmas carols on Beacon Hill on 
Christmas eve or in the snowy square of your own particular 
home town, but these lonesome boys lifting their fresh, deep 


young voices in praise to the Prince of Peace struck a new 
chord, a chord that will vibrate in the hearts of New England 
folks for many a long year to come, whether they were there to 
hear it or not. The last notes of the grand old hymn died 
away on the chilly air, and swiftly and silently the men passed 
on into the night. 

Christmas day was just about a repetition of Thanksgiving, 
except that there were three times as many men in camp to 
participate in the celebration. There was a Christmas dinner 
that would put the choicest offering of many a first-class hotel 
to shame, and there was so much of it that even the most 
determined were obliged to give up despairingly and cry, 

But there was one thing that marred something of the 
Christmas joy for some of the older officers. It was just about 
this time that they began to read the handwriting on the wall 
as to the fate of the 76th Division. These men of wide military 
experience began to see, with the orders coming one after the 
other for the transfer of men out of the ranks of the division, 
that there was little chance of its entering the fight across the 
water as a unit. And that made them sad, for, regardless of 
their previous affiliations, they had come to love this big New 
England fighting organization, and they wanted to see it given 
a chance to prove itself as a unit. 

Early in January, 1,650 men — a mere handful — were trans- 
ferred from the Depot Brigade to the division ranks. But 
against this number some 10,000 had been transferred to other 
units from the ranks of the division. Just as soon as they would 
get one group well trained, orders would come to send them 
off somewhere else. It was heart-breaking. And they knew 
in their hearts that it could only mean that the 76th Division, 
N. A., was destined to become a Depot Division, one from 
which drafts of men may be drawn to fill gaping ranks in 
other units. 

This is typical of what was happening : Soon after the 1 ,650 


men referred to above were transferred from the Depot Brigade 
to the division, orders came to send 1,775 more men to Camp 
Greene at Charlotte, North Carolina. When an order of this 
kind came through practically every unit in the division was 
hit by it. In the instance of these 1,775 they were selected as 
follows: 65 from the 302d Machine Gun Battalion, 239 from 
the 301st Infantry, 311 from the 302d Infantry, 317 from the 
303d Infantry, 318 from the 304th Infantry, 25 from the 303d 
Machine Gun Battalion, and only 500 from the 151st Depot 

This transfer left a scant 25,000 men in camp, while about 
15,000 had been transferred to other divisions, and many of 
them were already overseas. It was typical of the 76th 
Division's hard luck. 

During the first winter an order came through from Wash- 
ington to have a seal designed for the division. At that time 
it was not stated what the seal was to be used for and few 
realized that, instead of a seal, it was really an insignia that 
was required. Major James Amory Sullivan, commander of 
the 303d Machine Gun Battalion and a widely known Boston 
artist, was asked if he would undertake the work, which he 
did, designing and painting a very beautiful and appropriate 
emblem. The crest of the seal was made up of the emblems of 
the various arms of the service, including a hand grenade. The 
upper strip of the seal itself contained the emblem of the eldest 
son, a bar and three triangles, the meaning being that the 76th 
Division was the first National Army Division to be drawn 
from New England. The shield or main body of the seal was 
a white background bearing an up-rooted tree with thirteen 
leaves. The uprooted tree represented the sons of New Eng- 
land taken from their homes and sent to France to fight, 
while the thirteen leaves were the thirteen original states. At 
the top of the crest appeared an unfinished wagon wheel, mean- 
ing a task not yet completed. Back of it all and supporting 
the shield itself were the figures 76, denoting the number of the 


division, and, incidentally, the year of the Declaration of 

Later it became known that what was wanted was an in- 
signia to be stenciled on all baggage and to be worn on the 
shoulder as a distinctive divisional emblem. This beautiful 
seal was too complicated for this purpose, so, after the 76th got 
to France, the outline of the ship Mayflower was adopted. 

The Liberty Theater, something hitherto undreamed of as a 
part of the equipment necessary for training men to fight, was 
opened at Camp Devens on February 11 of 1918. It was a 
regular theater built to accommodate nearly 3,000 men, paid 
for by the Government, through the War Camp Community 
Service, run by soldiers and financially self-supporting. The 
actors were temporary Government employees, and more than 
a dozen stock companies were organized to tour the canton- 
ments in the United States and play in the Liberty Theaters. 
The Devens Liberty Theater opened with "Baby Mine," 
followed by "Kick In." The companies were good and the 
actors and actresses did real patriotic service. When there 
were no real plays offered, moving pictures were shown at the 
theater, and it afforded the men a place inside the camp for 
their amusement. 

Then, too, companies of actors playing at Boston theaters 
were coming to Camp Devens on Sunday afternoons. On one 
memorable occasion Major Henry L. Higginson, the Boston 
banker, brought up an array of theatrical stars such as is 
seldom found gathered together except in the festivities of the 
Friars' Club or the annual Lambs' Gambol. No admission 
was charged to these latter entertainments, and the men were 
able to see free an entertainment that a city audience would 
have paid enormous prices to attend. It spoke well for the 
spirit of the theatrical people of America when they were will- 
ing, repeatedly, to give their only rest day to the soldiers. 

Major-General Hodges returned from France on February 
13, just in time to see the last 15 per cent of the first draft come 


in. While abroad he had taken a course of instruction at the 
battle front, spending ten days with the British, a like period 
with the French and some time in the American training areas 
and at American Headquarters. With his return training was 
accelerated to an even greater degree. 

The lesson of what the army does for a young man was never 
better taught than by the comparison between the men of the 
first quotas to reach camp and the men who came in as the last 
15 per cent. It was the usual contrast between " rookies" and 
veterans, and the "rookies" themselves noticed the difference 
and dug in their toes to catch up. There were about 6,000 men 
in this last 15 per cent. 

Naturally they had to stand a lot of "joshing" from their 
brothers who had been "in" longer. But it was good-natured 
fun for the most part. On the night of the arrival of the last 
of these 6,000, when a dozen or more of the new ones were 
gathered together in a barrack room, there was a sudden back- 
fire from a motorcycle far enough down the company street so 
that the noise of the motor could not be heard. But the report 
was heard all right, and as it echoed through the building a 
groan escaped from a newly made sergeant. 

"There!" he wailed. "That's what they get for letting 
these "rookies" go around as soon as they get here without 
telling them the pass word! Another one shot, and now we'll 
have to pick him up and bury him in the morning!" 

He was a good actor, but he had hard work restraining his 
laughter as half a dozen pale-faced "rookies" quietly slipped 
away toward their bunks. How were they to know that pass 
words weren't used at Camp Devens? 

It wasn't until March that the 301st Field Artillery and the 
302d and 303d Infantry Regiments got their regimental colors. 
And when they did receive them there was little that was spec- 
tacular about the ceremony. The regimental flags for these 
three regiments were presented by the National First Aid 
Association of America. Three representatives of the associa- 

This is What the English Instructor Taught Devens Doughboy; 

to Do, and They Were Apt Pupils— Disarming an 

Enemy Bare-Handed 

Don't Dirtv the Hilt!" Bayonet Practice with Gas Masks 



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Learning to Feed Hungry Gun; 

Ready for Action and Still at Camp Devens 


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'he "No Max's Land" at Devens 

Though These Trenches Look Very Much Like Those Official War 

Pictures Taken in France, They Were Built u\ the 

30] -1 Engini ers \i ( !amp Devi ns 

Photo by International Film Service, Inc. 

The Smile That Came from Dixie to Devexs 

And the Dusky Lads Could Soldier, Too! 


tion were about the only civilians at the presentation. They 
were Roscoe Green Wells, vice-president; Mrs. Wells, secretary, 
and Miss Elizabeth Warner, a member. They all came from 
Arlington, Massachusetts, and brought the flags with them, 
and they never made gifts that were appreciated more. 

On March 18 came the welcome news that the 76th Division 
was to be filled up to war strength, the men to do this coming 
from the second draft. The division as a skeleton organiza- 
tion was a highly trained outfit, and the way they absorbed the 
new material, once it began to arrive, was one of the most 
wonderful things about the organization of the division as it 
sailed away. Just before the second draft order was issued, 
however, came orders from the War Department prohibiting 
the voluntary induction of men into the service before they 
were called in the draft. Many of the young men were getting 
impatient at the delay and were throwing up their jobs and 
reporting at camp of their own accord. They were all accepted 
up to the time of the receipt of the order, of course. The first 
quotas of the second draft began to arrive on March 29, and on 
that day 2,700 of them came in. 

As the others arrived the real training of the division began. 
Those who had been in the service through the winter were 
trained soldiers by now, of course, but through the winter what 
they had done had been "marking time" compared to the 
brand of training that was started with the arrival of spring. 
For one thing, real artillery fire began in March. A fine 
artillery range was ready out in the wild country back of the 
camp, and, on March 25, Battery C of the 302d Field Artillery 
went out there with their four eighteen-pounders. Corporal 
Earl J. Place, a Newport, Vermont, boy sent the first shell, fired 
by a cannon of the 76th Division, whistling and screeching 
away to destruction, firing at a point on a Harvard hillside a 
mile and a half away. And ten seconds later the other three 
pieces of the battery had boomed forth their first shots. 
The big German drive was in full swing over in France and 


the Huns were sweeping onward day by day. So this intensive 
training was just "candy" for the New Englanders, who were 
impatient over their prolonged stay in this country. The 
foreign attaches showed how they felt about the advance of 
the Germans by the way they went after the training of the 
76th Division, but they couldn't drive the Yanks a bit too hard 
to suit them. 

Chapter XII 

All during the spring days field maneuvers were going on 
out on the various ranges around Ayer, Shirley, Harvard, 
Bolton and Lancaster. Just about every kind of fighting 
known to man or beast was being practised. During the days 
the cantonment proper looked almost deserted, but the coun- 
tryside was resounding with the thunder of artillery, the crash 
of grenades and one-pounder cannon, the " rat-tat-tat-tat " of 
machine guns and automatic rifles, the desultory or rapid fire 
of rifles and the shouts and yells of charging hordes of helmeted, 
khaki-clad New England doughboys. 

At night the sky was aflame with star shells and rockets and 
colored fire, while out in the darkness New England lads were 
in the trenches or crawling silently across some "No Man's 
Land, " while machine guns sent a deadly hail over their backs 
at some invisible "enemy." And many a lad, worming his 
way through the darkness of some Camp Devens " battlefield, " 
thought of his buddies over there in France, who were probably 
doing the same thing, only in the face of a real enemy instead 
of an imaginery or "friendly" one, where death might lurk 
behind the next shadow. The longing in the heart of the lad 
on the New England "battlefield" needs neither comment nor 

And all through these days and nights the best kind of 
sporting spirit was ripening into a real friendship between 
the officers and men of this National Army. The men were 
good soldiers. They knew the meaning of discipline and 
they knew how to observe it. And out of this knowledge had 
grown the friendship that they had hardly ever thought existed 
on the part of their officers. A couple of incidents help to 
define it: 



Colonel Frank Tompkins, commander of the 301st Infantry, 
found a young officer trying to show a "rookie" how to fire a 
rifle in the army way. The colonel watched for a moment and 
then told the officer to let the boy fire in his own way. The 
"rookie," glad of this opportunity to show how he could shoot 
if let alone, took a new position and fired, making two bull's- 
eyes in succession. 

"Now," said Colonel Tompkins smiling, "you fire your way 
and I'll fire in the army way, and I'll shoot you five shots for a 
twenty-four hour pass." 

The lad laughed and agreed to this eagerly. But Colonel 
Tompkins made a score of twenty-four out of a possible twenty- 
five and won, leaving the lad far behind. The "rookie " recog- 
nized the lesson and settled down to learn that army method 
or bust. At the same time he had gained a mighty respect for 
the colonel. That incident is typical of Colonel Tompkins. 

And another incident, involving a colonel whom one of the 
colored draftees who came in from Florida on the last day of 
March, described as "de boss with dem birds on his collah": 

This particular colonel was passing one of the barracks in the 
Depot Brigade occupied by the colored soldiers. The big 
black fellow was leaning up against the building reading a 
letter, and the colonel passed right by him, but the man did not 
salute or even notice that an officer was present. So the col- 
onel spoke to him about it very kindly, starting in to explain 
to him why he should salute all officers. The moment the 
colonel spoke, however, the darky straightened up and snapped 
off a salute that nearly threw him off his feet. 

"Suh," he said earnestly, "Suh, Ah done knows dat Ah ought 
to have saluted yuh, suh, but dis yere lettah f'um mah Anna- 
belle is jes' so daggone drippin' with love dat Ah done fergit all 
about yo' ahmy fo' a moment, suh. Ah sho' would admiah t' 
have yuh excuse me, suh, an' Ah suttinly won't fergit agin, suh, 
Annabelle or no Annabelle, suh." 

The colonel laughed, returned the salute and walked away. 


The darky ran for the barracks and told his dusky brethren 
about it and they all set out hunting for officers to salute. 

There were nearly 2,000 colored troops in Camp Devens at 
this time. They were sent to the New England cantonment to 
form labor battalions, and they came in clad in light suits and 
straw hats, luckily just in time to miss most of the cold weather. 
The skilled men among them were singled out for special serv- 
ice, and all the rest became laborers. They were quartered 
separately from the white soldiers, and by their light-hearted- 
ness and love of fun, coupled with their peculiar expressions, 
they proved a never-failing reservoir of fun and good cheer to 
the whole camp. 

On April 19 the Officers' Training School at Camp Devens 
came to a close, with a series of joyful and informal parties that 
ranked with anything of the kind that had ever been held 
before in the whole history of the camp. It had been the 
hardest fifteen weeks in the experience of most of the lads 
who graduated, and when it was over and the opportunity 
came to relax and lark a little, they welcomed it with all the 
enthusiasm of their youth. 

Of the school that was started in January only about 400 
were graduated. Many had dropped out during the course 
and there were about 100 who did not graduate, though they 
were recommended to be sent to the next school and given 
another chance. 

Those young men who were commissioned, however, will 
never forget the day of their graduation, for they heard a 
personal talk from the commanding general himself, something 
they had not had before. It was the admonition of an old 
soldier to a group of young ones, and they paid great heed to 
General Hodges' message to them as they started out to wear 
shoulder straps. 

The general's message was typically American. Its sub- 
stance was: "Above all you must be just." 

"Play no favorites and show absolute fairness with your men, 


if you are to be good officers. Put aside all thought of per- 
sonal reward and devote your whole service to your country. 
You must respect your men, too, and by your respect you will 
win theirs." 

This was the soldier's creed set forth by General Hodges. 
And he spoke words of encouragement to those who failed, 
telling them that, simply because they had not been given their 
commissions at the end of the first course, it did not signify 
that they would never be commissioned or that they would not 
make good officers. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Moor N. Falls, commander of the 
school, also spoke to the men, congratulating them on the 
manner in which they had applied themselves to the difficult 
task of winning a commission and thanking them for the help 
they had given him in making the school a success. He 
expressed his personal pride in each and every one of them. 

On April 23 the 301st Engineers were presented with their 
regimental colors. The beautiful scarlet flag was a gift of 
H. J. Lynd of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, who took a great 
personal interest in this Rhode Island Regiment. The pre- 
sentation of the flag made one of the prettiest ceremonies yet 
seen at Camp Devens, for these Rhode Island lads were full of 
pep and ginger, and when they did a thing it came pretty 
near being done right. The flag was turned over to Major 
J. Edward Cassidy by Captain H. E. Porter, the adjutant. 

It was not until April 26, 1918, "Liberty day," that Major- 
General Hodges saw his entire command brought together on 
one field, and New England folks who made it a point to be 
there got some idea of the actual size of a modern Army Di- 
vision. It was all right to tell them that here were more men 
in a single fighting machine than we had in our entire army at 
the time of the Spanish War, but until they saw those uni- 
formed hosts sweep confidently onto the great parade field and 
wheel smoothly into line, while ten huge military bands played 
brisk martial music, they didn't quite grasp the magnitude of 


it. This was truly an historic event for New England. And 
because the War Department had only ordered the review the 
day before it took place, there was no chance to let people know 
about it in time for them to plan to be there, so there were 
only about 500 people present from outside the camp. 

In May there was started another school, in addition to the 
thirty odd that were still running. But the latest school, 
while it was chiefly for the instruction of staff and field officers, 
from the commanding general down, and was known as the 
Staff and Field Officers' School, took in practically every officer 
and man in the division before it was over. The school was 
run under the direction of Major M. F. Day of the British 
General Staff, assisted by the other British officers already 
stationed at the camp; Major Rosseau, Captain Roussel, 
Captain Filipo, all of the French Mission, and other French 
and British officers who had been training the men of the 
division for weeks. 

The course lasted for three weeks. The part the men had in 
it was important, for they participated in all kinds of maneu- 
vers in larger bodies than ever before. Battalions of infantry 
were moved out to the artillery and combat ranges at Still 
River, and here they camped for days, "fighting battles" day 
and night under all kinds of conditions and under nearly all 
kinds of fire. 

When the Staff School started the men of the 76th Division 
got their first taste of advancing under their own barrage. 
For the guns of the artillery were thundering every day, send- 
ing streams of shells out over the rugged landscape and tearing 
it to pieces. Close in under these shells the lads of New Eng- 
land learned to advance. 

And every arm of the service, with the exception of the 
liquid flame fighters, got a chance to put what they had 
learned into practice. There were "casualties" in every 
engagement, almost. At first these "casualties" struck the 
men as being funny. A line of men would be advancing, when 


suddenly several messengers would dash up and thrust pieces 
of paper into the hands of several men in each "wave." Im- 
mediately these men would drop to the ground, and pretty 
soon along would come stretcher bearers and first-aid men. 
On the piece of paper in each man's hand would be a description 
of the "wound" he had received. If the wound was a minor 
one the man might be carried back to the dressing station for 
treatment. If it was major, however, he would be "plugged, " 
bound and given first-aid treatment right then and there and 
then carried back to the dressing station for further treatment. 

All kinds of accidents were arranged. Wires were cut by 
enemy prowlers and by shell fire. Parties of men got lost. 
Everything that could happen under actual war conditions did 
happen under the sham conditions, and both officers and men 
learned what to do. Following each maneuver the staff and 
field officers gathered and held critiques, while the foreign 
veterans listened and instructed and explained. It was won- 
derful training, and training that both officers and men were 
to appreciate later on. 

In the meantime the division was filling up still more. A 
new Officers' Training School was started in May with nearly 
i ,000 candidates, part of whom came from colleges and univer- 
sities throughout New England. But to replace these men 
some 2,200 recruits arrived at Devens from Camp Upton, New 
York, on May 21. Of course the division was glad to get 
them and they were good soldiers and good fellows for the most 
part, but some felt that by failing to keep the division pri- 
marily and fundamentally a New England outfit, valuable 
spirit was lost. And all the time New England men were 
being sent to other camps to fill up other divisions. It did seem 
as though the filling up of the 76th might have been done 
from New England. But the regiments were brought up to 
war strength, and, after all, that was the main point. 

While the training of the 76th Division was being rushed to 
a close, changes and additional departures were of almost daily 


occurrence in the cantonment, which would go on training 
troops long after the 76th Division sailed for France. 

On June 3 the entire camp was startled by the announcement 
that 100 German prisoners of war had arrived from the prison 
camp at Fort McPherson, Georgia. These men had all been 
sailors on the German sea raider Kronprinz Wilhelm. But 
Camp Devens proper didn't see them at all, for they came up in 
charge of 25 Regular Army doughboys and one officer, and were 
sent to a War Prison Barracks that had been established out in 
the vicinity of Still River. Here the Government had leased 
more than 200 acres of fertile farm land, and it was proposed to 
have the German prisoners work the farms that would furnish 
much subsistence for Camp Devens. 

Then a "new stunt" was announced whereby men who were 
physically unqualified for active military service were to be 
given a system of training and treatment that would cure them 
and make them fit. All such men were transferred into one 
group which became known as the Development Battalion. 
Later there were four Development Battalions, each for certain 
kinds of physical defects. 

Many a man who was just aching to get across to France to 
fight, but who was prevented from so doing because he was sent 
to the Development Battalion, was utterly miserable there 
until he was cured and sent to a fighting outfit. But there was 
a large and ever growing suspicion among many of the medical 
officers that the Development Battalions provided a safe hiding 
place for a considerable number of shirkers who were willing 
to endure almost anything rather than go across to France. 
Some were cured and sent off anyway, but others stayed there 
until the end of the war, if they were clever enough to fool the 
doctors. One thing is certain, that when demobilization orders 
came through and it was stipulated that only men who were 
physically fit should be discharged at once, more remarkable 
and swift cures were effected in the Development Battalions 
than in any other outfits. 


And in June, too, while the training of the division was 
being rushed to a close, the trade tests system was inaugurated 
at Camp Devens. Through these tests every man had to 
show the military authorities the goods before he was assigned 
to any special brand of work. There were tests for automo- 
bile men, carpenters, blacksmiths, electricians, masons, sten- 
ographers, etc., and lists were made up showing which men had 
qualified in the various branches of work. So when an organ- 
ization wanted any specially trained men, all that had to be 
done was to look over the lists at the trade tests building 
and the names and location of the men wanted would be 

Camp Devens led every other camp in the country in the 
matter of the mental development of the men inducted, accord- 
ing to statistics given out at Headquarters on June 8. These 
statistics showed that there had been fewer discharges at 
Camp Devens than at any other camp for nervous and mental 
diseases. Devens also did well in the matter of War Risk 
Insurance. Up to June of 1918, 51,000 men had taken out 
$449,000,000 worth of Government insurance. 

The Staff and Field Officers' School ended on June 7, after 
three weeks of the hardest kind of campaigning on the part of 
both officers and men. A tremendous, thrilling finish, in which 
the entire division would take part, was planned but had to be 
abandoned at the last moment because of rain, which fell in 
torrents. But the battles that were fought during that three 
weeks — even though they were sham — will long be remem- 
bered by New England, and especially by the men who took 
part in them, and many are of the opinion that Amann Field, 
where these New England boys of ours trained to do battle in 
the world-wide struggle for democracy, should be preserved as 
a memorial to their patriotism and devotion to their country. 

Following the completion of the staff and field officers' 
course, special schools for captains and field officers were ar- 
ranged to "top off " with. Among these was a school for rapid 


and accurate rifle fire, a supplementary bayonet course, a 
motor-cycle dispatch riders' school and a school for automatic 
riflemen. A long list of "Do's and Don't's" was issued for 
both officers and men, but it was gratifying to note that the 
chief admonition was typically American, and almost worth 
all the rest put together. It consisted of just three words: 
"Use Common Sense!" 

Chapter XIII 

The inspection of the 76th Division for overseas service be- 
gan on June 12, but of course the public wasn't supposed to 
know what the inspection was really for. It was supposed to 
herald another shake-up in the division personnel, but pretty 
nearly everybody who was interested realized that the hour was 
approaching and recognized the inspection as final. Three 
officers from the Inspector-General's Department in Washing- 
ton came to camp to inspect the division. They were Brigadier- 
General Thomas Q. Donaldson, Colonel Oliver L. Spaulding 
and Major Charles S. Hamilton. Their official visit lasted 
several days. 

The final review of the 76th Division was held on June 19. 
General Donaldson and his assistants had looked over the out- 
fit from top to bottom, and their final test was a grand review. 
Pretty nearly everybody knew that this was the last appearance 
in public of the outfit, before it went to France, at least, but 
few who saw the 76th on that day realized that it was the last 
time New England would ever see the division gathered to- 
gether in this country. But it was the last appearance, for 
almost as soon as the division got overseas it was split up and 
portions of it sent to almost every part of the American 
Expeditionary Force. The men came home in small groups, 
some of them not arriving until weeks after other members of 
the outfit had been returned to civilian life. The 76th Divi- 
sion never paraded again on its home soil, but after this review 
there could be no doubt in the minds of the most critical as to 
the fitness of the men for overseas service. 

Farewells were being said. Not in so many words, but fare- 
wells nevertheless. One of the most impressive of all the 


ceremonies ever held for the 76th Division was on Sunday, 
June 16, when Cardinal O'Connell came up from Boston and 
officially bestowed his blessing on the Devens soldiers. It was 
his first official visit to Devens and his last to the 76th Division. 

More than 5,000 soldiers knelt reverently in the open that 
Sunday morning and heard the cardinal's parting message to 
them. It was a message ringing with patriotism. These men 
were called by His Eminence "soldiers of a glorious American 
Army, invincible in spirit and discipline and sustained by their 
faith with a courage which is the banner of the heart and which 
enables a man to face danger and death or any duty without 
fear or thought of consequence." 

He called them "an army of invincible giants," and there 
was a farewell note at the close of his address when he said : 

You will face whatever happens, even if it be death itself, because you 
know that the Hand of God is on your head in benediction, and our beloved 
country stands by watching you today. It needs your valor, it needs your 
courage, and your fathers, mothers and friends are all praying to God to 
keep your hearts pure, your souls upright and courageous, in order that you 
may come forth like the Crusaders of Old and win in the cause of God and 
America. May God bless you all and keep you in His Holy Name. 

Bishop William Lawrence came to Camp Devens the follow- 
ing Sunday and delivered a farewell address to the men in which 
he struck a chord of patriotic ardor that represented the feel- 
ings of the people of all New England as their sons were about 
to go forth to battle and join the lads from our Northeastern 
States who were already over there and in the thick of the 
fighting. He told these men that God's cause was not going 
to fail and that they had that cause in their hands. 

Naturalization of all aliens in the division started on Mon- 
day morning, June 24, so that all the men who went across in 
the division might go as full-fledged American citizens. Prec- 
edents were shattered all to blazes in order that this might be 
done, and the Federal District Court sat for the first time in its 
history outside a conventional court chamber. 


The first naturalization ceremony was an impressive one. 
Judge James H. Morton, Jr., came to Camp Devens and opened 
court in the Y. M. C. A. Auditorium, sitting on a camp chair 
and presiding from behind a kitchen table. Before him stood 
800 men seeking citizenship — the first of 5,500 to be so natu- 
ralized — and every man dressed in an American uniform, ready 
to pledge their allegiance and their lives to the United States. 
At a signal from the court officer, those tanned and brawny 
hands shot into the air and they took the oath of allegiance 
to Uncle Sam. Then they listened to an inspiring speech 
by Judge Morton. Italians, Russians, Turks, Portuguese, 
Norwegians, Greeks, Swiss, Belgians, Swedes, Roumanians, 
Dutch, Persians, Austrians and subjects of Great Britain 
walked into that court. American citizens and soldiers 
walked out. 

Then came the Fourth of July. It's always a big event here 
in God's Country, but the Fourth of July of 1918 was probably 
next to the biggest in the history of all New England. For 
that historic day found at least part of the 76th Division on its 
way to the transports that were to take them to France. No 
more appropriate day could have been selected. 

Hundreds in New England knew that the 76th Division had 
gone. Most of the men got to their homes just before they 
sailed, and they had told the home folks that this would 
probably be their last visit for some time. But there were 
hundreds of thousands who didn't know it; who had no idea 
that 28,000 sturdy New England lads had quickly and quietly 
passed from their home shores to huge transports, which had 
immediately put out to sea on the first leg of the race to the 
big adventure. 

And not until July 24, twenty days after the first unit of the 
76th Division had sailed, was it possible for the newspapers to 
tell the world the biggest story in the history of the National 
Army Division that had its beginning at Camp Devens on 
September 5, 191 7; that story of the period between July 3 and 


15, when Yankee hosts forsook their homeland for the blood- 
soaked fields of France, and did it happily and gladly. For 
thirteen happy days the sons of the Pilgrim country went out of 
Camp Devens singing and shouting, happy in the thought that 
the thing for which they had trained and worked and sweated 
through ten long months was at last to be realized. They 
sailed from several different points, including New York, 
Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

On "the night before the Fourth" the 76th Division Head- 
quarters ceased to exist at Camp Devens, only to open simul- 
taneously at a "Port of Embarkation." At 3 o'clock that 
afternoon Colonel Charles C. Smith led his command of men 
from the Cape District, the 302d Infantry, from the main 
parade ground at Devens to the waiting trains. It was the 
first outfit to start for the battlefields that almost every man 
had been talking about since the first day he donned the uni- 
form. They went out singing, "Hail! Hail! the Gang's all 
Here, " and all the rest of it. 

Secrecy and the rumors of silent midnight departures turned 
out to be jokes. The camp gates were wide open. The 302d 
formed hours ahead of time outside the barracks and on the hot 
drill fields, with equipment enough to tell any one that they 
were ready for France. Not more than a hundred friends and 
families happened to be on hand to kiss their soldiers goodbye. 
They watched the men fall in, followed them down to the rail- 
road sidings and waved farewells, and the trains rolled swiftly 
out to "that somewhere." 

It was only tearful in spots. 

In fact, Devens had never been so lively as in those depart- 
ing days. Never before in all the months of training had offi- 
cers worried so little about morale and the spirit of their troops. 
Night and day barracks were ringing with songs and cheers 
and ludicrous farewell revelries. 

Kaiser Bill in effigy was burned no fewer than six times. 
Barracks were labelled with such signs as these: 


"To Let: Owner Gone Abroad for the Summer." 

" Fine Steam-Heated Apartment, to Sublease. Five Rooms. 
Shower Baths. Call Berlin, 304.TH Infantry, by Telephone." 

"Will Sell Cheap. Owner Touring Germany." 

Medical officers of the 301st Engineers, Little Rhody's outfit, 
placarded their infirmary with letters five feet high, declaring 
that they had been "summoned to operate on the Kaiser." 

Six weeks ahead of time it was known that the division would 
pull out. But not until two or three hours ahead of time did 
officers know when they would start. And the enlisted men 
were on the anxious seat for days, not finally being sure that 
they were off for the front until they heard sudden orders: 
"Fall in outside — ready to start." 

The Artillery Brigade, for example, went to bed at taps at 10 
o'clock on the night of July 15, and were awakened only an 
hour later by "First call for France." They piled out into 
the night and were all gone out of camp before daybreak, the 
whole three regiments of them. 

Division Headquarters went on the first section of the train 
with the 302d Infantry. Major-General Harry F. Hodges 
had left the day before with his aides for "a short trip to New 
York." A few knew just what that meant. 

If all New England had only known what they might have 
seen had they gone to Camp Devens for the Fourth of July! 
The camp was open to all who wanted to come visiting, but 
only a few hundreds came. Some said afterwards that they 
thought the whole division had gone July 1. 

At 3 o'clock on the afternoon of July 4, the 301st Infantry, 
Boston's Own Regiment, cheered itself away. In long sections 
of coaches the trains rolled at short intervals down through the 
town of Ayer in broad daylight. This regiment placarded the 
doors of their Devens homes with the names of familiar Boston 
Hotels. One sign read : 

" Hotel Touraine Closed by Order of the Licensing Board." 

Colonel A. L. Parmerter 
36th Infantry 

Colonel J. B. Kemper 
73d Infantry 

Colonel Osmun Latrobe 

42d Infantry 

Colonel O. H. Dockeky, Jr. 

74th Infantry 


On the days following went the two Infantry Regiments of 
the 152CI Infantry Brigade, the 303d Regiment of New Yorkers 
and the 304th Regiment of Connecticut men. 

There were last-minute weddings in camp and stories of 
farewell ceremonies in the 304th Infantry that would have 
interested the state of Connecticut, as well as all the other New 
England States, more than almost anything else that was ap- 
pearing in the newspapers at the time, not excepting the daily 
bulletins of the great German drive and the dogged Allied 
fighting. Any who wished could go and see it, but nothing 
could be written about it. Such was the voluntary censorship. 

After the infantry went the Machine Gun Battalions of 
Essex and Middlesex Counties, Massachusetts, and the 
Connecticut men. Major James Amory Sullivan, the well 
known artist, was the last of these battalion commanders to 

In turn brigade commanders and colonels took their turn at 
Headquarters on the hill, commanding the camp for the few 
days or hours when each happened to be the senior officer left. 
Then went the "trains," the 301st Sanitary, Ammunition and 
Supply Trains. 

The Rhode Islanders of the 301st Engineers, who had ex- 
pected to be in the advance guard, didn't move until near the 
end, starting July 12 with two companies of the 301st Field 
Artillery. And they kept almost the whole camp awake all 
the night before with their celebrations, shirt-tail parades and 

Maine and New Hampshire people should have been at camp 
on the afternoon of July 15. The regiment from those states — 
the 303d Field Artillery — which would yield second place to 
none as a highly trained outfit, put on the smartest review the 
camp had seen up to that time, and it was witnessed only by a 
few officers' wives. Even they didn't realize just how nearly 
a farewell review it was. A few hours later they, the last of 
the 76th Division, had left Camp Devens. 


With each train went Y. M. C. A. or K. of C. secretaries, sell- 
ing hundreds of dollars' worth of stamps and cards to men who 
were writing farewells to be mailed after their arrival in France. 
At the docks the departure of the division was the most hurried, 
business-like affair of all. It seemed as if the trains ran straight 
into the ships, so uninterrupted was the detraining. Red 
Cross workers were there with coffee and sandwiches. 

One Saturday, during the departure, Base Hospital No. 7 
was sandwiched in between units of the division. That hos- 
pital contained in its personnel some of the best known New 
England medical men, but it was not a part of the 76th 
Division, though part of its training took place at Devens. 

But though New England didn't get the thrill of seeing its 
men depart for the other side, folks did feel thrilled when it was 
announced that the boys were safely over there, hard at work 
completing their training which was started in the central 
Massachusetts countryside. They thrilled, too, when they 
heard of the reception accorded the sturdy New Englanders as 
they marched through foreign cities. And the spirit of those 
Yankee lads, as they departed for the fields of battle, hurled 
back a denial at those who doubted the caliber of the American 
Draft Army. 

For the spirit of the 76th Division was of the highest order. 
It was the spirit that has been handed down from the Pilgrim 
Fathers themselves — that never-flagging, unconquerable spirit 
that makes Americans win any fight that they throw them- 
selves into. Had it been possible for anything to break that 
spirit, it would have been broken when the 76th Division was 
made a Depot Division overseas and split up to fill the depleted 
ranks of other units. But even that heartbreaking experience 
did not dampen the patriotic spirit of New England's first 
National Army Division, and men of the 76th Division made 
good in every task they were called upon to perform, whether 
among relatives, friends or strangers. That will stand to their 
everlasting glory and credit. 

Chapter XIV 

Following the sailing of the 76th Division, drafted men 
from New England were being sent to Fort Slocum, New York; 
or many of them were, and people began to wonder where the 
next division to train at Camp Devens was going to come from. 
For it had been announced that another division would train 
there, though one rumor had it that it would be a Regular Army 
Division. The basis of this rumor became known later. 

But draftees were pouring into Camp Devens in July, re- 
gardless of the numbers that were being sent to Fort Slocum. 
They were coming in by the thousands, largely from Massa- 
chusetts and Maine. But their spirit was wonderful. The 
departure of the 76th Division had been in a measure responsi- 
ble for that. 

On the day that the safe arrival of the 76th Division in 
France was released for publication — July 24 — the announce- 
ment was also released that the next division to train at Devens 
would be known as the 12th. But the 12th was to be a little 
different from the 76th in its make-up. The War Department 
decided to send two regiments of Regular Army troops to Camp 
Devens and to build the new division around these regiments. 
The Regular outfits selected to form a base for the new 12th 
Division were the 36th Infantry, which was stationed at Fort 
Snelling, Michigan, and the 42d Infantry, which was doing 
guard duty in various American cities and ports. 

But the New Englanders didn't seem to care what division 
they got into now, just so long as they got in. By the thou- 
sands they continued to come — eager, anxious, "jes' r'arin' t' 
go!" A former Worcester, Massachusetts, motorman, Edward 
T. Scanlon, came in almost panting with anxiety and eagerness. 


He weighed two hundred and thirty odd pounds, and he burst 
in on the medical officer with : 

" For God's sake, don't reject me. I've got a brother and a 
cousin almost as big as me in here already! " 

He was examined and sent along to a company. That was 
the spirit of these men, and 9,000 of them came in in three days. 
In fact the material for the 12th Division was mobilized so 
rapidly that early in August the outfit, untrained though it 
was, was almost up to full strength. 

And while there were men in the 12th Division from almost 
every state in the Union, not excluding Alaska and Hawaii, 
the 12th was a New England division. The official figures 
showed that. Sixty-eight per cent of the division was made up 
of New England men. To be exact the proportions from 
various states were : 

Massachusetts 37 per cent or 10,360 men 

Maine 18 per cent or 5,040 men 

Indiana 6 per cent or 1,680 men 

Connecticut 6 per cent or 1 ,680 men 

New Jersey 4 per cent or 1,120 men 

Vermont 4 per cent or 1,120 men 

New Hampshire 3 per cent or 840 men 

Oklahoma 3 P er cent or 840 men 

Missouri 2 per cent or 560 men 

New York 2 per cent or 560 men 

Michigan 2 per cent or 560 men 

Pennsylvania 2 per cent or 560 men 

Ohio 2 per cent or 560 men 

Iowa 2 per cent or 560 men 

Scattered 7 per cent or 1,960 men 

These figures are approximate, but they are substantially 
correct, and they show that nearly 20,000 men, of the 28,000 in 
the 12th Division, were New Englanders. 

The organization of the 12th Division was outlined as 

23d Infantry Brigade, consisting of the 36th Infantry, the 
73d Infantry and the 35th Machine Gun Battalion. 


24th Infantry Brigade, consisting of the 42c! Infantry, the 
74th Infantry and the 36th Machine Gun Battalion. 

The 34th Machine Gun Battalion. 

12th Artillery Brigade, consisting of the 34th, 35th and 36th 
Field Artillery Regiments and the 12th Trench Mortar Battery. 

The 212th Engineers, the 212th Field Signal Battalion, the 
1 2th Supply, Sanitary and Headquarters Trains; the 245th, 
246th and 247th Field Hospitals and the 245th, 246th and 
247th Ambulance Companies. 

Soon after the announcement of the table of organization of 
the new Division, however, it was given out that, in accordance 
with the War Department's newly adopted plan to centralize 
the training of Divisional Artillery, Camp McClellan, Alabama, 
would be the training area for the 12th Field Artillery Brigade 
and the 12th Ammunition Train, and that these units would 
be organized there. The men making up these units were not 
New Englanders, and about all that the main body of the 12th 
Division ever knew about its artillery was that the brigade 
consisted of the 34th, 35th and 36th Field Artillery Regiments, 
and that Brigadier-General G. R. Allen was in command. 

This arrangement, which was not very popular, left only the 
infantry and machine gun battalions, the engineers and other 
auxiliary outfits of the division to train at Devens, and, before 
the preparation of the division was completed, it was said by 
many officers that the plan of having the artillery trained away 
from the rest of the division was a poor one. 

When the 76th Division departed, Colonel George L. 
Byroade was left in command of Camp Devens. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Frank B. Edwards acted as chief of staff, Major R. A. 
Dunford as adjutant and Major E. L. Weiscopf, a Boston 
lawyer, as judge advocate. This staff was only a temporary 
one, appointed to administer the affairs of the cantonment 
until the new commanding general should be appointed and 

General Order No. I, 12th Division, was issued on July 30, 


and the above staff, with several additions and one change, was 
announced temporarily. Lieutenant-Colonel Condon C. Mc- 
Cornack was announced as division surgeon, and he remained 
so after the permanent staff was organized. Major Philip Stoll 
was announced as judge advocate, and Major Barratt O'Hara 
as assistant judge advocate. Both these officers were also 
permanent. Major Weiscopf was made temporary division 

It early became evident that the new division was to be 
organized in a different manner from the 76th. Two Regular 
Army regiments were assigned to Camp Devens, and around 
these Regulars were built the two Infantry Brigades of the 
new division. The Regulars were the 36th and 426. Infantry 

The other two infantry regiments were created at Devens, 
and acting under orders of the camp commander, Major 
George C. Donaldson of Salem, organized the 74th Infantry, 
while Major Arthur B. Hitchcock brought the 73d Infantry 
into being. Both of these officers were drawn from the 
Depot Brigade to carry on this work, and the manner in 
which they did it brought them high praise. With the ar- 
rival at camp, late in July, of the 426. Infantry, the 74th was 
brigaded with the 42d to form the 24th Infantry Brigade, 
and with the coming on August 13th of the 36th Infantry, the 
73d combined with the newcomers to form the 23d Infantry 
Brigade. Men were drawn liberally from the Depot Brigade 
to form these two new regiments, and in one day 3,000 men 
were transferred into the division. 

In building the two new Infantry Brigades a new plan was 
tried. From the two Regular Army regiments were taken a 
certain number of non-commissioned officers and men as a 
training nucleus around which the recruits transferred from 
the Depot Brigade would be fitted in, and the combinations 
whipped rapidly into high-class fighting units. From each 
rifle company in the Regular Army outfits were transferred to 


the newly formed regiments three sergeants, seven corporals 
and 30 selected privates first-class and privates. Among the 
latter were experienced cooks, clerks, buglers, mechanics, wag- 
oners, horseshoers and saddlers. 

Brigadier-General John N. Hodges, the youngest brigadier- 
general in the United States Army, the man who commanded 
the famous regiment of American engineers that went to the 
assistance of the British, armed only with picks and shovels and 
what weapons they could find on the dead, and who were given 
the credit of saving the day for the particular group of hard- 
pressed British Tommies near Cambrai, was recalled from 
France to take command of the 23d Infantry Brigade of this 
new 1 2th Division. And how tickled the division was over 

Brigadier-General John E. Woodward, a Vermonter by birth 
and just returned from service in the Orient, took command of 
the 24th Infantry Brigade. And pretty soon his fame as one 
of the most genial and really humorous officers in the whole 
division had spread all over camp. 

Colonel Almon L. Parmerter, who brought the 36th Infantry 
from Fort Snelling, remained in command of that regiment. 
The 73d Infantry was commanded by Colonel James B. 
Kemper; the 42d Infantry, by Colonel Osmun Latrobe, while 
Colonel Oliver H. Dockery, Jr., who came to Camp Devens 
and became temporary chief of staff, was given command of 
the 74th Infantry. 

The mixing up of what had heretofore been known as Na- 
tional Army men and Regulars didn't bother either group very 
much, for, while it was some time before they could forget 
their old designations, those designations ceased to exist on 
August 7. On that date the War Department issued the 
following order: 

1. This country has but one army — the United States Army. It in- 
cludes all the land forces in the service of the United States. Those forces, 
however raised, lose their identity in that of the United States Army. Dis- 


tinctive appellations, such as the Regular Army, Reserve Corps, National 
Guard, and National Army, heretofore employed in administration and 
command, will be discontinued, and the single term, the United States 
Army, will be exclusively used. 

2. Orders having reference to the United States Army as divided into 
separate and component forces of distinct origin, or assuming or contem- 
plating such a division, are to that extent revoked. 

3. The insignia now prescribed for the Regular Army shall hereafter be 
worn by the United States Army. 

4. All effective commissions purporting to be, and described therein as, 
commissions in the Regular Army, National Guard, National Army or the 
Reserve Corps shall hereafter be held to be, and regarded as, commissions in 
the United States Army — permanent, provisional or temporary, as fixed by 
the conditions of their issue; and all such commissions are hereby amended 
accordingly. Hereafter during the period of the existing emergency all 
commissions of officers shall be in the United States Army and in staff corps, 
departments and arms of the service thereof, and shall, as the law may pro- 
vide be permanent, for a term, or for the period of the emergency. And 
hereafter during the period of the existing emergency provisional and tem- 
porary appointments in the grade of second lieutenant and temporary pro- 
motions in the Regular Army and appointments in the Reserve Corps will 
be discontinued. 

5. While the number of commissions in each grade and in each staff corps, 
department and arm of the service, shall be kept within the limits fixed by 
law, officers shall be assigned without reference to the term of their commis- 
sions solely in the interest of the service; and officers and enlisted men will 
be transferred from one organization to another as the interests of the 
service may require. 

6. Except as otherwise provided by law, promotion in the United States 
Army shall be by selection. Permanent promotions in the Regular Army 
will continue to be made as prescribed by law. 

By order of the Secretary of War: 

Peyton C. March, 
General, Chief of Staff. 
H. P. McCain, 

The Adjutant General. 

That was all right. Nobody cared much what designation 
he fought under, as long as it had " U. S. " in it. 

On August 17 the big news came. New England expected a 
big man to be appointed to command the new division, but 

© -ft ft- 

Lt.-Col. R. H. Rolfe Lt.-Col. P. H. Stoll Lt.-Col. I. M. Unger 

Maj. G C.Donaldson Maj. A. B. Hitchcock Maj. J. M. Day 

Photo by Bm hr,i h, Boston 
Capt. C. F. Reid 

('apt. I'.. J. Hall Capt. Francis Harrigan 

■■■ qj 


Major-General Henry P. McCain 

Commander of the Plymouth (12th) Division 



Maj. W. J. Fitzmaurice Lt.-Col. Ira A. Smith Maj. Chas.C.Quigley 

Lt.-Col. G. T. Everett Maj. Edwards Capt. R. G. Sherman 

Capt. Cockriel, M. P. Capt. C. B. MacNeill Capt. Tait 


even the most optimistic weren't prepared for what happened. 
For, on August 17, came a dispatch from Washington saying 
that Major-General Henry P. McCain, who had just completed 
an appointment as The Adjutant General of the army, the man 
who, with Major-General Enoch H. Crowder, was responsible 
for much of the wonderful record America had made in the 
World* War, in throwing what forces she had into the breach 
quickly, was to organize and train the 12th Division. 

And Camp Devens just cut loose and nearly went wild with 

For during the years he had spent in the Adjutant-General's 
Department at Washington the name "McCain" had become 
known to almost everybody in the country. There was con- 
siderable protest made — or there would have been had General 
McCain permitted it — when it became known that the general 
was going to forsake the post of The Adjutant General. Prac- 
tically the whole Government hailed McCain as the "best 
adjutant-general the United States ever had, " and they didn't 
want to lose him. 

Day and night this man had been at his desk in the War De- 
partment, since the United States entered the war. He was 
greedy for work. He couldn't be tired out. His administra- 
tion of the Adjutant-General's Department was the most satis- 
factory and efficient the Nation ever had. This was admitted 
by everybody: congressmen, senators, military authorities — 
everybody. He was one of the best loved men in Washington 
and in the army. And he was to come to Camp Devens and 
train a New England division! Some day the story of why 
Henry P. McCain left Washington and came to New England 
may be told. 

Major-General McCain was born in Carroll County, Missis- 
sippi, and, as soon as his age permitted, entered the Military 
Academy at West Point, graduating from that school in 1885. 
From then on he soldiered in the United States and in the 
Philippines until he was transferred to the Adjutant-General's 


Department. And there they kept him for eighteen years 
until, when the United States entered the World War, he was 
made a major-general. 

General McCain landed in Boston on August 20 and imme- 
diately stepped into an automobile and drove to Camp Devens. 
That he was happy to be given a division to organize and train, 
with the possibility of leading men into battle, is undoubted. 
He looked forward to it with pleasure, and he proposed to 
build the best division in the army. His feelings, then, can be 
imagined when, as he arrived at the main gate of Camp Devens, 
he saw a group of horsemen waiting to receive him, and a 
military band crashed forth a welcome to the new commanding 
general. The horsemen — it was the Headquarters Troop of 
the new 12th Division — fell in around his car, and with the 
band playing, General McCain was triumphantly welcomed to 
New England and to Camp Devens. The general brought 
with him Lieutenant-Colonel John B. Shuman, who was to be 
division adjutant, and Lieutenant-Colonel E. S. Adams, who 
was named as assistant chief of staff. Colonel Oliver H. 
Dockery, Jr., who was acting chief of staff was relieved, and 
Colonel Abraham G. Lott, who had been one of General 
McCain's assistants in Washington, was made chief of staff of 
the 12th Division on August 22. 

No general officer ever received a warmer welcome to a new 
command than did Major-General McCain when he came to 
New England. He didn't say much. He seldom does. But 
he felt and thought a lot, and he just thanked everybody 
briefly but sincerely, and remarked in his quiet, forceful way 
that he was "with the 12th Division until torn away from it." 
General McCain brought no aides-de-camp with him, but as 
soon as he arrived at Devens, Lieutenant Augustus F. Doty of 
Boston and Waltham (better known as "Gus" Doty, famous 
Harvard athlete) was made aide-de-camp to the new command- 
ing general. 

Other officers to arrive for the staff of the new division and 


to take command of organizations were: On August 19, 
Colonel John D. Long was assigned to command the Train 
Headquarters and Military Police. On August 24, Major 
C. F. Holly was assigned to command the 34th Machine Gun 
Battalion; Major G. E. Wilson to command the 36th Machine 
Gun Battalion, and Major O. M. Dickerson to command the 
35th Machine Gun Battalion. Lieutenant-Colonel Robert H. 
Rolfe was officially announced as division quartermaster on 
September 7, and on September 13, Major John L. Schock 
became division dental surgeon. On September 23 Lieutenant- 
Colonel Fred G. Miller became division signal officer. Colonel 
Miller was relieved of this post on December 27 and Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Walter E. Pridgeon succeeded him. 

Captain Frank Ward became acting assistant chief of staff 
(G-2), on October 14, while four days later, October 18, 
Colonel Max C. Tyler arrived at camp to take command of the 
212th Engineers. On October 26, Lieutenant-Colonel George 
T. Everett became assistant chief of staff (G~i), and, on 
November 13, Major William J. Fitzmaurice was appointed 
assistant chief of staff (G-3). 

From the very moment General McCain arrived in camp the 
entire command knew that he meant business. He was a 
driver, a producer of results; but he drove his men humanely 
and they loved him for it. It soon became known to every 
officer and man in the 12th Division that the commanding gen- 
eral asked only that every last man work as hard and faithfully 
as the general did himself. Nothing more than this was re- 
quired of anybody, as far as work was concerned. So, on the 
very day General McCain arrived at Devens, schools were 
started in the new division. The first two were the bayonet 
and grenade schools. 

The first week of General McCain's stay was spent in going 
over the camp. He inspected every nook and corner of it. It 
would almost be safe to say that there is not a building nor a 
room in Camp Devens that he has not been in himself. And 


he wanted to know his men. He was out among them every 
day and nearly all day. Before he had been there a month it is 
absolutely certain that he could have taken the two stars off 
his shoulders and gone out among his troops and they would 
all have known who he was. He is a great believer in personal 
contact, and his belief bore rich fruit in the 12th Division. 

The foreign attaches were still at Camp Devens and they 
started right in with the instruction of the new division, just as 
they had with the 76th. But, on August 30, some help came 
for them, for the 12th, it was generally known, was not to re- 
main in training so long as the 76th ; not anywhere near so long. 
So, on August 30, there arrived at camp 63 more overseas 
instructors, fresh from the battlefields of France. They were 
all Americans, noncommissioned officers who had "been through 
the mill," and were highly trained specialists. The effect of 
their arrival was electrical, and from September 1 the 12th Di- 
vision buckled down to the hardest and stiff est kind of intensive 
training ever known in this part of the country. McCain had 
instilled a spirit into the division; the men had the Yankee 
fighting spirit in their blood and a high sense of patriotic duty; 
they were as husky a bunch of fighting material as could be 
found anywhere in the world, and there was born in them a 
determination to "deliver the goods" that could not and would 
not and did not stop; nor could it be stopped by anything. 

Fundamentally, the training of the 12th Division was about 
the same as that of the 76th. In detail, however, there were 
many differences. For one thing — and too much emphasis 
cannot be laid on this — the 12th Division experienced the most 
intensive training of any combat unit trained in New England. 

The men transferred into the new division from the Depot 
Brigade were all raw recruits, with no noncommissioned officers 
to aid in drilling them. The comparatively few officers who 
composed the commissioned personnel of the two new regiments 
worked from dawn until dark in the sweltering heat. It 
seemed that they were always out on the drill grounds teaching 


these willing recruits the art of being a soldier, and their efforts 
bore wonderful fruit. With the coming of the two regiments 
of Regulars, however, and the consequent augmentation of the 
ranks of the 73d and 74th by officers and men already thor- 
oughly trained, and in many instances noncommissioned offi- 
cers who had already had their baptism of fire overseas, this 
intensive training progressed even more rapidly than before. 
Day by day the 12th Division improved, until very soon it was 
evident to all that the outfit would not only be trained in record 
time, but would develop into one of the prize combat divisions 
in the entire American Army. 

Some idea of the rapidity with which the training got under 
way may be gained from a paragraph taken from the official 
record of the training of the division. It reads: 

The Infantry School of Arms was inaugurated August 22, 1918. From 
August 22 to October 28, 1918, twenty-seven different schools were held, 
graduating 563 officers and 1,327 enlisted men, making the total number 
graduating from the schools, 1,890. In addition to the schools, under the 
direction of the Infantry School of Arms, an Intelligence School of Applica- 
tion was conducted under the supervision of the division intelligence officer 
and proved highly successful. 

In addition to these schools was the Senior and Staff Officers' 
School of Instruction, which wassimilar to the school conducted 
for the officers of the 76th, only instead of the course lasting for 
three weeks, as in the case of the 76th Division, the course was 
doubled for the 12th Division officers. There was also another 
great difference between the two schools. The 76th Division 
had its own artillery to work with. The 12th Division had 
none. They did have two airplanes, however, which came 
from Mineola, Long Island, New York, before the course was 
completed and with the help of these planes considerable prob- 
lem work was done. The lectures and field work of various 
kinds gave the officers attending the school valuable knowledge 
of the practical conduct of modern warfare. 

The high lights in this marvelous progress could not better 


be shown than by again quoting from the official record of the 
training of the 12th Division — a brief but concise memorandum 
compiled at Division Headquarters by the officers who directed 
and watched the training. This report only summarizes, but 
in the following few paragraphs a story of wonderful military 
achievement is tersely told : 

The first month's training of the division personnel was devoted to basic 
training in the essential principles as prescribed by the War Department, 
with careful attention being paid to eliminating non-essentials and profiting 
by the mistakes made in the training of old divisions. 

The second month saw this basic training turn out officers and men 
whose percentage of efficiency was very high, and platoon, company, and 
battalion cohesion was given much attention. Much time was devoted to 
training in gas defense and the use of the rifle and bayonet. Scores on the 
rifle range indicated that the weapon of the infantry would play an impor- 
tant part when the 12th Division finally got into action. The discipline and 
military bearing of the soldiers was of the highest order, and surpassed even 
the expectancy of the division staff officers. 

The machine gun units, signal troops, and engineers, were progressing in 
their combat training with the same degree of efficiency and speed. Every 
week Division Headquarters prescribed the number of hours to be devoted 
to each subject by the different units in their training, and schedules em- 
bracing these hours were compiled by the commanding officers and submit- 
ted for the approval of Division Headquarters. This system brought uni- 
form methods and uniform results in the training so that all organizations 
progressed on an even basis. The instructors being graduated from the 
Infantry School of Arms returned to their organizations and imparted the 
knowledge they had gained. 

In the infantry organizations the following method of instruction was 

Each of the four platoons in the rifle companies were divided into four 
sections, keeping squad formations intact. Each platoon commander was 
made a specialist in either bayonet fighting, hand and rifle grenades, auto- 
matic rifle or drills, administration, gas, etc. 

Each day at drill all of the first sections reported for bayonet drill, the 
second sections for hand and rifle grenades, etc., and rotated thusly under 
the respective specialists, thereby saving time in training in the division 
schools. This was very effective in assuring uniformity in company train- 
ing as each member was trained in the specialties by the same officer. 

Officers' schools within the different organizations under the direct super- 


vision of the regimental and separate organization commanders were con- 
ducted. Noncommissioned officers' schools within each regiment and 
separate organization were also established. 

Weekly record of progress was kept on cards furnished by the Infantry 
School of Arms for this purpose, one card being made out by the corporal of 
his squad each week and submitted to the platoon commander; another 
card was made out each week by the platoon commander and submitted to 
the company commander. This system proved valuable in helping the 
company commander and higher commanders to determine the condition of 
the company organizations. 

Specialists in headquarters and supply companies, infantry and head- 
quarters detachments were given special training, specially qualified officers 
having been assigned to these. 

The third month of training brought out excellent results in maneuvers, 
cohesion and liaison in all units. Close order drills and deployments reached 
a high percentage of efficiency. The training of all specialists and the tac- 
tical use of such specialties gave every indication that the division would 
soon be rated as ready. The combined training of the division was now 
under way and this was demonstrated by the success of the various maneu- 
vers held. 

The first field order of the 12th Division was issued for a division billeting 
problem at Shaker Village on November 1. 

Certainly New England had never seen anything to equal 
this in the way of training men for war, and it is doubtful if 
many people, except those who were taking part in this heart- 
breaking grind, appreciated just what it all meant. 

In one respect the 12th Division had much less to discourage 
its personnel than the 76th Division. They knew they were 
going to keep the men who had been poured into the ranks of 
the various regiments, with the exception of the few hundreds 
that were transferred to Officers' Training Schools. But, on 
the other hand, they had obstacles to overcome that the 76th 
did not have. One of these — and by far the most distressing 
one — was an epidemic of Spanish influenza that caused nearly 
half the entire division to be laid up in the hospital at one time. 

Chapter XV 

As soon as General McCain got his schools running properly 
and the men were " throwing their weight into the collar, " so to 
speak, a review of the division was ordered. The general had 
seen all there was to see of the camp and he had seen practically 
every man in it at various times. Now he wanted to see them 
all together. So the first review of the division was held on 
September 14, less than a month after it had been organized. 

Hundreds of people came to Camp Devens to see that review. 
It was not yet believed that anything resembling soldiers could 
be made in so short a time, and the public had a very earnest 
desire to be shown. Well, they were shown, and they went 
away wondering, for, as far as most lay people could see, this 
first review of the 12th Division didn't differ so very much 
from the last review of the 76th, except that there were more 
men in the latter, inasmuch as the 12th Artillery Brigade 
was training thousands of miles away from the Infantry 
Brigades. The men marched and generally conducted them- 
selves like veterans, thereby satisfying their officers and the 
commanding general, though the latter, when asked what he 
thought of the showing of his new command, replied that it was 
fine, but "wait until the next one and see the difference." 

It was just about this time that the Spanish influenza was 
fastening its grip on the camp. The epidemic started so grad- 
ually that few knew that it was upon us until it was raging. 
On the day of the first review it was announced that there were 
2,000 cases of the disease in camp, but as yet no deaths were 
reported. The day following, however, two deaths were an- 
nounced. The next day there were 3,000 cases of it and it was 
announced that four men had died in the past twenty-four 


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hours. Twelve additional wards at the Base Hospital had to 
be taken over to accommodate the sick men, and it was 
thought that this was pretty bad! 

On September 19, the town of Ayer was quarantined against 
the soldiers. This was not so much to protect the soldiers as 
to protect the civilians living near the camp, for civilian New 
England was having a hard time with the influenza, whereas 
the men in camp had the best possible medical attention. In 
the cities and towns throughout New England the doctors were 
so busy that the services of a physician were hard to get, for the 
medical men were working day and night, with far more cases 
on their hands than they could find time to attend. And 
nurses were at a premium. 

But still the number of cases in camp continued to grow. 
From 3,000 to 5,000 to 7,000, clear up until at one time there 
were more than 10,000 men being treated. And so the daily 
death report continued to grow larger and larger, from three, 
to five to twelve to fifteen to twenty and then to twenty- 
eight daily. Then New England began to be really alarmed 
at the situation at the cantonment. But as a matter of fact 
the epidemic had about spent itself before the death list began 
to swell to such alarming proportions. At the time when the 
death list was highest there were fewer cases of influenza in 
the hospital than when the daily death report showed less 
than a dozen names. The reason for this was that thousands 
of men were only in the hospital a few days, while most of 
those who succumbed to the disease were ill for several days 
before they reached the crisis. 

But despite the frightful handicap imposed by the epidemic, 
the training of the division went on just the same. It had to. 
And the medical officers had decided that to continue the train- 
ing was the best possible thing for the men. It kept them out 
in the open air — one of the surest preventives — and also dis- 
tracted their attention from what was going on around them. 
This policy unquestionably saved many lives. 


And, among other things, the influenza epidemic showed the 
men of the 12th Division the true caliber of their commanding 
general. For he personally directed the fight against the plague, 
assisted and advised, of course, by Lieutnenat-Colonel Condon 
C. McCornack, his division surgeon, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Channing Frothingham of Boston, commander of the Base 

The general had these two officers worried. They were 
worried about the general himself, for he insisted on spending 
the greater part of the daylight hours at the hospital, going 
around among the men, talking to them and cheering them up. 
He scorned to wear a mask to protect himself. He was build- 
ing spirit among the sick, spirit with which to fight this plague 
that seemed to sap the vitality from a man as no other disease 
did. And so, calmly, cheerfully and kindly, he went his way 
through the hospital wards, among the dead and the dying, 
talking to these lads, asking them all the little personal, inti- 
mate questions one of their own would ask and seeing to it that 
they got everything that could possibly be given them. Then, 
as night drew on, he went back to his office on Headquarters 
Hill, where all through the day the work had been piling up, 
and there he worked far into the night, attending to the vast 
amount of detail attached to getting his division into shape to 
go to France. He didn't have to spend this time in the hos- 
pital. There was no rule nor regulation that called upon him 
to do it. But he wanted to save every life that could possibly 
be saved, and he wanted to be sure that everything that could 
be done was being done, so he went himself to see about it. 
And he knew, too, that most of these men were going to get 
well, that when they recovered they would remember that 
their general stuck by them when they were in a tight place and 
that they would be eager to do the same by him. This is only 
one of the things that built for Major-General McCain the 
loyalty of every man under his command. 

As September drew to a close the daily death toll grew. On 


September 23 there were 63 deaths, on September 24 there 
were 66, on the 25th there were 77, on the 26th there were 60, 
on the 27th there were 81, the highest daily death toll during 
the epidemic. From that time on the daily death list de- 
creased, 56, 45, 29, 30, 14, 17, 14, eight, and so on until the 
pre-epidemic average was reached, which was only one or 
two a week. 

In all there were about 800 nurses, officers and men who 
succumbed to the epidemic, a low figure compared to the 
harvest of the grim reaper in other camps and in many civilian 

After days and nights of the bitterest kind of fighting, Camp 
Devens had won its first victory. The Spanish influenza was 
completely stamped out and Camp Devens was one of the 
cleanest and healthiest spots in New England. 

It was a victory won with the sacrifices that attach to all 
real victories. From the time the epidemic broke out approxi- 
mately 14,000 men were in hospital with influenza and pneu- 
monia at Camp Devens. One out of every 18 of these cases 

There were undoubtedly hundreds of cases of great sacrifice 
and devotion passed by unnoticed, except by a very few. But 
there are other cases of both women and men who did their 
duty and a lot besides that came to the attention of the authori- 
ties, and many of these went on record. 

The whole battle to rid the camp of Spanish influenza is a 
story of never-ending toil, of sleepless days and nights, of heroic 
devotion to duty, of weary, heavy-lidded, dogged resistance 
against an unseen and practically unknown foe; of calm and 
patient women, working on sheer nerve, of brave but in- 
experienced men, setting their hand to a task and struggling 
to absorb a knowledge of their work as they felt their way 
along, and of overworked physicians, fighting, fighting, fight- 
ing and never ceasing to fight until every single man had 
been attended. 


It was a struggle, in which the members of the Army Medical 
Corps lived up to the best and highest traditions of the 

The base hospital contained 1,800 beds when the epidemic 
descended upon it. At the height of the epidemic there were 
close to 10,000 patients and through it all the base hospital 
kept 1,000 beds ahead of the need. 

When the epidemic started there were some 200 nurses, in- 
cluding the members of the Nurses' Training School, at the 
Base Hospital. Almost over night there were more patients in 
the hospital than it would seem humanly possible for 200 
nurses to take care of. They kept going, however, and every 
man was cared for before a single nurse rested. 

There were enough doctors to care for any reasonable num- 
ber of patients that might be expected to be in the hospital at 
one time. But when the deluge came the doctors showed 
themselves to be of the same stuff as did the nurses. 

As the epidemic developed there was no such thing as enough 
nurses and doctors. The hospital used every last one that 
could be procured, and still more were needed. But those who 
were on duty did the work of two and three, and somehow 
every patient was cared for. 

As quickly as it could be secured, assistance was brought in 
from the outside. This help consisted of both military and 
civil. Army doctors and nurses were rushed from other camps 
and army posts. Offers of help from civilian organizations all 
over New England began to come in, and many of them were 
accepted. Every one who could help and who wanted to, came 
pretty near having a chance to make good. And most of 
them did. 

Five girls who were serving their country at the Camp 
Devens Base Hospital made the supreme sacrifice; they con- 
tracted the disease they were fighting and died. They died the 
death of a soldier. They stuck to their posts until the end, 
without a thought of themselves and with only their duty in 


mind. When the decline in the epidemic came there were 400 
nurses at the hospital. 

Two doctors gave their lives, also. One of them, Captain 
Charles A. Sturtevant of Manchester, New Hampshire, lost his 
life because he stuck to his post after he was ill himself. That 
his work for his country was appreciated by his Government 
was evidenced by the fact that his promotion to the rank of 
major arrived at Camp Devens the day after he died. Lieuten- 
ant Thomas R. Ferguson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the 
other doctor to succumb to the influenza. 

It would be impossible to give individual credit everywhere 
it is due, because, from the highest officers right down to the 
lowliest private, every last man and woman in camp did his and 
her duty. The men of the Sanitary Train were called upon to 
help, and Lieutenant-Colonel McCornack, the division surgeon, 
paid them high tribute for the manner in which they "went 
through." Colonel McCornack had been at that time about 
eleven years in the service, and during that time he had fought 
just about every kind of disease there is to fight, including an 
epidemic of black smallpox in China. And he knows service 
when he sees it. After the influenza epidemic had been con- 
quered at Camp Devens, he told what he thought of these men: 

We had to take men from the Sanitary Train and send them to the Base 
Hospital for duty. Most of these men were new to the service and they 
didn't know anything about hospital work. 

They were told what they were up against. They knew that many of 
them were going to contract the disease and that some of them would die. 
But when they knew that men were dying at the hospital because their help 
was needed, and when the order came to go up there for duty, not a man of 
them so much as looked back. 

And some did contract the disease and some of them did die, but they 
knew that it was part of the army game and they did it willingly and gladly, 
like true soldiers. They are just as truly heroes as though their lives had 
been given on the battlefields of France. 

Ordinarily there isn't any special credit due a man for doing his duty, but 
certainly a word of commendation and praise is due these boys who were 
green at the game, but who were willing to play it to the best of their ability. 


Ambulance drivers, orderlies, nurses and doctors — the story 
is the same from beginning to end. Every last one in the 
service vindicated the faith placed in him by his country and 
by his commanding officers. They showed the true spirit of 
America, that spirit before which nothing but the clear, bright 
flame of freedom and democracy can hope to stand. 

The Red Cross lived up to its highest traditions also. They 
had a recreation building for convalescent Base Hospital 
patients right beside the hospital, and that building was turned 
over to the forces that were fighting the plague. The Red 
Cross also supplied much medical material to the military au- 
thorities, and the workers were devoting themselves day and 
night to the sick men and to the relatives of those men who 
were hurrying toward Devens from almost every state in 
the Union. 

The Knights of Columbus turned their Base Hospital 
building over to the military authorities for the housing of 
sick men and they devoted another building to the use of 
relatives of the men, housing them there during the crisis of 
their boys. 

The Hostess House, which was early established at Camp 
Devens by the Young Women's Christian Association and was 
under the supervision of Miss Annette Griggs, became a large 
dormitory for the accommodation of people whose loved ones 
were facing the Hereafter up at the hospital, and the Hostess 
House also ran a motor bus to the hospital for the benefit of 
fathers and mothers of sick boys. 

It was the same with the Y. M. C. A., as with all the rest of 
the welfare organizations. Their Base Hospital hut became a 
ward, and the secretaries devoted themselves to the sick and 

Perhaps no one worked any harder than did the chaplains. 
These big-hearted men practically lived in the wards, comfort- 
ing the dying, writing letters for the men, guiding frantic 
parents through the lines of cots in the hospital, which filled 


even the corridors, and doing a thousand and one things to be 
of assistance. 

For the chaplains in this army that we raised were general 
utility men, friends of the soldiers who could be called on for 
anything that might come up where an outside and disinter- 
ested party was necessary. They did everything from per- 
forming marriage ceremonies to judging a broncho-breaking 
contest, from writing musical comedies for the men to act to 
refereeing basketball and baseball games. There were no 
better loved men at Camp Devens than the "sky pilots." 

And perhaps right here may be mentioned what was con- 
sidered by many one of the crowning achievements of one of 
these soldier parsons, though chronologically it is a little out 
of place in this narrative. After their long battle with the 
influenza, on top of their intensive training, which was halted 
by the coming of peace, the regiments of the 12th Division 
vied with each other for supremacy in sports, drills, music, 
education, all kinds of contests, and finally in the matter of 

The writer of this story is not sufficiently versed in the fine 
points of drama and music to dare to name the leading regi- 
ment of the division in the histrionic field, but certainly no 
chronicle of the events at Camp Devens would be complete 
without mentioning the final big show of the 73d Infantry. 

The 74th Infantry produced a revue in the fall of 19 18 that 
created a sensation in camp. It was shown at the Liberty 
Theater, and was a huge success, as there was plenty of talent 
of all kinds in every outfit. Straightway the 73d set out to go 
the 74th one better, and in this they were most heartily sup- 
ported by their commanding officer, Colonel James B. Kemper. 

The regiments had considerable funds, collected for the bene- 
fit of the men when they got overseas. These had to be dis- 
posed of, for the benefit of the men, before demobilization or 
they were to be turned into the treasury of the United States. 
So the 73d decided to spend some of their money on a "regular 


show." One of their chaplains happened to be a particularly 
accomplished man; apparently a sort of jack-of-all-trades. He 
was Father John F. Conoley, formerly of St. Augustine, Florida, 
and, before he left the service, camp chaplain at Devens. To 
him fell the task of writing a show for the 73d, and with a will 
he set himself to do it. 

On January 27 and 28, 1919, "Cho Cho Sin," a musical tale 
of the east, was presented by one of the finest amateur theatri- 
cal companies ever seen in Massachusetts. It was written and 
produced for General McCain. The men did the work. They 
built their own scenery, wrote much of their own music. 
Chaplain Conoley furnished the lines. Mrs. Kemper, wife of 
the "K. O.," assisted by Mrs. P. J. H. Farrell and Mrs. E. H. 
Adams, provided the costumes. The spirit of the regiment, 
which was to be found in every regiment of the 12th, did 
the rest. 

The special music was composed by Sergeant George R. 
Tompkins, bandmaster of the 73d. The show was produced 
under the direction of Lieutenants Charles A. Lee and C. F. 
Kirschler. Sergeant "Ted" Stanley painted the scenery and 
the posters for the outside of the theater. The star of the pro- 
duction was Private F. T. LeM. Easter, before the war a mem- 
ber of the Russian Ballet, and one of the most accomplished 
actors to be found in camp. 

For two nights and one matin6e the show played to packed 
houses. But to the officers and men in camp the opening per- 
formance was the biggest and best of all. For just before the 
curtain went up that night the men of the 73d, through Chap- 
lain Conoley, paid their own public tribute to their command- 
ing general, who was present, as he always was, to see the 
efforts of his boys, and to applaud them. 

Just before the lights were dimmed Chaplain Conoley ap- 
peared before the curtain. He raised his hand for silence, and 
then in a quiet but sincere voice told General McCain how 
much the men of the 12th Division thought of their chief. He 

General Edwards and Governor McCall Visit Devens 

General Edwards of the Y-l) Saluted the Colors of tui Plym< 

Division, and Then Said He I 'ndeksiood Win hie ( ".erm an-- uii i 
"The 12111 Was Coming" 

Colonel Byroade, Lieutenant Parker, General McCain and Major 
Hitchcock and the Colors of the Plymouth (i2th) Division 

Photo by A. I.. Belcher, Globe 

Major Barratt O'Hara Appeals for Support of the Liberty Loan 

I. clt to right: Major O'Hara, General McCain, Colonel Lott, 

Colonel Adams, Captain Cape 

The Aviators Were About the Only Ones Who Looked Down on 
Division Headquarters 

Captain Livingston Swentzel, Observer, and Liei i i \ \\ i "Rube 

Moffat, Pilot, in One of the Airplanes Thai Were 

Stationed \i Devens 


voiced, also, what the men of the division had felt throughout 
their service, though few were able to express it in words. 
Chaplain Conoley said: 

Ladies and Gentlemen — It gives us great happiness to greet you — to have 
you as our guests this evening while we turn from the sterner duties 
that are incumbent upon us to frolic and play for your entertainment. 
And we are, indeed, happy that you are here to help us pay tribute to 
one who holds our admiration, our respect, and our affectionate esteem. 
And since this is his play, in that it was planned, evolved, and produced 
in his honor, I am sure you will all pardon me if I address myself directly 
to General McCain. 

Sir — I trust you will accept this small effort made by the men of the 73d 
as a proof of the affection we all have for you. We came to this camp and 
into this Plymouth Division very raw material — poor soldiers. But we all 
brought with us the determination to lay upon the altar of possible sacrifice 
that which all men hold most dear — our lives. Day after day we were 
trained in the ways of war under your guidance and direction; day after 
day we felt the small things of life fall away from us, felt the urge of that 
manliness and generosity that is characteristic of the trained and disciplined 
soldier, realized our own deficiencies, and did what I think we can truthfully 
call our honest best to measure up to the standard that was set for us higher 
up. The result has been that every man of us is leaving the division with a 
bigger, broader mind and heart, motived to the bigger things of life by 
discipline and devotion to duty actuated by principle. The things we have 
learned here will influence our very thought in after days, make us better 
men, and give the Nation nobler, better, citizens. 

Example, Sir, is the most potent factor in life — we pattern ourselves, 
almost unconsciously, after those who command our respect and esteem. 
And your share in our life here was a powerful incentive to greater develop- 
ment because we knew well that nothing in the way of sacrifice or devotion 
to duty was asked of us that was not first done at Division Headquarters by 
the commanding general. 

We are proud to have it said of us that we are " McCain's men of the 12th." 
We are sorry beyond words that we had no opportunity to express in vivid 
action our real devotion to your person. And, since we are so soon to be 
separated, we felt that we must do some little thing that would in some small 
way tell you of our regard. This evening's play is the result. 

Sir, this is all a tribute to you! These men have worked night and day 
for a week — sometimes all night — in order to greet you here with this per- 
formance. When the news came of our departure, the cast of the play 
declared its unwillingness to leave until we should give this expression of our 


esteem for you. It is the tribute of the men of the 73d to their commanding 

And so we are to take you tonight far from military terms and affairs and 
raise the curtain upon ancient Bagdad, while girls dance and boys sing and 
love and comedy and tragedy are all portrayed in brilliant costume — and it 
is all for you. We thank you for your share in our lives here, for your part 
in the new breadth of mind and heart that has come to us all — a breadth of 
thought that will go, only God knows how far, to make this world a better 
place to live in. We have learned the real meaning of those magic words 
"the service" — and we leave the army not as men who turn from a stern 
and distasteful duty to more pleasant tasks, but as men who are better men 
from having lived for a time heart to heart with those exponents of service 
and devotion to duty who make up the armed service of these United States. 

As the play proceeds and you are amused, let this thought attend you 
— that every word of the play, every stick of the scenery, every bit of cos- 
tume, is a material proof of the affection we have for you — the commanding 
general of the 12th Division. 

That expressed it. The spirit was there. Everybody saw 
it. And it was such doctrines as this that the army chaplains 
at Camp Devens sought to instill into the men — the strong, 
manly doctrines of real Americans. They all helped, every 
last parson. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why the 
chaplains of the 12th Division were so popular. 

Chapter XVI 

On September 22 General McCain sent out a request through 
the camp for an appropriate name for the 12th Division. 
Every officer and man was invited to suggest one, which, ac- 
cording to the request, should be short, snappy and appropriate. 

There were some interesting suggestions made, of course. 
There couldn't help being, with 30,000 brains conjuring up all 
kinds of queer and ludicrous names for the outfit. As a matter 
of fact nearly 150 suggestions were made. Among them being 
such names as "The Do or Die Division, " "The Hell Roarers, " 
"The Midnight Division," "The Terrible Twelfth," "The 
Dirty Dozen," etc. Perhaps none caused more mirth, how- 
ever, than the suggestion that the 12th Division go across under 
the name of "McCain's Dutch Cleansers." 

But it was General McCain who finally named the outfit, 
though the name he chose was suggested by several others, also. 
He decided to call it "The Plymouth Division," inasmuch as 
the division was training in the Pilgrim country and the name 
was so typically American. The selection pleased every one, 
and from the time it was made until the big fighting machine 
passed out of existence the name was used even more than the 
official designation. 

At the same time an official insignia was designed at the order 
of General McCain. Captain Henry Cape, Jr., the general's 
senior aid, had much to do with making the design. It con- 
sisted of a bayonet running through the figures 12, the com- 
bination being superimposed on a diamond-shaped background 
with two stars. It was both artistic and significant. 

Devens, from the time General McCain took command, 
seemed always to be the cantonment picked out for any new 


experiment. And usually the experiment worked. It was so 
with the first Noncommissioned Officers' Training School to be 
established in the whole United States Army — a place where 
likely men could be sent, and after a few weeks' training be 
qualified to take up the important duties of a noncommissioned 

For a good noncom. is even as a pearl without price. Usually 
they graduate from the school of years of experience. But 
there was a crying need for them in this new army of ours, and 
something had to be done about it. A young man named 
Major Edwin F. Harding was placed in command of the school. 
He selected 20 of the best qualified men from each company in 
the Depot Brigade, gathered together a group of experienced 
officers and started to make ready-to-wear, 100 per cent 
efficient, noncommissioned officers. And the experiment 
worked. It worked so well that had the war gone on these 
schools would have been established all over the country at 
the various training camps. 

As each experiment proved successful the entire cantonment 
seemed to glory in its success. The spirit and team work that 
was evident so soon after the formation of the division grew 
along with the efficiency of the big machine, and every incident 
big enough to attract the attention of any considerable group 
of men in the outfit almost immediately aroused the interest of 
the whole camp. It was nothing to be surprised at, then, that 
on the last day of September, just as retreat sounded, about 
every road leading to the main parade field was choked with 
racing men as two specks appeared in the sky above the camp. 
It was the arrival of the two airplanes referred to. 

Like giant eagles they floated down out of the sky, and they 
were forced to circle the field several times at a very low alti- 
tude, while a squad of M. P. 's cleared the enthusiastic dough- 
boys off the field in order to give the planes a chance to make 
their landing without endangering the lives of about half of the 
men of the 12th Division. As they taxied across the field 


and finally came to rest opposite the Division Officers' Club 
the men swarmed around them and watched the aviators 
alight. The planes had flown from Mineola — 225 miles away 
— in two hours and ten minutes. 

Both planes were equipped with wireless, and it was the use of 
that wireless that was to prove invaluable to the training. The 
two planes worked with the school over the Still River battle- 
fields, reporting enemy positions, directing the fire of imaginary 
artillery and communicating all sorts of information to the 
school while the planes were still high in the air. This was done 
by having a mobile wireless station on the battle grounds. The 
planes also took pictures of "enemy" positions, flew back to 
camp with the negatives, delivered them at the topographical 
office where they were developed, and one hour after the pic- 
tures had been taken the prints were in the hands of the mem- 
bers of the school who were still out on the combat ranges. 
This was all done under the direction of Captain Michaud of 
the French Army, a liaison expert. 

The effect that can be obtained from a brief period of 21 
days of real hard training was never better shown than by the 
second review of the 12th Division, which was held on October 
5. Even to comparatively inexperienced eyes the difference in 
the appearance of the men was positively amazing. Officers 
of the Depot Brigade, who had been at Camp Devens all 
through the training of the 76th Division and who watched it 
grow and improve many, many times, after having been 
stripped of its best men, remarked that the manner in which 
the Plymouth Division picked up was the most startling thing 
they had seen in their military careers. 

And following the second review of the division General 
McCain said that even his expectations had been surpassed. 
He said that these reviews would be held frequently, not only 
to enable the staff to keep familiar with the stages the training 
had reached, but also for the sake of the men, for it is an estab- 
lished fact that there is no better morale builder for troops in 


training than to let them see as often as possible the improve- 
ment in themselves. 

It is not necessary to recount step by step the training of the 
Plymouth Division. They covered every bit of ground cov- 
ered by the 76th, and in fifteen weeks trained to a point where 
they were ready for overseas service. It was the quickest 
trained division New England ever turned out, and, according 
to the reports made by high foreign officers, it was one of the 
six best divisions in the whole United States Army. 

Of course this did not mean that when the armistice was 
signed the 12th Division was ready to take its place in the 
battle lines. It meant that the division had completed its pre- 
liminary training and was ready for transport to France, where 
it would enter on the last stage of its training, when the Infan- 
try Brigades would hook up with the Artillery Brigade, and the 
two arms would tear through a final training that would send 
them up to the fighting front right on the crest of their highest 
point of efficiency and morale. This was the plan, apparently, 
and the 12th was one of nearly a dozen divisions so trained. 

As a matter of fact the officers from the Inspector General's 
Department in Washington had completed their inspection of 
the division just prior to the cessation of hostilities. No one is 
supposed to know what the inspectors think of an outfit, but 
on the day these officers left Camp Devens having dictated 
their report on the division and sent it to Washington by tele- 
graph, it was whispered that the report was one of the most 
enthusiastic that was ever made during the war on any division. 

Everybody around camp knew they were going. The offi- 
cers were buying their overseas equipment. (Many an officer of 
the Plymouth Division has in his possession to this day a Sam 
Browne belt and overseas cap that he was never privileged to 
wear, though he had to pay for it.) The baggage was being 
packed and stenciled. The end of November would probably 
have seen the whole division in France. Reports had been 
received from the Artillery Brigade in the South that it was 


in just as fine shape as the Infantry. Everybody was in the 
highest of spirits. 

Then came the armistice! 

Things had been breaking fast in Europe, but few at Camp 
Devens had had time to notice. The Allies were sweeping for- 
ward in an irresistible wave, carrying everything before them. 
The Americans were covering themselves with glory and driv- 
ing the Germans on and on, back toward their own borders. 
The Plymouth Division was just aching to get in on it. 

The advance school detachment of the 12th Division, those 
who go on before and pave the way for the main body, had 
reached France, though they had to turn right around and 
come back again. But at least a part of the Plymouth Division 
had reached foreign soil. 

And even when the armistice was signed it was not at all 
certain for some time that the 12th Division wouldn't go any- 
way. That was their hope, and they did not relax one bit in 
their training and preparations until orders came for them to 
do so. On the day the signing of the armistice was announced 
General McCain said : 

This is the time for cool heads. Until we receive orders to the contrary 
we shall continue to train just as hard as though the Boche was still to be 
met. No one can tell what will develop on the other side. No man can 
say what conditions will have to be met and dealt with in the enemy's 
territory. The simple signing of an armistice, while hostilities have ceased 
and will probably not be resumed, does not affect the I2th Division in the 
least. We shall carry on. There must be no letting up until orders to do 
so are received. 

I have great confidence in this Division. It is the best any man could 
desire to command. I know that these men of mine are going to see this 
thing in the proper light and that they will continue to prepare, prepare, 
prepare until the last crisis has been passed, just as they would have fought, 
fought, fought until the last victory was won. That is the spirit that per- 
meates the 1 2th Division. We shall carry on! 

And the division did carry on, right up to the time orders 
came for demobilization. There was a gradual let down in the 
training, of course, but the men were kept busy, just the same. 


Those who were in camp on the night of the signing of the 
armistice saw something nobody had ever seen at the canton- 
ment before. For despite the fact that the men were eager to 
get across, there was joy in the hearts of all. And they cut 
loose and showed it. The war was over. Pretty soon, 
probably, they would have a chance to get back to their 
homes and to peaceful civilian pursuits. And so they cele- 
brated. There were parades and there was singing and shout- 
ing and general rejoicing all over camp. 

Boston newspapers were rushed to Devens on special trucks 
and these were snatched up by the men eagerly. They wanted 
to know all about it. And when they read the brief dispatches, 
they began celebrating all over again. Another celebration was 
going on out at the camp where the German prisoners were 
confined, eight miles from the cantonment proper. They 
heard about it too, and they wildly demonstrated their joy at 
the defeat of their All Highest, though it was really delight at 
the knowledge that hostilities had ceased, and soon they would 
be released and allowed to go back to their homes and families, 
which they had not seen in four years. 

The problem then was how to keep the Camp Devens men 
contented until such time as the vast war machine could be 
thrown into reverse and could be started unmaking the army 
it had taken all these months to make. Obviously it would be 
childish to make men go on with intensive training when they 
knew that they would not be likely ever to have a chance to 
put that training into practice. But they must be kept busy, 
for idleness breeds discontent. 

Athletics played no small part in keeping the men busy. 
From the time it was founded Camp Devens devoted much 
time to sports, and some of the finest teams in New England 
were gathered together in this camp during the war. Athletic 
officers were appointed from the very beginning, and to them 
fell the task of organizing and training teams and arranging 


The first athletic officer appointed at Devens was well known 
throughout the country, Captain Richard F. Nelligan, who was 
appointed to direct the athletics of the entire cantonment. 
Lieutenant Robert C. Deming was athletic officer for the 76th 
Division, and with the departure of that unit Captain F. S. 
Mathewson became athletic officer for the entire camp. On 
the appointment of Captain Charles Coolidge to the post of 
camp athletic director, Captain Mathewson became athletic 
officer of the Depot Brigade. 

Throughout the entire training of troops at Devens inter- 
regimental competitions in baseball, basketball, soccer, boxing, 
volley ball, football, and all the other favorite sports of Ameri- 
can young manhood formed a large part of the men's amuse- 
ments. Four baseball leagues were formed in the Depot Bri- 
gade — the National, American, Southern and Federal — and 
twilight baseball games were played every night during the 

Boxing matches in which professionals from outside the 
camp were pitted against soldiers were held in the Y auditorium 
every Thursday night, and these fights never failed to draw 
big crowds. Then, too, boxing was taught the men as part of 
their military training, and a boxing tournament in which 
every man in the cantonment was to participate was arranged. 

The football championship of the Depot Brigade for the 
season of 1918 was won by the nth Battalion after one of the 
bitterest fights ever witnessed on any gridiron in camp, and 
there were many. After playing two no score games with the 
5th Battalion for the championship, the nth Battalion carried 
off the honor by a score of 19 to o. The victory was largely due 
to Sergeant Howard Coughlin, who kicked four field goals. 
The championship was won in the presence of the entire Depot 
Brigade, and General McCain and his staff were also present. 

The All-Camp-Devens team of 191 8 was one of the best 
football teams in the army and it finished the season as the 
champion team of the Fast. It defeated Brown University, 


20 to 7; the Garden City Aviators, 21 to o; the Harvard Radio 
School, io to 0; and the Camp Merritt team, 13 to 7. 

The team included many prominent college players, such as 
Captain George Hoban of Dartmouth and Lehigh; Sergeant 
Jack Malone of Syracuse; Lieutenant Seeley of Washington 
and Lee; Lieutenant Cobb and Sergeant Davis of University 
of Maine; Lieutenant Robbins of Tufts College; Lieutenant 
Taylor of the University of Texas; Captain Kusche of the New 
York A. C; Lieutenant Burke of Holy Cross; Captain Jack 
Maguire (since deceased) who was a member of the All-America 
Army team for several years; Lieutenant Mulcahey of George- 
town; Lieutenant McGrath of the University of Minnesota; 
Corporal Thomas of the University of Nebraska, and Corporal 
Redman of Norwich University. 

So well did the athletic officers perform their task that it was 
hard to find a day or night when some kind of an athletic con- 
test was not in progress in camp. 

And so, gradually, the activities were shifted from intensive 
training for active service to training for their return to civilian 
life. And now that they had time to spare it was decided to 
give the home folks an opportunity to see what these men had 
learned in the few short weeks they had been training, and a 
three-day military carnival to which all New England was in- 
vited was staged on November 25, 26 and 27. 

Before the carnival was held the first orders on the discharge 
of men had come through, and the program for getting rid of 
the soldiers at Camp Devens could be fairly well surmised. 
The first men to go were all "enemy aliens" who, while in- 
ducted into the service, had been shifted into the development 
battalions and were in reality just about "earning their keep" 

Chapter XVII 

On November 18 orders came from the Adjutant-General's 
Office in Washington to the effect that the clearing out of Camp 
Devens would begin with the Depot Brigade. This organiza- 
tion, consisting of thirteen battalions, or 52 companies, was to 
be reduced to four battalions. The best men in the brigade 
were to be transferred to these four battalions and the rest were 
to be discharged from the service. It was then obvious that 
the Depot Brigade was to be used as a mill for the discharge of 
returning soldiers. Because of the vast amount of paper work 
attached to such a program, however, it was some time before 
demobilization actually started. 

It was not until November 29 that the first men were 
actually discharged from the service under demobilization or- 
ders. They went out through the same building they had 
entered, by the " receiving station " in the Depot Brigade, and 
once the authorities started sending them out the work went 
on with a rush. Again Camp Devens led the way with an 
efficient system for discharging these men. 

Captain George C. Tait, the camp personnel adjutant, sub- 
mitted the basis of the plan that was finally adopted, and this 
plan was improved upon and details added until Camp Devens 
later broke all records in the American Army for the daily dis- 
charge of troops. The men signed their final statements, re- 
ceived their discharges, drew their pay and travel money, and 
bought their railroad tickets all in one building, being passed 
from window to window in a never-ending stream. Lieutenant 
R. J. Cotter had actual charge of the discharging station, and 
the machine worked as smooth as grease. 

But this army was not just being thrown out into the world 


again, as a big machine might be "junked." It was being 
taken apart piece by piece, each part being labelled and laid 
away for future use, in case such use was necessary. Each 
man was physically examined when he entered the service and 
each man was physically examined before he left. His entire 
record, up to the last day he was in the army, was kept and 
later sent to Washington, where it still is, ready at any moment 
to be drawn out again in case of an emergency. It is much 
easier to tear down than it is to build up; that is, as a general 
rule. But in this case the tearing down was almost as big a 
job as the building. 

These men, who had come into the army singing and shout- 
ing and ready for anything, went out just the same way. The 
experience had broadened out the country boy. It had made 
the city lad a little more tolerant. There isn't much doubt 
that — though many didn't like cantonment life very well — it 
made them just a little bit better citizens than they would have 
been otherwise. And so, as they came in, they went out with 
a song on their lips and in their souls; conscious, whether they 
had been across and met the enemy face to face or not, that 
they had "done their bit." 

The breaking up of the Plymouth Division started before the 
orders to demobilize that unit were issued. It started on the 
first day of December, when orders were received to send 
the 42d Infantry to Camp Upton, at Yaphank, Long Island, 
New York. They were ordered there for duty as guards. 

The order came unexpectedly, but General McCain resolved 
that before the parting came the division should be gathered 
together at least once more. And it was gathered together, 
gathered in the most unusual way ever heard of at Camp 
Devens. The general found, some distance away from the 
camp, a natural amphitheater, a bowl between several New 
England hills. This he had cleared of all trees and under- 
brush, so that men could be massed in it. It was here that he 
had decided to say farewell to his command, this wonderful 


fighting machine he had constructed and had learned to love 
so much. 

On December 3, the 20,000 men of the Plymouth Division at 
Camp Devens marched across country to this bowl, and regi- 
ment by regiment, battalion by battalion and company by 
company, were poured into it. They just about filled it to the 
brim. In the exact center of the bowl a huge staging had been 
erected. When, after two hours, the division was finally ar- 
ranged, a picture of the entire 20,000 was taken, a picture so 
large and with every face so clear that, with the assistance of a 
small reading glass, it was possible to pick out almost every 
officer and man in it. It was one of the most remarkable of 

And to any one who happened to be present it was a picture 
that scarcely needed to be recorded by camera for it will re- 
main indelibly printed in his memory. From the bottom of 
the bowl, clear to the top, banked solid, were khaki-clad men. 
At the top, silhouetted against a gray sky, were the horsemen 
of the military police, together with the regimental and Na- 
tional colors. Down in front, headed by Bandmaster Modeste 
Alloo, director of camp music, were the massed bands of the 
division, some 250 pieces. Just in front of them was Major- 
General McCain, the two brigadier-generals and the head- 
quarters stafT. 

Then came one of the most truly remarkable and thrilling 
moments in the history of the division. The general turned 
and faced his men. A trumpet shrilled piercingly clear, calling 
the entire command to attention. The sky was gray and 
overcast — a dull day. Bandmaster Alloo raised his baton. It 
descended with a sweep and that wonderful band crashed into 
"The Star Spangled Banner." With the first note of the 
National anthem the sun burst through the clouds in all its 
glory, flooding the bowl with its brilliance and causing the 
silken flags along the hilltop to flash out in a blaze of color al- 
most blinding. 


The entire division was standing at salute. The mighty 
voice of the band carried the anthem right through to the end, 
while tears rolled down the cheeks of many an officer and man 
who had come almost to worship this great big human machine. 
They would never be together like this again! This was the 
last time! In a few moments it would all be over! 

As the last note died away and 20,000 arms dropped to 20,000 
sides, General McCain stepped forward. His heart was pretty 
full. His voice was a little husky with emotion. He had to 
say goodbye. He was saying farewell to the division he had 
organized and trained and watched and cared for and loved. 
It was hard. He didn't try to orate. He just talked to 
his boys. And he didn't talk long. 

This is probably the last time the division will be together. You have 
performed your duties like Americans, like the real soldiers you are. But 
even now you should hold yourselves in readiness and not be caught unpre- 
pared. No one can say what important work you may be called upon to 
undertake before the task of America is finally completed. 

But whether you are asked to perform further service or whether you go 
to your homes I want you always to keep in your hearts the lessons you 
have learned in the army, to keep clean bodies, clean minds and never relin- 
quish your high sense of loyalty to our Government. 

That was about all, and when he stopped speaking a cheer 
went up that fairly rocked the countryside. Hats went into 
the air, thousands of them. It was a tribute to a great com- 
mander by a great division. Then the men marched back to 

On the day following the farewell the 42d Infantry was the 
guest of honor of the entire camp. All duty was suspended 
after 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and Colonel Kemper led his 
73d Infantry down the main parade field in one of the snap- 
piest regimental reviews that had been seen in some time. It 
was for the benefit of the departing 42d, and following the re- 
view there was a reception by the officers of the rest of the can- 
tonment to the officers of the 42d. While this reception was 
going on the horses and mules and heavy baggage of the 42d 


were being loaded preparatory to the departure of the regiment 
on the morrow. 

On the same day that the 426. departed, the first detach- 
ment of wounded New England men arrived at Camp Devens 
to finish the convalescent period and for eventual discharge. 
They were almost entirely Yankee Division men, 41 of them, 
and they were as glad to reach Camp Devens as the men of the 
42d were sorry to leave. 

These wounded men were only the vanguard of thousands 
that were to pour in on Devens. A convalescent center was 
established in the Depot Brigade, and when a hospital train 
loaded with wounded arrived at Devens from hospitals and 
ports of debarkation to the South, the men were all taken to 
the Base Hospital first, where they were examined by surgeons. 
Those who were physically fit to stand it were assigned to the 
Convalescent Center and those who needed still further treat- 
ment were kept at the Base Hospital, being transferred to the 
Convalescent Center just as soon as their physical condition 
warranted it. And as soon as they were fit for discharge they 
were sent back to civilian life. 

More wounded men arrived on the day following: 43 more, 
and word was also received to the effect that Camp Devens had 
been selected as one of the military cantonments through which 
thousands of men would pass on their way from the battlefields 
of France to civilian life. It was to be a demobilization camp, 
and one of the first outfits that would be sent there for demo- 
bilization was the United States Guards who had been on duty 
at bridges and munition plants throughout New England. 
These United States Guards were made up of men who had 
been found fit for domestic service only. 

Steps were immediately started, when it was learned that 
Devens was to function as a demobilization center, to provide 
employment for the thousands of men destined to pass through 
the camp. An employment organization covering the entire 
country established offices at Camp Devens. The whole camp 


was "posted" with placards telling what there was in the way 
of jobs, or where the men could find out about these jobs, and 
folks settled down to the task of providing the returning men 
with positions to go to as soon as they shed the uniform. 
Thousands of men left camp with jobs to go to as soon as they 
reached their home cities or towns, and in many instances these 
jobs were better than the ones they had filled before the war. 
The welfare organizations assisted whole-heartedly in this 
work and the Knights of Columbus ran an employment bureau 
for months after the biggest part of the demobilization job was 

On December 1 1 New England had the first opportunity to 
give returning soldiers their first greeting from the home land 
as they arrived from abroad. The transport Canopic docked 
at Boston with 1,120 officers and men, largely Air Service men, 
who had been on duty in England with big Handley-Paige 
night bombing planes. Some of them had seen France, but the 
greater part of them hadn't. They arrived in the teeth of a 
blinding snowstorm, and though but few of them were from 
New England they received a welcome that almost swept them 
off their feet. The trains on which they came from Boston to 
Devens passed through what was to all intents and purposes a 
single long alley of shouting, cheering, singing, weeping men, 
women and children, while the city, town and village Avhistles 
tooted and shrieked a welcome, and flags flew on every hand. 

At Devens they were met at the train by guides and motor 
trucks for their baggage, and they were led through the maze 
of streets and barracks to the quarters formerly occupied by 
the 42d Infantry, where they were at last informed that they 
were officially home. They were tired, but more hungry than 
tired. They were looking for "chow," until — some one dis- 
covered hot showers in the building at the rear of each barracks! 
Fatigue and hunger were immediately forgotten as the word of 
this find passed from lip to lip, and there was a young riot as 
the men rushed for that warm water, tearing off clothing at 

Maj. Allan Pope Maj. Ralph Lowell Capt. H. ('.. Chambers 

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every jump. The rush didn't stop until every Canopic man 
had bathed. Then they were ready for food. 

Of course they had been given a wonderful reception and 
everything possible had been done for them by the good people 
of Boston and central Massachusetts, but it is perfectly safe to 
say that there was not a single feature of their welcome that 
appealed to them or was appreciated by them half as much as 
those showers. 

Chapter XVIII 

On December 13 — lucky 13 this time — the skeleton of the 
old 76th Division arrived back at Camp Devens. There 
wasn't much left of it; in all 440 men and 27 officers of the 
Headquarters Troop, Headquarters Detachment and an ambu- 
lance company. They had been brought home on the trans- 
port Kroonland, which docked at New York, and they returned 
to Camp Devens on a special train from Camp Merritt, New 

They were glad to be back home, but they were heartsick 
over the fate of the old division, which had been so broken up 
that these men were scarcely able to trace a single unit after it 
arrived at its training base in France. After telling all they 
could about what had happened to General Hodges' old out- 
fit they discussed their "tough luck" at some length, and the 
discussion usually ended with a gloomy: 

"Don't it beat Hell how the New England outfits have got it 
in the neck in this war?" 

These men were mustered out of the service on December 17, 
and it is feared that some left the service with a bitter taste in 
their mouths. 

Many of the returning overseas men — perhaps it would be 
nearer the truth to say "just about all" — came back to this 
country with "kicks" to make. And apparently most of them 
were legitimate. Men arrived at Camp Devens who had not 
been paid for eight and nine months. They hadn't received 
any money for so long that they had just about given up hope 
of ever getting any. It is only fair to say that the most of 
these were men who had been wounded and had spent months 


in hospitals, though there were plenty who had not had this 
painful experience. 

Relief came to them as soon as General McCain found out 
about their cases. He went down to their quarters and inter- 
viewed them personally. When he left he ordered the camp 
disbursing officer to pay the men what was due them at once. 
He didn't wait to wade through red tape or even to get author- 
ity from Washington, though he wired and asked for authority 
to pay them as soon as he found out about their cases. If the 
War Department had ruled that these men should not be paid 
until their papers were found or until each individual case had 
been straightened out through military channels — a procedure 
that would have taken weeks — he would have been held per- 
sonally responsible for the money that was paid out. But right 
is right with McCain, and he instructed his disbursing officer to 
pay each man what that man said was due him, in turn requir- 
ing the man to make affidavit that the amount he asked for was 
really due, and warning him that he would be liable to crim- 
inal prosecution if he intentionally made a false affidavit. 
There is no record at hand of any man who thus tried to " jip" 
the Government, and the men vindicated the trust placed in 
them by General McCain. In due time, of course, the author- 
ization came through from Washington to pay the men off in 
this way. 

And as the overseas men began to arrive Camp Devens took 
on added interest for New England folks, and they flocked to 
the big cantonment every day, and especially on Sundays and 
holidays. People who didn't know anybody there came in 
hopes they might find some man who knew some one they knew 
and to hear the boys' experiences at first hand. 

And so the men continued to pour into Camp Devens and 
pour out again. They came by twos and threes, by half-doz- 
ens and dozens, by battalions and regiments and by the trans- 
port-load. It didn't make any difference how fast they came, 
apparently. There was always room for them and they were 


shunted out of the service almost as quickly as they had been 

Major General Hodges visited Camp Devens on December 
26 for the first time since he arrived back from France. He 
went first to the Depot Brigade with the hope of finding some 
of his old command there, but about all of them had been dis- 
charged. He didn't say much about how he felt over what had 
happened to the 76th Division, but he obviously regretted the 
fact that the division didn't see action as a unit. He had noth- 
ing but the highest praise for the men of the old outfit, and 
stated that they had made good wherever they were sent. He 
was much interested in the changes that had been made in 
the camp, and made a tour all over it as the guest of General 

That part of the Plymouth Division which saw foreign serv- 
ice arrived back at Devens on December 27. There were 82 
men and 77 officers in the party, and immediately on arrival 
at camp they were sent back to their old units. They went 
first to England, where they remained in camp a few days, and 
then to France, soon being sent to a school at Chaumont. They 
had attended the school only half a day when the armistice 
came and they were ordered back to this country. They 
didn't have much to do, but the fact that they went over 
showed how near the 12th Division was ready to go. 

Demobilization orders for the 12th Division arrived just in 
time to kill one of the biggest experiments ever tried in the 
United States Army. For two months, following the signing 
of the armistice, General McCain had been working out a plan 
whereby the men of his division might go back to civilian life 
better prepared to shake a living out of the world than when 
they entered the service. It has long been the contention 
that, while a man may learn something in the navy that Avill be 
of use to him on his return to civilian pursuits, the army offers 
little, except a chance to improve his physical condition. It 
was to alter this that General McCain proposed to try his 
new experiment. 


With the assistance of prominent educational leaders in New 
England, he formed what was known as the Camp Devens 
Institute, an institution for the enlisted men, where they could 
get, absolutely free of charge, instruction in almost any trade 
or profession or subject that they might elect to study. In- 
structors from civilian life and also from the army offered their 
services and classes were just about ready to start — with hun- 
dreds of men eager to attend, for the idea found instant favor 
with them — in almost everything imaginable from plumbing to 
astronomy. Then, on January 7, orders came through from 
Washington to start the demobilization of the I2th Division, 
and the whole plan was knocked in the head. The orders read 
that up to fifty per cent of the strength of the division on 
November 13, 1918, just after the armistice, were to be dis- 
charged immediately, and there was no getting away from it. 
The men had to go, many of them reluctantly giving up this 
opportunity to better themselves, which would probably not 
present itself again for a long time, at least. 

Comparatively soon after the first demobilization orders were 
received, came orders to let still more men go, and so, gradually 
toward the end, the Plymouth Division, with the exception of 
the Regulars who were in it, died out and as a division became 
extinct. It was one of the finest fighting machines ever con- 
structed in any country, and General McCain could truly say 
of his 1 2th Division, as Major-General Clarence R. Edwards 
was proud to say of his 26th, " It was a division with a soul," 
and with an unbeatable spirit of burning patriotism, from the 
commander right down to the lowliest private. 

General McCain stayed on at Devens long after the 12th 
Division was demobilized. He remained as cantonment com- 
mander and devoted his efforts to building up a demobilization 
machine that held the record for any camp in the country on 
daily discharge. The wounded and maimed continued to pour 
into the Base Hospital and the Convalescent Center as long as 
there were any left overseas to come home. They were coaxed 


back to health and strength, in so far as it was possible to do so, 
at the Base Hospital, and many of them, during their conva- 
lescent days, attended the classes conducted by the " reconstruc- 
tion aids" in the Red Cross building, newly erected behind the 
Base Hospital for the purpose of teaching the wounded and 
permanently maimed man some method of earning his living 
when he got out of the service. 

The Red Cross, perhaps, did more for the wounded men at 
Camp Devens than any other organization, though every single 
society represented at Devens did everything they possibly 
could. But the Knights of Columbus and the Y. M. C. A. and 
the Jewish Welfare Board and the Salvation Army and the 
others had their hands pretty full with the well ones. The 
Red Cross had a recreation building right beside the Base 
Hospital, and to that building many of the wounded and sick 
were able to hobble. 

Almost every week, usually on a Friday, a delegation of 
actors would come up from Boston in the afternoon and give 
these boys the best they had to offer from the little stage in one 
end of the building. Fred Stone brought about half his com- 
pany up there on more than one occasion. Every member of 
the company "made up" and donned the stage costumes and 
exerted himself or herself to the utmost for the benefit of these 
boys. And when one part of the company had "done their 
turn" on the stage they went right over to the hospital and 
travelled from ward to ward, singing and laughing and chatting 
with the men and doing everything in their power to make 
painful hours shorter and brighter and help the lads on their 
way to recovery. 

Fred Stone nearly lost one of his biggest attractions the first 
time he brought his players up to Camp Devens. They were 
known as the Six Brown Brothers, and they all played saxo- 
phones. It was the kind of music these lads had ached for 
through many weary months, light, frothy, "jazzy" and full 
of pep. It just swept them off their feet. When the sextet 


finally got away from the Red Cross building they were as 
breathless and perspiring as though they had just broken all 
records for the mile run, but they headed for the hospital just 
the same, short of breath but long on spirit. 

They started to play almost as soon as they entered the door, 
and then they marched from ward to ward, filling the squat, 
rambling building with ragtime that nearly cured half the hos- 
pital right then and there. They played and played and played , 
and still the men begged for more, begged so hard that the good- 
hearted players could not resist, and when Mr. Stone and the 
rest of his company were all changed and ready to start back 
for Boston and the evening show the Six Brown Brothers were 
still missing. Finally Mr. Stone himself had to go and simply 
drag them away, with promises to come again, which they did. 

So it went all through the winter, men coming in almost 
every day, transports landing in Boston laden with war-weary 
doughboys who were shipped immediately to camp, and spent 
an uncomfortable few hours going through the delouser, and 
shifting from their temporary billets in the "rest area" to their 
permanent billets in the camp proper. But their permanent 
billets were permanent in name only, for they were discharged 
or sent to other cantonments nearer their homes just as fast as 
they could be handled. Occasional lack of transportation tied 
up General McCain and his staff sometimes, but for the most 
part the men went through regularly and steadily. It was a 
humdrum process for the men who had to do the demobilizing, 
but an agreeable one for those being demobilized. 

Chapter XIX 

With the coming of spring there also came the last big event 
at Camp Devens — the arrival of the 26th (Yankee) Division, 
those heroic lads who for more than twenty months had trained 
and fought and bled and died in France. The only division 
New England was allowed to put into the fighting line as a 
representative unit, and one which upheld the highest tradi- 
tions of its home states. The coming of these fighters was one 
of the most glorious days New England and Camp Devens 
ever knew. 

It was on April 4 that the first of them arrived. Two days 
before Brigadier-General Charles H. Cole, who had come home 
in advance of the division, arrived at Devens and held confer- 
ences with General McCain and other officers concerned in the 
billeting, provisioning and discharging of the unit, so that when 
the huge transport Mount Vernon steamed majestically into 
Boston Harbor with 5,800 yelling officers and men on board of 
her, and Boston and the rest of New England was almost turn- 
ing inside out with joy over their return, Devens was already 
to receive them. 

That day will go down in history as one of the greatest the 
New England States ever knew. Certainly there was never 
such a reception tendered any other body of men, and nothing 
can ever surpass it for spontaneous joy and relief and just plain 
crazy hilarity. The men stepped right from the transport to 
the trains and were borne through more than fifty miles of 
screaming, whistling, weeping, shouting, clanging Massachu- 
setts countryside. They almost ran a gauntlet of humanity 
right from the transports to the camp, for every town, city and 
hamlet turned out to the last man, woman, child and wiggling 

Colonel George C. Shaw 

Governor McCall, General McCain 

and General Edwards Proudly 

Watch the 12th Division 






The "GLOBE" brings 
Glad Tidings 

( .\n \i\ John F. Conole'y 

Camp Chaplain 

The First Bunch of Wounded Men to Arrive at Devens; Shot to 
Pieces, but Happy to be Home 

Photo by George II. Davis. Jr., Boston Globt 

Discharged! The Last March Through Camp, and One of the 

Col. M. N. Falls Lt.-Col. E. F. Harding Lt.-Col. Frothixgham 

Maj. Philips. Se/rs Chap. J. H. Twitchell Maj. Briggs 

Capt. Vincent Chap. L. A. Ramsay Capt. Whitman 


cur dog to do honor to these men as they steamed by behind 
shrieking and decorated engines. 

On their arrival at camp they were marched right to the rest 
area across from the quartermaster storehouses and all around 
the delousing plant, and there went into temporary billets, 
which consisted largely of tents. Within thirty minutes of the 
time the first trainload arrived, men were on their way through 
that delouser. 

They weren't supposed to meet and greet their loved ones 
until after the deverminizing process was over, but it would 
have taken some force greater than that of arms to keep those 
joy-crazed mothers and fathers and sisters and sweethearts 
back, and in many cases husky, bronzed young fighters were 
swept right into the arms of their dear ones as they stepped 
from the trains, cooties or no cooties. The cooties were about 
the scarcest article to be found on the Y-D men, but the de- 
lousing had to be gone through as a precautionary measure. 

As soon as they had been deloused, however, and came forth 
from the plant, hot and steaming and clean, they were shifted 
to their permanent billets and were allowed to mingle with the 
thousands of loyal New Englanders who flocked to camp to see 
them. Leaves were given, too, for the Yankee Division was to 
stay at Camp Devens for nearly a month so as to be able to 
parade through the streets of Boston as a unit and show the 
battle-scarred ranks to the home folks. 

On the Mount Vernon were the Division Headquarters, with 
Major-General Harry C. Hale, then commander of the division ; 
the Headquarters Troop and Military Police, the Headquarters 
of the 52d Infantry Brigade, the ioist Engineers and the 104th 

The transport America arrived on April 5 with 7,209 officers 
and men, including the ioist Infantry — the Boston Regiment 
— the Headquarters of the 51st Infantry Brigade and the 103d 
Infantry, with Brigadier-General George H. Shelton. They 
received a no less hearty reception. 


The Agamemnon came in on April 7 with the I02d Infantry, 
the 101st Machine Gun Battalion and part of the 101st Field 
Artillery, 5,214 officers and men in all. 

The camp was absorbing them as fast as they came, and they 
were going through the delouser at a greater rate of speed than 
the most optimistic had hoped for, though the debusing plant 
at Camp Devens was only a small one. 

The Mongolia arrived on April 10 with the 51st Artillery 
Brigade, some 4,708 officers and men led by Brigadier-General 
John H. Sherburne. The remainder of the division arrived on 
the Patricia on April 17, the Winifredian. on April 18 and the 
battleship New Jersey. 

General Hale had established the Yankee Division Head- 
quarters in the building just across Division Street from the 
Cantonment Headquarters, and he and his staff were working 
in the closest harmony with General McCain and the canton- 
ment staff. It was one of the finest pieces of teamwork that 
had ever been seen at Camp Devens. 

During the wait for all of the Yankee Division to get in and 
get deloused General Hale kept something doing every minute. 
Part of the men were away on pass all the time, but it was 
arranged that every regiment in the 26th Division should give 
a regimental parade on a separate day, thus affording the home 
folks an opportunity to see their own particular lads go through 
their paces, as permission to send units to their home areas for 
individual parades had been refused in Washington. 

On April 19, when the 101st Infantry staged their parade 
before a perfectly tremendous gathering, General Peyton C. 
March, chief of the General Staff in Washington, arrived at 
Camp Devens for a conference with General McCain and to 
look over Camp Devens, which he had never seen before. He 
appeared on the main parade field where the 101st Infantry 
was drawn up and Colonel Edward L. Logan, commander of 
the regiment, was presented to him. He then made a tour of 
the cantonment with General McCain and departed that night. 


No one knew just what his real reasons were for coming there, 
but they were ostensibly for the purpose of inspecting the 
cantonment with a view to buying it and making of it a per- 
manent military post. 

And Camp Devens had its biggest day still to come. It was 
on April 22, when the 26th Division made its last appearance as 
a full division in military formation. All New England came 
to the camp on that day. At least that was the way it seemed, 
for there was never before nor since such a crowd of humanity 
jammed together on one comparatively small area. The 
Military Police, who had the handling of the crowds, estimated 
that there were a quarter of a million visitors there, and it 
seemed to those who saw the ceremony that their estimate was 
a conservative one. 

Wearing their steel helmets and carrying the weapons that 
had played so noble a part in the whipping of the Boche, the 
Yankee Division was drawn up on the main parade field at 1 
o'clock in the afternoon. The governors of the six New Eng- 
land States were there. So was Major-General Clarence R. 
Edwards, organizer and trainer and commander of the division 
through the greater part of its fighting. The division was in- 
spected by these notables, while the massed bands of the 
division — some 250 pieces — blared forth its stirring music. 

Then came a ceremony New England had never seen before : 
the decorating of the colors of the division units with their 
battle streamers. These long bright ribbons, which were at- 
tached to the staffs of the regimental flags, were awarded by 
the War Department, and they were inscribed with the differ- 
ent battles in which each unit had taken part. The long line 
of colors moved forward to the generals, each color escorted by 
the commander of the regiment. It was a gorgeous spectacle. 

Before the final act of this impressive drama — the last 
review — 49 men received decorations for valor; 48 were mili- 
tary men and the 49th was a civilian, Michael Perkins of 
Boston, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for 


his son, young " Micky " Perkins, the bravest of the brave, who 
gave his life in France. Of the military men who received Dis- 
tinguished Service Crosses and several varieties of foreign 
decorations, General Edwards awarded half and General Hale 
the other half. 

Then came the review, and more than 20,000 men swept 
past a cheering host of proud and happy loved ones in the last 
scrictly military maneuver of the 26th Division. 

On Thursday, April 24, seven long trains, bearing approxi- 
mately half the division, pulled out of Camp Devens bound for 
Boston. The division was to parade there on the 25th, to 
receive more plaudits from the home folks. Those who went 
on Thursday had that night in the city and after the parade 
immediately entrained for camp. The other half of the divi- 
sion went down on Friday morning, participated in the parade 
and returned to camp on Saturday. This was positively their 
last appearance, and on April 28 the demobilization of the 
division began. 

In two short days Camp Devens was turned from a busy 
city, seething with humanity, to what seemed in contrast 
an almost deserted village. For Devens broke all records in 
the country in discharging the 26th Division. The record for 
the number of men discharged by any camp in one day up to 
that time had been about4,ooo. On April 28, General McCain's 
discharging force, under the direction of Captain George C. 
Tait, camp personnel adjutant, discharged over 7,000 individual 
soldiers. These took in the men of the 101st, 103d and 104th 
Infantry Regiments. On the 29th they broke their own record 
by sending out more than 9,000 men. It was a feat as yet 
unparalleled in the military history of this country. 

Chapter XX 

That was really the end of Camp Devens. More men con- 
tinued to come. They came by the thousands, among them a 
number of famous New England units: The 14th (Railway) 
Engineers, recruited from the ranks of New England railroad 
men, and a unit which, despite many handicaps, made a proud 
name for itself and for New England while on the other side. 
The 301st Engineers of the old 76th Division also came in as a 
unit, after having been a part of the Army of Occupation in 
Germany for some time. 

But these outfits were demobilized and the men discharged 
as quickly as possible, and the passing of the 26th Division 
really marked the end of Camp Devens as a center for the pub- 
lic interest. 

Parts of the 32d Division arrived some time after the 26th, 
but they consisted of Middle West National Guard units and 
they were sent out to their own cantonments for discharge 
after being deloused at Camp Devens. The wounded contin- 
ued to come as long as there were any left to be distributed, 
but soon these ceased to arrive, and finally the Base Hospital 
ceased to exist. Much of the great institution was closed up 
and what was kept open was used as a camp hospital only. 

As the number of men dwindled and fewer and fewer came in 
for discharge, the whole Depot Brigade area was closed as well 
as the area known as the 303d and 304th Infantry barracks. 
Then the 302d Infantry area was closed, leaving only the 36th 
Infantry (the old 301st Infantry area) occupying infantry bar- 
racks. The artillery area was used to house the demobiliza- 
tion group as long as there was any left, but as the greater 
portion of our men returned from across the water, and Camp 


Devens got fewer and fewer of them, the demobilization group 
was cut down until there were only about ioo men in it. 
Finally, as there was less and less for it to do, the demobiliza- 
tion group passed out of existence altogether, and with its 
passing Devens ceased to exist as a demobilization center. 

So, while Camp Devens sprang up almost over night as re- 
gards population, it went down gradually, until less than 2,000 
soldiers were left there. New England found it hard to recon- 
cile the cantonment they had known during the war and the 
demobilization period with what they found there during the 
late summer and fall of 1919. From a vast area teeming with 
life and activity, the big camp seemed to sink into a sleepy, 
rather dreary looking expanse covered with weather-beaten 
buildings — and not much else. 

The thousands of buildings that housed the tens of thousands 
of men were not torn down. They were just emptied and 
closed. The equipment they contained was cared for by the 
salvage officers, and the water was drained from the pipes to 
prevent their utter destruction with the arrival of cold weather. 
It was stated that it was considered inadvisable to try and 
dispose of any of the buildings not in use, even had the War 
Department showed any disposition to do so, because it would 
be a losing proposition for the Government in that it would 
actually cost money to give the lumber away, no contractor 
being willing, apparently, to tear down the buildings and carry 
away the material for the value of the material itself. It was 
said to be too expensive a task, owing for one thing to the 
location of the camp. 

So the buildings just stayed there, and because there were 
not enough men stationed at Devens to do the work on top of 
their regular duties, civilian watchmen were hired to patrol 
the abandoned areas and act as guards against fires, etc. Hun- 
dreds of civilians had to be employed in other capacities also, 
in many cases the men who had been doing a particular job 
while in the service taking their discharges and then contin- 


uing with the work as civilian employees at considerably more 
pay than the munificent army remuneration of $30 per. Es- 
pecially was this true of clerks and men who had served in the 
Quartermaster Corps. 

Then, too, the labor battalions, composed of colored lads 
from the South, went back to the land of sunshine, cotton and 
watermelons, and there were not enough men left to do their 
work. So, in the early fall of 1919, a detachment of one hun- 
dred general prisoners was sent up from New York to finish out 
their terms at Devens and there to perform whatever labor was 
required of them. 

Many of these chaps — for the most part pretty good scouts 
who had simply been "out of luck" or rather wild during their 
service on the other side — attracted considerable attention from 
New England people on their arrival at Devens because of the 
disclosures that were then being made regarding the cruelties of 
Lieutenant "Hard-Boiled" Smith to American soldiers who 
came under his jurisdiction at Farm Number 2 near Paris. 
Some of these prisoners who came to Devens had felt the cruel 
and heavy hand of this petty tyrant, who, not content with 
abusing the bodies of American soldiers, sought to crush their 
spirits and if possible their souls. These lads who came to 
Devens told their stories to the Boston Globe and the Globe told 
them to New England. 

And at last even these lads went away, swallowed up by 
hungry cities and towns all over the country. They left at 
least one beautiful piece of work behind them, however. 
Everybody who served at Devens will remember how bare of 
grass and how dusty the main parade field was, especially when 
there was a wind blowing and drills were going on at the same 
time. Well, it isn't bare any more. It was General McCain's 
idea to transform that barren expanse of earth into a green, 
velvety carpet, and he succeeded in doing it. He had the field 
ploughed up and seeded, the prisoners doing most of the work, 
and before the cold weather descended on the camp the main 


parade field was covered with light green, tender grass. In the 
spring it was seeded again and rolled, so that summer found 
it a great, deep green carpet. 

The general also had the ponds which were scattered over the 
camp stocked with fish and the entire reservation stocked with 
birds. This was accomplished through the generous co-opera- 
tion of the Massachusetts Fish and Game Commission. Then 
every officer and man in the camp was made a "game warden, " 
and they proved efficient ones, too. 

General McCain was devoting his every effort to Devens and 
the men in it during the less strenuous times of peace just as he 
did during the busy days of war. He waged extensive recruit- 
ing campaigns throughout New England and brought hundreds 
of men into the Regular service. 

Because of his own efforts and the assistance and co-opera- 
tion of the Knights of Columbus, he had something to offer 
these men that few if any of the other camps in the country had. 
For in the big building near the camp post-office, which used to 
be the Camp Devens laundry, there was now the "Camp Devens 
Schools," an offspring of what would have been the Camp 
Devens Institute mentioned in a preceding chapter. Here men 
stationed at Devens could study almost any trade they chose, 
entirely without cost to themselves. Many a man took advan- 
tage of this opportunity to gain for himself, while serving in the 
army, something he could not have received in civilian life 
without considerable expense and double the amount of work. 

A number of New England fathers and mothers heard about 
this school, wrote to the general for particulars and later sent 
their sons to him for a year of army training, coupled with an 
equal amount of trade training that enabled them on their 
return to civilian life to jump into the industrial scrimmage 
several stages ahead of the lads who were content just to get a 
job on their release from war service and work at it. 

The general is a firm believer in universal training, but he 
insists that some such plan as this, where the young men of the 

"Over the Top" for the Last Time, and Into the Arms of Their Wait- 
ing Families — Overseas Men Returning to Devens for Discharge 

I )\n Was Prei iv I >ARNED ( i 
When i he Bo\ < '.<»r I Iome 





The Colors of the 301 st Engineers Coming Up to Dock at Bostoi 
Just Back from France and Germany 



Devens Had Its Own Railroad Yard, dni.i a Part of Which is Shown 

Here, but This Was the First Glimpse of the Camp 

for Thousands of Men Just Back from France 


country will not only be taught to fight their Nation's battles 
but also their own industrial battles in civilian life, must be 
offered if the universal training idea is to be acceptable to the 
people of the United States. This has been General McCain's 
belief through many years of army experience, and he knows 
well the folly of asking and trying and hoping for a sizeable 
volunteer army in times of peace unless the army has something 
besides a small amount of money each month to offer the men 
of the country in return for their service. 

And while on the subject of what General McCain did for 
Devens, for New England and for the country while he com- 
manded Camp Devens, it might be well to mention what the 
members of Congress — not the War Department — did for him 
in recognition of his services. An honor was conferred on him 
that was not accorded any other officer in the United States 

On October 30, 1919, General McCain was summoned to 
Washington by members of both the United States Senate and 
the House of Representatives. In the room of the Speaker 
of the House, before a delegation of members of both Houses 
and General McCain's wife and daughter, Honorable Champ 
Clark of Missouri, Senator Chamberlain of Oregon who was 
chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee during the 
war, and Honorable "Uncle Joe" Cannon, paid personal and 
representative tribute to the soldier who stood before them. 
To " Uncle Joe " fell the honor of presenting to General McCain, 
in the name of the members of both Houses, a beautiful silver 
pitcher and tray engraved as follows: 

Presented to Major-General H. P. McCain by 
His Admirers in the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the Sixty-Fifth Congress as an 
Evidence of Their High Regard for Him as a 
Soldier and in Appreciation of His Great Effi- 
ciency and Uniform Courtesy While He Was the 
Adjutant-General of the Army. 


Champ Clark declared that there was not a member of the 
House or of the Senate who did not feel under obligation to 
General McCain, and he said that the general was "one of the 
most efficient men who was connected in any way, shape, form 
or fashion with this war." 

Senator Chamberlain said that when, on August 26, 191 8, 
General McCain was transferred from the Adjutant-General's 
Department to command a training division there was not a 
man in the Senate or in the House who did not feel a sense of 
shock at the change. 

" I say that without questioning the purpose of the military 
establishment or the efficiency or ability of General McCain's 
successor," said Senator Chamberlain, "but here was a man 
who had mobilized the army of the United States for the Mex- 
ican Border and had done it splendidly; here was a man who 
had been in the Adjutant-General's Department from 1900 
until 1 91 8, whose ability was conceded and acknowledged by 
everybody, transferred in a night to command a division, 
and everybody knew that that was not his particular line 
of duty. 

"Some of us took the liberty of going to General McCain — I 
among the rest — and suggesting that if his friends could do any- 
thing to keep him where he was and where he had performed 
such splendid service, they would be glad to do it; but, like the 
true soldier and man he is, he said, 'I am, first, a soldier, and 
whatever command I receive I obey.'" 

Senator Chamberlain went on to say that the secretary of 
war and the chief of staff both declared that General McCain 
was sent to train a combat division "because they wanted 
fighting men to train divisions and General McCain was a 
fighting man." 

"Uncle Joe" Cannon said that, while Mississippi claimed 
General McCain, he belonged to the whole United States. 
And then, quietly but sincerely, he paid the following tribute to 
this soldier who had been summoned to Washington: 


I would rather have lived the life General McCain has lived and per- 
formed the service to the Republic that he has performed than to have been 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, to have been a member of the 
Senate or to have had a four-year term as President of the United States. 

General McCain, the country appreciates your great service. History 
will do you full justice, but, after all — and I turn here to Mrs. McCain and 
your daughter — the Congress of the United States and the people of the 
country owe you something now, because when you are dead and gone and 
they are dead and gone, you will be dead, and while it is nice to dwell in 
history as you will, yet some recognition of your great service, as I say, 
ought to be given by the people now. 

General McCain, in presenting you with this testimonial of our apprecia- 
tion we honor most ourselves. 

The following day General McCain returned to Camp Dev- 
ens. In speaking about the ceremony in Washington he said: 

"That is reward enough for me. It means more than I can 
ever tell." 

Later he was made a companion in the Order of St. Michael 
and St. George by the Prince of Wales during the latter's visit 
to this country. 

New England naturally rejoiced with the general as these 
honors were done him, for people felt that in his services being 
so appreciated they were themselves honored. For, with the 
exception of Major-General Clarence R. Edwards, who led the 
first New England men to go to France through months of 
death and glory, there was no division commander so respected 
and loved by the people of the six New England States as 
Major-General Henry P. McCain. 

So, with this poor recitation of the qualities of the last war 
commander of Camp Devens, let us stop. The camp will live 
for years to come, literally as well as in the memory of those 
who served there. For the Government owns it now — about 
3,500 acres of it — and it is a Regular Army Post. 

It was and is a good camp; among the best in the country. 
Some of the fellows who served at other cantonments on this 
side and overseas will vouch for that. For its good points — the 


many respects in which it was superior to other American can- 
tonments — we have the men who served there to thank. They 
are the ones who made it great. And as we look back on our 
Devens days with justifiable pride, perhaps it would be just as 
well for us to remember the fellows who would have given their 
right eye to get overseas, but who, being denied this, stuck to 
the job over here and "carried on" for all they were worth.