Memories of Camp Cody Weblog

February 5, 2023

Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico Has Big Post Office – Part 1

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 2:47 am

Fitted to serve 100,000; Conveniences Modern; Work Never Halts.

A visit to Camp Codys’ post office was an incident of interest recently. The big building with its excellent Arrangement, full equipment and big detail of soldier assistants to the regular post office employees is one of the places in the camp where work never ceases and hurry is not the order of the hour but of the ever-present minute. Major Philpot’s office axiom, “for God’s sake hurry,” does not need to be visibly posted in this place of activity. They either hurry of their own accord or see themselves buried alive in a deluge of mail, outgoing and incoming.

Clerk in charge O.C. Fisber was asked about his office and its experiences, and he had this to say. “Contrary to general belief, mail to and from soldiers in Camp Cody is handled with all the dispatch and accuracy in distribution that obtains in the largest cities in the union, although the task is much more difficult by reason of the fact that the soldiers’ correspondents are often mistaken as to the units to which they are attached, and often address then by nicknames, which of course do not appear in the directory. We have to deal not only with all kinds of chirography, but with addresses in all languages of the civilized nations of the globe. The mother tongues of Xenophobe, Dante, Cervantes, Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, the Kaiser and others to numerous to mention appear in endless procession. Jokers address letters in the Morse and Semaphore codes and shorthand. However, we manage to translate them all. Some of them show a positive genius for misspelling the names of post offices, though as the average of education is higher in military camps than in the cities, this proportion is most great.”

Some Queer Addresses – “We have learned that ‘Neuva Yorka’ is New York; ‘Sn. F. Co.’ is San Francisco; ‘Norlens’ is New Orleans, and ‘Nieu Jersi’ is New Jersey. In phonetics we have ‘Albqkerki’, ‘Petti Looma’ and ‘She Cargo’. But these are the least of our troubles. Much of our mail is directed to Deming without anything to show that it is intended for a soldier. These are referred to the directory which contains the names and ranks of all assigned soldiers.”

“Unfortunately, we have no mind reader to supply addresses of mail simply addressed ‘Pvt. Johnson, Camp Cody’, ‘Corpl. Jones,’ or may be his name is Smith, and the hundreds that Sammy forgot to address and put is return card on.” “Many of the consignment are packed in flimsy containers. After travelling several days under a hundred sacks of mail they may confidently be expected to resemble pancakes composed of hash. Often they announce their arrival, if not in a dead language, at least in a decayed one.” – Camp Cody, Trench and Camp Newspaper – Date Unknown

Camp Cody Post Office, Deming, New Mexico, 1917-1918

January 29, 2023

Camp Cody Days – Deming, New Mexico, 1917-1918 — by Rebecca Seybert (condensed)

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:50 pm

Although in 1916, there was no planning effort being made to prepare the military for war, situations in Mexico made it necessary for troops to be placed along the border. Regular Army forces were placed along the border first, then turned over to National Guard troops. On March 9, 1916, Mexican forces under Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, just thirty miles south of Deming.

The United States Government declared war on April 6, 1917, and realized that all military sources plus more would have to be put into action within a short period of time. Secretary of War, Baker, made the decision to establish thirty-two camps across the country. Existing military posts were unable to handle the number of men expected so camps were to be built within ninety days to house them.

Deming had the remains of the National Guard camp and was considered as a possible site for a national camp. On May 17, 1917, an examining board of Brigadier General Henry Green, United States Army; Lt. Colonel W.S. Walker. Corp of Engineers; Lt. J. Kennedy, Medical Corps; and Major S.V. Ham, Seventh U.S. Infantry, comprising the examination board for selection of camps. Meeting with prominent citizens and businessmen of Deming, questions were answered and blue­prints of Camp Deming were studied. The group of men went to Columbus and on to Douglas, Arizona. On June 14, 1917, Joe Mahoney, prominent businessman, received word from Senator Fall of New Mexico that Deming had been chosen as the site for the camp and the name would be Cody in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. Orders were sent that National Guardsmen from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Dakota would be shipped to Camp Cody. If someone had set off a stick of dynamite in the street it wouldn’t have caused more excitement. Deming was suffering from the customary summer slump and the prospect of a camp made the future much brighter for everyone.

On Friday, June 1, 1917, the Deming Headlight printed a notice of draft registration and who should register. On June 5, 1917 all eligible males between 21 and 30 were to register in their precinct. With the cooperation of Sheriff Simpson hopefully the day would pass uneventful. Friday, June 8, 1917, 427 registered here Tuesday — headline of the Deming Headlight Mayor’s Proclamation, May 25, 1917. Tuesday, June 5, 1917, will be one of the historical days of the American Republic, and it is my desire that Deming shall establish a proud record in heeding President Wilson’s proclamation.

In order that every man between the ages of 21 and 30, inclusive, may be able to register between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., I hereby declare Tuesday, June 5, 1917, to be a holiday, and hereby urgently request all persons to assist Sheriff Simpson and his aides to have every eligible man duly registered according to law. M.A. Nordhaus, Mayor, Deming, N.M., May 25, 1917. (Copy of Mayor’s notice in the Deming Headlight.)

Camp Cody Soldiers Marching Down Town Deming, New Mexico, 1917-1918

January 22, 2023

William Baird visits Cass County soldiers, Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico – 1918

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:00 am

It was my privilege and pleasure to visit the Plattsmouth boys at Camp Cody, Sunday, July 21st. I had written Corporal Malden Brown five days ahead, saying I would arrive on that date, but the mail service is so bad down there that the letter did not reach him until an hour after my arrival in camp.

Sergeant Matt Jirousek was at the train to get a glimpse of civilization. Well, when I hailed him to say he was “delighted” is putting it mildly. Matt escorted me to camp and the headquarters of Cass County Machine Gun Company. We started to locate the boys and the first one we found was Frank SMITH. Frank was busy reading the pages of the “Daily Journal.” Next, Dan COONEY. Dan had just finished a shampoo to get the sand out of his hair. Next was Carl WOHLFARTH, who was lying dreaming of the ice cream and soda fountain of Weyrich & Hadraba. BROWNIE was to the bath houses the boys said he had [print damaged] since their last hike, but had not yet removed all the sand. Brownie has lots of it left. LUTZ was over to the hospital to see a wounded friend, who fooled too long with a bullet intended for the Germans. The Larson boys were in town.

We finally located all of them and I assure you I would gladly make the trip again just to see how pleased those boys were to see some one from home. A finer lot of young men cannot be found than the boys from Plattsmouth and Cass county. Some have gained, some have lost, but all are as fine specimens of manhood as you could find. All are anxious to go across and do their bit and you can rest assured they will give a good account of themselves. They are getting restless and every day they are kept there is going to make it worse for the enemy.

I had dinner with the boys, Matt Jirousek on one side and Brownie on the other. The boys are certainly well-fed. There is one thing they do not get and that is pastry. If some of the many good cooks in Plattsmouth wants to do something, just make a batch of good cookies and send them to any of the boys and they will pass them around as they divide up anything that is sent them.

All of the boys requested me to remember them to all their friends. Several sent personal messages, which I will deliver in person. As I may not see all of their friends, I take this means of carrying out their wishes. – Plattsmouth Journal, Thursday, August 1, 1918

Camp Cody Showers, Deming, New Mexico, 1917-1918

January 15, 2023

Camp Cody’s The 136th Infantry Regiment, Deming, New Mexico

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 3:08 am

The 136th Infantry Regiment consisted of 3 battalions composed of the following companies:

1st Battalion – Company A, B, C and D (Weapons Company)

2nd Battalion – Company E, F, G and H (Weapons Company)

3rd Battalion – Company I, K, L and M (Weapons Company)

During World War I, the 2nd Minnesota was renamed the 136th Infantry but remained in the United States. Later, the 136th Infantry was assigned to the 34th Infantry Division. After completing its training at Camp Cody, New Mexico, the 136th Infantry, as part of the 34th Infantry Division, was shipped overseas. There is suffered the frustration of having its members dispersed to other units, rather than entering the war as a unit. Thus, while many members of the 136th Infantry saw combat in World War I, it was the fate of the unit simply to provide replacements.

Early Morning Roll Call At Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico, 1917=1918

January 9, 2023

Camp Cody Ghost Camp of a War Effort – By Tom Orzech

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 9:47 pm

As one travels across the high desert area of southern New Mexico through the town of Deming, it’s hard to picture a bustling Army camp of 30,000 men just to the north of the freeway. But in 1917 that’s exactly what was located there.

When the United States joined the efforts of WWI, there was a great need for additional Army training posts across the country. The town of Deming was chosen as one of these camps and preparations began to bring the soldiers in. Deming had been a major cattle shipping point and there were major rail connections at this town which would be vital for bringing in men and equipment. In an area located northwest of the town proper lay 1,800 acres of desert which would become Camp Cody.

Cost did not seem an important factor in building the camp. The war was on and trained men and trained animals were needed immediately for the war effort. The camp was constructed at a cost of over $2,000,000 and was laid out with 3 main streets running east and west with several cross streets intersecting them. These cross streets can still be seen today as long mounds extending at fairly equal intervals crossing the main streets. The streets were sprayed with crude oil to keep down the dust and there was also talk of coating the parade ground the same way.

The camp opened in October 1917. A weekly camp newspaper was published by the El Paso Herald titled the Trench and Camp. This newspaper described first-hand the daily life of the recruits and the hardships they encountered.

Entertainment was at a minimum at the camp. Movies, games, and speakers were provided at the “Y.” The camp library with 15,000 volumes did a demanding business with the majority of readers wishing to read about the great battles of the Civil War. Many men hiked out to old Fort Cummings to get a feel for Army life during the Indian Wars.

It was a Federal offense to sell intoxicating liquor to soldiers in uniform and this rule was enforced in the Deming area. Camp Cody soldiers found a way around this by purchasing large amounts of lemon extract, of which alcohol was a major ingredient. The street commissioner of Deming reported that the city had to repeatedly close down “comfort stations” until his workmen could get around to cleaning out the large quantities of extract bottles which clogged the “stations.”

Orders to dismantle and abandon the camp came in December 1918. The base hospital remained open as a military tuberculosis sanitarium until 1922 when it was transferred to the Deming Chamber of Commerce. A fire completely destroyed the complex in 1939. – From page 36 of the May 1992 issue of Lost Treasure magazine. Copyright © 1992, 2001 Lost Treasure, Inc.

Birdseye View Of Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico, 1917-1918

December 25, 2022

Divisional training center was awarded to Camp Cody in Deming, New Mexico

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:23 pm

Compared with the momentous events of 1916, World War I proved to be an anticlimax for Fort Bliss. In the spring of 1917 the post seemed destined for even greater expansion: the government allocated $850,000 for improvements necessitated by the augmented garrison, and the Quartermaster Corps was planning a $100,000 upgrade of the water and sewer system. It also seemed certain that a divisional training center would be located at Fort Bliss) The post was eminently suited for such an undertaking, because the camps recently evacuated by the National Guard easily could accommodate a division of trainees.

The divisional training cantonment never materialized, because El Paso had incurred the wrath of Secretary of War Newton D. Baker. Baker was a man of firm convictions who believed in strict morals. He abhorred having liquor and prostitution available to the troops. He disapproved on moral grounds, and he thought that vice lowered the Army’s effectiveness.

Baker had included a provision in the Selective Service Act prohibiting the sale of alcohol to military personnel and establishing a dry zone around Army installations. The secretary also announced that only 4 those localities that actively protected soldiers from vice would be designated as training centers. He took a dim view of El Paso’s well-deserved reputation as a town where a soldier could have a good time. In fact he publicly stated that “El Paso must clean up.”‘ Faced with the prospect of losing the millions of dollars that a training center represented, El Paso city fathers launched what proved to be a half-heated campaign against vice.

Their efforts failed to satisfy Baker. The divisional training center was awarded to Deming, where the town’s small size and relative isolation would provide the troops with less temptation. El Pasoans could only observe wistfully as Camp Cody blossomed in Deming. The 23,000 troops eventually stationed at Camp Cody were supplied from the Quartermaster Depot in El Paso, but this was of little consolation. 6 The loss of the divisional training center was a blow to Fort Bliss, for it lessened the institutional growth of previous years.

Camp Cody Showers All in a Line. 1917-1918

December 18, 2022

Camp Cody Base Hospital No. 29

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 2:33 pm

Base Hospital No. 29 was organized at City and County Hospital, Denver, Colo., on April 5, 1917, and was mobilized at Camp Cody, New Mexico, during March, 1918. The unit trained at Camp Cody and at Camp Crane, Allentown, Pa., until July 5, 1918, when it left for Hoboken, N. J., arriving there on July 6, 1918, when it embarked on the Empress of Russia, and sailed the same date for Europe. The unit arrived in England on July 17, 1918, and was assigned to duty at North Eastern Fever Hospital, London, where it arrived on the night of July 19, 1918. It took over the hospital from the British on August 1, 1918. The hospital cared for 3,976 cases, of which 2,351 were surgical and 1,625 were medical.

(The statements of fact appearing herein are based on the “History, Base Hospital No. 29, A. E. F.,” by the commanding officer of that hospital. The history is on file in the Historical Division, S. G. O., Washington, D. C.)

Camp Cody Hospital Area, Deming, New Mexico 1918

December 12, 2022

WWI 34th Divisional Insignia Collector Card #152

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 5:35 am

WWI 34th Divisional Insignia Collector Card #152 c. 1920; 34th Division known as Sandstorm Division. Insignia for those troops from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Dakota which were trained at Camp Cody. These insignia had not been officially authorized by the United States Army but during the summer of 1918, the 81st Division embarking from Hoboken showed up at port with every man wearing a wildcat insignia. Within a week, divisions began creating their own insignias to follow. The Army had not much choice but to go along with it. This card is 2 1/2″ x 1 1/2″

34th Division Card No 152 – Front & Back

December 3, 2022

New York Prepared For Influenza Siege

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:52 pm

Camp Dix, Wrightown New Jersey – September 18 – In spite of previous reports to the contrary, there were only 150 cases of influenza in the base hospital at Camp Dix today. The balance of the cases, including most of the 200 that were reported yesterday, are being treated in the regimental infirmaries. Of the cases in the base hospital thirty-five have developed pneumonia. Of five deaths from pneumonia at Camp Dix yesterday three were traceable to influenza. The organizations that have been hit hardest are those made up of hardy Westerners of the 34th Division from Camp Cody. – The New York Times – September 19, 1918

November 27, 2022

History of 34th Infantry Division – World War 1

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:27 am

Background: On 15 July 1917, the National Guard of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota were
called into Federal Service, and on 18 July 1917 they were designated as the 34th Division. Concentration
began at Camp Cody, NM, on 3 August 1917. Movement overseas commenced on 20 August 1918 and was
completed by 24 October 1918. When the division arrived in France it was too late to see any action in World
War I as the war ended the following month. On 17 October 1918, the War Department directed that the division
be skeletonized, and many units were stripped of soldiers as they arrived in France.

Nickname: “Sandstorm” Division. – The bovine skull on the insignia is a conventionalization of the Mexican water flask,
and with the name, Sandstorm Division, is strongly suggestive of the State where the division was organized and trained.

Primary Units of the 34th Infantry Division

67th Infantry Brigade:
133d Infantry Regiment
134th Infantry Regiment
126th Machine Gun Battalion
68th Infantry Brigade:
135th Infantry Regiment
136th Infantry Regiment
127th Machine Gun Battalion
59th Field Artillery Brigade:
125th Field Artillery Regiment *
126th Field Artillery Regiment (75mm)
127th Field Artillery Regiment (155mm)
109th Trench Mortar Battery

Divisional Troops:

125th Machine Gun Battalion*
109th Engineer Regiment
109th Field Signal Battalion
109th Train Headquarters and MP
109th Ammunition Train
109th Supply Train
109th Engineer Train
109th Sanitary Train (Ambulance Companies & Field Hospitals 133, 134, 135, 136)

34th Sandstorm Living Emblem , Deming, New Mexico

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