The National Guard Camps - 1917
The New York National Guard in Camp. The Quantities of Canvas Required for the National Guard Camps and the "Regular Army Were as Great a Problem as the Lumber and Labor Needs at the Cantonments. Indeed, It Was Nearly Decided That Sufficient Tenting Material Could Not Be Secured, and the National Guard Camps Would Have to Have Buildings like Those for the National Army. But, like the Other Problems, This Ore Was Met and Solved and the Canvas Was Produced. the "Rainbow Division" Is Tenting Tonight—over There. © 1917 Underwood & Underwood. The National Geographic Magazine, November 1917. GGA Image ID # 19c8768e72
Brief descriptions of each National Guard Training Camp, including information about its location, climate, how the camp was named, and basic history.
The National Guard Camps include: Camp Greene, Camp Wadsworth, Camp Sevier, Camp Hancock, Camp Wheeler, Camp McClellan, Camp Sheridan, Camp Shelby, Camp Beauregard, Camp Logan, Camp MacArthur, Camp Bowie, Camp Doniphan, Camp Cody, Camp Kearny, and Camp Fremont.
Camp Greene, training ground for the National Guard of the New England States, lies partly within the city limits of Charlotte, N. C. The elevation here is about 720 feet, with an average temperature of 60°. The record high temperature is 102°, and -5° is the mercury’s lowest mark.
Charlotte is on the Piedmont and Northern, the Southern, the Norfolk Southern, and the Seaboard Air Line railroads. It is situated in the gold-mining region of the State, has many cotton mills, clothing and other manufactories. Electric power is cheap here. The population' is about 35.000.
Charlotte was settled about 1750 and became a county seat just before the war for independence. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, which is held to have anticipated the Jeffersonian document, was signed here in May 1775.
Camp Greene is named for a New England hero of the American Revolution— Nathanael Greene, of Rhode Island. He was trained as a Quaker but was one of the first to take part in military preparations of the Colonies.
So extraordinary were the conditions under which the American Army was organized, that Nathanael Greene went under fire for the first time as a major general. His most noteworthy service to the American cause was rendered after he took command of the Army of the South, in October 1780.
There he gained his ends more often by retreats and losing battles than by victory, and won a medal of honor from Congress, a tribute from his Commander-in-Chief to the “peculiar abilities of General Greene,” and the acknowledgment by his distinguished opponent, Cornwallis, that he was “as dangerous as Washington—vigilant, enterprising, and full of resource.”
The former National Guardsmen of the Empire State are being trained at Camp Wadsworth, about six miles southwest of Spartanburg, S. C. One extremity of the site lies at Fair Forest, a station on the line of the Southern Railway to Atlanta, and the national highway, which passes through Spartanburg, runs close to the camp.
This region has an average annual temperature of 61°, with -4° as the average lowest temperature and 104° as the average highest. The elevation is about 875 feet. This location averages less sunshine than any other camp site, with 164 days clear or partly cloudy each year. It is the center of a cotton manufacturing district. About ten miles away is Cowpens, one of the important Battlefields of the Revolution.
In October 1917, Camp Wadsworth was the largest of the National Guard cities. Its population was more than one and a half times as large as Spartanburg, and Charleston was the only city in the State which housed more inhabitants.
Camp Wadsworth is named for J. S. Wadsworth, a New Yorker and a gallant soldier of the Civil War. From March to December 1862, he was military governor of Washington, D. C., and was defeated during the same year in the campaign for governor of New York. He played a conspicuous part in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. On May 6, 1864, while leading a division in the battle of the Wilderness, he received a mortal wound and died two days later. He was brevetted a major general of volunteers for heroism in this battle.
The federalized National Guardsmen from Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina are being trained at one of the most delightful camps in the South. The maneuver grounds and the site of Camp Sevier occupy about 2.000 acres where were, until recently, dense woods of oak and pine and fields of corn and cotton, about six miles northeast of Greenville, S. C.
The country is rolling, and the camp boasts pure air, pure water, and no mosquitoes. The main line of the Southern Railway to Washington divides the camp proper from the maneuver grounds. Paris station is located just at the boundary of the encampment. The maneuver field is crossed lengthwise by a stream of considerable size.
This region has sunshine on 254 days of the average year. Its annual mean temperature is 58o, and —50 is the record low temperature. The cool mountain air tempers the summer heat, which seldom goes above 97 °.
Greenville, the nearest town and the county seat, was settled in the year of the Declaration of Independence and incorporated in 1831. It is of considerable industrial importance and is noted as an educational center, with four colleges. Four railroads run into Greenville, connecting it directly with Knoxville, Columbia, Charleston, Atlanta, and Washington.
Col. John Sevier, for whom this camp is named, became famous as an Indian fighter, and was made a brigadier general under Marion in 1781. He proclaimed himself governor of the “State of Franklin,” in the territory, which is now Tennessee, when North Carolina wished to cede those western lands to Congress.
The “State of Franklin” collapsed, but Sevier’s conduct did not prevent his becoming later a member of the North Carolina Senate, and still later (1790), representing that State in Congress. He enjoyed the unusual distinction of having been sent to Congress at different times by two States, for he represented Tennessee from 1811 to 1815, having previously served in that State’s Senate and for three terms as Governor.
Send-off for New York National Guardsmen. It Is as Difficult to Discover the Characteristic Gray Decorum of Fifth Avenue in This Thrilling Spectacle as It Is to Find the Man Who Used to Wish, the Unenlightened Days of 1914, That "People Wouldn’t Talk so Much about the War!" © Underwood & Underwood. The National Geographic Magazine, November 1917. GGA Image ID # 19c8860091
Camp Hancock, the National Guard home for Pennsylvania troops, adjoins the southwest city limits of Augusta, Ga., and comprises 2,000 acres, on which are 800 permanent buildings. The Georgia Railroad to Atlanta runs along the southern border of the site and connects with the Southern Railway’s union station in the city. A lake formed by the south fork of Rae Creek lies at the northwestern extremity of the camp.
Augusta’s climate has all the charms of the Sunny South. Two hundred and sixty-seven days of the average year are clear or only partly cloudy; the lowest winter temperature is three degrees above zero, the maximum in summer is 105°, and the mean temperature is 64°. The city is one of the most popular inland winter resorts in the United States.
Augusta was founded in 1735 by the English philanthropist and soldier, James Edward Oglethorpe, to whom the colony of Georgia was granted by George II. For nine years Oglethorpe labored to establish in this wilderness a colony which would remedy the evil of debtors’ prisons in England. He was the guiding spirit in the administration of the colony and its defender against the hostile tide of Spanish colonists and Indians on the south.
Financial obligations incurred in promoting the colony compelled his return to England, but he retained his interest in American affairs and was one of the earliest to assure the first ambassador of the independent United States to England of his regard for the new nation and his satisfaction that the difficulties between it and Great Britain were at an end.
The city stands at the head of navigation on the Savannah River, making possible an all-water connection with eastern markets. Nine railroads give it further commercial advantages. It has many industries, among which cotton manufacture predominates, giving the city the name “the Lowell of the South.”
Winfield Scott Hancock, for whom this camp is named, ranks high on the roll of American soldiers. A West Point graduate, he earned a first lieutenancy in the Mexican War. Commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers at the beginning of the Civil War, he rose to the rank of major general in the Regular Army during that conflict.
At Williamsburg his conduct was mentioned by General McClellan as “superb/’ Hancock’s Division is credited with having saved the Federal forces from a rout at Chancellorsville. He was wounded at Gettysburg, where he won distinction for his judgment and tactical skill, qualities which were sternly required for the part he later played in the Wilderness campaign.
He saw more service during the Reconstruction days and was the unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency against Garfield. A Pennsylvanian by birth, he is appropriately honored in this camp for Pennsylvania’s soldiers.
Camp Wheeler lies seven miles southeast of Macon, Ga. Here the National Guard troops of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia are in training. The Macon, Dublin and Savannah Railroad crosses the camp and connects with the Southern Terminal in Macon.
Macon is the center of an extensive cotton trade and has steamboat connection with Brunswick and Savannah.
The climate is generally mild and pleasant, with an average annual temperature of 63°. The record high temperature is 104°, while winter rigors may hardly be said to exist, the lowest mark of the mercury being io°. The elevation is between 300 and 400 feet. In the average year about 246 days are clear or only partly cloudy.
General Joseph E. Wheeler, for whom this camp is named, was born at Augusta, Ga. A West Point graduate of 1859, he became one of the ablest cavalry leaders of the Confederate army and rose to the rank of lieutenant general. After the war lie served for 19 years in Congress, then, returning to the army, commanded a U. S. cavalry division in the Spanish- American War.
After two years more of service, commanding a brigade in the Philippines, he was commissioned a brigadier general and retired in 1900. He died in 1906 and was buried at Arlington.
Five miles from Anniston, Ala., is located Camp McClellan, the encampment for the National Guardsmen of New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. A great expanse of maneuver grounds extends north and east from the encampment.
The advantages of this location for military operations were recognized several years ago, and the National Guard of eight Southern States held their field maneuvers here in 1912. Camp and town are surrounded by the foothills of the Blue Ridge.
The record high temperature is 1030 and the annual average 61°. The lowest record of the mercury is 9° above zero. The sun shines on 208 days of the average year.
Anniston was founded in 1873 by the Woodstock Iron Company, and for ten years existed merely as a part of that company’s business.
This camp bears a name that is conspicuous in the military annals of the United States. Major General George B. McClellan was a West Point graduate of 1846.
In the Mexican War he was brevetted first lieutenant and later captain for gallantry. Between the Mexican and the Civil War he was one of three officers commissioned as military observers in the Crimea, and then leaving the army he became first an official of the Illinois Central and afterward president of the St. Louis and Cincinnati Railroad.
At the outbreak of the Civil War he was appointed major general of volunteers and made a successful campaign in West Virginia. After the first battle of Bull Run, he was placed in command of the Army of the Potomac, having been commissioned a major general in the Regular Army, and in November 1861, he became commander of the Army of the United States.
In the presidential election of 1864, McClellan was Lincoln’s opponent, and was defeated by a popular majority of about 400,000. Thereafter he was occupied chiefly with engineering enterprises and served one term as Governor of New Jersey, declining renomination.
Camp Sheridan, occupied by troops of the National Guard of Ohio and West Virginia, lies north of the city limits of Montgomery, Ala.
The sun shines in Montgomery about 260 days a year. The average annual temperature is 65°, with 107° as the greatest summer heat and 5° above zero as the record in low temperature.
The hostess city of this encampment is also the State capital. It is situated at the head of navigation of the Alabama and built for the most part on the high bluff above the river. With its many fine old- fashioned residences and beautiful gardens, Montgomery retains some of the leisurely charm of plantation days, but in other respects it is typical of the new South.
It is a great inland cotton market and has a fortunate location with regard to timber and deposits of iron and coal. Its manufacturing interests are important.
No State was more zealous in the Secession movement than Alabama, and it was from Montgomery that the telegraphic order to fire on Fort Sumter was dispatched. The Confederate Government was inaugurated by Jefferson Davis in the State House here, on February 18, 1861. Today this “Cradle of the Confederacy” is welcoming the sons of two Northern States who are to be defenders of the honor and ideals of North and South alike.
Camp Sheridan is named for General Philip Henry Sheridan, whose brilliant part in the Civil War is familiar to every American.
Camp Shelby, where the National Guardsmen of Indiana and Kentucky are encamped, is located about ten and a half miles southeast of Hattiesburg, Miss., with its 15,000 inhabitants. The camp site was heavily wooded. About 180,000 stumps had to be blown out in the course of construction. The camp is oblong in shape and comprises something more than three square miles, with a target range one-mile square adjoining it on the east. The Leaf River flows southeast from Hattiesburg and the tributary Jacobs Creek enters the campgrounds.
The average temperature for the year, in this region, is 67°, with 103° as the greatest summer heat. One degree below zero stands as the extreme record in low temperatures. Although only 226 days a year are clear or only partly cloudy, a smaller total than in most of the southeastern camps, 177 days are cloudless.
This camp is named for a Revolutionary soldier, Colonel Isaac Shelby. A native of Maryland, at the age of 24 he became a lieutenant under his father’s command. By 1777 he had risen to the rank of colonel; he played a distinguished part in the battle of King’s Mountain and served in the Southern campaign under Greene.
He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1778 and later a member of the North Carolina legislature. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention, and in 1792 Governor of Kentucky, after playing an important part in bringing that State into an existence separate from Virginia.
As governor he served two terms, and then, in a crisis of the War of 1812, returned to military service and went to the relief of General Harrison in Canada, with 4,000 Kentucky volunteers. He received a medal from Congress for his services in the battle of the Thames. His name and fame are commemorated in the South and West, where there are nine Shelby counties.
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas National Guard forces are spending their preparation period at Camp Beauregard, adjacent to Alexandria, La. Camp Beauregard is located in the heart of the long- leaf pine district, with forests stretching in every direction for some 75 miles. In the immediate vicinity of the city, to the north of the Red River, are cotton, sugar, and alfalfa Fields, while south of the river there are rich farming districts.
Alexandria has a war history of interest. In the spring of 1863 Admiral Porter, with a fleet of river boats, cooperated with General Banks in driving the Confederates westward. In 1864 the town was again occupied by Union troops, as a concentration camp for the land and water forces to be sent against General Kirby Smith at Shreveport.
The gunboats passed up the river toward Shreveport while high water prevailed but were caught above the falls at Alexandria and would have been lost but for the timely work of Lieut. Col. Joseph Bailey, who constructed a dam which saved them.
Camp Beauregard was named for General P. G. T. Beauregard, of the Confederate Army. Born in New Orleans in in 1818, he was graduated from West Point in 1838- In the fall of 1860 he was appointed superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, a position he resigned to enter the Confederate Army.
He began the Civil War by his bombardment of Fort Sumter. He was second in rank at the first battle of Bull Run, and at Shiloh succeeded Albert Sidney Johnston when the latter fell. He was with Lee at Petersburg, and later went West, surrendering with Joseph E. Johnston. After the war he was offered first the command of the Rumanian armies and later of the Egyptian forces under the Khedive of Egypt but declined both offers. He died in 1893.
Five miles west of Houston, Tex., is the Illinois Guardsmen’s Camp Logan.
This location has the highest average annual temperature of any National Guard encampment, 69°, the mercury’s highest record being 102° and the lowest 15° above zero. The sun shines here about 256 days a year, of which 120 days are partly cloudy.
Houston is a city of 94,000 inhabitants. It is a railroad center of importance and has direct water communication with the Gulf at Galveston, about 50 miles to the southeast, by way of the Houston Ship Channel. The city is a prosperous distributing market for cotton and lumber, and exports cotton-seed oil, rice, and sugar in large quantities.
The city is named for Sam Houston, soldier and leader in the early history of Texas, second president of that Republic, and later governor and senator from the State. It was founded in the year of Texas’ independence, 1836, and was the capital of the Republic in 1837-39 and 1842.
Camp Logan commemorates an Illinois military leader. John Alexander Logan was a member of Congress at the outbreak of the Civil War and resigned his seat to enter the army as colonel of the 31st Illinois Volunteers. He distinguished himself in the Vicksburg campaign as a division commander and was the military governor of the city after its capture.
After the war he was again elected to Congress, serving one term in the House and two in the Senate. He was the Republican vice-presidential candidate on the ticket with James G. Blaine and was reelected to the Senate by Illinois after the Democratic presidential victory.
Camp MacArthur, northeast of the city limits of Waco, Tex., is the training ground for the guardsmen of Michigan and Wisconsin. Waco is a city of about 33,000 inhabitants and is situated on both sides of the Brazos River. Artesian wells supply waters of widely known medicinal properties.
Texas climate offers a rather wide range of temperature, the highest record at Waco being 109° and the lowest 5°. The annual average is 67°.
Camp MacArthur bears the name of a distinguished general, Arthur MacArthur, a native of Massachusetts. His military service began in 1862, and during the Civil War he attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel of volunteers and was awarded a Congressional medal of honor for gallantry in the battle of Missionary Ridge.
Following the close of the war he entered the Regular Army and saw service in Cuba and in the Philippines, holding the position of governor of the Islands and commander of the Division of the Philippines. Upon his return to the United States he became assistant Chief of Staff and was in command at different times of the departments of Colorado, of the Lakes, of the East, and of the Division of the Pacific.
The National Guard forces of Texas and Oklahoma were mobilized and are being trained at Camp Bowie, near Fort Worth, Tex., in the northeastern section of the State. It is in the center of a vast stock-raising and agricultural region and is one of the leading meat-packing towns of America. Having n trunk-line railroads, with 16 outlets. Fort Worth is the great distributing point of the Southwest. The city was merely a frontier post in 1849, and in 1873 had only 1,100 population. Today it is a busy metropolis, with more than 75,000 inhabitants.
Camp Bowie was named for James Bowie, by courtesy a “colonel,” who was born in Georgia and died in Texas. He took part in the Texas Revolution and fell at the Alamo. The bowie knife gets its name from this intrepid frontiersman. In an encounter with some Mexicans he broke his sword to within 20 inches of the hilt but found that upon sharpening the point he was able to do such execution in hand-to-hand combat that he equipped all of his followers with a similar weapon, since known as the bowie knife.
Situated near the town of Lawton, Kans., in the county of Comanche, on the Fort Sill Military Reservation, Camp Doniphan is the place of training for the National Guard forces of Kansas and Missouri. Here also is located a field artillery training school for the Regular Army.
In 1901 Lawton, as a part of the Comanche Indian Reservation, was opened for settlement. By the day set for the opening 25,000 people were encamped near the vacant town site, forming a tent frontage eight miles long. The lands released at that time were larger than the State of Connecticut and within three months had a population of 50,000.
Camp Doniphan was named for Col. Alexander William Doniphan, of the First Missouri Cavalry. He was born in Kentucky in 1808 and died in Missouri in 1887. During the Mexican War he led an expedition across the Rio Grande and was marching in the direction of Chihuahua when he was attacked unexpectedly by 4,000 Mexicans.
Although greatly outnumbered, he routed the attacking forces and captured Chihuahua. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, Colonel Doniphan was one of the commissioners to a peace convention which met at Washington and sought unsuccessfully to find a basis of compromise upon which both sides could unite and thus avert the then impending military struggle.
At Camp Cody, New Mexico, troops from North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota are being trained. The camp is situated partly inside the limits of the little plains city of Deming, less than 40 miles from the Mexican border. The site offers an expanse of flat country between a branch of the Southern Pacific Railway and the Santa Fe. A plentiful supply of pure water is raised from wells by electric pumps.
Deming has 255 cloudless days a year and sunshine on 308 days; it averages more sunshine than any other camp site. The elevation here is about 4,300 feet. Fifty-nine degrees is the annual mean temperature, with 110° as the highest record of the mercury and 9° above zero as the lowest. The city is a health resort and the trade center of a mining and cattle-raising district. The award of the camp site necessitated the moving of railroad stock yards for sanitary reasons.
This camp was named in honor of William F. Cody, last of the great American scouts, whose fame justly ranks with that of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Kit Carson.
Camp Kearny, 15 miles north of San Diego, Cal., where the National Guardsmen of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona are stationed, is in a country which has some of the aspects of southern France—the gray olive orchards, the mulberry trees of the silk-growers, sparkling blue sea, and golden sunshine.
Nature has lavished beauty, fertility, and an almost perfect climate upon this region. The coldest month has an average temperature of 54° and the warmest month averages about 70°.
Between San Diego and the camp site is the old Mission of San Diego, the first settlement of white men in California, dating from 1769. Pacific Beach and Coronado Beach offer the pleasures of the seashore, combined with semi-tropical gardens of brilliant color and beauty and modern hotels and comforts.
The harbor of San Diego is one of the finest in the world. Acres of parks and gardens add to the natural beauty of its situation. Commercially it profits by several railroads and steamship lines. Its present population of about 51,000 is almost triple that of 1900.
Camp Kearny was named for General Stephen W. Kearny, a lieutenant in the War of 1812 and a prominent figure in the Mexican War. In 1846 he became a brigadier general and was given command of the Army of the West, with which he conquered New Mexico. He then entered California, with instructions from the Secretary of War to set up a civil government.
Later he was ordered to Mexico, in 1848 was appointed Governor of Vera Cruz, and subsequently of Mexico City, where he contracted a fever from which he died after his return to the States.
Camp Frémont is situated at Menlo Park, 33 miles from San Francisco, on the Southern Pacific Railway’s coastline. It was intended for the use of National Guardsmen of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, but before its completion difficulties arose with the local authorities as to the kind of sewerage system to be installed.
The controversy delayed the work of construction, necessitating the distribution among other camps of the Guardsmen originally allotted to this mobilization center. Now practically completed, there are no Guardsmen to occupy the camp. It is being utilized, therefore, to house artillery, cavalry, and infantry detachments of the Regular Army.
Menlo Park is a district of beautiful residences and grounds; one mile east is Palo Alto, the station nearest to Leland Stanford University, while to the south runs the lovely Santa Clara Valley.
The average annual temperature is 58 degrees, and the variation from, this throughout the year is slight. The San Francisco region has sunshine 283 days of the year and an average of 141 cloudless days.
Camp Frémont honors a name noted in the spectacular, romantic days of early California and the West. John Charles Fremont, an American, son of a French father, was distinguished as a soldier, explorer, and political leader. His career as an explorer began about 1837, when he took part in railway surveys in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. His next survey took him farther west and secured him an appointment as second lieutenant in the Topographical Corps, U. S. A.
In 1842, with 21 men, he made his first expedition to the far West, Fremont Peak, of the Wind River Range, receiving its name in that year. The following year he commanded a second expedition, with the object of supplementing the work of Commander Wilkes on the Pacific coast. Fremont’s report, published in 1844, created a sensation.
His third expedition became of vital importance in the acquisition of California. Upon the refusal of the Mexican officials to allow him to continue his exploration, he fortified his party near Monterey, thus taking the first step of the Mexican War in California. When the settlers of the turbulent Sacramento Valley replied to Mexican threats of expulsion by the capture of Sonoma and by hoisting the “Bear Flag,” Captain Frémont took command, creating an American military occupation.
His part in the following events was complicated, and after the war he resigned from the service, feeling that he had been deeply wronged. He led a fourth and a fifth expedition to the Pacific, neither of which yielded important results. He was appointed a major general at the outbreak of the Civil War and resigned from service for the second time in 1864.
His devotion to the project of a Pacific railway involved him in financial ruin during the panic of 1873. From 1878 to 1882 he was Governor of Arizona. In 1890, shortly before his death, he was reappointed a major general on the retired list. Fremont River, Fremont Pass, and the town of Frémont, Ohio, all commemorate his name.
The National Geographic Society has contributed a subscription to the National Geographic Magazine to every YMCA and Knights of Columbus reading room and every Camp Library (upwards of 1,000 copies) in each of the National Army Cantonments, National Guard Camps, Regular Army Mobilization Camps, Aviation Camps, Embarkation Camps, Naval Camps and Training Stations throughout the United States.
William Joseph Showalter, “America’s New Soldier Cities: The Geographical and Historical Environment of the National Army Cantonments and National Guard Camps,” in The National Geographic Magazine, Vol. XXXII, Nos. 5-6, November-December 1917, pp. 467-476.