August 1916

8th Regiment HQ, Camp Cotton

“There wasn’t a shot fired from our men last night which speaks very good for us. Company K is covering a distance of about 1 ½ miles which makes it very hard for the men to get any sleep. This would be all right if it only lasted for about three or four days, but where we have been doing this duty for the last month it gets pretty tiersome.” Letter from Sam Avery, 8/12/16

In mid- August, 1916 the annual rainy season commenced with a sudden deluge, flash flood and high winds that caused widespread destruction throughout Camp Cotton. While this became a daily occurrence each afternoon, it was also augmented by the hurricane that struck Corpus Christi, Texas on August 18, 1916.

Morning Drill, Camp Cotton 1916

By August 20, the political situation with Mexico had changed and it was apparent that the National Guard troops would not be needed for an invasion of Mexico after all. Along with this disappointment, morale among the ranks was negatively affected by several other factors: Constant rumors from the newspapers that the troops would soon be recalled were both ever-present and ever-changing; An order received authorizing the release from duty on September 1, 1916 of any Guardsman who wished to attend college in the Fall was promptly rescinded; and many men whose families suffered serious economic hardship from the extended deployment received no financial relief from the State as had been promised. In spite of this, the Y.M.C.A. helped maintain morale by providing recreational facilities and various support services to the men. Individual Companies also organized and performed vaudeville shows while Regiments competed against each other and nearby units of the Regular Army in sports such as baseball and boxing. Individually the men would sing, play cards or write letters home to while away the evening hours. Overall, the men were happiest when they were busy out in the field both facing the enemy and accomplishing their mission.

Read Soldier’s Mail for August, 1916 here.

Patrolling the dunes outside El Paso, 1916

Church Service, Camp Cotton 1916

Published on May 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for sharing! I love to read old diaries. They tell so many interesting stories. I’d never realized that the US considered invading Mexico during the same time period as WWI.

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