Life at Camp Mills

April 17, 1918 – Full diary entry:

“Drill all day. Rained all night.”

This is a bit of a stretch, but here’s an account of a group of soldiers at Camp Mills a few months earlier, during December 1917. Obviously Robert would have experienced warmer weather, but I can’t say how much had improved in the camp by the time he arrived.

Conditions were miserable. It continually rained, snowed or sleeted. There were no drainage facilities and water ran down the camp streets almost six inches deep. it was in the winter and there was no adequate means of providing warmth. There was no mess hall. The kitchen was under a crude shelter looking much like a pole barn. The lads had to carry their mess kits back to their tents to eat. The kits would fill with the rain. The water pipes were frozen half the time. There was no bath house and the only means of taking a bath was to heat a bucket of water and take a sponge bath in one’s tent or wait until one could get a pass and go into town to a public bath house.

There was, of course, a saving grace. The camp was convenient to New York City and passes were given liberally. As explained by Paul M. Davis and Allen W.Hale in their 1919 History of Batter”C”, 148th Field artillery, passes were given out on Saturday at one o’clock, enabling those that received a pass to be absent from Saturday at One o’clock to Monday at Reveille. The good times in New York were not described, “for every one knows what an enjoyable time one can have in that gay city.”

Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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