Company K at the border — Wrong turn on march to Camp Whitman
This is the latest in a series of posts about the deployment of National Guard Company K of Glens Falls during the Mexican border conflict of 1916.
A wrong turn at a cross roads stretched what was supposed to be a five-mile Day Two march into a 13-mile march for Company K, after marching 7.5 miles the previous evening, with another 10 miles to go on the third day.
“We marched 13 miles over bad roads. … We marched four miles (after the wrong turn) before we became aware that a mistake had been made,” wrote a “special correspondent” that submitted regular updates to The Post-Star by mail and telegraph. “We had to turn around and walk back and then begin practically over. All men are marching under full service loads.”
It was a strain, but the boys of Company K endured better than some counterparts.
“Three or four of our boys were forced to fall out of line and rest, but they reported to us later. K Company, however, has a much better record than most of the other companies.”
“K Company has several records for the regiment,” the correspondent wrote in a later dispatch. “First of all our outfit is the only one which did not have a man drop out and need treatment after the long ‘hike’ into Whitman.”
Company K departed the train at Poughkeepsie at 5 p.m. June 25 and arrived at Camp Whitman at Green Haven at 10:10 a.m. on June 27.
Enlisted men camped in “dog tents” and officers, who did not have tents, took overnight refuge in barns.
“Mice ran over their feet and played a few pranks with them, and that made sleep a little difficult.”
The correspondent had to be creative in submitting four dispatches over three days.
“There is not a scrap of writing paper in the outfit now. This is written on wrapping paper and it is about the last we can find. … Paper can’t be secured for love or money. This will explain why many of the boys have not written to their relatives.”
“We had our first real experience in getting our suppers tonight,” the correspondent wrote of the first night. “Private Carlos Davis cut the kindling wood with a jackknife while the rest of the men were putting up the tents. Soon there were about twenty fires going and bacon and eggs were frying. ‘Some feed’ when you are as hungry as we were. Then came a plunge in the river, a dry rub and a good sleep.”
Sources: The Post-Star, June 27, 28, 30, 1916.
Click here to read the most recent previous post in the series.