WWI

Early Life at Camp Cody

A Letter Home - Unknown Author

The Camp starts about a half a mile west of the center of Deming, and runs west paralleling the railroads. The main street on either side of which are warehouses, store yard, corrals and then the quarters of the officers and men, is called Cody Avenue. About a mile out the Santa Fe road branches t the north while the Southern Pacific continues west. Here the Camp branches also, with Cody Avenue running straight on west, and Cook Avenue following the Santa Fe. The Post Office and Division Headquarters will be located practically at the junction of the avenues, and the Depot Brigade Headquarters will be just beyond the Santa Fe Tracks on Cody Avenue.

Officers and men all live in tents, all of the modern brown canvas. As you go out Cody Avenue the Officers' tents are all on the left, and back of them the wooden mess houses. On the right are the wooden mess houses of then the long company streets with the pyramidal tents on either side. On both sides, back of all, are the wooden shower houses and the latrines. Not a bit of paint on the entire camp, just the new fresh lumber. No matched lumber anywhere, plain boards nailed side by side and the openings between covered by batten strips. Makes a clean tidy looking place. Still further out behind come the corrals and the picket lines for the animals.

There are guards everywhere, and no one is allowed inside without a pass. Though you are stopped at every regiment along the line many times and the pass is demanded. All along the tracks are colossal piles of baled hay. I can see one great pyramid from my tent that looks like a great mountain. It is about 32 bales high. Then there are enormous piles of cordwood also, and trucks and mule teams are everywhere delivering wood for the cooking and the incinerators.

As you get towards the end of camp you run into the untouched desert, and great gangs of men are busy getting it clear for the camp. Mesquite, greasewood, and several kinds of cactus. All sorts of lizards running around, hundreds of jackrabbits, horned toads, etc. One or two scorpions have been seen, no centipedes that I have heard of, and one rattler that a company found well away from camp on a hike. Everywhere sand, sand, sand.

I look south from my tent over the tracks and across the desert to the Florida Mountains. Most picturesque and changing all day long in the different lights. They more nearly resemble the imaginary back scenes in theatre scenery than anything real. To the west is Red Mountain and to the north Cook's Range. The high peaks run about 3000 feet above the surrounding plains.

The Camp, outside of the military, is a very busy place, although the numbers of different kinds of workmen is being cut down very rapidly. Yesterday the payroll of the contractors showed about 2300 workmen, of whom about 800 were Mexican laborers. The carpenters are getting $8.25 a day. Big graders trying to make good roads through the camp, ditchers at work cutting nice slots in the ground to lay pipes in, and big trucks hauling materials of all sorts. At night the trucks run back to town carrying from 50 to 75 men on each one, an it seems as if it was and endless procession. Most of the trucks run with mufflers cut out, so it is a noisy place.

During the day the thermometer runs up into the nineties, and one is quite conscious that it is hot. The dryness, and the high altitude, combined, however, make it perfectly possible to work right along through the heat without minding it. One perspires quite freely but one doesn't get wet through, due to the very rapid evaporation. Every night the temperature drops so that it is pleasantly cool without being cold. One doesn't need an overcoat or sweater to be comfortable but blankets are most comfortable in bed. The altitude seems to affect many people at first, making them restless and unable to sleep, but that wears off right away and then they sleep very well. Never mind how hot it may be the breeze is always cool.

We have had a couple of dust storms and they are most unpleasant. It looks as if a thunderstorm was coming up. Then a sudden high wind and the air will be so full of dust you can't see the next tent at times. Eyes, nose and ears get filled up with it, and everything in the tent is covered deep.

Companies passing up and down the line all the time and all the varied life of camp keeps one's eyes busy. Then come all the different bugle calls regulating everything. I am just beginning to know some of them, but I am a very green individual as regards the army and the arm life. It is easy to see how one gets fascinated by it and wants to stay in it always.

The entire camp is kept spotlessly clean. Inspectors around all the time. All the waste from the mess houses is at once burnt up in special incinerators so that there are no odors, and although there is no sewer system in camp, yet nothing could be more sanitary. Even the empty tin cans are burnt up and disappear.

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WW1 Army Camps and Cantonments
WW1 Army Camps and Cantonments - Arrow Pointing to Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico
Text is the copyright of Minnesota Public Library Commission, Minnesota - Department of Education - Library Division



History of Company G, 136th Infantry - Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico - 1917

     Company G was organized in June, 1882 - James Anderson as Captain, at Austin, Minnesota. The Company was in Chicago in National Drill competition and won the gold medal. Company G was again in Chicago on October 13, 1892 at the Dedication of the Worlds' Fair. The company has never been a high company at Inspection Reports but has never fallen below third place. It was the first company to have its war strength at the time of the Spanish American War. It served as Company G, 12th Regiment Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, during that war.

     Company G was called for Border Service in June 19, 1916 and served until January 24, 1917. The Company was again called into service July 15, 1917 with 148 men on the Muster Roll. Were Mustered into Federal Service July 24, 1917, losing seven men by Medical Examination. Were drafted in Federal Service by an order from the President August 5, 1917. Left the Company station for concentration camp September 27, 1917. Arrived at Camp Cody, New Mexico 11 P.M., October 1st, 1917. The designation of the Company was changed from Company G, Second Minnesota Infantry to Company G, 136th Infantry by GO No. 18 Hq., 34th Division U.S.A., dated September 28, 1917. Colonel W. T. Mollison, the present Colonel of the 136th Infantry, enlisted as a Private in G Company at Austin, Minnesota on the 18th of June, 1882.

Field and General Offices promoted from Company G:
1 Adjutant General
2 Brigadier Generals
2 Colonels
5 Majors
1 Adjutant

The present Officers of Company G, 136th Infantry are:
Captain A. C. Page
1st Lieut. Olaf B. Damm
1st Lieut. George A. Damm
1st Lieut. Chester B. Bates
2nd Lieut. Kenneth S. Daigneau
2nd Lieut. Floyd J. Larson

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