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Jim Davis

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • 12/25/2017: For the Red Cross, December of 1917 was an active season in North Dakota. With loved ones ever closer to the front, there was an urgency to ensure that the boys had the comforts of home as much as possible. Red Cross knitting parties were held across the state. In a three week campaign, over two hundred sweaters were knitted in Eddy County so every soldier from that county would have a warm garment.
  • 12/20/2017: We were at War, and for Carl Kositzky, State Auditor for North Dakota, the Great War had more meaning than many.
  • 12/11/2017: The War Department was ill prepared to handle the massive numbers of men and supplies required to fight the war in Europe. After leaving North Dakota, the troops saw minimal training at Camp Greene. Although they drilled eight hours a day, most combat exercises involved wooden rifles. Target practice consisted of only a few rounds of ammunition. Once the units were moved to Camp Mills in New York, almost all training stopped due to the extreme cold and lack of equipment. On this date in 1917, the 164th North Dakota and the 116 Engineers, now at Camp Merritt, New Jersey, were awaiting orders for overseas deployment – whether ready or not. Finally the orders came to transfer the sixteen miles to Hoboken to board ships and begin the journey to the front.
  • 12/6/2017: Most of North Dakota’s National Guard were assigned to the 41st Division at Camp Greene in early October of 1917, and in November, the division began moving to Camp Mills, New York to be closer to their embarkation point for the trip to France. Smaller units of the guard went to the 116th Engineers or the 148th Field Artillery, and were sent to Newport News, Virginia.
  • 11/28/2017: Early in September of 1917, as the units of the North Dakota National Guard awaited orders, the Fargo Forum published an editorial cautioning the citizens of North Dakota that now was the time to address the feelings toward friends and neighbors who were German immigrants.
  • 11/23/2017: Today is Thanksgiving. On this date in 1917, the people of North Dakota were planning for the first major holiday with many loved ones away, awaiting transportation to the battlefields of Europe. Although it was a more subdued and solemn occasion than past Thanksgivings, with most of North Dakota’s servicemen still stateside, it was not a grim occasion.
  • 11/9/2017: With the war raging in Europe, there was plenty to do for North Dakotan’s in the fall of 1917.
  • 11/2/2017: With the troops now gone, those remaining in North Dakota took on the challenge of dealing with many concerns. Winter was fast approaching and a coal shortage was becoming critical. While the Great Lakes were still open for shipping, coal was slow in reaching the docks, and the demand was great across the Northern Plains. To make matters worse, coal strikes at Burlington, near Minot, were keeping six hundred tons per day of locally-produced coal off the market, and rationing was sure to follow.
  • 10/24/2017: The Second Regiment of the North Dakota National Guard had been quickly assembled with volunteers having little or no military experience. Most of the officers had not seen any extensive military service since receiving commissions during the Philippine Insurrection, so it was difficult to obtain approval from the Federal Government. Many hurdles had to be overcome, but the “Smashing Second” as it was known, was eventually called to the colors to join the First Regiment at the end of September.
  • 10/19/2017: By the first week of October in 1917, all of the North Dakota National Guard and approximately forty-five percent of those who were drafted had left the state for Camp Dodge, Iowa or Camp Greene, North Carolina. A third segment of the conscripted men had yet to receive their date of departure. Citizens and non-citizens, and all racial segments of North Dakota’s male population 21 to 30 years of age, had been required to register on June 5th. A number of Native Americans were included, and there were two Chinese from Stutsman County two more from Grand Forks County.