Wish You Were Here reflects the value of postcards as tools for learning about the past, with images drawn from Manuscript Group 213, Postcard Collection, Pennsylvania State Archives.

Camp Beaver

 

“Hello Mary” wrote Frank Lloyd. “I’m in camp and have a fine time. You should be here.”

Lloyd was at Camp Beaver, a 1914 National Guard encampment at Indiana, Indiana County. The camp was named in honor of James A. Beaver (1837-1914), decorated Civil War officer, judge of Pennsylvania’s Superior Court and governor of the Commonwealth, 1887-91.

The entire National Guard of Pennsylvania was encamped across the state in the summer of 1914. At Indiana from July 18 to 25, the 2nd Brigade included the 10th, 16th and 18th infantry units, together with Battery B, Troops F and H, Company A and signal corps of the 14th Infantry, and Field Hospital Corps No. 1 of Pittsburgh. The 1st and 4th Brigades were encamped at Mount Gretna, Lebanon County, from August 8 to 15 and the 3rd Brigade at Selinsgrove, Snyder County, from July 18 to 25.

A report issued on July 16, 1914, ranked the 10th Infantry’s Company F of Indiana in the top five National Guard companies in the state, with a 99.53 efficiency rating. Thomas J. Stewart (1848-1917), Adjutant General, noted of the report, “Ratings can only be compared between organizations inspected by the same inspector.”

That summer Stewart and Governor John K. Tener (1863-1946) visited the encampments across the state for annual inspection, including Indiana on July 23 and 24. The review was witnessed by nearly 20,000 people at the parade grounds and was deemed a success. Tener was delighted. Field Hospital Corps No. 1 received the highest rating of any National Guard regiment in the state.

On the night of July 23 a reception ball was held for the governor and 300 guests in a patriotically decorated auditorium, with dancing until 2:00 a.m. Noncommissioned officers’ schools took place the morning of the 24th and included a two-hour lecture by Capt. Lincoln Andrews of the United States Cavalry. Throughout the day, regiments exercised war maneuvers and firing drills. That evening Tener appeared at the parade grounds on horseback. Following were Gen. A.J. Logan, commander of the 2nd Brigade, and the several regiments, marching in formation to great applause. Battery B and the 14th Infantry departed on the evening of July 24, with all remaining brigade organizations vacating the next day.

In 1916 the National Guard of Pennsylvania mustered into service at Mount Gretna as the 7th Division and deployed to El Paso, Texas, during the Mexican Border Campaign. The National Defense Act of 1916, enacted June 3, authorized President Woodrow Wilson to utilize the National Guard on foreign soil in case of war or any other national emergency. In April 1917 the United States formally entered World War I. Four months later the division was drafted into federal service and trained at Camp Hancock, Georgia, where it was reorganized as the 28th Infantry Division. In May 1918 the 28th arrived in Europe and began training with the British. The division’s mettle was tested at Chateau-Thierry that July, inspiring Gen. John J. Pershing to bestow them with the title the Iron Division. The 28th was active in the Meuse-Argonne, Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne and Ypres-Lys campaigns.

The United States World War One Centennial commemoration began in 2014. The year 2017 will mark the anniversary of U.S. involvement in the war.

 

Josh Stahlman has been an archivist at the Pennsylvania State Archives since 2008.