Winnebago County, Illinois
ROCKFORD BOYS TO FIGHT ON THE SIBERIAN FRONT
Cables Tell of the Safe Arrival of Local Men on Asiatic Shores--Left Rockford for Jefferson Barracks on May 1st, This Year
Rockford soldier boys are soon to be battling on another war front to hasten the day when the world will be made safe for democracy.
As member of the contingents assigned to fight alongside of the Japanese, Czecho-Slocaks and other allied forces in Siberia a large number of Rockford young men have just landed on the Siberian coast. Mr. and Mrs. Gust Johnson, 1114 Third avenue, received word this morning that their son Ernest has safely landed in Siberia. Monday Mr. and Mrs. William Johnston, 2203 Melrose street, were apprised of the safe arrival of their son Earl William on the Asiatic coast. Friends have received word of the safe arrival of John A. Oberg, of 1824 South Fourth street, in Siberia, Oberg is with Co. G, Eighth infantry. Edward Manson, former local baker, is also with the contingent. Arthur Johnson, member of the Badger football team last year, is with the division. Other Rockford boys who are known to have arrived with the contingent in Asia are Harold Sammons, son of Mrs. Harry Sammons, of Grant avenue, and John Bruve Orput, son of J.M. Orput, 728 Island avenue. Where these young men are stationed it is safe to assume that there are other Rockfordites and the number of local young men who will fight in the ranks of the allies to oust Bolsheviki rule in Russia will be sufficient to cause the advances of the invading troops in the Siberian regions to be followed with a special degree of interest.
May Have Hundred There
The number of Rockford boys included in units assigned to the Siberian expedition is not known but there may be more than one hundred eventually. The local selects who were in line for the trip to Asia left Rockford in the evening of May 1, for Jefferson Barracks. There were 131 men in this contingent. Shortly after reaching the Barracks they were transferred to Camp Fremont, near San Francisco, where they were stationed for some months. Rockford fathers and mothers recently began to receive intimations that their sons would be sent elsewhere than France for service, and when the question of invading Siberia came up it was generallly felt that local boys would be a part of the force. How many have gone with the units from Camp Fremont, at which a regular army division was stationed, is, of course, a matter of speculation but it is safe to assume that among the several thousand American troops that have been sent over the Pacific there is a good sprinkling of Rockford boys. Recent dispatches from Siberia tell of important advances, principally by Japanese troops. The Americans have taken but little part in the active fighting thus far, according to the cables. [--Rockford Daily Register Gazette, September 10, 1918]
PRIV. CRANDALL TELLS OF SIBERIA
COUNTRY GREAT DEAL LIKE AMERICA--CROPS LIKE IN ILLINOIS
Mr. and Mrs. H.S. Crandall, R.R. 7, have received a very interesting letter from their son, William Crandall, Co. I, 31st infantry, who is in Siberia. Crandall enlisted in the army last March and received his training at Camp Mills and the Phillipines. The letter follows:
"Somewhere in Siberia, August 26.
"Here I am up in the place where things are happening. We arrived at this place about a week ago and were only moved a couple of miles after landing. The Russian people are very interesting. They are a whole lot like the Americans in appearance, but they certainly are having an awful time getting a government. They like to get together and speechify about as much as anybody I ever saw. Whiskers are also very much in evidence. We are working in conjunction with the other allies here and the Czecho-Slovak soldiers. Our chief occupation is chasing lousy Chinks who are more outlaws than anything else. We are liable to be called out any time of day or night. We have been called out twice in the middle of the night all ready. There are many soldiers here and I see the soldiers of all our allies especially the Japanese. There is no government here except a sort of military police who maintain order. I am feeling well but do not get much sleep. The feed is good now; much better than what we received on the transport coming up.
"This country looks a whole lot like America, and they raise about the same crops as they do in Illinois. The situation will be terrible, I think when winter comes on, and they say that there is a bear of a winter here.
"I suppose you got my letter from Japan giving my address. Had shore leave in Japan and sure did enjoy it. We rode around in little rickshaws pulled by a man. They are a little rubber tired buggy."The
Russian women are, many of them, very beautiful and the better class dress just like American women. "I have not heard any war news from Europe for about a month. Nothing here is printed in English and very few interpreters to be found. We have several thousand German prisoners in and about here. Will have some wonderful tales to tell when I return." [--Rockford Morning Star, October 15, 1918]
Writes From Siberia
Mrs. Charles Johnson, 1050 Peach street, has received an interesting letter from her son, Arthur Johnson, who is stationed in Siberia with the American expeditionary forces
Archie Holt Writes -- The first letter from Archie Holt since he left California for Siberia has been received by Rockford friends. It was written from Vladivostok. He is camped in a field with English soldiers. [--Rockford Republic, November 11, 1918]
HENRY FRANK WRITES FROM SIBERIA CAMP
Rockford Boys Quartered in Brick Barracks in Siberia--Looking for Cold Winter
Mrs. Charles Frank, 1648 Ethel avenue, has received several letters from her son, Henry Frank, with Company 6, 27 infantry, located in Siberia. Two of his letters are in part as follows:
Dear Mother and Folks--We are enjoying ourselves and having a good time. We had a fine trip across the creek. I worked all the way over. It took us eighteen days to get here. This town lies on a hill by the sea. They have queer money money over here. One American dollar is worth ten rubles, that is $10 in Russian money. We can't write very much, and can't write what we want to so I will make it short. Everything is fine."
--Sept. 23, Siberia
Dear Mother and Folks--Just a few lines to tell you I am well, and hope you are the same. We have moved three times since we left Fremont. We are quartered in brick barracks now. I think we will be here quite a while. Lars Johnson is in the same barracks as I, and stays upstairs. It isn't as nice here as in the states. Fred O'Conner sleeps with me.
Saturday night I was to a Russian dance. Gee, they dance funny, it makes you laugh. There is a kid in our company, Krystopa, used to work for Goldman clothing store, who can talk Russian. He took us over to a Russian's house and he took us to the dance. They say it gets so cold out here your breath freezes. There was a Russian who told us last winter it was so cold the people had to stay in the house for three days. We don't get any war news and don't know what is going on. [--Rockford Republic, November 13, 1918]
YANKS STAND COLD
Henry E. Clendenning, Rockford Soldier, Writes from Siberia
Officer James Chandler is in receipt of a letter from a nephew, Corporal Henry E. Clendenning, a Rockford boy, now in service in Siberia with the American Expeditionary Forces as an electrician with the headquarters company. He writes under date of January 1 and says that it is 26 below zero where he is stationed, but that the Americans are standing the cold weather better than the natives. Corporal Clendenning says that the soldiers are supplied with warm clothing, fur caps, overcoats lined with sheepskin and other comfortable apparel. He also praises the food supply and tells of visiting a camp in the neighborhood where German officers, several hundred of them, are imprisoned. [--Rockford Daily Register Gazette, February 13, 1919]
NO LOVE FOR SIBERIA
A letter dated January 17 is received from Private Archie Holt of Rockford, who is with Company B 27th infantry A.E.F., Siberia. The young soldier always writes cheerfully and says: 'I am feeling fine, but I have no special love for Siberia. I'm now in the city of Spasskoe, not very far from Vladivostock. It is very cold here, but we sure have the heavy clothes for this country. "I have certainly had good experience of a soldier's life what time I have been in the service. I will be glad when I get back to shake hands with my Rockford friends once more." [--Rockford Morning Star, February 22, 1919]
ROCKFORD SOLDIERS WRITE FROM SIBERIA
Fred O'Connor, 413 Olive street; Standley Burt, 316 Henrietta avenue, and Arvid Linder, Rockford boys in Company B, 127th infantry, Wisconsin National Guard, are now battling with Bolsheviki forces amid the ice and snow of the mountains of northwestern Siberia, according to a letter received by friends here from Linder. The letter was posted April 19 from Verkhne, Uinsk, Siberia, which is in the same latitude as central Alaska. Hardships arising from the intense cold and the longing of the boys to return home are described vividly in the letter. The three boys let Rockford May 1, 1918 and sailed from San Francisco for Vladivostok, with the 127th infantry Sept 1. The regiment was stationed at Usura a short distance north of Vladivostok, Companies B and C being later detached for a journey that has carried them through northern Manchuria to Transbaikalia and thence northward, through the mountains to the vicinity of Verkhne where the letter was mailed. All were reported doing fine. [--Rockford Daily Register Gazette, May 29, 1919]
"GRAVES OR ASYLUM" WORD FROM SIBERIA
PARENT SEEKING SOLDIER SON'S RETURN, SAYS THIS IS WHAT HE WRITES
SEND PLEA TO PRESIDENT
Rockford Parents of Soldiers in Siberia Beg For Their Early Return
Petitions asking President Wilson and several senators and congressmen to use their best efforts for the early return of Rockford soldiers now in Siberia were signed by 50 fathers and mothers and relatives of the men at a meeting in the Chamber of Commerce last night. C.H. Putman, father of C.L. Putman, of Company G, 27th Infantry, arranged the meeting, prepared the petitions and presided. The papers will be passed around town today for more signatures and it is probable that another meeting will be held next Tuesday night for further discussion. The petitions will be forwarded to President Wilson, Secretary Newton D. Baker, Senators Hiram Johnson of California, Jones of Washington, Borah of Idaho, Sherman of Illinois and Congressmen Charles Fuller and William Mason. They read as follows: "We, the undersigned fathers, mothers, relatives and friends, would respectfully petition your honor, that you use your best efforts in an expetitious return of our boys of the American expeditionary forces now in Siberia, the 27th and 31st infantry. We will be very grateful to you if you will use your best efforts in their early return."
Say Truth Is Hidden
The secrecy of the administration regarding reasons for the American force in Siberia and the rigid enforcement of the mail censorship now that peace has been signed brought bitter criticism of President Wilson and Postmaster General Burleson. Several parents said they did not believe their sons were permitted to tell the truth about their conditions owing to large blocks being cut out from their letters where articles of food and living conditions were mentioned.
Charles E. Johnson, of 1050 Peach street, said: "The government got our boys into the army on the plea that they were to fight for democracy but instead of that has sent them to Russia to help crush the greatest democracy." Mr. Johnson has a son in Siberia.
Fear There Is Illness
Irregular mail service is causing many mothers to believe that all is not well with the American boys in Russia. One said that she only averaged receiving one letter a month from her son and they were frequently delayed two weeks and more by the censor. One missive written by her son May 2 was stamped by the censor May 24. Mending dirt roads, building railroads and wading around in mud and filth are the chief occupations of the soldiers, according to the majority of their letters.
"Graves or Asylums"
One mother brought a brighter side to the question when she told the assembled relatives that her son had gained 18 pounds since he joined the Siberian expedition and seemed well pleased with food and accomodations received. She said homesickness was the chief reason for his desire to return. Another said the last letter from her son read: "It will not be necessary for them to send ships to bring me home if they wait much longer for we will all be in our graves or an asylum."
"League" Is Condemned
A round table discussion of the present world political situation brought forth severe criticism of President Wilson and condemnation of the proposed League of Nations. "The league is nothing but a tool for Wall street to use American manhood for the collection of its debts." said C.H. Putnam in opening the discussion.
"We are all going to be Bolsheviks pretty soon if the high cost of living keeps up." said Mr. Putnam, and was loudly applauded. He hinted that protection for large financial interests might be the reason for the presence of American soldiers in Siberia now. He praised Senators Borah, Sherman and Johnson for their opposition to the league program as sponsored by the president. [--Rockford Daily Register Gazette, May 18, 1919]
HOPING FOR RETURN OF BOYS IN RUSSIA
SENATORS AND OTHERS MAKE REPLY TO APPEALS FROM ROCKFORD PARENTS
SEPT. 1, FULLER IS TOLD
Fresh Action To Bring About Troops' Return Promised By Borah
C.H. Putnam, of 2815 North Main street, who is at the head of the movement in Rockford for the return of the boys from Siberia, has received letters from several members of the senate and from Congressman Charles E. Fuller of this district in response to letters from parents of Winnebago county soldiers. Senator L.Y. Sherman, of Illinois, has been at work to bring about this end for several months and announces that the department has acceded to the request to take it up. He expresses the hope that they are soon to see the fulfillment of their hopes. Congressman Fuller writes that he has had several sessions at the war department recently over this issue, especially with regard to the boys of the 27th and 31st infantry. The war department has given him to hand with a view to seeing the boys are brought out and started home at the earliest date, indicating that they will be returned not later than the first of September. He adds: "I have been entirely unable to find why any of our soldiers were ever sent to Siberia or why they are being kept there. That is one of the things our present efficient, or inefficient, war department has failed to explain. I am free to say that I regard their being kept there now, after the close of the war, as nothing less than an outrage which ought to be remedied at the earliest possible moment."
Senator Johnson's Reply
Senator Johnson, of California, who has made a campaign on this issue, encloses a copy of his resolution calling on the president to declare what the policy of the government was with reference to Siberia and when our soldiers would return: also the president's reply, which he did not regard as satisfactory, frank or answering his resolution. He adds: "I shall continue my efforts to have these boys returned. You who are interested because of your dear ones, who are apparently fighting now in a war undeclared by congress and unknown to the American people, can aid by agitation of the subject. There is only one way in which we can accomplish the result and that is by an overwhelming righteous public opinion. I do hope therefore that all who feel as I do that these boys of ours should be returned from Siberia will by constant effort and organization and petitions aid me."
"Murder," Say Borah.
Senator Borah, of Idah, writes: "We are going to make an effort again shortly to force an action in regard to the boys in Russia. I look upon our sacrifice of our boys in Russia as the most remarkable instance of wholesale murder that ever took place by reason of the action of a free government. We have no business in Russia. There is positively no justification for being there. We are not at war with Russia. We are playing the game of other nations and our boys are paying with their lives for what we are doing." Mr. Putnam announces that the agitation here will be kept up till the end is gained. Meetings will be held fortnightly at Reco hall, the next being the evening of Aug. 5 [--Rockford Daily Register Gazette, July 29, 1919]
MESSAGE FROM HENRY TRANK
Rockford Boy Who Served in Siberia Still in California, But Will Come to Dodge
Private Henry A. Trank, who resides at 1648 Ethel avenue, states in a card to the Republic that the eight Rockford boys who arrived from Siberia on board the U.S. Logan are still in a California debarkation camp. Trank says the boys will be one the way home this week. [--Rockford Republic, October 27, 1919]
LOCAL BOYS RETURN HOME FROM RUSSIA
After experiencing over fourteen months of privations, during which time their regiment was over a thousand miles from direct communication with the outside world, eight Rockford boys who were with the 27th infantry in Siberia will have reached home by this evening. Back in God's country, where the people speak their own tongue, where endless miles of snow-bound railroad tracks are but dim memories of the past and where treacherous Bolsheviks are not wont to make raids on their small bands of guards, these men are being welcomed back into their homes today as the last Rockford soldiers to return from the war zone. Four of the boys, Henry Trank, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Trank, 1648 Ethel avenue; Henry Johnson, Twelfth street; Arthur Ring and Henry Erickson arrived this morning from Camp Dodge where they received their discharges yesterday with a company of 158 Illinois and Iowa men. Lawrence Wallin, a brother of Joseph Wallin, the West State clothier, who resides with his family on Fifth avenue, wired his people that he and three other Rockford boys would be home this evening, their discharges being held up a few hours at the Iowa camp. The Rockford who returned today entered the service of their country in May, 1918, and two months later saw their departure from a California port for Siberia. Then came nearly a month of cruising, followed by hard travel in the frozen north country. A fourteen day trip in Russian freight cars, with the thermometer way below the zero mark was their first taste of travel in the country where they were expected to fight the Red foe, and guard Russian railheads and property. The boys retruned home via the Phillipines and the Hawaiian Islands to San Francisco on the U.S.S. Transport Logan. [--Rockford Republic, October 29, 1919]
EXPECT LAST OF SIBERIAN UNITS HOME CHRISTMAS
Edward S. Olason, 1357 Fifth avenue, Writes Mother that Remainder of Rockford Boys in Russian Forces Were to Sail in November
Every Rockford boy who now remains in the service of his country whose term of enlistment was "for the period of the emergency" will be home for Christmas if the present plan of the war department culminates successfully. Perhaps twenty local boys were still in service with the A.E.F. in Siberia and northern Russia, but these are understood to be on the water now, on their return trip to the States. The Washington advices states that all selected men or regulars who enlisted for the war only are now on their way home and this will mean that they will be mustered out before the holiday season.
Yesterday word was received from Edward S. Olson, son of Mrs. O.L. Nord, 1357 Fifth avenue, that bore out the official reports from the war department. Young Olson, who is with Company C, 27th Infantry, reports that all but two Rockford boys in his unit had sailed the week he wrote, on the boat that carried the letter to this country, but that the remainder would leave the latter part of November for home.
Home By Christmas
Part of the letter is as follows: "Don't keep worrying about not hearing from me, for there are some weeks when I cannot write, while others present the opportunity. I am getting along the best way I can and taking the best care of my health and I am feeling fine every day. "I am thinking of you and home and Ruby every day--from morning until night--and I expect to be stuck here another month, for I am not making this boat. That will make it about Christmas time when I get home, for I am bound to make the next boat for there are but a few to go home that are left with us. There are only two men in this company now from Rockford, but there are several left throughout the regiment.
"We have been out to the automatic rifle ranges this week and have done a little shooting. I worked half a day and spent the afternoon resting and napping in the sunshine. The weather here is beautiful but it is likely to turn into winter soon, as the sharp mornings and evenings tell us of the approach of the cold season."
Would Sail Last Week
If Olson's plans have not gone amiss he probably sailed with the November transports about November 20 and should reach the United States about Dec. 10. [--Rockford Republic, November 20, 1919]
ROCKFORD MEN TELL OF EXPERIENCE IN SIBERIAN SERVICE
Rockford, Ill., Morning Star
The soldiers' side of the ill-fated expedition to Siberia is presented by Henry Trank, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Trank, 1648 Ethel avenue, Rockford, Ill., who left Rockford May 1, 1919, for Jefferson barracks, was later transferred to Camp Fremont, Calif., and from there shipped to Vladivistock. Three weeks ago he arrived at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, and was mustered out. He was one of over a hundred men who left Rockford in the selective draft, who found themselves in Siberia. About sixty of them still remain in that country. Private Trank was in Co. 8, 27th Infantry. When the company returned to Camp Dodge, an officer gave out an interview which was written over the signature of a Des Moines, Ia., newspaperman and published in one of the local papers. Private Trank says he will make an affidavit to the truth of the statements in the article, regarding the experiences of the United States soldiers in Siberia.
By Rae Mac Rae
Siberia--the "jinx" of the army.
That is how men who have been soldiering in the vast region across the Pacific upon their discharge at Camp Dodge describe it. The stories told by these men of the Twenty-seventh and Thirty-first infantry regiments, the two American units which were stationed in the interior of Siberia, are tales of hardship and mistreatment that have not been equaled by any other veterans of the world war. Suicide was not unknown and courts martial were common, the men declare.
Some of the things they charge are:
Rotten food. Excessive confinement for drunkenness or missing "check".
Brutal treatment from guards.
American soldiers in guardhouse required to wear chains riveted on their legs.
Sentences of "three and two-thirds," that is, three months' imprisonment in the guardhouse and two-thirds pay were commonly imposed for drunkenness, according to Lieutenant Charles Hogue, of Company G, Twenty-seventh infantry, now in Des Moines.
Lieutenant Hogue was one of the men with the Twenty-seventh on its famous march through the swamps of the Usuri valley from Vladivostock to Habarovsk.
"After landing in Vladivostock in August of 1918, we started overland to the town of Habarovsk, w(h)ere we were to be stationed," relates Lieutenant Hogue. "The Japs were going by rail; so were the Cossacks, the Czecho-Slovaks and other troops. "When Colonel Morrow heard of it, he said: 'The Americans can walk.' "Well, we did, all right, but it was a fearful march. Trainloads of Japanese soldiers went past sometimes and cheered and waved at the marching Americans. "There was no shortage of railway cars, that we knew of. It was all swamp country, and the most desolate place I ever set eyes on.
"After marching from early morning until 10 o'clocl at night, it was almost impossible for a man to satisfy his hunger with a little chunk cornwilly, hardtack and rotten coffee. "Some of the men ate up their reserve rations until it got to be a criminal offense. Most of the men in my company were straight from the Phillipines and Siberia went mighty hard with them.
"They had only khaki suit--no O.D.--and only two thin blankets to sleep in.
"Upon the retirement of the elderly Colonel H.D. Styer, the ranking colonel of the two regiments, Colonel C. H. Morrow became the commandant of the Twenty-seventh, and it is he whom the men of the regiment blame for unsatisfactory conditions.
"Only Companies F and G of the Twenty-seventh actually saw action.
"They were called out to put down a handful of Chinese bandits at Usuri. The rest of the regiment did not shoot a gun during the entire trip.
The story of Corporal Cusak of Chicago, of the headquarters company of the Twenty-seventh, coincide with that of Lieutenant Hogue in many respects, although he did not arrive in Siberia until later.
Typhoon--And a Gun
Corporal Cusack, who was sent to San Francisco from Jefferson Barracks and straight across to Vladivostock claims the trip was anything but a pleasure trip.
"We were commanded by a young chap, formerly a bank clerk in San Francisco, Lieutenant David Dunkin, Jr. He wasn't so bad except when we struck a typhoon off Japan, and he stood in the companionway and held a gun on us, threatening he'd shoot the first man who struck his head on deck.
"Our boat touched at Hakodate, Japan, for coal, along with the Sheridan. The food was so rotten all the way across that the men were pretty peevish, and they all got off and got drunk.
"When we sailed, fifty-two men were missing. When the ship stopped again at Otorn, the missing fifty-two were brought overland and put on board. Every one of the fifty-two was tried by court martial and sentenced to 'three and two-thirds,' except five of the men, who got from one to five years in Alcatraz.
"Lieutenant A.D. Orme, an attorney of Pasadena, Cal., acted as counsel for the five men tried by general court martial, and his efforts in their behalf put him in bad.
"We made the trip from Vladivostok to Habarovsk in dirty box cars. We had to sleep on cement floors for a fortnight. Some of the men rustled iron cots with boards laid across to sleep on, but since there were not enough to go around Lieutenant G.E. Kraul of the headquarters company made us throw them away.
"As soon as we got settle in Verknia, Udinsk, we got orders to fell trees and build a stockade. I guess we cut down about 900 trees and built a big stockade to be used for a guard house. It had no floor except the ground.
"Within a week they had 143 men in the guardhouse and the capacity of the thing was only 150. Every man in the guardhouse had to double time everywhere he went. They had no cots, but had to sleep on the ground. They took away our bedsacks, toilet articles and soap, too.
"No one in the guardhouse ever got a bath. One canteen of waters was all they gave us for drinking and bathing purposes each day. For a long time they had a 'standing check' every two house, day and night--on the even hour.
"Some officer complained of the conditions, however, and the general inspector, Colonel Leach, came down from Vladivostok to investigate. Things were changed after that. The standing check was abolished and the men were given better sleeping accommodations.
Germans Found it Funny
"The main thing we hated was the way we were treated, compared to the German prisoners. At Vladivostok, for instance, the Germans used to stand around and laugh at the American boys under punishment, who wore chains riveted from one foot to the other.
"When we were at Habaroosk, fifty men from the signal section were sent across the river to Krasnia Rachka prison (Red river prison), where the Germans were, to put in a power plant for them.
"There was a lake nearby, too, and the American prisoners used to have to sweep the snow off the lake while the German prisoners skated on it.
"I have seen American boys digging ditches right alongside the pond while the Germans frolicked around and poked fun at them.
"Later, when we moved to Verkne Udinsk, two German officers were brought up from Krasnia Rachka to act as electrician and helper. They were permitted to wear the United States army uniform and received a private's pay.
"Stories of individual men who suffered particular punishment are plentiful among former Siberian soldiers.
The story of Corporal Sylvester is the most touching. The boy is said to have been struck by a provost guard because he resisted arrest. The blow made him semi-insane at times, thereafter. When his captain found out that Sylvester was knocked "cuckoo" he ordered him to the hospital, according to one of the returned soldiers. "The hospital wards were full, so they had to put him in the prison ward.
"One day he rambled out the door--he wasn't responsible for what he was doing--and the guard called 'halt!' The boy wasn't running away--he was just rambling around, and anybody could have gone up and taken hold of him and brough him back.
"Naturally he paid no attention to the guard, who then fired at him. He died from the effects of the wound three days later.
"The officer of the guard tried to get Captain Cooksey of Company B--Sylvester's company--to get the boy's name put on the prison list, instead of the hospital list, in order to justify the guard in having shot him, but this Captain Cooksey refused to do.
"There is also the story of Holloway who was in the army thirteen months and twelve months and ten days of it he spent in the guardhouse.
"He deserted, and is now fighting with the Bolsheviks.
Friend of Doughboy Suffers
Lieutenant Hogue was continually in hot water because of his distaste for the extreme methods taken to enforce discipline. According to his own story, he was restricted to the compound indefinitely at one time, because of Private Pettifer. "One day we saw a soldier going by with three guards," relates Hogue, "He had blood all over his face, and had been hit on the side of the head with a rifle butt. Captain Herman told me to go out and investigate. I stopped the men and asked them what they meant by beating up the boy, when there were three of them to hold him. They said he had sworn at them, and I guess he had. He had been drinking vodka but that wasn't anything unusual. Captain Herman had the man taken to the hospital, and i was called up on the carpet for interfering with the guard. I expected nothing less than a court martial for it, but all I got was restriction to the compound. I was continually getting in Dutch because I couldn't stand seeing the men ill-treated. I acted as counsel for a good many of them, and that put me in a bad position. Pettifer got eighteen month in Altcatraz. He is there now."
Siberia was no place for American women, according to a story printed in the San Francisco News recently. Upon the testimony of men in Company A, Thirty-first infantry, which was stationed at Harbin, in Manchuria, there were thirteen general court martials and one suicide in Company A in one month during the winter of 1918.
"Every one of the court martial sentences carried at least one year and a kick (dishonorable discharge from the army)," the story reads.
"One of the fellows got 35 years for cleaning up a non-commissioned officer. He had a little vodka with him, and went fighting crazy. When a man's been drinking vodka he'd fight his own mother.
"Some of the men deliberately walked off their posts, knowing they'd get stiff sentences. They wanted to get home, and didn't mind serving a year or so at Alcatraz prison, San Francisco, to get back.
"One boy, charged with stealing a selling a company rifle, pleaded guilty and got eighteen months and a kick. Just before he sailed for home, he told one of the guards where the gun could be found. He had hidden it in the barracks, but pleaded guilty to stealing it because he knew he would get to come home.
Terrible for the Nurses.
"There was 10,000 American solders in Siberia, and not more than a score of Red Cross nurses to take care of them. The things those women had to put up with are too unpleasant to speak of. Men are desperately homesick and unhappy over there, and so full of vodka all the time, that they forget they are men. The nurses have refused to go to the officers' dances because the officers frequently showed up drunk. Vodka was plentiful and there was no ban upon its sale, according to Private C.R. Lempke, of Company C, Thirty-Year infantry. It wasn't as if the sale of the stuff were prohibited." he declares, "It flowed freely--why, we could get it in our own camp. The blacksmithe shop was one place they had it."
The return trup from Vladivostok to San Francisco was even worse than the trip over, according to Corporal Cusack, who was made head mess sergeant on the boat.
"Hundreds of pounds of macaroni and meal were condemned and thrown overboard, some of it after it had been put on the table and found full of bugs," according to Corporal Cusack's statement. "The pork was rotten and the chicken was fairly green."
Corporal Cusack, whose home is in Chicago, returned Tuesday. Lieutenant Hogue, who is special agent for an insurance company, will remain in Des Moines. He is at the Chamberlain hotel. He offers to conform all that has been said in this sorty about the hardships, the cruelties, even to the American military service in Asiatic Russia. Lieutenant W.T. Mulcahy, now traveling salesman for the Oldfield Rubber company, whose address when in Des Moines is either Hotel Savery or Hotel Port Des Moines, is cited as another who can testify to the facts. [--National Labor Tribune, Pittsburgh, PA., December 25, 1919]
Twenty-five years ago this week Rockford parent were petitioning for return of their boys from service in Siberia. The Rockford men were in the 27th and 31st Infantry regiments. [--Rockford Register-Republic, July 18, 1944]
PAUL DORSEY IS REPORTED HAVING DIED IN SIBERIA
ROCKFORD BOY VICTIM OF PNEUMONIA AND SMALLPOX IN FOREIGN LAND
Official announcement was received Friday afternoon to Mrs. Kate Dorsey of 528 Furman street that her son, Paul S. Dorsey had died of pneumonia and smallpox on April 4 at Spaskol, Siberia, where he was stationed as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces. This news was a great shock to his relatives and friends here, who were expecting to hear soon of his arrival in the United States.
Paul Sylvester Dorsey was born May 16, 1891, at Owensboro, Ky., the son of John W. and Katie Dorsey. In early childhood he removed to Ballard county, Kentucky, where he resided until he came to Rockford in 1916. He was inducted in the service in May, 1918, being assigned to duty at Camp Fremont, Cal. He left for Siberia in August, 1918. Before entering the service he was in the employ of the National Lock company. During his short residence here he made many friends by his pleasing manners and personal characteristics. He was a devoted christian, being a member of the State Street Baptist church, where he did much active work in its various organizations. He was also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, Camp 51. Surviving him are, besides the mother, the following brothers and sisters: W. Jesse Dorsey at home; Eddie of Kentucky; John, in the army of occupation in Germany; Katie, Lucy, Golden Dorsey at home, Mrs. Daisy Walters of Rockford and Mrs. Clara Kilgore of Poplar Bluff, Mo. His father predeceased him seven years ago. [--Rockford Morning Star, April 13, 1919]
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