Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 1917: Captain Mike Hogg describes his command.

On October 7, 1917, Mike's letter to Ima: 
Dear Sis:
            Here I am, at last, writing you a young letter. I started one several times, but quit before time.
            It is needless to say that I have been busy. Besides having to train my Company, I have been getting training. We are having French classes and military classes, one or the other, every night. All of the work there is not nearly so hard as Funston was. Things are going much easier.
            My Company had the first formal guard mount at Camp Travis yesterday. It just happened to be my day for guard and I was lucky that it was ordered to be formal. My Company behaved beautifully.
            The men of my Company come from East Texas -- Trinity County, Angelina, Walker, Montgomery, and Polk. I have only one man who is not a full-blooded American. That is very lucky. Most of the other Companies have Germans, Swedes, Mexicans, etc.
            The Camp is moving along in a wonderfully smooth manner. The Reserve Officers are doing things as if they had been in harness for years. Our Brigade took a nine-mile hike the other day and only twenty-one men out of the six or seven thousand dropped out. I never lost a man. . . .The class of men that we are getting is better than that of the regular army, however, they are not very literate. For instance, there are ten men in my Company who cannot read nor write, and the average grade is about the fifth. All of my men, except about eight, are farmers. You never saw a more willing bunch anywhere. Their spirit is great. You should have seen them when they came to me. They looked like scarecrows. Their hair was long and unkempt. As fast as they came, I had them shaved and their hair cut. They would not even know themselves. You could not believe that they ever looked like they have. They are a fine looking bunch. Lots of six-footers. My barracks is as clean as your music room. Scrub, scrub, scrub, all day long. That’s what it takes.
            I believe we will be here for five or six months yet. Will try to write every week from now on.
            With much love -

If he did write every week, all of his war letters have not survived. He would be writing to Ima until January 1919.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ima's brother's news

Ima's diaries are still in progress. Meanwhile, her brother Mike's WW I letters will be part of my new book, THE SMELL OF WAR: THREEE AMERICANS IN THE TRENCHES OF WORLD WAR I, out in December. More news later.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy 4th!

Tuesday's the 4th of July. Happy fireworks, concerts, etc. to all.
And remember the US (and Mike Hogg) entered World War I a hundred years ago.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Captain Mike Hogg of Company D

         On June 9 Mike wrote to Ima that “About two-thirds of those that came over at first will be sent home in the next week. I hope I have made good and won’t be in the bunch. I think I have.” He already knew how to shoot, from a boyhood of hunting with his father and his two brothers. Now he was aiming to hunt a different kind of game. On May 8, 1917, 3,000 men had begun 3 months of intensive training at Camp Funston; on August 15, 1,846 of them had graduated as second lieutenants. One was Lieutenant Mike Hogg. His older brother, Will, once described him as “not particularly studious,” but “fairly aggressive and industrious.”
         After a two-week leave in Houston, Mike Hogg moved on to Camp Travis, near San Antonio. There he was soon promoted: He was then Captain Mike Hogg, Company D, lst Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, 180th Brigade, 90th Division.
         He had four or five lieutenants under his command, and his total company ranged from about 200 to 250.
         In the trenches at the Western Front, they would be reduced to 115.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Remembering Memorial Park

I sent this letter to the Houston Chronicle on May 29, and it ran in “Letters” on June 2.
Just in case you missed it.

Regarding Allyn West’s “Master plan aims to bring the memorial back to Memorial Park” (Page A3, May 29), it would be well to remember that the site of Camp Logan, the World War I military training camp, along with additional acreage, was bought in 1923 and 1924 by Houston’s Hogg family to preserve as a park. In an arrangement with the city of Houston, and with a donation of $50,000 by Will, Mike, and Ima Hogg, Memorial Park, named to honor the soldiers who fought in World War I, opened as a public park in 1925.  At 1,500 acres it is one of the largest urban parks in the nation. As we remember the Great War of a hundred years ago, Houstonians can thank the Hoggs for Memorial Park. 

Virginia Bernhard

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mike Hogg, Soldier: 1917

       When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Ima’s brother Mike was one of the first to enlist. He was not unfamiliar with the military, having worn a uniform and learned to drill as a boy at the Carlisle School in Hillsboro, Texas. In fact, he had rather liked it. In May 1917 he found himself drilling for real at Camp Funston, He wrote the first of many letters to his sister, Ima, in Houston:
Wednesday [May, undated, 1917]
Dear Sis:
         This camp thus far, is the greatest experience I have ever had. We get up at 5:40 every morning and, from that time on till six P.M., we are on the “hop.”. Our equipment is the same as the regular army, and our duties are equally as severe.  Everyone is very enthusiastic and, of course, this adds to the interest. We have marching, lectures, music, swimming, and many other things of interest. . . .
                  Only a few minutes before called out.
                           With love -
         From spring 1917 until winter 1919, from training camp to the Western Front to the postwar Army of Occupation, Mike Hogg wrote letters home. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ima, the Enigma!

More to do on Ima's diaries and her mysteries, but work on my World War I book, The Smell of War: Three Americans in the Trenches of World War I (one of them was Mike Hogg) takes precedence for the nonce. Watch this space for updates. Fall publication.