Thursday, April 3, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: C is for Camp Sherman, #Ohio #military #history

A to Z Challenge:
C is for Camp Sherman

Welcome back to my blog. Today I'm going to combine my normal Thursday posts about WWI and the A to Z Challenge to tell you about a WWI Camp that plays a pivotal role in my new book, Field of Grace, Camp Sherman. The video below is actual footage of military training at Camp Sherman during WWI. 

The First World War (aka: The Great War or WWI) began in Europe on July 28, 1914. President Woodrow Wilson had tried to keep the United States neutral in the conflict. The American people didn't wan to enter into another military conflict. But who could blame them? It had only been forty-nine years since the end of the Civil War. The adults of this generation were the children and the grandchildren of those who fought in the Civil War. The Civil War had left a distaste for war in the  mouths of everyone. America's position on remaining neutral during the conflict began to shift when Germany sunk the RMS Lusitania off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915. Out of the 1,959 passengers and crew on board only 764 survived. Of those who perished 128 American lives were lost including American publisher and writer, Elbert Green Hubbard. The lost of American lives outraged the American public
Germany's declaration on February 1, 1917 for unrestricted submarine warfare spurred President Wilson into action. He approached a joint session of Congress on April 2, 1917 to request a declaration of war against Germany. He argued the United States should enter the war in order to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and stop Germany's attempts to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States. Two days later, the Senate agreed to Wilson's terms and on April 6, Congress voted in favor of entering the conflict. With both houses agreeing the declaration of war the United States officially entered World War I. 
The United States was ill prepared to enter into the conflict but that problem was quickly solved with the establishment of several training facilities throughout the United States. Cities throughout the country placed bids with the war department to have one of these camps built close to them because they recognized the economical incentives the training facilities would bring.

Constructing the barracks
On June 28th, Captain Walter L Gickler and 129 men of Company D, Ohio Engineers arrived at the site and began construction. The number of workers swelled to 300 within two days. Ninety five percent of the camp was finished by the time the first draftees arrived on September 5, 1917. Two days later the Army decided to raise the regiment size at Camp Sherman from 2,000 to 3,600 men. 150 more buildings were constructed bring the camp to the size of 2,000 buildings erected over 1,700 acres of land. The camp swelled Chillicothe's population from 16,000 to 60,000 almost overnight. Camp Sherman was organized like a small city with a library, hospital, farms, and theaters. It also served as one of the POW camps for German soldiers. Yes, that's right. We would capture Germans and ship them overseas to detain them at Camp Sherman.  Camp Sherman has such an interesting history. I cannot possibly cover it all. 

Here are a few interesting links about Camp Sherman:


The United States Army closed Camp Sherman in 1920. It used today by the Ohio National Guard as a training facility. Here are some pictures from Camp Sherman. Enjoy!

First draftee at Camp Sherman.

This one is my favorite. 
The men at Camp Sherman stood in perfect formation to make the image of 
President Woodrow Wilson for an ariel shot of the president.


  1. Very interesting - thank you for sharing! New follower here. I'm stopping by from "A to Z" and I look forward to visiting again.


  2. Thank you for stopping in. One doesn't see much written on WWI as you do other wars.
    One of my uncle serve in WWI and was interrupt for the military and spoke both English and German. He convince the enemy (German) that they were surround and to lay down there arms.
    They weren't even close to be surround.

    Coffee is on

    1. You're welcome. That's an interesting story. The 100 anniversary of WWI is coming up soon. I hope we see more information on WWI in the media.