Military History Monday: Hello Girls of World War I

During World War I they were officially known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit, but more informally known as “Hello Girls”.  The United States had been reluctant to join its European allies in the conflict, but when Germany began an all-out effort in early 1917 to sink American vessels in the North Atlantic, President Woodrow Wilson’s hand was forced.  He asked Congress for a declaration of war, “a war to end all wars”.  On April 6, 1917 Congress officially did so, engaging the Germans and hoping to make the world once again safe for democracy. The British had been at war with German for nearly three years when the United States joined the effort.  With their men away fighting the war, large numbers of women were working in munitions factories throughout Britain.  Their work was dangerous as explosives and chemicals caused deaths.  The greatest single loss occurred in early January 1917 when a munitions factory in Silvertown, England exploded due to an accidental fire – seventy-two women were severely injured and sixty-nine perished.   NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Yankee Doodle “Dandies”: Silk Stocking Regiments

The Upper East Side is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in New York City and once referred to as the “Silk Stocking District”.  Within its boundaries lies some of the most expensive real estate in the country, home to some of the wealthiest people in the world.  Through the years the area has been home to Rockefellers, Roosevelts, Kennedys and Astors, just to name a few prominent families. During the Civil War, the Confederate cause was often referred to as a “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” since certain men of wealth and stature could pay someone to fight in their stead.  After the Enrollment Act was passed in Congress in 1863, that term applied throughout the North as well since the new law provided two ways to avoid the draft: substitution or commutation. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine (April 2018). Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Military History Monday: Native American Code Talkers of World War I

November is the month we celebrate Veterans Day and it’s also National Native American Heritage Month.  In honor of those designations and Military History Monday, today’s article will honor the Native American code talkers of World War I. The first thing to be noted is these Native American soldiers were not officially United States citizens at the time, nor were they allowed to vote, yet they served honorably and with distinction.  According to research conducted by the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, over twelve thousand Native Americans, representing about one-fourth of the entire male population of American Indians at that time, were serving their country during World War I. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Military History Monday: The Battle of Middle Creek

I’ve been reading an excellent book about James Abram Garfield, the twentieth President of the United States (look for a book review soon).  I didn’t really know that much about him, except that he was assassinated not long after he was inaugurated in 1881.  Not a lot of books have been written about him, but he lived an amazing life, rising from poverty to the presidency. One event that caught my attention, and made him famous, was the Civil War Battle of Middle Creek in eastern Kentucky.  The description provided by author Candice Mallard reminded me of the Bible story of Gideon and his rout of the Midianites. James Garfield had been pursuing an academic career as a professor, and later president of the Eclectic Institute, when an Ohio state senator died unexpectedly.  Garfield was asked to take his seat and later won it outright.  When the Civil War began, he was eager to enlist, although Ohio Governor William Dennison, Jr. convinced him his service in the legislature was needed more urgently at the time. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Military History Monday: Quattlebaum Military Service

Today’s Military History article continues the story of the Quattelbaum (Quattlebaum) family whose American progenitor, Petter Quattelbaum, arrived in America in October of 1736 (see this past week’s Surname Saturday article here). Johannes Quattelbaum, son of Petter, had seen action in the Revolutionary War, serving under Brigadier General Francis Marion, a.k.a. the “Swamp Fox”.  His son John was born on December 1, 1774 in the Saxe Gotha Township, two miles north of present day Leesville, South Carolina.   After the war Johannes moved his family to a Dutch settlement on Sleepy Creek, but John returned to his birthplace and married Sarah Weaver on August 5, 1798. John and Sarah Quattelbaum had five children together before Sarah died on January 6, 1809.  John was left with five young children to raise and the following year he married Metee Burkett, daughter of a fellow soldier who had fought alongside his father Johannes.   He and Metee had four sons. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Military History Monday: The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga

It’s an historical fact that over ten thousand soldiers under the age of eighteen served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  Granted, many of them served as drummers and fifers, but their service was nonetheless invaluable.  Drummers set the marching pace and sometimes provided cadence for the firing of guns and cannons.  Fifers, on the other hand, were used for signaling line formation changes, as well as working in conjunction with drummers to set the marching pace. One of the youngest “boy soldiers” to serve became known as “The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga”.  He was born John Joseph Klem to German immigrant parents Roman and Magdalene on August 13, 1851 in Newark, Ohio.  By the 1860 census, however, the family had changed the spelling of their surname to “Clem”. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...