Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Great War: August 14, 1917

On July 29, 1917--a Sunday--Hudson's own Company F left for training at Fort Niagara. On August 8, Hudson's Home Depot unit left for Highland, where they were to guard the Ashokan pipeline, part of New York City's water supply system. On August 14, Hudson provided a farewell sendoff for another military unit: Company H, the National Guard unit from New York City, which since the beginning of April had been headquartered in Hudson and assigned to guard the railroad tracks between Tivoli and Stockport. The accounts of the departures of the "F" boys and the Home Depot in the Hudson Evening Register were accompanied by photographs of each unit posing in front of the armory. The account of the "H" boys departure, however, was accompanied by a photograph of the Red Cross nurses who were part of the farewell parade.

Hudsonians arose early this morning. Easily avoiding old Morpheus' influence, they didn't shut off their alarm clocks and roll over for just a few more sound snoozes; to the contrary they sprang from their comfortable beds, quickly dressed themselves, ate their light breakfasts hastily, and then made a hasty exit from their places of abode. Like the fellow who desires to catch an early morning train, were the actions of the average Hudsonian--why?
Because within a short time a company of Uncle Sam's finest--the "H" company, Seventy-first regiment--would entrain for New York city, a temporary stopping place on the long journey that will eventually take it to the battlefields of France.
Hudsonians gave the Seventy-first boys a hearty and sincere farewell, demonstrating they cheered and clapped, and there vibrated through the still morning air the shrill whistles of practically every manufacturing plant in town, with the pleasant notes of church bells intermingling. It was a whole-souled affair, for in the departure of the "H" unit, Hudson loses, in its estimation, about the best company under Old Glory and the rigid, but commendable discipline of the Federal service, exception one--always our favorite--Company F, Tenth regiment, of Hudson.
Although it could not compare in extent with the great demonstration made here two weeks ago last Sunday concident [sic] with the departure of the Hudson unit for Fort Niagara, the morning's affair was productive of some pathetic scenes. Tears were shed when the "F" boys departed, and when the train carrying the New York unit wormed its way southward from the New York Central station here at exactly 8 o'clock this morning there were many wet cheeks and for many minutes Hudsonians remained in a solemn mood.
Some Leave County War Brides.
The "H" company had been headquartered here since April. It is comprised of a fine body of young men, whose conduct met with general satisfaction and was appreciated. The "H" boys not only made friends quickly in Hudson, but throughout the entire county and in parts of Dutchess county, the result of their doing guard duty on railroads in various parts of this section. Several of the "H" boys left behind them this morning war brides, who are Columbia county girls; many left sweethearts whom they may rejoin if they survive the terrible carnage "over there"--and we hope they will; others left behind close friends and three Columbia county boys in the company left relatives and scores of friends and carried with them the best wishes of the whole community.
When the "F" boys entrained for Fort Niagara, Hudsonians were hopeful that they might escape engagements on the battlefields in Europe. It was not a selfish hope. It was but natural and significant of the regard for the Hudson soldiers. They would not have the "F" boys stand back and do nothing; they realize the "F" boys could make good, but so long as their boys' status was undetermined, just so long would they hold a certain hope.
There was sorrow and regret expressed to-day, for those whose status is known were departing--and that status will eventually bring them to France; perhaps quicker than anticipated. . . .
The article goes on to identify the "three Columbia county boys" who were part of Company H: Augustus Tootell, of Hudson; Lester Raught, of Philmont; and Frank Moshier, of Stottville. A second article that appeared in the Evening Register on August 14 names a second young man from Hudson who had joined Company H.

In the account of the demonstration coincident with the "H" company's departure, we state that one Hudsonian was in that crack unit of the Seventy-first regiment, but this afternoon we learned that two Hudson boys entrained with the New York company, they being John Kovacs and Augustus Tootell.
This week the former, who is of foreign nativity, went to the County Clerk's office, took out his first papers, and then joined the "H" company. He said he liked American, and felt he could do his "bit" splendidly with the New York unit.
Kovacs for some time worked at the New York and New England cement plant in Greenport.

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