Friday, July 13, 2012

Second Illinois Field Artillery, Summer 1917

Sorry I haven't posted in a long while. I've been on vacation and busy with other summer activities, not to mention a very hectic work schedule. Part of my vacation has been spent researching more family history, along with the dreaded scanning, so my plan is to make up for time lost by posting a couple times a week. Here's another look at my grandfather's life pre-WWI. I read the last of his war journal today, and he commented on how his return to the States coincided with his 25th birthday. That seems hard to even imagine. But boy, what a handsome soldier!


Ninety-five years ago, my grandfather, Carl O. Ericke transitioned from being in the National Guard to the U.S. Army, and from the Cavalry to Artillery. In July, 1917, he was transferred to the 2nd Illinois Field Artillery, which set up camp in downtown Chicago. It was here that his training began for World War I. I've compiled pages from his scrapbook and photos from the Chicago History Museum.


Elevated view of the 2nd Illinois Field Artillery camp at East Chicago Avenue and Lake Michigan in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois. This image shows unfinished long buildings in the foreground and brick buildings and smokestacks in the background. © DN-0068559, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Joseph W. Mattes, Captain, 2nd Illinois Field Artillery, Company A. He was later killed in the Houston Riots, just a month after this photo was taken. © DN-0068448, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Milton Foreman, Colonel of the 2nd Illinois Field Artillery, standing with an unidentified officer. © DN-0068463, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

The first call of duty for the 2nd Illinois Field Artillery was strike duty in Bloomington, Illinois, during a strike by the workers from the Bloomington and Normal Electric Power and Railway company.

Soldiers from the 2nd Illinois Field Artillery sitting behind machine guns on the lawn of the court house in Bloomington, Illinois. © DN-0068407, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum. 
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As you can see from a few of these photos from his scrapbook, Carl's training was not all work and no play! In the photo on the top left of this page, my grandfather is the man standing in the middle, the blond. In the bottom photo, he's the second one from the left.

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Group portrait of soldiers from the 2nd Illinois Artillery, Company A, waving their hats and posing for a photograph as they prepare to leave their camp at East Chicago Avenue and Lake Michigan for Camp Logan. My grandfather is the face to the right of the hat showing it's full insides (looks like a big black hole). Picture published August 16, 1917. © DN-0068564, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum. 


My grandfather didn't start his journal until he was scheduled to leave for Europe in May, 1918, so next  posts about him will be mostly images from his scrapbook. My earlier post on Camp Logan actually happened after this installment. I'll try to coordinate the timing of the oral stories, the scapbook, and the journal a little better going forward!



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