FASCINATING AND INTRICATELY DETAILED ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A YOUNG INFANTRYMAN, ENDURING INTENSE TRAINING AND WORKING HIS WAY UP THE RANKS IN THE AMERICAN HOMEFRONT AT THE VERY END OF WORLD WAR ONE

By: PAUL JAMES MCGAHAN

Price: $1,395.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is the absolutely fascinating and deeply detailed wartime homeland diary of Paul James McGahan. McGahan starts as a simple orderly, and works his way up to private 1st class, and then through hard work and tremendous diligence, shows himself to be an exemplary soldier, and gets commissioned and ends up as a 1st Lieutenant shortly before WW1 ends. This diary is remarkably detailed, with almost every day written as a fully detailed entry. Most impressive are the months of hard training that McGahan does, with each training schedule written out in its entirety, so the reader gets a full scope of just how difficult and intense the military training is. The diary is signed “Paul James McGahan. 1325 Mt. Vernon St. Philadelphia, PA.” The same page also has a detailed breakdown of all the ranks that McGahan has during the course of 1918, where he earned them, and from what time period he held the rank. In the beginning of the diary, McGahan is in New York, on leave from the military and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Big Apple: going to museums, visiting friends, wining and dining all over the city. “January 3, 1918. Spent afternoon with Dr. Cohen who pronounced me wonderfully fit and said the systolic murmur of the heart was very faint. Declared I showed great improvement over previous years exams. Dined at Harlem. Visited Margaret and Edward for (?) Got back to Pen & Penal club and as hotels were all filled, had to sleep on chairs by log fire.” By January 10th, McGahan is back in active duty. “Came off guard at 4:30 and was told I would be head orderly starting in the morning.” After January 15th, there are not many entries for the next two months. A notable exception is on February 22, when McGahan writes, “Was made a private 1st class by Lieutenant E W Madeira commanding Headquarters Troop.” There are no entries for the entire month of March, and only a few for the end of April. He mentions at the end of April returning home from Annapolis to Philadelphia, so it is assumed that McGahan was at Annapolis training as a private. At the very end of April, McGahan goes to Camp Meade in Middletown, Pennsylvania. His training seems to take an immediate toll on him, as he develops “two huge boils” on each of his legs. “Could hardly sit on train!!!!!” he writes. Two days later he is in the Base Hospital. The next week have only one sentence under each entry. “In hospital.” He is released on May 8. On May 17th he writes, “Long delays at troop but Glenn and I as the 2 successful candidates departed to the school. He took artillery. I took the infantry course. Very busy evening getting belongings together to stand inspection in A.M. Was assigned to third Platoon Third Company and became (?) instead of Private 1st Class.” In Camp Meade, McGahan is recommended an advanced infantry course. He spends the next month writing very detailed and specific diary entries of his days learning and training. It is obvious the army way of thinking is getting to him, as the days are divided into specific increments of time and tasks. “May 24, 1918. Very busy day. School of soldier 7.30 to 8.30. Conference on care of equipment 8.30/9.30. Platoon drill 9.30 to 10. School of Squad 10 to 11. Was a corporal for about 15 minutes. 11 to 11.30 bayonet drill. Capt. gave me some personal instruction. Running drill as an instructor 1.15 to 2.15. Hike with gun & light pack 2.15 to 3.15. Conference on Instructor Guard Duty to 3.45. School of company to 4.45. Hard work preparing for inspection. No chance to look at books.” Most days in May and June are like this. Intense training and schooling. For a bit McGahan is waylaid with a knee problem, but it quickly is dressed and resolves itself for him to train some more. These months are incredibly interesting to see the tremendous amount of training that went into becoming a commissioned officer in the army. Near the end of June, McGahan has his final exam for the infantry course, which he passes. He describes the whole exam in detail. On June 25, he moves down to Camp Gordon in Georgia for more training. The schedule is even heavier at Camp Gordon. “July 3, 1918. Platoon Drill 7 to 8.15. PHysical 8.15 to 8.45. Bayonet 8.45 to 9.15. To 9.45 Wig Way. 9.45 to 10.30 Conference Musketry Chapter 8. 10.45 to 11.30 Musketry drill review of trigger and rapid fire. 1 to 2 Conference I.D.R. 350 to 424. 2 to 3 I.H.R. 50 to 83. External orders 1st man out in front of platoon at this formation. Nother hot day and I don’t feel any too chillier. 7 to 9 given over to study of stuff for tomorrow. So far no regular mail service has been established. We are finding mail in all other company barracks. I’ve had just one letter, it forwarded from Meade. July and August are the same as the months before. Training, studying, drills, study, sleep. Over and over again. There are occasional personal comments on his life and events that occur around him, mostly interpersonal relations with other soldiers, but the entries are usually full of the day-to-day training schedule. No day is missing in these months. He finishes his training in the end of August. On August 26th, he is sworn in as a commissioned officer. “August 26, 1918. Red Letter day. Were sworn in by Capt. Scott at 8.30. Signed oath of office and got Commissions. Helped McConnell and Pickett closeout company and at 11.30 said goodbye to all. Very amusing as boy dressed out in their officers regalia. Lunched at Hoser’s House and boarded usual train at 1. Said goodbye to Sgt. Quinn and Capt. Scott. Train did not leave until 2.45.” After he is commissioned McGahan has a few weeks off, where he returns to Philadelphia, sees friends and family, goes to Ocean City, New Jersey to see his godchild and spends a good deal of time relaxing and being with non-military people. In September he is given orders to go to Camp Wadsworth near Spartanburg, South Carolina. “September 5, 1918. “It started raining as we hit Camp Wadsworth. I am assigned to the 58th Pioneer Infantry and for the present am attached to Company M. I have my own little tent...” As a commissioned officer McGahan is in charge of a small number of troops, with whom he trains in infantry and rifle skills and bonds with. He also participates in a court martial. The circumstances are unclear, but McGahan testifies on behalf of the men being court martialed. “I feel I made a good case for them,” he says of his testimony. In Camp Wadsworth, McGahan attends automatic rifle school and gas school, for understanding how to fight in gas masks. September and October are mostly full of new training and a new understanding of his commissioned roles in the military. In early November, less than a week before WW1 officially ends, McGahan is commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant Infantry. He is ecstatic about his promotion. On November 11, 1918, World War 1 ends. “Whistles and bells awakened us all at 2.45 this morning when official announcement was made that Germans had accepted (?) offer of armistice. It is a holiday. People in autos to camp cheering and waving flags. Town was thronged with cheery celebrations. Very busy on military cemetery.” The rest of the year is easy for McGahan. Shortly after the end of the war he is appointed a “Judge Advocate of the Regimental Special Court Martial.” In addition to his regular tasks with his own company, he also attends numerous court martials as the Judge Advocate, meaning he serves as a legal advisor to the command to which he is assigned. At the very end of the year, McGahan gets leave and returns to New York and Philadelphia for Christmas and New Years. The diary continues past December 31, and there are entries up to January 8th, 1919, when McGahan comes back from vacation and is stationed again at Camp Meade. McGahan would end up serving in the military almost his entire life, and would retire a colonel after World War Two. He died in 1972 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He would receive a Army Commendation Medal for his lifelong work in the American Armed Forces.

Title: FASCINATING AND INTRICATELY DETAILED ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A YOUNG INFANTRYMAN, ENDURING INTENSE TRAINING AND WORKING HIS WAY UP THE RANKS IN THE AMERICAN HOMEFRONT AT THE VERY END OF WORLD WAR ONE

Author Name: PAUL JAMES MCGAHAN

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: CAMP MEADE WADSWORTH GORDON AMERICA HOMEFRONT, 1914

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall

Seller ID: 0009013

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