100 Years ago this Week: Sleeping on a shelf in the Supply House

Background:  A train load of soldiers including my grandfather, John Rodney Jamieson arrived in Washington, D. C. on October 4th, 1917.  They have been staying in tents on the campus of American University ever since.

From the Journal of John Rodney Jamieson

Sunday Oct 21st– Half a day off.  Am uptown? now to get filled up.  Went to Church.  Presbyterian Church

Monday Oct 22nd– Was transferred to sleep in supply house.  Sleeping on shelves and all over floor.

Tuesday Oct. 23rd– Slept well on shelf last night.  Big day with supplies, everyone nearly equipped.  No one allowed to leave camp.

Wednesday Oct 24th– Did not get out last night as was expected.  Everything quiet today.  Two packages of candy today.

Thursday Oct 25th– Very little to do today.  Loafing around stove.  Two more packages of candy today

Friday Oct 26th– Still loafing and eating candy.  Hope they will put ? me to work soon.  Good news from Tampa ?

Saturday Oct. 27th– Feeling rather ‘indisposed” today.  Have a good cold and sore throat.  Good hot shower at Y.M. tonight.

Is sleeping on a shelf in the supply house more desirable than a tent?

It appears that my grandfather was busy with supplies this week.  Mobilizing an army to send overseas must have been an enormous job. Here is a picture of a US solider typically equipped for WWI.

Typically equipped WWI soldier
John Rodney Jamieson in uniform


Here is a picture of the equipment that would have been assigned to a British soldier in 1916. Although it’s not American I like the picture.

Equipment of a British soldier circa 1916


Although Poppa appeared bored with the soldier’s life stateside the war was becoming real to America as on October 21st, 1917  American soldiers entered combat for the first time on the Western front under French command.

Next Week: Prohibition Begins in Washington, D.C.