Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

The History Of the

62nd Artillery C.A.C. During WWI


We Don't Make Much Money

We don't make much money, but we have a lot of fun,
Been over in France four months, and haven't shot a gun,
We came to put the dirty Germans on the run,
But before we got a chance the old war was done.

We drill all day and take a lot of hikes.
Down some road and up turnpikes.
Gas mask drill fills us all with dread,
When we take the damn things off, we feel nearly dead.
Drenched by rain, tanned by the sun,
We don't make much money, but we have a lot of fun.

There was a lot of talk, we were going to have a chance,
Old Dame Rumor said, we were going to the range,
But instead of moving down to Souge,
We all went out and took Vin Rouge,
Cognac fell and so did Rum.
We don't make much money, but we have a lot of fun.
And so it will be until we get back home,
Safe across the ocean with its billowy foam,
It was all in a lifetime, and now that our task is done,
Maybe we didn't get much money, but we had a Hell of a lot of fun.

Captain Patterson, Battery "B", 62nd Artillery, C.A.C.


The 62nd Artillery was formed out of men from the Coast Defenses of San Francisco, California in January, 1918, Headquartered at Fort Winfield Scott, California. In June, 1918 the regiment was moved to Camp Mills, New York, and sailed from Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, New Jersey in July, 1918 aboard the HMS Baltic for England and then on to France. While in France the regiment together with the 60th and 61st Regiments formed the 33rd Brigade and trained at O & T Center No. 1 (Operations and Training) at Libourne, France. Only the 60th Regiment saw action at the front with the 155mm French G. P. F. Guns. The 61st and 62nd used the 6-inch mobile mount guns that had been removed from the Coast Defenses in the United States. The Regiment embarked on the USS Pocahontas at Bordeaux, France and returned to Newport News, VA on February 27, 1919 and went to Camp Stuart, Virginia for a short time. In March, 1919 at Camp Eustis, Virginia the regiment was demobilized.

When a series of W. D. and A. G. O. and other orders culminated in the organization of the 62nd Artillery C.A.C., San Francisco, elevated its chest another notch and was sure the war was as good as won, for practically all the men assigned to the organization were drawn from the garrisons of the Coast Defenses of San Francisco, either National Guard or Regular Army, and the National Army men had spent sufficient time in the Second Provisional Training Regiment to seem like Native Sons. Followed preparation for Foreign Service. Colonel John P. Haines had mapped out an excellent course of instruction. But most to be remembered were the parades, which brought laudations upon the regiment, but attached to it the classic name of "Market Street Artillery".

Allied Stock Low

Allied stock was low when the organization swung down Market Street for the last time on June 13th, 1918, and many felt that it would not be long until the boys would be bombing of the Hun with High Explosive. Across the States, during the wait at Camp Mills, and while the "Baltic" was dodging the U-boats on the Atlantic, enthusiasm was high. Not even the miniature ration at Knotty Ash, the hike under heavy packs at Romsey, and the horrors of the Channel passage in rough weather, killed the pep. And the certainty of service soon was strengthened by the bombing party, which Fritz carried out the first night on French soil at Le Havre. Fragments of anti-aircraft projectiles and bombs skittering among the tents only served to prove the high morals of the man for there was no panic.

This Action Thrills The Chaplain

Had it not been for the thrill, which this slight episode gave to the Regimental Chaplain, Father John P. McQuade, it might have been forgotten. But Father John was a volunteer correspondence for a Golden Gate daily, and gave the regiment a bit of press-agenting, which added a thrill to the joy of living in France, but made it difficult for the boys to live up to their reputations. For the journey to and bill lifting of the First Battalion at St. Emilion near Bordeaux, and the establishment of Second Battalion at St. Laurent des Combes, and of the Third at Montagne, villages nearby, were very prosaic.

Handling The Six-Inch Terrors

Had the regiment been more fortunate in its assignment of guns, it might have helped make history in the last weeks of the war. But the 6-inch seacoast gun on the mobile mount was a new weapon, which had to be trained in French methods and acclimated to French mud. It had little regard for the range tables and less for the feelings of a Second Lieutenant trying to convoy along a muddy road. But even with all these difficulties the regiment was ready to go on the range at Souge when the Armistice stuff was pulled off. Rumors had been thick enough during the weeks of training, but during the two months before the regiment started back home they assumed the proportions of the last days of an O. T. C. (operations and training center).

St. Emilion was French. One of those places that runs to history and caves and vineyards. Built on a horseshoe shaped hill and in the enclose Valley and with remnants of the old Wall and the moat. It took a while to wake people up, but before the regiment left the girls were one stepping in the old ladies were efficient chaperones, while it was rumored that the communal Council had incorporated a Thursday Night Poker Club. If few of the men plucked off the prize village Queens as household managers, and one or two obtained discharges and remained in France. St. Laurent and Montagne were miniature editions, but though practically the entire organization appreciated highly the good qualities of the people, they were ready to start back home when the time came.



A Gun Park of the 6-inch Guns.


A 6-inch gun being transported on a rail car.

C. A. C. "Clean All Camps"

Colonel William A. Covington assumed command of the regiment on the day of departure from St. Emilion, Colonel Haines, who was transferred to "that so dear Paris". C. A. C. had stood for Coast Artillery Corps in all the years before the war, but when the 62nd arrived at the embarkation camp and at Genicourt, near Bordeaux, one of the brilliant ones discovered that actual interpretation was quite different. After 16 days of camp fatigue it was plain that "Clean All Camps" was to the point. Miles of sidewalk, tons of gravel and barrels of refuse were labored with but finally the U.S.S. Pocahontas showed up, and after bucking westerly winds for 14 days landed the regiment at Newport News. After a few days at Camp Stuart, the outfit moved to Camp Eustis, where the company clerks and personnel officers prove their ability by losing all the regiment except some hundred regulars.

The 62nd had numerous companion regiments in misfortune, who were so unfortunate as not to have reached the front. All these outfits were equally representative of the high standard of American manhood and military capability, but those two have been with the 62nd feel that it's esprit de corps and the adaptability which was displayed it in the training and movements indicate that it's hundred percent preparation for the front when the Armistice was signed would have been followed by hundred percent efficiency, had the organization got a chance at the Boche.

"Over There"

Written by a member of the 62nd Artillery, C.A.C.

I've just received a line, from an old pal of mine,
He never saw the "Rhine"
But he said the bunch is fine.
They want to fight for you and me,
The "Market Street Artillery"
All have made a hit with
Each Dame that speaks French.
They all have done their bit
Though they never saw a Trench
And the people in San Francisco
Will be proud of their boys, I know.


Regimental Muster

If you have a family member who served in the 62d Artillery, please email me and I will list them here in this section.


Private Roy W. Keep, Battery E

Roy was the son of W. C. Keep of Elmcreek, Nebraska and entered the Army at Coleridge, Nebraska on 25 April 1917. He was assigned to the Coast Defenses of San Francisco and when the 62d Artillery was fromed was assigned to Battery E, 62d Artillery. Pvt. Keep was discharged 11 March 1919.

PFC Walter Edwin Smith, Battery C

Walter Edwin Smith was born on August 19, 1898 and was from California. Walter Smith was in Battery C of the 62nd Artillery, C. A. C. during World War One. Smith passed away on November 19, 1955 and was buried in the Liberty Veterans Cemetery in Fresno, California.

The grave stone of PFC Smith located in the Liberty Veterans Cemetery, Fresno, California.

Pvt. Anton L. Knutson

Anton L. Knutson was selected at Moorhead, Minnesota and was inducted into the army on December 17, 1917 at Moorhead, MN by the Local Board, Clay County MN. He was assigned to the 35th Co. Coast Defenses of San Francisco, at Ft. Winfield Scott, California on December 22, 1917. Was then transferred to Battery D, 62nd C.A.C. on February 11, 1918. Pvt. Knutson wasHonorably discharged on March 11, 1919.

Pvt. Knutson left the States for overseas duty on July 14, 1918. Arrived in England July 26, 1918. Arrived in France July 31, 1918. Left France Feb 6, 1919. Arrived U.S. Feb 19, 1919.


This page is owned by Joe Hartwell 2014. This page was last updated on 3/8/14

If you have research comments or additional information on this page e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell