According to Robert L. Willett's Russian Sideshow the events mentioned in the most recent entry by George Voegeli concerning the brief layover in Hakodate, Japan were rather volatile. Willet describes the what led to the stop in Hakodate and the subsequent effort to leave the city this way,
The Logan was the slower of the two ships, so the Sheridan had to slow down toGeorge had described the time in Hakodate as brief. The doughboys were told that they would have a full night in the city and were to report back to the ship the following day. In his hand written journal George relays that the once the boys left the ship they were in search of food and drink, but drink first, of course. In the consolidated journal, he left out the not surprising priority of finding something to drink.
keep her in site. This meant burning more coal, and after two weeks at sea, it
was determined that a refueling stop would be prudent. The port selected, for
unknown reasons, was Hakodate, Japan. It was a poor choice: first, it had no
coal, and second, it had a powerful Japanese whiskey.
Willet further describes the presence of the troops in Hakodate,
...it was decided to let the doughboys get off the ship, visit the city andAlso, according to Willet, the major in charge of the troops on the Sheridan described to the Captain the Scotch whiskey made in Japan and its effect on the Americans this way,
stretch their legs. It was not a wise decision. The ships arrived unannounced,
and very soon, unwelcomed. As the thirty-seven hundred doughboys, unsteady
from weeks at sea, descended on the city, they immediately looked for bars
and ladies of the evening.
It's called Queen George, and it's more bitched up than its name. It must be
eighty-six percent corrosive sublimate proof, because thirty-five hundred
enlisted men were stinko fifteen minutes after they got ashore.
All quotes come from Robert L. Willet, Russian Sideshow, America's Undeclared War: 1918-1920 (Dulles, Virginia, Potomac Press, 2003), pp. 167-168.
Also, it should be noted that George seemed to have thought that the ship accompanying the Logan was the Sherman. In fact it appears the ship was actually the Sheridan. However, the Sherman was involved in the transport of troops to Siberia via the Atlantic Ocean not the Pacific. ______________________________________________________________________
Sept. 23 we left Hokodate (Hakodate) going through the strait into the Sea of Japan. The shore line of Yezo Island (Hokkaido) was very beautiful, all along the shores we could see the gold roofs of Temples or Buddhist Monasteries. The shore was very high and rough. The mountains broke off in high cliff into the sea.
Throughout his journals, George spells the city Hakodate as Hokodate, this was probably just a simple error. He also spells Outaru as Outari. In addition he refers to what is now called Hokkaido as Yezo Island. Hokkaido is the northern most island of Japan and indeed was called Yezo Island during George's time in Japan. More on Yezo Island and Hakodate coming soon.
I have begun reading this book by Robert L. Willett to provide myself, and this blog, with some historical context. The book itself proclaims to focus more on the actual experiences of the American troops in Siberia. However, it does also provide context in terms of the various groups vying for power or working to protect their interests. In any case, I will be citing from the book when appropriate.
The first thing we looked for was to get a real meal which we did not get on the transport. We at last found a place to eat after looking around for almost an hour.
We had to take off our shoes before we could go in, so that over we were taken up stairs into a large room, but before we knew it they had partitions around us. Here we were seated on mats to a small table that was only about three inches from the floor. We did not wait long and had a good meal with wine and beer.
The whole meal cost us two Yen or ten cents. We were lucky to make some friends with some Japanese who showed us around the city which had a population of ninety thousand, all Japanese except one American Council. The city is built on a mountain side hidden from the strait, every place seemed to have Beers and Wines to sell. The streets were, in some places, very narrow, even the car line was a narrow gauge line.
We visited quite a few places and found the people very friendly. In the evening it was very dark on the streets but quite safe. In some places and most every place there were soldiers, some feeling pretty good. Our Transport left out a few blasts of their whistle about ten o'clock. We were supposed to have till morning to get back on but they found out that they could not get any coal here so the Military Police had a good job to get all the soldiers on board.
I want to to provide a little bit of history of the U.S.A.T. Logan, or as George calls it the Transport Logan. Not alot of information is easily accessible on transport ships, especially those used so long ago. What follows, however, is some of what I could find on the U.S.A.T. Logan, the ship that brought George Voegeli to Siberia.
The U.S.A.T. Logan was previously the U.S.A.T. Manitoba. It appears as though the system of Army transport started following problems with transport during the Spanish American War.
According to patriot.net, prior to the creation of the U.S.A.T.,
The Navy would escort the transports with combatants, but did not provide what today would be called sealift for War Department, i.e., Army, use. One has to remember these were separate Departments at Cabinet level until formation of the Department of Defense. Getting the War Department and Navy Department to cooperate was probably at least as difficult as getting State and Defense in full cooperation today. Each had its own mission and parochial interests with aspects of jealously and competition for resources. Out of this chaos on the Cuban beaches came the Army's own sea transportation service. I even speculate it had strong support from that Navy advocate "Teddy" Roosevelt himself since it is reported that one of his horses was among those lost.
The U.S.A.T. ships were crewed by civilian employees of the Army and some of the ships had additional Army staff on board to provide support services. The U.S.A.T. fleet was apparently small leading up to WWI but was grown to some 500 ships during the war.
For more info on the U.S.A.T. check out this link. There are also an interesting photos of Czech Legions being evacuated from Russia by U.S.A.T. ships, including the Logan.
Remember, one of the objectives of the AEF in Siberia was to rescue the Czech Legion who had been fighting on behalf of the Russian government prior to the Russian Revolution. ___________________________________________________________________
Labor Day, Sept. 2. 1918.
We left Camp Fremont at sun rise for Fort Mason here we boarded the Transport Logan, and some of the fellows on the Transport Sherman. We pulled away from the dock at noon and anchored and passed the Golden Gate where we were hailed by a Sub Chaser and given the clear. In a half an hour we could just see the faint lights of San Francisco maybe never to see them again.
The old Pacific was rolling a little heavy, but was a fine night. The ninth day out we passed the Aleutian Islands about fifty miles toward our port side, the weather was pretty cold.
The eighteenth day we were in heavy fog and passed a ship heading east, but we could not see it but we heard the fog horn, up to this day we made 3393 miles. The Transport Sherman followed us close as we were the convoy for them, the Battle Ship Pennsylvania followed us for five days and then went back. We had a platform built on the bow of our ship with a three inch rapid fire gun and a machine gun for range finder.
The 19th of Sept. we passed the International Date Line, here we gained a day. On this day we lost a life boat in a Typhoon which lasted all day, our decks were washed clean.
We were coming close to the land of Japan and all glad to be able to see land once more, as this made our 20th day on water and that was plenty.
This city is a very interesting place. Most of the streets are on hills and mountains. The city is on a peninsula, the Pacific Ocean on one side and San Francisco bay on the other. This peninsula extends back to about San Jose about 40 miles. There quite a few ruins left from the earthquake. It has one of the finest parks which is very natural having the Japanese Gardens. On the south end is the Cliff House, Fort Riely (Riley?) and the Golden Gate and the Seal Rock.
One can take a car at market and the ferries and ride to the Cliff House along the bay and ocean and the scenery is great. It sure has some Chinatown. The streets are narrow and on a hill with cable cars running on them, as they are too steep for electric cars to run. The only way the railroad can get in the city is by going through five tunnels, coming out at Townsend and Third streets. The streets are very clean. One thing I can say and that is it is very cold in Frisco on most days. But inland a few miles it gets good and warm. I think that Frisco and the bay town have the best car lines in the world. Such as the Southern Pacific and the Key Route as Frisco cars come to the ferries and leave from there.
Camp Fremont was the last stop in the Untied States on George Voegeli's journey to Siberia. The camp, located near Menlo Park, California was a short lived camp. The location was originally chosen due to its similar geography to that of France. In 1917, when the camp was opened, the intention was to train American forces in the camp for fighting against the Germans in France. Instead, in early Fall of 1918 orders were given to relocate all troops stationed at Camp Fremont to Siberia in order to protect supplies and supply lines.
This documentary video has a fairly in-depth look at the camp and the day to day activities and training of the soldiers. The video discusses some of the controversy surrounding the soldiers very presence in Siberia. This blog will look more at the controversy and issues surrounding the troop presence in Siberia at a later date. [the above picture is from the California State Military Musuem]
On August 15th we were sent to embarkation camp and outfitted for a long journey to the land of Bear.
In one of Geoerge Voegeli's hand written journals he wrote down impressions he had of certain towns and cities, from California to Siberia. What follows are his thoughts on a few different spots in California. Exactly when these were written is unclear but I think it may have been in 1919 while he was in Siberia, some months after he had left California.
Palo Alto, CA
This is a town about 3000. 31 miles from Frisco on the Southern Pacific. This is one of the finest towns in North Central of California of fine residents and good streets which are covered with Palm Trees. The Stanford University is about one mile from here. A large plant of the Federal Wireless company is here also. It is a fruit country about 3 miles from the Frisco Bay and one and half miles from Camp Freemont.
San Bruno, Cal., San Mateo, Cal., Burlingame, Cal., Redwood City, Menlo Park, Cal., Belmont, Cal., Daly City, Cal.
This is a place(s) about 10 miles from Frisco on the city line but up very high on the coast range. The funny thing about this place(s) is the sun very seldom shines and it is always above the clouds and is about three miles from the Pacific Ocean.
May Field, Cal., La Honda, Cal.
This place is in the Ring Mountains on a fine trout stream and is a resort place and fine deer hunting. This place is 24 miles from camp in the Coast Range.
Santa Cruz, Cal.
This place is about 75 miles from camp through the Coast Range along the Pacific Ocean, past Pigeon Point and though the big woods, this place is on the Monterrey Bay a warm place, a fine swimming place, and is a resort town. This is one of the biggest tunnels which is three miles long on the Southern Pacific.
About noon we crossed over the Arizona Divide 7355 feet above ocean or elevation, at Ash Fork Ariz. we had another hike. Here we hit the lower Rockies at quite aways off, at 3pm we crossed the Colorado River into Needles, Cal.
Needles, California had some depot, that was all covered with alms and fine grass, but only 102 in the shade.
The railroad makes a two percent grade for over 40 miles of the Mohave Desert, the telegraph polls were all covered with Alkali dust (alkaline dust).
We had breakfast at Bakersfield, Cal, the Red Cross gave us pies and oranges and were sure good. The country from here on was sure fine, we passed through large tracts of fruit farms. We stopped at Los Angeles for three hours, where we has the chance to see the city, leaving here we passed through Fresno, Santa Cruz and La Honda.
At noon we stopped at Stockton where we we changed to the Southern Pacific Railroad.
After leaving here we went through the Feather River Valley and went through some very long tunnels coming out on the San Francisco Bay and crossed along the bridge over three miles long into Redwood City.
Two miles we at last came to the end of our trip, Palo Alto, California.
*even now over 100 trains pass through Belen, NM everyday.
Here we were put through the red tape and all the rest that goes with it, and also our first inoculation, this put a lot of the new ones on there backs and some in the hospital, I myself did not feel any too good after the first one.
The third day here I was sent away with two train loads, we were put in Pullman Tourist cars on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, at 3:30 we left Jefferson Barracks, and stopped at Kirkwood where we waited for a second section to catch up to us.
From here on we ran along the Missouri River through many tunnels and was quite a nice ride. At midnight we stopped at Kansas City and changed engines.
We had breakfast at Emporia, Kansas, and at noon we stopped at Wellington and were taken off for a little hike of about two miles. We were now on the Santa Fe Railroad.
This was taken from a Diary that I had kept through all my travels while in the Army, omitting all every day happenings, making it in more of a book form.
Diaries were not supposed to be kept in the Army, but keeping it under cover I got away with it.
Voegeli - Mr. George C., 80 of 4540 49th Ter. N., passed away Sunday, June 1, 1975 in Traverse City, Mich. Born in St. Louis, MO., and moved to St. Petersburg 41 years ago from Kalamazoo, Mich. Mr. Voegeli was a retired builder. Veteran of World War I Member of the Unity Christ Church and the Bangor Masonic Lodge No. 205 F&AM. He is survived by one son, Warren G., St. Petersburg; three brothers, Ted of Chicago, Fred of Moline, Ill., and Carl of Jackson, Mich; one sister, Mrs. Helen Bohne Boca Raton, Fla., and four grandchildren. Friends will be received today from 6-8 p.m. at the R. Lee Williams Funeral Home, 3530 49th St. N, where funeral services will be held Friday, June 6, at 2p.m., with The Rev. James Parkinson officiating. Internment will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery. Northside Masonic Lodge No. 283 will conduct Masonic Services Thursday at 7:30 p.m. - The St. Petersburg Time Obituary