Augusta’s Trench and Camp Newspaper Now Available Online

First Issue of Trench and Camp Newspaper October 10, 1917

Augusta’s Camp Hancock was one of thirty-two cantonments or temporary sites erected by the United States War Department in a mass-mobilization effort to prepare an army of one million fighting men to join the Allies in defeating the Central Powers during World War I. The sprawling Camp was located on the western outskirts of the city of Augusta, where Daniel Field is now located. Camp Hancock’s primary purpose was to prepare National Guard troops for integration into the U.S. Army.

While much of their time was spent training to be effective soldiers, the men stationed at Camp Hancock were allowed down time in which to enjoy all the city of Augusta had to offer in terms of entertainment, particularly in the many theaters, restaurants, and night clubs that lined downtown Broad Street, and its grid of many side streets. Another activity the soldiers likely enjoyed when they weren’t marching in formation, or conducting skirmishes was reading Trench and Camp newspaper.

Trench and Camp was published by the National War Work Council of the YMCA, in partnership with various city newspapers, for soldiers during World War I. The weekly paper was printed in different editions for each of the thirty-two cantonments, with about half the material supplied weekly from a central editorial office in New York, and half by local reporters. Its purpose was “to print the news, to inform, to stimulate, and to help relieve the tedium and monotony of camp life” for soldiers, as well as “to be a graphic account of the life of our soldiers, whether they be drilling or fighting, at home or ‘over there’” for civilians. Contributions from soldiers include descriptions of the entertainments at the camps, athletic contests, educational lectures, jokes, and poetry, as well as personal columns telling of their experiences. The papers also sponsored cartoon contests, resulting in many good pictures portraying camp life. In addition, each Trench and Camp was a channel of communication to the troops from the President, Congress, and War Department.

Camp Hancock’s version of Trench and Camp newspaper was published with the cooperation of the Augusta Herald, and was in publication for the duration of World War I.

Trench and Camp is now digitized and freely accessible in the Georgia Historic Newspapers website thanks to the Digital Library of Georgia. Follow the link to explore the newspaper.

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