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 Texas : Features : World War I

WORLD WAR I

Camp Travis
& The 90th Division

San Antonio, Texas

by John Troesser
Cactus Division, WWI
With the war over - or nearly so -
the troops of the "Cactus Division" had time for photos
Photo Courtesy of the Carl McDonald Collection

The Texas climate has a reputation for unpleasant weather, but mild Texas Winters have provided seasonal homes for baseball clubs, circuses and especially the military. Whether it was U. S. troops in training for war or German Prisoners of War, Texas hosted both groups.

When the United States entered World War I, thirty-two training camps were set up. Half of them were "tent cities" and were for National Guard Units while the other half had wooden barracks for the regular Army.

Camp Travis was situated a few miles from downtown San Antonio adjoining Fort Sam Houston. Originally the name was Camp Wilson, named after the man who "kept us out of war." It was the point from which troops were mobilized in 1916 to quell the Mexican Border Crisis brought upon by the Mexican Revolution.

19th Infantry Regiment flay
The battle flag of the 19th Infantry Regiment

With the formation of the 90th Division in 1917, it was renamed Camp Travis after William B. Travis of Alamo fame. One of the Regiments within the 90th was the 19th Infantry.

Originally the troops of the 90th were to be from Texas and Oklahoma exclusively, but as the men were shipped out, their replacements were from other states. By the time they got orders for Europe in June, 1918, a good percentage of the troops were "foreign."

In August and September of 1918, The 18th "Cactus" Division was formed of the left over units still at the Camp. They were still preparing for the French trenches when the war ended on November 11th. After the war - troops were mustered out through the camp and in 1922 - Camp Travis was absorbed by Fort Sam Houston.
John Troesser
We'd like to thank Doyle Phillips for arranging the use of the photograph. More photos from Doyle Phillips
May 2001
More World War I chronicles
See also World War II Chronicles
 
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