July 17, 1973, 2 items; Letters (1918)
October 4, 1973, 2 volumes; Diaries (1918-1919). Loaned for copying by Mr. Earl Johnson, Raleigh, N.C.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Earl Johnson Papers (#234), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
- Loaned by Mr. Earl Johnson
Sergeant Earl Johnson of Raleigh, N.C., participated in World War I as a member of the 113th Field Artillery. He enlisted in September, 1917, and underwent training at Camp Sevier, S.C., before departing via Camp Merritt, N.J., for France. Johnson arrived in Brest, France, May 18, 1918, and served on the Western Front until the war ended. For the next 50 years, Mr. Johnson was a partner in the insurance and surety bond firm of Moore & Johnson in Raleigh.
The diaries cover the entire military career of Sergeant Johnson from enlistment to discharge. The first diary begins March 21, 1918, and runs through Johnson's departure from Camp Sevier, S.C., for Hoboken, N.J. (April 30, 1918). The first entry in this volume supplies background information regarding enlistment and training prior to that date. The second diary begins with his departure from Hoboken for France and ends with his return to the United States (March 10, 1919).
In the first diary Johnson relates his experiences of enlisting in the army, his training experiences at Camp Sevier, S.C., and the routine of camp life. The diary also includes an interesting account of a trip to the range, his role as a scout, efforts to avoid officers, and the confusion in an army command. The diary concludes with his anticipation of combat in Europe.
The second volume begins with camp life at Camp Merritt, N.J., and tells of his experiences crossing the Atlantic on
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON. Upon arrival in Europe Johnson was stationed at "Pontanezen Barracks."
While in France, Johnson describes the camp life, trips to French towns, the role of the Y.M.C.A. in Europe, and the orientation classes. He also reflects his experiences in combat, moving to the front, air raids, bombardment, trench life, gas alerts, and the German retreat from the Argonne Forest. In the latter part of October "peace rumors" became a major part of the diary.
After Armistice (November 11, 1918), Johnson tells of enrolling in artillery school, and describes camp life, camp parties, and their waiting to go home. The diary concludes March 10, 1919, on the
SANTA TERRESA somewhere on the Atlantic.
Correspondence in the collection consists of two letters from Johnson to members of his family. These describe camp life on the front, the German retreat at the Argonne Forest, and casualties as a result of enemy fire.