Past Tense

As you are sitting down to your Thanksgiving dinner, remember that 100 ago, the soldiers of Camp Gordon were also enjoying their feast.

Having left home and come to the World War I encampment in Chamblee, they surely missed their family and friends. However, the camp planned a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner and printed a program with the menu. Thanksgiving in 1917 was the fifth Thursday of the month, Nov. 29, as proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson.

The program began with this heading:

Camp Quartermaster Corps

Enlisted Men Detachment, Thanksgiving Day Dinner

November 29, 1917

Camp Gordon, Georgia

The first item on the menu was Swamp Gumbo, followed by baked turkey with oyster stuffing, and two kinds of potatoes. There were rolls, butter, peas, and cranberry sauce. Dessert was coconut cake, banana cake, chocolate cake, mincemeat pie, lemon pie, and custard pie.

Coca-Cola is listed specifically on the menu as an available beverage, which seems appropriate for the Atlanta area. Another option for a beverage was root beer. Following the meal, cigars and cigarettes were available-also listed on the menu.

Major C. O. Thomas Jr., Camp Quartermaster is listed on the program as well as the Mess Officer, Supply Officer, several sergeants, corporals and cooks. The official transfer of authority from Construction Quartermaster, Major J. Norman Pease to Major Thomas didn’t take place until after Thanksgiving on Dec. 4, 1917.

This Thanksgiving program and menu for Camp Gordon is available thanks to James Knettel, his collection of Camp Gordon memorabilia, and his book Atlanta’s Camp Gordon.

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