While Adjutant General Charles W. Berry reported that guard duty could be "dull" and even "unnerving," the photographs from Thomas Burke show that the men found ways to keep life lively and entertaining. They had various sports teams, boxing matches, and seemingly made up many ways to make fun.
"Troop B Dance Big Success," The Watchdog, February 9, 1918.
Life on the Aqueduct was not entirely separate from life in New Paltz, as the clipping from the New York Guard newspaper "The Watchdog," shows. The Guard hosted a dance up at the barracks in February of 1918, clearing one of the dormitories for dancing and local girls came with homemade treats to share.
A different clipping shares that a few of the guards went along for a sleigh ride and dance hosted by "the young people of New Paltz."
Perhaps one of the guards' favorite aspects of life up on the line was all the pets they acquired during their time serving. Dogs in particular were loved by the guardsmen, as evidenced by Thomas Burke's photographs and the clipping here featuring the canine companions.
The Watchdog: Lots Doing at Troop B Camp, February 9, 1918.
By Corporal C. T. Terry
Troop B, Squadron C, Cavalry, Camp Fort Orange, February 6 -
In accordance with a request from headquarters, here goes on our mascots. the first of our four-footed friends is our gentlemanly and dignified dog, "Jerry." "Jerry is the personal property of our Commanding Officer, Lieut. Clerk. As his picture will show, he is a full-fledged Boston Bull. "Jerry's" mother was "Muffins," a prize dog owned by a man in Cohoes, N.Y., his father being "Billy Ringmaster" from the same town. The latter has taken many blue ribbons and prizes in various dog shows. We have great hopes for "Jerry" and believe by the way he carries his head that he will rapidly follow in Father Ringmaster's footsteps. "Jerry" is full to the brim of the thing called life and if at midnight or in the wee ams' hours of the morning one is awakened from a sound sleep by the pitter patter of small feet, it is only Jerry on an evening stroll.
"Moewy" came to us in our old camp at Mohonk tunnel. No one seems to know from exactly where, but nevertheless he is here. This canine, although huge and ugly, is of a timid disposition. He was christened Moses on the morning of his arrival. not a person appears to know just why, except for his extra large ears and a wakeful habit, said habit being "snoring." (Continued on page 4.)