Sitting left to right Edward E. Tulipane, Thomas H. Harrison, Major Cement [remaining text cut off]
New York City had relied on the National Guard to protect the city's water supply since February of 1917 but by July of the same year, officials were warned that the National Guard was going to be mustered into service overseas. As a result, City Commissioner Arthur Woods called upon the state of New York to supply troops to guard the aqueduct. On August 3rd, under the Home Guard Act of 1917, the New York Guard was officially organized.
By August 10th, the task of guarding the aqueduct was officially handed over to the First Provisional Regiment of the New York Guard, who guarded the 97 miles of the Croton and Catskill Aqueducts, with camps and posts from Hillview, on the New York City border, all the way up to the Ashokan Reservoir. They were men who were otherwise not eligible for active service and boys who, at 17, were too young. They were married and single; they hailed from wealthy families and came from humble means. Some of the youngest soldiers had never been away from home before, and plenty of men had never in their lives traveled more than 20 miles from where they were born.
Some of the Guard were better equipped than others, depending on various factors. Troop B (stationed in New Paltz) was reportedly well-equipped with uniforms, wood, and rations and was ready for field duty. Company B (stationed in Miillwood, NY) "were pathetic in their civilian-military attire... They had no blankets, some were without ponchos, and none had cots" (Hutton, 60).
A 1919 report from the Adjutant General, Charles W. Berry, says “at no time was the New York Guard properly armed, uniformed, or equipped. Guard duty was crushingly dull, and at other times, with strange noises and shadows issuing through dark nights, completely unnerving."
When the influenza pandemic of 1918 spread to the United States, thirty-seven New York Guard soldiers died. Yet amidst it all, the men faithfully performed their duty and maintained the line. They were all volunteers, and the work they’d done was crucial for the process of the war. A monument to these men, made with a stone from the Bonticou Crag, is located in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY.
THIS ROCK SYMBOLIZING THE REGIMENT WHICH RAISES IT HEWN FROM BONTICOU CRAG ON THE LINE OF THE CATSKILL AQUEDUCT BY THE STORMS OF AGES WAS ERECTED HERE MARKING THE SPOT WHERE ONE OF ITS FATHERLESS BOYS WAS BURIED BY THE REGIMENT AT THE REQUEST OF HIS MOTHER, A HELPLESS WIDOW
AS A MEMORIAL TO THOSE WHO MADE THE SUPREME
SACRIFICE FOR THEIR STATE IN SERVICE WITH THE
FIRST PROVISIONAL REGIMENT
GUARDING THE 100 MILES OF THE WATER
SUPPLY OF THE CITY OF
NEW YORK FROM ASHOKAN TO HILLVIEW DURING
THE GREAT WAR
1917 1918 1919