100 years ago in The Saratogian: July 12 – New York News




Thursday, July 12, 1917

Fred W. Dunson fought for his country in the Spanish-American War, back in 1898. Nineteen years later, Dunson will serve in another war as captain of Saratoga Springs’ Home Defense Corps.

Dunson is chosen at a meeting held tonight in the city armory. Louis J. Follett will be his First Lieutenant and George B. Wright his Second Lieutenant.

The Home Defense Corps is meant to be the Spa City’s ultimate line of defense in the event of a foreign invasion. Saratoga County’s National Guard company is expected to leave New York State for regular army training in the south later this summer. A depot company is tasked with guarding the armory, but may be moved elsewhere within the state at the governor’s discretion. The U.S. declared war on Germany last April.

“As soon as a few minor details can be taken care of the application of the Corps will be presented for approval to the county chairman of the Home Defense, Dr. A. W. Ferris,” The Saratogian reports.


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Upon approval by the state adjutant general, the Home Defense Corps will be mustered into state service. Before Dunson, Follett and Wright receive commissions, they must “qualify satisfactorily” with a state examining board.

The Home Defense is open to physically fit men between the ages of 16 and 65. The unit will drill regularly for the rest of the month before taking August off while training is held for non-commissioned officers.

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