Diary of Julius Eichel, 1918


1918-07-15 to 1918-09-30


Diary of Julius Eichel, 1918


1918-07-15 to 1918-09-30


Julius describes conditions at Camp Upton, refusal of innoculations and vaccinations, detention of many C.O.s in camp guardhouse, being court-martialed, etc.


WWI conscientious objection / objectors


Camp Upton, New York


Eichel, Julius


DG 131: Eichel Family Records


Swarthmore College Peace Collection


Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.










[July 15, 1918] Finished reading The Art of Cross Examination by Francis L. Wellman. was down to Middle Island and when I told the Phiefers that most of the boys had left they seemed to sympathize with them.

Today some of the colored men around here had some southern dances of their own.

Picked some berries with Sterenstein and enjoyed them immensely by eating them with milk.

Albert Janssen was brought in with us today. He is a

Christian believer. He seems to be a pretty conscientious preacher.

Mr. Roslan was up to see us again. The time he came around with the idea in mind of making an engagement with us to listen to a Mr. Goldrich who is Principal of P.S. 62. After a little discussion he walked out saying he was sorry to see the others go.

[July 16, 1918] Went out picking huckle-berries today. Near the log cabin a few soldiers there recognized us and were wondering how it happened that we did not got with the rest. On the way back a few soldiers on a back seat of a truck recognized us as C.O.s.

Corp. Zaba came up and asked us to be ready to go over to the 16th Co. orderly room at 3:30 p.m. to see Capt. McClure and Capt. Morschauser. We were ready at 3:30 but were not called until 4:30. Sterenstein, Rudolf and myself were the men called. Capts. Morschauser

& McClure and Corp. Zabo took us over to the brigade hospital and there we met Capt. Oglivie. Then we first realized that we were taken to the hospital to be inoculated. I then told Capt. Morschauser I would refuse the inoculation as I had previously refused it. Then McClure told us that he was the Capt. in charge of us and that he commands us to take the inoculation. We all refused to signify our willingness to take it. Then Oglivy got sore and used some abusive language.

I received a package

from home today and in the package I found a card Dave had mailed from Ohio. He seemed to like the trip and I was happy to hear it. I found a card Dave had mailed from Ohio. He seemed to like the trip and I was happy to hear it.

We received a new man today.

John Tiederman [sp?] by name.

[July 17, 1918] At 10 o'clock today in the middle of my trial as a barber Corp Zabo came up and told us that we must get ready to go to the brigade hospital again. Capt. Oglivey at the hospital asked us if we realized that we were disobeying a command from a Capt. In substance we all answered alike and that was that, we did not recognise any military authority. Capt. Oglivie than dictated the following letter to a stenographer

I find the following men mentally responsible.

Julius Eichel
Samuel Sterenstein
Carlton Rudolf

Received a letterfrom Jacob Wortsmann describing the trip (illegible word). He seemed to enjoy it and so does Dave.

Charlie Cody was courtmartialed yesterday no sentence passed as yet.

[July 18, 1918] Albert Janssen was called to see Gen. Bell. Bell first opened his remarks by criticizing his dress. He then spoke about non-combatant service. He also called Capt. Morschauser to verify some remarks that Janssen said was made by the Capt. He was sent back and told he would eventually reach Leavenworth, Kansas.

Sent a box of huckleberries home today.

[July 19, 1918] Zabo asked us to be ready again to see Capt.s Morschauser, McClure and Oglivie. at 2 o'clock this afternoon. Morschauser called for us and then called McClure from the 16th Co. Together we went down to the hospital where we were brought into a room to face Capt. Oglivie who again asked us to be innoculated. He gave us a few preliminary remarks and then McClure said he commanded us to take the inoculation. We all refused and we were then sent back to our barracks.

We picked a sack of apples today.

I received a card from Harry Lee and one card from Jake Wortsmann mailed from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

We received a new man today, Nathan Tenenbaum, Christian believer.

Received 2 letters from Dave who has arrived safely at Leavenworth.

[July 20, 1918] Finished reading "War Civilisation" by Christopha Nyrop

[July 22, 1918] John Tiederman was asked to see Gen. Bell at 8 o'clock. He waited at the General's office for four hours before the Gen. was ready to see him. When he did see him he told John that he was just as crazy as the rest of them and a few other remarks which weren't very complimentary.

Read The Fetishism of Liberty by Harry Waton.

[July 23, 1918] Sent a box full of berries home. An orderly came after me about 2 o'clock and took me down to 16th St. and 3rd Ave. There I was taken before a lieut. who wanted to know whether or not I was classed as a deserter. We then went into a discussion on the causes of this war. He also asked me if I knew that I was being held for a general court martial. I then returned to the barracks.

A lieutenant came to our barracks about 5 o'clock and told

Sterenstein, Rodolph, and myself that we were placed under arrest to await court martial.

I then tried to find Capt. Morschauser and ask him when we were to be court martialed. He did not know but promised to inform me shortly. Sterenstein received a charge sheet declaring that he was to be tried for refusing to submit to an innoculation and vacination at the command of a commissioned officer.

[July 24, 1918] Samuel Sterenstein was called to trial at about 2 o'clock but it was postponed to give him a little time until nine o'clock tomorrow morning. We all thought it an outrage that such little time should be given to a man to defend his liberty. Sam called up the Civil Liberties Bureau and they promised him legal aid.

Finished reading Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress."

[July 25, 1918] Sterenstein's trial was postponed and so that the personal [personnel] of the court martial should have someone to try today Rudolf and myself were picked as the victims to take the place of Sterenstein. In their extreme kindness they gave us until one o'clock to get our council [counsel]. A Lieut. was picked to be our military council [counsel]. We called up the Civil Liberties Bureau and they got the trial postponed until

9 o'clock tomorrow morning. Walter Nellies was to appear as our council [counsel].

The lieutenant appointed as military council [counsel] came around to visit us and get our viewpoint. He seemed to be a very nice fellow.

Sterenstein was told he was going to be tried with us.

Lt. Lanier was our military council [counsel].

[July 26, 1918] This morning at 9 o'clock the proceedings in the case of Sterenstein, Rodolf and myself were started. I was the first man called and when at twelve o'clock the jury was through with me, they sent me to the detention barracks. When I told the sergeant there that I would refuse to work he told me that he would refuse to feed me in that case. And as an extra

precaution I was put into a room all by myself, and was told that I would have to stay there until I was willing to work. However it seems that those instructions were never meant to be carried out. It is true I missed my first meal but in two hours I was taken out of solitary and put with the rest of the prisoners. Walter Nellies defended me very ably!

[July 27, 1918] Still in the Guard House. I find that I am not feeling as well as usual because of lack of exercise. Every now and then some of the corporals or sergeants in charge try to remind us that we're not working for our meals. Of course that’s true but we're not responsible for being here.

[July 28, 1918] Still at the Guard House. Trixies sister came to visit me here escorted by a lieutenant.

Sam had his belt taken away by one of the sergents. It seems to be the policy of the non-coms to molest us whenever possible. All the men here work even on Sundays so that they get no rest at all. One corporal told me that we were to eat after those infected with venereal dis[ease].

[July 29, 1918] Still at the guard house. I notice that many of the men here are infected with some venereal disease. In spite of the fact that the officials feel so anxious to safeguard my health they throw me in contact with these men and so endanger my health. I've got my own paper and envelopes but the sergent in charge does not allow me to use it for correspondence.

[July 30, 1918] Today one Polish man, a non citizen because he refused to work for the military officials, was put on bread and water in Solitary confinement.

Received a letter from the folks telling me that Dave had written from St. Mary and was on his way to Ft. Riley from Ft. Leavenworth. Sent a letter to John Tiederman and asked him for apples.

[July 31, 1918] Still at the guard house. The Polish man is still confined to Solitary. No reading material is allowed in the barracks. We have the following notice on the wall:

Detention Barracks
Camp Upton, N.Y.
May 10, 1918
By the order of the Comm. Genl.
By tele.[?] from the Chief of Staff
No card playing, no games of any sort, no reading matter to be permitted in the barracks. Prisoners to be kept at work as continually as possible. P.J. Robinson, 2nd Lieut. Inf. [ ? ]

[August 1, 1918] Still at the guard house. The Polish man is still in solitary confinement. Today Clody was brought in. He was sentenced to hard labor at Fort Jay for a term of twenty years.

Rothberg was also brought in today. Hear a [rumor?] that we might be going to Leavenworth soon.

Charlie Clodi seems to take his misfortune [illegible word] naturally[?].

[August 2, 1918] Wrote a letter to the Civil Liberties Bureau about the Pole. Another man put in solitary with the Pole because he refused to drill.

Sentence was passed on Sterenstein and myself. Sam received 30 years and I received 20 years to be served at Fort Jay. As we expected something like this from the government we weren't the least bit shocked.

Received Dave's letter.

[July 30, 1919] Frank Burke died of gastric hemorrhage and acute gastritis in Ft. Douglas Hospital.

[August 18, 1919] Berman put in guard house on bread and water for insolent letter to Colonel.

[August 19, 1919] Howard Moore put in Guard house for refusing to bring bread and water to Berman. Howard Moore is beaten

up in Guard House. The Colonel spoke to us and threatened that unless we went to work we would lose our good time and other privileges. Five men agree to work among them are - Rubenstein, Shum, Camen, and two Russians.

[August 20, 1919] Moore and Berman released from Guard house. We are all put on bread and water without any explanations.

[September 30, 1919] Was to go home today. Jake's boil launced.


Eichel, Julius, “Diary of Julius Eichel, 1918,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed September 21, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/82.

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