Link about the US government taking control of US Railroads March 21, 1918.
World War I operations
Map, Port of Embarkation Hoboken (1917-1918).
The Hoboken Port of Embarkation, with New York Port of Embarkation also in use by the close of the war, was formally established on 27 July 1917 with a port commander having been assigned on 7 July.
The Army quickly recognized demands of World War I
shipping overseas required unified command of operations of the Water Transportation Branch, Quartermaster Corps
and the Army camps and depots through which troops and supplies passed.
In early June Major General J. Franklin Bell
, commanding the Army's Department of the East
on Governors Island
was instructed to assume the functions of the commander of such a Port of Embarkation as the port organized.
It quickly became clear the United States involvement in the war overseas required a central, separate, more flexible and responsive organization with direct oversight from the War Department
in Washington, D.C.
. Previous War Department planning had envisaged ports of embarkation under single commanders.
The first headquarters was established at Hoboken, New Jersey using facilities and piers seized from the German owned North German Lloyd
steamship lines on the Hudson River
The first commander was Brigadier General William M. Wright serving from 1 July to 1 August 1917.
On 1 August 1917 Major General David C. Shanks assumed command as the ports of embarkation came under the Embarkation Service until 27 September 1918 when ports were made coordinate agencies directly under the General Staff.
The port was briefly under command of two Brigadier Generals, William V. Judson and George H. McManus from 9 September 1918 until General Shanks resumed command on 5 December 1918.
In the early stages of the port's operation during World War I the cargo functions were located in Brooklyn and New Jersey with troop movements largely out of Hoboken, where the command was located, and nearby Manhattan piers seized from German lines with passenger facilities.
By war's end the NYPOE, again under Major General David C. Shanks, had expanded to a staff of 2,500 officers, embarkation camps, hospitals, twelve piers and seven warehouses in Hoboken, in Brooklyn eight piers and 120 warehouses of which six piers were also Bush Terminal Company
assets, and two Army Supply Base warehouses and, in the North River
, Manhattan three piers covering a total of fifty-seven acres.
Troops from camps disembarking at Hoboken piers to board transports to Europe.
Three embarkation camps, Camp Merritt
having a 38,000 transient troop capacity, Camp Mills
with 40,000 capacity and Camp Upton
with 18,000 capacity came under the direct command of the Port of Embarkation while Camp Dix
remained under War Department control but served as an embarkation camp for the port.
The command included four embarkation hospitals and five debarkation hospitals, one general hospital and one auxiliary hospital along with two base hospitals.
The ports of Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia served as sub-ports and the Canadian ports of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Montreal and St. John's, Newfoundland as subsidiary ports under the NYPOE.
The need for more permanent dockside Army passenger, warehousing and shipping facility was recognized and the Brooklyn Army Base, redesignated the Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT) 1 October 1955,
was constructed from existing terminal and docking facilities in Owls Head, Brooklyn, not far from Fort Hamilton
, beginning in 1918.
The port managed the return of the American Expeditionary Force
from France during 1919 and of the American Forces in Germany, 1919—1923 as well as postwar transport related to support of forces in Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal Zone.
In December 1919 USAT Buford
, home ported at the port, transported Emma Goldman
and Alexander Berkman
along with 240 people considered Communists and radicals from the NYPOE to Hango
General Shanks' command and the NYPOE were discontinued 24 April 1920 with functions turned over to the General Superintendent, Army Transport Service
, Army Base Brooklyn.
Though the command had changed and the port itself reduced in size from the wartime years to the new Army terminal continued to be referred to as the New York Port of Embarkation with ships home ported at "New York POE, Army Supply Base, Brooklyn, NY," as were the transports USAT America
, USAT American Legion
, USAT Chateau Thierry
, USAT Great Northern
, USAT Hunter Liggett
In later stages and postwar years, with the permanent Brooklyn facilities becoming the center of operations, New York Port of Embarkation (NYPOE) replaced the former term and was the official term during World War II.