Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Bugler Howard Webster Munder enlisted in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve (NCDR) on April 16, 1917, ten days after the United States declared war on Germany and entered World War I.
The 19 year old Philadelphian and former Boy Scout was ready for action, but NCDR, a new organization that did not even have bases or barracks yet, was not. Eventually, the waiting became too much for Munder. He requested a release from NCDR so he could join the Pennsylvania National Guard. The Navy granted his request, and he enlisted in Company G, 1st Infantry, PA National Guard on June 27, 1917.
Along with thousands of other Pennsylvanians, Munder shipped out to Camp Hancock, Georgia, where various separate National Guard units were forged into the soon-to-be renowned 28th Infantry Division (ID). From there, Munder and company deployed to France as part of the 109th Infantry Regiment of the 28th ID.
Throughout his enlistment, Munder was a prolific letter writer and corresponded extensively with his parents. His letters provide a unique insight into the life of a Soldier during World War I and the challenges Soldiers faced as they prepared for war and met the enemy on the field of battle.
After the war, Howard’s letters were compiled and transcribed by William Bell Clark, believed to be the same William Bell Clark from Mechanicsburg, PA, who served as the secretary for the Pennsylvania War History Commission from 1919 to 1921. The transcribed letters are now part of the archival collection at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.
We are pleased to present these letters below, each posted in chronological order on the 100th anniversary of the day each letter was written, to commemorate the service of Bugler Munder and all the men and women who served during World War I.
Research Intern: Arden Staples, Dickinson College
Project Intern: Zach Fisher, Carlisle High School