"Jake, Jim, Garry, Dick, Tom, Bill, Hill; An impromptu guard mount."
The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, almost three years after the
fighting began. The New York National Guard began the task of guarding the New York City water supply, including the Catskill Aqueduct, throughout Ulster County in February of 1917. The fear of terrorism predicated that this vital resource be protected from potential acts of sabotage, as German sympathizers had already blown up a munitions plant in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 30, 1916. Known as the ‘Black Tom Explosion’, seven people were killed, hundreds injured, and the blast was felt as far away as Philadelphia.
The Tenth New York Infantry of the National Guard was ordered to protect the Catskill division of the Aqueduct and its headquarters were soon established in New Paltz, NY. Control of the guard line was maintained continuously until the regiment was relieved in August of 1917. On August 5, 1917, the New York National Guard was federalized to be sent overseas. State law mandated that a militia be in place to protect the state, citizens, and resources. To fill this role, the New York Guard came into being on August 3, 1917. The NY Guard took over the watch on the Aqueduct from the departing National Guard.