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The Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project


Louisiana Before the Great Depression

The Recession of 1920-21

The Roaring Twenties

A. Collapse of the Lumber Industry

Cut out-get out

Moved to western states

Abandoned mill towns

B. Collapse of farm prices

C. Lack of Industry in the state

Speculation in the Stock Market

Buying on the Margin

Black Thursday

Louisiana During the Great Depression

A. Massive unemployment

As initially envisioned by FDR and other members of his administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was originally intended as an employment program for young men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five whose families were on relief. Due to the events that occurred in Washington D.C. during the summer of 193_ World War I veterans were also recruited into the ranks of the CCC. The inclusion of the World War I veterans into the CCC was in response to the march of the Bonus Army on Washington D.C. during the summer of 193_ and the ensuing riotous conditions that followed.

Thousands of World War I veterans went to Washington to demand that Congress pay them the bonus that it had promised them during the war. The bonus was supposed to be paid to them in 1945 but the members of the Bonus Army were demanding that it be paid to them immediately due to the severe economic hardships that they were enduring. When Congress refused to pay them the bonus, most of the Bonus Army went home but some that had no home to go back to stayed on in Washington and built a shanty town on the Capital Mall. The shanty towns that sprang up across the United States at the time, like the one built by the displaced members of the Bonus Army, were derogatorily called Hoovervilles(Kennedy 1991:91; Jeffers 2002:55-56).

Friction soon developed between the Washington city officials and the members of the Bonus Army that stayed in the city. It eventually resulted in an order by the mayor of the city for the Bonus Army to vacate the area. When the police tried to enforce the order they were repelled by the members of the Bonus Army. This resulted in the mayor calling in the regular Army under the command of General Douglas MacArthur on DATE FOR THIS. General MacArthur sent in his troops to forcibly remove the men of the Bonus Army from the area. With the use of gas masked troops carrying rifles with bayonets and armored tanks, riotous conditions ensued where several members of the Bonus Army were killed and injured. These events shocked the nation and spurred politicians of both parties into action (Torricelli and Caroll 1999:97-99). With the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his promise of a New Deal for the American people, the World War I veterans were included in the Civilian Conservation Corps.

B. Excerpts of CCC men discussing their situations before they joined the CCC

The New Deal and the Establishment of the CCC

A. The election of FDR and the start of the New Deal

B. The organization of the CCC

Military-responsible for feeding, housing, clothing, and transporting CCC men

Department of Labor- recruiting of CCC volunteers

Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior- established and directed the work projects. The various agencies within these departments of the government that established and directed the work of the CCC were called the "using agencies"

The CCC in Louisiana

A series of legislative acts were passed by Congress during the first 100 days of the Roosevelt administration. The acts established a variety of new government agencies that have been referred to as "alphabet agencies". The new agencies were mandated by Congress to deal with the many social and economic problems that were facing the American people at the time. Legislation establishing the Economic Recovery Administration (ERA), the Works Projects Administration (WPA) , the Agriculture Adjustment Administration (AAA) , and the Civilian Conservation Corps , to name a few, were passed during the first 100 days of the Roosevelt administration. The passage of so much land mark pieces of legislation during its first 100 days of existence has become the benchmark that all subsequent presidential administrations have been measured by.

On March 21, 1933, just a few days after his inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a message to the 73rd Congress describing his proposal for the establishment of an organization that eventually came to be called the Civilian Conservation Corps. In his proposal to Congress he said:

I propose to create a Civilian Conservation Corps to be used in simple work, not interfering with normal employment, and confining itself to forestry, the prevention of soil erosion, flood control, and similar projects. More important, however, than the material gains, will be the moral and spiritual value of such work. The overwhelming majority of unemployed Americans, who are now walking the streets and receiving private and public relief would infinitely prefer to work. We can take a vast army of these unemployed out into healthful surroundings. We can eliminate to some extent at least the threat that enforced idleness brings to spiritual and moral stability. It is not a panacea for all the unemployment, but it is an essential step in this emergency...

I estimate that 250,000 men can be given temporary employment by early summer if you will give me the authority to proceed in the next two weeks. (Cohen 1980:6)

Acting quickly on the President's proposal for the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Congress enacted the Emergency Conservation Work Act on March 31, 1933 and signed into law on April 4, 1933. The Civilian Conservation Corps was mandated by Congress to conduct conservation projects on public and private lands across the nation (Lacy 1976:13).

Initially the CCC was viewed as a public relief program that was intended to provide employment for young men between the ages of 18 to 25 whose families were on public or private relief roles. That view of the CCC was quickly changed by the hard work of the young CCC men. In a April 17, 1936 "fireside chat" radio address to the nation, President Roosevelt said "The activities of the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps merits the admiration of the whole country. You and the men who have guided and supervised your efforts have cause to be proud of the record that the CCC has made in the development of sturdy manhood and in the initiation and prosecution of a conservation program of unprecedented proportions" ( ). By the time of the radio address, over a million young men and World War I veterans across the nation had volunteered for service with the Civilian Conservation Corps. They had worked on projects that ranged from planting trees on cut-over lands, to constructing roads, bridges, telephone systems, parks, and recreation facilities across the nation (1934, 1935, and 1937 Civilian Conservation Corps Annuals, Fourth Corps Area, District E).

On April 21, 1993 CCC activities in Louisiana began with the establishment of the Headquarters Company and the Supply Company for the Fourth Corps Area, District E of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Camp Beauregard near Pineville, Louisiana. The Headquarters and Supply Companies were responsible for directing the activities and providing supplies to all of the camps that would soon be established across District E of the Fourth Corps area that extended across all of Louisiana and the southern one third of Mississippi. Army Captain Roy Gibson had the responsibility of preparing Camp Beauregard for the hundreds of CCC volunteers that would soon be arriving. On April 29, 1933, the Army's Fourth Corps Headquarters at Atlanta, Georgia authorized District E to establish four forestry camps. The four camps authorized for District E consisted of F-1 near Bentley, Louisiana; F-2 near Bellwood, Louisiana; F-1 near Bude, Mississippi; and F-2 at Meadville, Mississippi.

On May 17, 1933 Major Gooding Packard replaced Captain Gibson as Commander of District E. Under the command of Major Packard the number of camps in Louisiana was quickly expanded to 27 by the end of 1933 with five more added in 1934. In September of 1934, Lieutenant Colonel Leslie McNair replaced Major Packard as commander of District E. Under Colonel McNair's leadership, District E was divided into a series of sub-districts with each of the sub-districts administered by a supervisory instructor-inspector. On April 1, 1935, Colonel Thos D. Osbourne assumed command of District E from Colonel McNair. Under Colonel Osbourne's command the activities of District E were further expanded. An additional 33 field camps were established in Louisiana, making District E the second largest district in the Fourth Corps area. Upon reaching a total of 70 camps in Louisiana by 1937, the expansion of the District came to an end. After 1937 a gradual reduction in the number of camps across the District occurred until Congress terminated CCC activities on July 20, 1942.

Col. Thos D. Osbourne

Map of CCC Camps in Louisiana

Map of Louisiana CCC Camps
Green indicates camps established during the First New Deal.
Blue indicates camps established during the Second New Deal.
Red indicates camps established during the War Years 1940-1942.

Organization of a CCC Company

A Civilian Conservation Corps company stationed at one of the camps in Louisiana had the organizational structure of a standard Army infantry company of the time. The companies had a normal complement of two hundred men. They were normally divided into four platoons of fifty men with each platoon under the supervision of a leader or assistant leader depending upon the types of project work to be conducted from the camp. The senior leaders of a company, excluding the officers and NCO's of the regular Army, were drawn from the local area and had experience in the types of work conducted from the camp. The CCC companies were normally administered under the direction of officers either drawn from the regular or reserve components of the US military. The officers that were in charge of a CCC company consisted of the commanding officer, the executive officer, a camp surgeon, and mess/canteen officer. The executive officer assisted the company commander while the camp surgeon was in charge of any medical problems that might arise at the camp. The mess/canteen officer was responsible for the operation of the company's mess hall, canteen, and the recreation program of the camp.

Maintaining the leadership of the CCC at its lower levels was a constant problem. During the first few years of the CCC the officers that commanded the camps were regular officers that were drawn directly from the active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps. They served on a six months on-six months off duty rotation. This duty rotation was established so that as many of the reserve officers as possible would have the opportunity of active service leading a CCC company. Later on when it became more difficult to maintain the number officers available to the CCC due national defense preparations, novel administrative approaches were employed to maintain the leadership of the camps. One of the administrative approaches utilized to maintain the leadership of the camps consisted of the placing of regular and reserve officers on "detached duty" status so that they could maintain their ranks that they would have been unable to maintain in a non-active duty status. Mr. Teal Calhoun (Informant, Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project, July 2000) reported that this administrative procedure allowed him to serve in the CCC for over five years at several camps in Louisiana. The last two years that he was in the CCC he served as commanding officer of the camp at Calvin, Louisiana until he was called to active duty to participate in the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1940.

Promoting individuals from the ranks that had leadership abilities was another administrative means of maintaining the leadership of the CCC. This administrative procedure consisted of promoting individuals from the ranks that had proven leadership capabilities into positions that would have normally been held by an officer. Individuals promoted in this manner were called subalterns (William Howard, Interview, Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project. July 2002). The individuals selected for these positions were frequently senior leaders that had demonstrated their leadership capabilities over long periods of time. Subalterns had the same duties, responsibilities, and authority as any of the regular military officers that commanded a CCC company. This administrative procedure for maintaining the leadership of the camps was employed more frequently as it became increasingly more difficult recruit young men into the CCC due to improved economic conditions and the war in Europe drew more and more young men into the regular US military.

Assisting the officers were a First Sargent, Supply Sargent, and Mess Sargent. These non-commissioned officers were also initially drawn directly from regular military units like the officers that directed the operations of a CCC company. These men carried out the orders of the officers and the day to day running of the company. They handled the feeding, housing, transporting, and disciplining of the young men stationed at a CCC camp. These men were soon replaced and sent back to their regular units as local experienced men (LEM's) became available or men were trained to handle the duties and responsibilities of the various supervisory or administrative positions that the NCO's held with the companies.

Each camp had one or two clerks to handle the paperwork of the company. They were normally under the direct supervision of the executive officer or the First Sargent of the company. They typed letters, reports, and correspondence for the company. Their primary duty was to maintain the records of the individual enrollees and make sure that they were properly paid. Maintenance of accurate pay records for the individual enrollees was necessary so that the Army finance department could properly disburse the alloted payment to the families of the enrollees.

Another part of the administrative apparatus of a CCC company consisted of the "using agency". Individuals that comprised the using agency of a company were drawn from the agency that the camp was established to assist. Agencies, such as, the US Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service were the primary federal "using agencies" at CCC camps in Louisiana. State agencies involved with CCC activities consisted of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana State Board of Engineers, Louisiana Department of Conservation, and eventually the Department of State Parks that was established by the state legislature in 1937.

Another type of using agency that played an important role in CCC activities in Louisiana were the private timber companies. Out of the eighty-four camps that were established in Louisiana during the little over nine years that the CCC was in existence, a total of twenty-two were established to assist in the reforestation of private lands across the state. In these instances, the using agency of the camps were frequently a lumber company. The Urania Lumber Company of Olla, Louisiana and the Davis Lumber Company of Ansley, Louisiana are two examples of the using agencies of the private forestry camps that were established across Louisiana.

The men that were a part of the using agency of each camp designed and directed the work that was conducted from the camp. They had the day to oversight responsibility for the project work conducted from each camp where they were assigned. The number of personnel of the using agency varied depending upon the types of project work to be conducted from the camp. The normal complement of the using agency of a CCC camp varied between ten to twenty men.

Shortly after the establishment of the CCC the shortage in experienced manpower in many of the using agencies was a major problem that had to be resolved quickly if the CCC was going to be a productive program. The Emergency Conservation Work Act of 1933 that established the CCC did not provide for the employment of local men that were experienced and knowledgeable about the types of work conducted at the camps. This oversight in the legislation quickly became apparent with the rapid establishment of camps across the country. Most of the using agencies of the camps did not have the experienced manpower needed to carry out the types of project work that would be conducted from the camps. This problem was quickly and efficiently resolved by an Executive Order issued by President Roosevelt in July of 1933 that authorized the hiring of local experienced men and established specific fines and penalties for infractions of the rules of the camps. The Executive Order allowed the commanding officer and using agency supervisor of a camp to hire up to twenty-four men from the local area that were experienced in the types work that were going to be conducted at the camp. This simple solution to what could have been a significant problem is the reason that Humphrey's (1964) assessment that the CCC was an "experiment". The problem of the hiring of local experienced men was not officially corrected until 1935 when the Emergency Conservation Work Act was revised by Congress. The revision of the Act validated what had been going on at the camps under the Executive Order. Most of the LEM's had already been hired by the time that the revision of the Act had occurred.

The hiring of local experienced men resolved another potential problem. This problem was the potential resentment of unemployed men in the local communities surrounding the camps who would see the young men that were making good salaries while they were not able to feed their families. Most of the men that were hired on as LEM's were older men that had families to support. They were in the same dire economic conditions that prompted the establishment of the CCC.

The War Years-1940-1942

Passage of the National Defense Act of 1940

Lend-Lease Act

Destroyers for Bases Agreement

Increasing Problem with Recruitment

Pearl Harbor

Disbandment of the CCC-July 20, 1942

Disposal of CCC Property

Legacy of the CCC in Louisiana

The Economic and Social Impacts of the CCC in Louisiana

The brief history of the CCC activities in Louisiana is intended to answer a simple question. In this age of fiscal conservancy it is appropriate to ask if the country received a "good bang for its buck" it spent on the Civilian Conservation Corps? During the Civilian Conservation Corp's little over nine years of existence 2.96 billion dollars were spent by Congress on the CCC. Stan Cohen in his book, The Tree Army: A Pictorial History of the Civilian Conservation Corps, observed that the Corps advanced natural resources conservation in the country by as much as twenty-five to thirty-five years. The Corps accomplishments in the area of reforestation and erosion control alone has a present day value of more than 1.75 billion dollars (Cohen 1980:147).

The previous evaluation of the achievements of the Civilian Conservation Corps did not take into account the direct economic benefits that the country received from the Corps during its brief period of existence. During its existence almost four million young men were employed by the CCC that could not find employment in the private sector. Allotments sent home from the monthly pay of the CCC enrollees benefited another twelve to fifteen million members of their families (Cohen 1980:19). These economic benefits of the CCC combined with the average of fifty-five million dollars that it pumped into local economies for materials and supplies on a yearly basis aided the American economy and its recovery from the Great Depression. It further shows that the country did receive a very good return on its investment in the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The Kisatchie National Forest in central Louisiana provides a good example of the benefits that the people of Louisiana derived from the hard work of the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Forest would not be as beautiful or as thriving as it is today without the hard work of the CCC. The men of the CCC planted over twelve million trees across the forest that have provided millions of dollars of forest products. They constructed five recreation facilities on the Forest that are still in use today. They also constructed the Stuart Nursery that is still in operation providing seedlings for public and private reforestation needs across Louisiana and the southern United States (Burns 1981:24).

Other accomplishments of the CCC include the construction of roads that we drive on every day as we go about our daily affairs. The CCC constructed 3, 070.5 miles of roads across Louisiana (Humphreys 1964:361). Many of the current state and parish roads across the state were originally constructed by the CCC. Mr. Augen Usrey (Informant, Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project 2000) said that CCC Company 1427 stationed at Danville, Louisiana constructed most of the Parish roads in southern Bienville Parish. He reported that prior to the CCC only wagon roads existed in the southern portions of the Parish. A further example of the CCC's road construction efforts can be seen on the Kisatchie National Forest, Louisiana's only National Forest. From camps stationed across the Forest the CCC constructed hundreds of miles of roads and firelines that eventually became main Forest system roads that people that live in and around the Forest still use every day (Humphreys 1964:361).

Another unrecognized benefit of the CCC's work in Louisiana is the state parks that we use on a regular basis. Before the 1930's, like most states in the country, Louisiana did not have a system of state parks. The CCC originally constructed four of the six regional state parks here in the state. The CCC constructed the facilities at Chicot State Park; Longfellow-Evangeline State Park; Fontainbleu State Park; and Chemin-A-Haut State Park. They constructed roads, bridges, cabins, lodges, boat landings, and other facilities at these parks. The facilities at other regional state parks were only partially completed by the CCC by the time that World War II started and the CCC was closed down by act of Congress. The facilities at the other regional state parks were completed after the war.

Jim Crowe and the CCC in Louisiana

Eight segregated camps were established for African Americans in Louisiana during the little over nine years of existence of the CCC. While the number of camps for African Americans in Louisiana, as a percentage of the total number of camps reflects the proportion of African Americans in the national population, it does not reflect the segregated Jim Crowe reality that the men in the camps had to endure here in the state and across the country (McElvaine 1993:182-95: Watkins 1999: 167). The CCC Annuals for 4th Corps Area, District E themselves provide direct examples of the Jim Crowe reality of the times. The histories of the black camps are all relegated to the back of the annuals.

An example of the Jim Crowe realities of the times in Louisiana is provided in story of the establishment of the camp at Minden, Louisiana. Moreover,it is an example of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Mr. Robert Fechner's policy of non-confrontation on racial issues that he states in his June 4, 1936 letter to Senator Robert J. Buckley of Ohio ( Initially work on the camp at Minden was conducted by a small group of African-Americans for the purpose of establishing a camp for black company that would be stationed at the camp. Within less than a month after work was started on the camp all of the black contingent was transferred out and a company of white enrollees were transferred in to replace them. The replacement of the black CCC company by the white CCC company was the product of the public pressure of the local community that did not want a group of young black men in its midst. This situation occurred several times at other communities across Louisiana.

External bigotry was not the only aspect of the Jim Crowe reality that the African American had to face while in the CCC in Louisiana. The non-segregated nature of the American military at the time and the racial biases that were expressed by its leadership frequently resulted in poor leadership of the camps. The history of Company 3498, established on what was to become Barksdale Army Air Base on July 5, 1935 is an example of the racial bias that permeated the American military establishment during the 1930's. The history of the camp presented in the 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps Annual, Fourth Corps Area, District E (page 195) describes a series of officers transfered into and quickly out of the company.

The sad result of the racial biases that were exhibited by both the civilian and military leadership of the CCC was that African Americans in Louisiana were not allowed to participate fully in the CCC program. As a result, they did not receive the economic benefit from the program that they could or should have. As the last hired and the first fired, African Americans suffered the worst of the economic hardships of the Great Depression but did not receive a proportional economic benefit that other groups in American society received.

Observations Concerning the Benefits of the CCC on Military Preparedness

It has been suggested that President Roosevelt established the CCC as an adjunct to the United States military establishment. There simply is no evidence to support this suggestion. In fact, this very accusation by opponents to the New Deal was debated in Congress prior to; during the passage; and shortly after the passage of the Emergency Conservation Work Act that established the Civilian Conservation Corps. Lead by politicians of both the Democratic and Republican Parties that had isolationistic sentiments, the debate resulted in the formulation of a policy where military drill could not be conducted at any of the CCC camps. This policy stayed in effect until the passage of the National Defense Act of 1940 that allowed the expansion of America's military forces prior to World War II.

The use of the United States military to feed, house, organize, transport, and discipline the young CCC enrollees was a product of necessity. The American military was the only government organization that had the capability to accomplish these necessary tasks on short notice and on an emergency basis. The perception of an emergency was real at the time that the Roosevelt administration came into office. The sense of emergency is reflected in the passage of a series of legislative acts that included a "bank holiday" where all of the banks in the nation were closed till their records could be assessed to determine whether they were on sound financial ground. During the first 100 days of the Roosevelt administration a series of legislative acts were passed by Congress that were designed to ameliorate the affects of the Great Depression . On March 21, 1933, just a few days after his inauguration, President Roosevelt proposed to Congress the employment of 250,000 young men by early summer. With the passage of the Emergency Conservation Work Act just ten days later on March 31, 1933 the need to feed, house, organize, transport, and discipline the large group of young men to be recruited into the CCC became a reality. This reality necessitated the use of the American military establishment for these purposes.

While there is no evidence that the CCC was intended to aide the United States military establishment; the fact is that it did help it in several unexpected ways. One of the unexpected ways that the CCC helped the military establishment was that it gave junior regular and reserve officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps experience in organizing, disciplining, and handling groups of young men that they probably would not have otherwise gotten during the peacetime military of the 1930's. Isolationist sentiments that were prevalent in the United States after World War I had resulted in the country having a military establishment that was comparable with many third rate countries of the world at the time (Barbier, 2003 pg 396). During the 1930's the regular Army totaled about 200'000 men and officers. Most of the Army units of the 1930's and early 1940's were ill equipped and poorly trained. The wretched condition of the American military of the times is reflected in the large scale Louisiana Maneuvers conducted during the spring and summer of 1940. Trucks with signs stating that they were tanks and men with wooden machine guns exemplified to poor state of affairs in the regular Army units of the time.

Another unexpected benefit of the CCC to the military establishment was that it exposed a large body of young men of military age to military style discipline and routine. This provided the country with a large pool of young men of military age that could be quickly gotten ready for combat operations in a short period of time in case of an emergency. All that the young men needed to be ready for combat was combat training. Some of the young men that went into the regular military after they had been in the CCC did not have to go through boot camp due to their previous exposure to military discipline and routine in the CCC.

Most of the men interviewed by the Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project reported that they served in the United States military during World War II. Some reported that they joined the military immediately after getting discharged from the CCC. Mr. reported that he went AWOL from his camp at , Louisiana to sign up for the Army at Alexandria, Louisiana. When he got back to the camp and told an officer what he done while he was AWOL, the officer chided him saying "You didn't have to go AWOL to sign up. We would have given you transportation to sign up ( Interview, Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project 2001).

The fact that a large body of young men had been exposed to military discipline and routine was to become very important during the rapid expansion of the military during the early stages of World War II. It allowed the country to gear up faster to fight a two ocean war than we probably would have otherwise been able to do. It should be remembered that the United States was conducting major military operations within less than a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the start of the war. These operations consist of the landings in North Africa and the operations in the Solomon Islands of the southwest Pacific.

Besides the advantage of having been exposed to military style routine and discipline, a recruit that had been in the CCC prior to joining the military had one significant unforeseen advantage over a recruit that had not been in the CCC. The young men that had been in the CCC had the experience of working together as a team to get jobs done. This experience was directly applicable to the military because teamwork is a necessary element in the successful completion of any mission.

The experience of many of the young men that went through the CCC appears to have enhanced their leadership skills. We may never know how many of the men that were in the CCC went on to become junior officers and senior NCO's during World War II but it appears that many of them did. It allowed the American military establishment to rapidly expand up to the 15 million men that were in it by the end of the war in 1945.

Another unforeseen benefit of the CCC to the American military establishment prior to World War II was the result of its use of the American railroad system to transport members of the CCC around the country. The part of the Army administrative system that governed the use of the country's railroad system gained valuable experience in administering the railroad system for the purpose of transporting units of the CCC to various parts of the country for posting. This experience was very important during the war when large numbers of troops and massive amounts of war material had to be transported to military bases and installations scattered across the country.


Biographical Sketches

Robert Fechner

As Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps from its inception in March of 1933 until his resignation in , 1940, Robert Fechner was in charge of the agency that has come to be well known for its work to conserve the natural resources of the country. Return

Harry Hopkins

As a close friend and confidant of President Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins was the Director of the Works Projects Administration. As director of the largest public relief program initiated by President Roosevelt's New Deal administration, Harry Hopkins oversaw a program that spent 80 billion dollars constructing public facilities and infrastructure projects across the country. Approximately eighty percent of money alloted to the Works Projects Administration was spent on salaries for the men and women that worked on the projects administered by the WPA. Return

Harold Ickes


General Douglas MacArthur


Colonel Leslie McNair

Lieutenant Colonel McNair assumed command of District E, Fourth Corps Area on September 5, 1934 from Major Gooding Packard. Although Colonel McNair's command of District E was short, lasting only six months, he made a significant improvement in the administration of the operations of District E. He divided the District up into a series of four sub-districts that were under the direct command of officers selected by him as inspector-instructors. This aided in the smooth operation and administration of the District. When Lieutenant Colonel McNair was promoted to full colonel he was transfered to Washington D. C. and replaced by Colonel Thos Osbourne.

Mr. , informant for the Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project told how, the then General McNair who was in command of the 27th Division during Allied operations for the break out from the Cherbourg peninsula, was killed in a friendly fire accident. Army Air Force bombers were suppose to bomb German front line positions in preparation for an assault by Army troops under the command of General McNair. Unfortunately, the bombs fell on units of the 27th Division, causing a lot of casualties. General McNair was one of those casualties. Return

Colonel Thos Osbourne

Colonel Osbourne graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1905. Serving in a variety of commands that included stints of duty in the Philippines, the Panama Canal, and at different commands across the continental United States, Officer Osbourne gradually worked his way up through the ranks. On March 6, 1935, Lieutenant Colonel Osbourne was assigned to Camp Beauregard near Pineville, Louisiana and on April 1, 1935 assumed command of District E of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Fourth Corps Area. Under Colonel Osbourne's command the activities of District E were expanded. At the time that Colonel Osbourne assumed command of District E, Louisiana had 35 camps. During Colonel Osbourne's command of District E an additional 33 field camps were established in Louisiana, making District E the second largest district in the Fourth Corps area. Return

Major Gooding Packard

On May 17, 1933 Major Gooding Packard assumed command of District E of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Fourth Corps Area, at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana from Captain Roy Gibson. On April 29, 1933 Headquarters for the Fourth Corps Area at Atlanta, Georgia had authorized the establishment of four forestry camps for District E. These camps consisted of camp F-1 at Pollock, Louisiana; F-2 at Provencal, Louisiana; F-1 at Bude, Mississippi; and F-2 at Meadville, Mississippi. Under the command of Major Packard the number of camps in District E was quickly expanded to 35. In September of 1934 Major Packard received orders for foreign duty in the Philippines and replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Leslie J. McNair. Return

Francis Perkins


Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Henry A. Wallace

As a son of a man that served as the Secretary of Agriculture under the Harding and Coolidge administrations, Henry A. Wallace was born in Ames, Iowa in 1888. He knew and fully understood the problems that plagued American farmers during the 1930's. As Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 until 1940 and vice President from 1941 until 1945, Henry A. Wallace was one of President Roosevelt's most trusted advisers. Wallace pushed a variety progressive programs to aide the country's farmers. These ranged from the food stamp and school lunch programs, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the Soil Conservation Service, the Rural Electrification Administration, and many more. Return

Civilian Conservation Corps Camps Established in Louisiana




Agriculture Adjustment Administration




Assistant Leader(s)

In the organizational structure of a CCC company the assistant leaders functioned as foremen of a particular work crew. They provided the daily direct supervision of the work crew that could range in size from as five to fifty men depending upon the type of project that they were working on. Due to the added responsibilities placed on the assistant leaders, they were paid $36.00 dollars a month with the standard $25.00 dollars allotment from their salaries sent home to their families. Return


This is a acronym that is commonly used in the American military. It means Absent Without Leave. This was the most common infraction that occurred at a CCC camp. The young men would go out on liberty, particularly on the weekends, and not come back to the camp at the appointed time. In most of these instances, the AWOL infraction committed by the young CCC enrollee was handled administratively by either the First Sargent or commanding officer of the camp. The punishment that the officer generally imposed consisted of imposition of extra duties and restriction to the camp for a set period of time. The extra duties imposed frequently consisted of KP duties during the evenings after work and on the weekend. Return

Bonus Army


Camp Beauregard


Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

The Civilian Conservation Corps was established by act of Congress on March 31, 1933 to employ young men between the ages of 18 to 25 whose families were on public or private relief. The young men were put to work on erosion control, reforestation, and flood control projects across the nation. During the little over nine years of its existence a total of 84 camps were established across Louisiana. Return

Corps Area

The continental United States was divided up by the Army into nine different districts based upon the distribution of military units and facilities within each district. Each of the Corps Areas ideally had a minimum of four divisions with at least one major military facility within the Corps Area. Louisiana during the 1930's was in the Fourth Corps Area. The Fourth Corps area extended across all of the southeastern United States including the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Return

Economic Recovery Administration (ERA)


Executive Officer

In the command structure of a CCC camp, the Executive Officer served directly under the Company Commander. He was second in line to command the company in the event that the commanding officer of of the camp could not perform his duties for some reason. The executive officer assisted the commanding officer in the maintaining the proper functioning of the camp.


Executive Order (EO)


Fireside Chat

This term is used in reference to a series radio addresses the President Franklin D. Roosevelt made to the nation during his three terms of in office. The term "fireside chat" was first used by Harry Butcher of CBS in reference to President Roosevelt national radio address on May 7, 1933. The term quickly caught on and was used by both the newspapers and the public. Samuel I. Resenman in The Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt cites a total of 27 fireside chats while other authorities on Franklin D. Roosevelt cite up to as many as 32 radio addresses as fireside chats. Return

Fort Barrancas

Now part of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fort Barrancas was utilized by the U. S. Army as one of several collection and initial processing points for new CCC recruits. Fort Benning, Georgia was another primary collection point for CCC recruits used by the Army during the early years of the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the early days of the CCC, recruits from across the Gulf Coast states were collected together at Fort Barrancas for initial processing and conditioning prior to being transfered to the camps where they would serve out their enlistments. A new CCC recruit normally spent two to three weeks at Fort Barrancas where they would under go physical examinations; receive shots to prevent various types of common diseases; and under go physical conditioning to prepare them for the rigorous physical work that they would be doing when they they were transfered to the camp where they would serve out their enlistment in the CCC. Later as the operations of District E became better organized, the collection; initial processing; and conditioning of the new CCC recruits was conducted at Camp Beauregard at the headquarters for District E. Return


This term was created in the 1930's to describe itinerants that traveled around the United States by using the railroads. Hobos included both men and women, and sometimes, whole families that had been displaced due to losing their homes. Many of the hobos were simply traveling on the railroads looking for work that most of them did not find. As a result, they lead a catch as catch can existence, begging, stealing, or working for food. Frequently harassed by railroad cops and preyed upon by fellow hobos, it was a hard way of life for the hobo of the 1930'. Return


This is a derogatory term directed at President Herbert Hoover. It was used in reference to any shanty town that sprang up during the early years of the Great Depression. President Hoover was blamed for his do nothing policy while the American people were suffering through the increasingly worsening economic conditions during his presidency. This lead to the massive landslide victory in the 1932 presidential elections by the Democratic Party lead by FDR over the Republican Party lead by President Herbert Hoover. Return

KP Duties

KP is a common acronym used in the American military. It means "Kitchen Police". It is a derogatory term used by men of the lower ranks in reference to the assignment of men in the lower ranks the duties of assisting the cooks in the preparation of meals that are served in the Mess Hall. The assignment of KP duties was frequently used by officers as punishment of the men for minor infractions of the rules. Return

Local Experienced Men (LEM's)

Commonly referred to as "Long Eared Mules" by other CCC enrollees, these men were generally older men from the communities and local areas around a CCC camp. They were hired by the camps because they had experience doing the types of work that would be conducted from the camp. These men were hired based upon the recommendation of the commanding officer and the project superintendent of each camp. The LEM's were hired as foremen that directly oversaw the work that was conducted from the camp. Based upon the presidential executive order issued in July of 1933, a total of 24 LEM's could be hired to work at each camp. Return

Louisiana Maneuvers


Mess Hall

This is a common term used in the American military in reference to any facility where food is served to the men and women of a unit. Mess halls were a common structure at all CCC camps. They commonly were one of the first, if not the first, building constructed at any CCC camp. Return

National Youth Administration (NYA)

This was a national public relief program directed to provide assistance to young women whose families were on public or private assistance. The young women were collected and domiciled together by the NYA in a community facility and assigned suitable work for which they were paid ten to fifteen dollars a month. Suitable work frequently consisted of sewing clothes, secretarial work, and cooking. Return

New Deal



This is a slang term used by the regular enrollee in the CCC in reference to himself. It means "public volunteer".Return

Public Works Administration

As part of the legislation that created the National Industrial Recovery Administration, the Public Works Administration was administered by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. The Public Works Administration was authorized to spend 3.3 billion on construction of infrastructural improvements around the country. During its existence it undertook more than 30,000 construction projects around the country that employed thousands of workers that otherwise could not find work in the private sector. Return

Senior Leader


Shelterbelt Project

Commonly referred to as the Shelterbelt Project, the Prairie States Forestry Project was administered by the WPA. The purpose of the project was to establish strips of trees spaced at one mile intervals within a 100 mile wide belt to intercept the prevailing winds that sweep across the prairies of the central United States. A total of fifteen states stretching from North Dakota to Texas participated in the project. By 1942 over 18,000 miles of shelterbelt trees had been planted and over 30, 000 farms had been protected from the devastating winds that had created the Dust Bowl years of the mid-1930's(Steen nd. pg.218). Return



Soil Conservation Service


Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)


Transient Camp

Transient camps were established all over the United States During the New Deal era of the 1930's as a means of providing a centralized place where indigent and homeless people could be given aide through the available social welfare agencies and organizations. At present, the only known transient camp in Louisiana was at Alexandria, Louisiana. Others probably existed in the larger communities across the state, particularly those communities that had railroad connections.The Department of Labor did some recruiting for the CCC from the transient camps. The recruitment of young men from the transient camps never amounted to a large number of young men because of the perception that a low class of individuals came from the camps. Return

Tree Monkeys

This is the slang term for the enrollees that were assigned the duty of climbing trees to knock down pine cones to be collected for transportation to a nursery for extraction of the seeds. Once the seeds were extracted they were planted for seedlings. Nurseries established by the CCC like the Stuart Nursery at Bentley, Louisiana grew millions of seedlings that were planted on Forest Service and private lands across the United States. Crew members assigned to this duty were required to collect 1000 pine cones per day. Return

Using Agency

The using agencies that directed the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps across the country consisted of various agencies of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior. Various federal and state agencies comprised the using agencies that established and directed the work conducted from the CCC camps set up across the country. Federal agencies, such as, the Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, were some of the federal agencies that were the using agencies associated with the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Of the federal agencies that were the using agencies associated with the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Forest Service was the federal agency that was in the best position to utilize the manpower resources provided by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Just prior to the establishment of the Corps the Forest Service had completed an in depth study of it needs in all areas of its mandated responsibilities. Commonly called the Copeland Report, the study identified the needs of the Forest Service in the areas of its lands, fire, recreation etc. This resulted in the establishment of many of the early CCC camps on Forest Service lands. Return

Works Projects Administration (WPA)

As part of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, Congress had established the Works Projects Administration (WPA). Under the direction of FDR's friend and adviser Harry Hopkins, the WPA spent 11 billion dollars with more than 80 percent of it in direct wages for people that needed work. The WPA constructed thousands of public parks, libraries, buildings, bridges, airports, and roads across the nation. It also employed artists, writers, photographers, musicians, and actors. Of interest to note, is the employment of archaeologists to conduct archaeological excavations of sites across the country. Many noted archaeologists got their start working on WPA sponsored excavations. James A. Ford, a nationally known archaeologist was one of these archaeologists. He directed the WPA excavation of the Marksville site at Marksville, Louisiana.Return


Annual of the Fourth Corps Area, District E, 1934

Annual of the Fourth Corps Area, District E, 1935

Annual of the Fourth Corps Area, District E, 1937

Barbier, 2003

Burns, 1981

Teal Calhoun, Informant, Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project

Stan Cohen, 1981

Cole, 1999

William Howard, Informant, Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project

Humphreys, 1964


Jeffers, 1991

Kennedy, 2002

Lacy, 1976

McElvaine, 1993

Resenman, 1988

Steen, nd.

Torricelli and Caroll, 1999

Watkins, 1999

Augen Usrey, Informant, Louisiana Civilian Conservation Corps Oral History Project

Suggested Readings

Project Information
Pictorial History
Oral History
Teachers Guide