Minnesota troops leaving Union Depot
General John Pershing was the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. He left for France about six weeks after the United States declared war, and the first U.S. troops followed about a month later. In July 1917, Pershing requested 1,000,000 American soldiers to aid in the fighting in France. Two weeks later, he increased that number to 3,000,000.
More than 57,000 Minnesotans embarked from places like Union Depot, such as these soldiers leaving St. Paul in October 1917. More than 1,400 Minnesotans died in combat or from wounds. Another 1,800 died from the Spanish flu in 1918.