United States. Army. 63d infantry.

A history of the Sixty-third U.S. infantry, 1917-1919 online

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A

HISTORY

OF THE



SIXTY-THIRD
U. S. INFANTRY

1917-1919




PUBLISHED BY
MEMBERS OF THE SIXTY-THIRD U. S. INFANTRY

1920



^"^°
w



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K



Copyright, 1920

BY

H. H, BISSELL
m i 1820



Foreword

WHEN the United States entered the big war in 1917,
I was stationed in Honolulu, senior Lieutenant
Colonel of the Infantry arm, and, like dozens of
other officers, was aching to return to the mainland and get to
work with a regiment.

Late in May the press announced the formation of a Divi-
sion for France and I cabled my classmate. General Pershing
at Washington as follows: ''Please get me assigned regiment
infantry your division for France." So far, he has not replied.

Congress declared war early in April, 191 7, but did not
pass the army bill until the middle of May and it was six weeks
later when I got orders assigning me to the 63d Infantry, and
two weeks more before I was able to join it at Presidio of San
Francisco, California.

There were 18 officers and about 700 men present when I
took command ori July i6th, and during the first week about
440 recruits joined, and at the rate men were volunteering all
over the country it looked as if the regiment would soon be
filled to war strength.

In August, 27 lieutenants joined from the first Training
Camp at Presidio, but meantime several captains and majors
had been promoted and sent to other regiments and a few weeks
later 122 selected non-coms, had to be sent to the National
Army, and there were constant drains upon the enlisted
strength by the Quartermaster Corps, Engineers, etc. Allur-



IV



Foreword



ing prospects of promotion and increased pay were put before
these men, but the cold fact was that the officers wanted
trained men rather than train them themselves.

In December, nearly 50 more officers came from the second
Training Camp but the end of the year found only 1176 en-
listed men present. Given three times this number we would
soon be ready to make holes in the German Ime. Someone
must have suspected that this hope would become a reality and,
accordingly, in January and February more than half the
regiment was scattered from San Diego, California, to pomts
in Utah and Idaho where there were "utilities" that were sus-
pected of needing soldiers to guard them.

It would have been heartrending but for the fact that
during the previous five months an esprit had been developed
in the regiment which led to snappiness, precision, and "pep.
which, in turn, produced keenness and pride in the officers and
men and a manifest determination on their part to make the
regiment better than any other.

That their ambitions were fully realized needs no attest
from me, for the fact was made evident by the comments of
hundreds of disinterested officers who watched the work of the
regiment at Presidio and at Camp Meade and by the French
and English Officer-Instructors at both places. The regiment
spoke for itself wherever it was and in whatever work or train-
ing it was engaged.

As for the methods or policies which produced this result,
I can recall nothing particularly original or unusual. While
children and girls seem to thrive on flattery and petting, grown
men need neither. The husky, who had a burning desire to
kill the Kaiser, learned more from being told what was wrong
than he could learn from being commended for what was right.
"Bouquets" have a place and use among politicians, speakers,
and the like, but the man in uniform soon learns to know and
"feel" when he is right or good in any training and needs no



Foreword v

one to tell him, but he doesn't always know when he is wrong
or bad and needs someone to tell him and tell him why.

For months, officers' call was held twice daily — once on
the training ground and again at headquarters. They were
constantly impressed with the responsibility that rested upon
them, and with the fact that efficiency could only be obtained
by being efficient themselves, and that the qualities of leader-
ship could only be realized when all points of the game are
thoroughly absorbed.

The officers were nearly all active, energetic, and enthu-
siastic in the desire to learn and gradually inspired in the men
the same energy and enthusiasm. Full use was made of every-
thing new in training methods. Officers were encouraged to
take the various courses at the School of Arms at Fort Sill, and
their knowledge was promptly imparted to the regiment upon
their return. The services of the French and British Instruc-
tors were used daily until every organization had ample officers
and non-coms, for training all their men in all the specialties of
the infantry service.

And when, in late May and June of 1918, 2150 drafted men
were added to the 1500 then in the regiment, they were quickly
and systematically trained in the rudiments of the game, were
absorbed by their companies within four weeks and after a
week's touch of elbows with their comrades of longer training,
it was difficult to tell the five-week men from the five-month or
five-year men; the new men found a pace had been set for them
by their comrades and quickly absorbed the spirit which they
found.

The Band has grown from eight to fifty members and while
many of the instruments were owned by the individuals or
bought by subscriptions of officers, a similar spirit had grown
in the organization and its music had a swing to it that would
make a cripple march well.

Beginning with one modest song, in the summer of 1917,



YJ Foreword



the regiment had a repertoire of eleven songs eight months

ater and all had a punch and a whack which msp.red the men

and produced amusement and pleasure and added materially

*° t' was"betutifurto see the regiment grow in discipline and

efficiency in spite of the shortage of officers men and tools

S whlh to work, and in spite of the long delayed ■nspirat.on

that was to come from orders to go to France. It was just as

beautiful to find that when the Armistice came in November,

,gi8-iust three weeks before the regiment was to sa.l-the

men behaved like the well-trained and thoroughly disciplmed

^Idiers they were instead of "going to pieces" in disgust.

xtey doub less indulged in lurid streaks of justifiable profamty

so^L, but they did not yell their heads off like hoodlums

who preferred home to a chance at big game abroad

It will always be a source of satisfaction and pride to me
that I commanded this splendid regiment of loyal officers and
rnen and to have been privileged to take it abroad and deliver
the fighting efficiency which it possessed would have gratified
rne more than any number of General's stars in the gift of the
government.

R. C. Croxton,

Colonel, Retired.
(Colonel, 63d Infantry to Jan. i, 1919-^



TO THE MEN WHO DIDN'T GET ACROSS

We'll soon be back from this terrible war,

Covered with honor and medals galore :
Back from chasing the horrible Huns —

Back from the roar and crash of the guns —
Back from doing our duty well;

Regular heroes we are — Like Hell.

We'll soon be back on the job again,

Out of the wind, the snow, and the rain,
Where we fought fierce battles against the Huns,

Using our mouths instead of our guns,
Back from doing our wonderful stunt

Of marking time on the " Maryland Front."

Yes, we'll soon be back from doing our "bit"

Showing "our courage" and proving our "grit" —

Playing our part in the awful jam
By eating some meals on Uncle Sam.

In fact there is nothing to possibly mar
Our wonderful record in winning the war.

We know what we'll face when we're home once more.
How they'll "kid" us and "josh" us about "our" war,

And say we were "soldiers of peaceful ways" —
Oh, we'll hear all that to the end of our days —

And we'll only reply to the boys who "kid"
"By God! we tried, and that's more than you did!"



Contents



Foreword

Introduction .....

Headquarters Company

The Sappers and Bombers Platoon

The Stokes Mortar ....

How IT Feels to be Shelled by the Stokes

The Pioneer Platoon

The Signal Platoon

The One-Pounder Platoon

The Band Section

Mounted Orderly Section

Miscellany

Machine Gun Company .

Supply Company ....

Medical Department .

First Battalion, Sixty-third U. S. Infantry .

Provost Guard, ist Battalion, 63RD Infantry Detachment

Company "A" . .

Company "B" .



PAGE

iii
I

17
31
34
43
45
50
56

59

63
65
72

87

lOI

109
113
117
129



Contents



C.O.NVr ANY H.

Si\-o\n IvMiMioN, SiMV-THiKn U. S. Imantry
(.avmtany ■" H" .

(.'OWTANY " V"

C\>y\\\\\\ " Cf" ■

CoMV\S\ "11"
IhIKO IvMlAllON SlMY-lHlKO l'. S. InFANTRY .
I'm NlW > ORK Pi \ Y^HNUM

(.a^mpany ■ 1 ■■

l.\>NVrANY " l\'"

Tm Mom- 1 (.awviwny . . . . •

*.A''MrANY ■■ I " .

<.\''Mr\\Y ■■ M" .
In Mi-woRiAM . . . . .
Rosters . . . . •



14^
iS7
167

>7>
1S5
101
203

^15
2ig
227
241

247
257

270

2S>,
285



Illustrations



Colonel Richard C. Croxton

Colonel Charles J. Nelson

The Sixty-third U. S. Infantry

Lieutenant Colonel Harry H. Bissell

Captain W. Stewart Paul

Captain William P. Woods .

Captain Robert E. McGill ...

Captain Theodore A. Oberlander

Captain Robert D. Horton .

First Lieutenant Arthur F. Pierson

First Lieutenant Wendell L. Clemenson

In the Field

Second Lieutenant Wallace A. Maciejewski
Captain Leo J. Daly ....
Second Lieutenant Matthew E. Shubert
Second Lieutenant F. E. Childs .
Second Lieutenant Don Riley
Our "Leatherlegs" ....
Machine Gunners All ....



Frontispiece

facing
following



•5
i6
i6
i6
i6

29'

29
29
69
70
70
70
70
70
77
77



xn



Illustrations



Sl U'lni Sv.H AHS ....

" l.hl 'iK IuCK'"

" Pl'NCHl KS" IN niSCl ISl-

FlKSl LlEUTENAM .\K».jn K I 1 I Ki.'H

SiwtNO I urn NAM \ kvor Thomason
l^iKsi Lieutenant Wuiiaw I . Connn a>
.Major 11 \kk> F, Ci \\
.MvjOK TuowrsoN .M Bmkp
Cattain Jamfs S. Ih-wsoN

OArTAlNFRVNKll COIUNS

Catiain F:k\ F .Mikiv
First Lieutekwnt Thomas F. .Moorh
First Lieutenant J udson F Browne
First Lieutenant Frank .\ .Mirphy
First Lieutenant W uiia.m S. Crawford
First Lieutenant Irvino, K. Harpy
First Lieutenant Francis J. Sl\ttery
Chaplain James H. Dunham .
Chaplain Paniel F. Desmond
Chaplain Meivin \ Oolf
Regimental Officers

HEAI>gi ARTERS CoMPANY

Machine Gun Company

Supply Company

Major Walter E. Black

Second Lieutenant Edgar .NL Haas





80

90

00

1)9

00

100

100

i03\

10^

10^

103

103

103

103

103

103

104

104

104

folhteing i oS

in ^^
III



Illustrations



xm



First Lieutenant Alfred P. Kitson
First Lieutenant Lorenzo D. Macy
The Chosen Few

First in Their Lines ....
Captain Wilson G. Bingham
First Lieutenant Henry D, McCary
First Lieutenant Raymond K. Tolrtillott

Inside and Out

Ready for Anything ....
In and Out of Khaki ....
First Lieutenant Frank J. Leard
Captain Grady H. Pendergrast
First Lieutenant Ralph E. Powell
First Lieutenant Fred H. Reynolds
Second Lieutenant Walter M. Ha.mpton
Second Lieutenant Willi a.m F-*. Strong
Sergeants Madden and Stiles Hard at it
All the Comforts of Home
First Lieutenant Albert C. Newell
First Lieutenant Eugene E. Pratt
Captain Thomas L. McMurray
Second Lieutenant Harold L. Turner
First Lieutenant Martin Miller
The Necessities of Life
"As You Were" .....
First Lieutenant Clarence L. O'Niel .



I I I
I i I

"5

. ii6

119

. 119

. 119

120

125

126

133.

133

• 133
•33
133

• 133

• 134

• 134
. 145

145
145
145

• >45
146

155

• 159



XIV



Illustrations



Captain Leslie T. Lathrop .

Second Lieutenant John F. Farley

Second Lieutenant James A. Kehoe

Remember God's Country? .

Can You Forget This? .

"A" Company

••B" Company

"C" Company

"D" Company

Major H. H. Walker ....

First Lieutenant Garth B. Haddock

Captain Francis W. Kernan .

First Lieutenant George W. Young, Jr.

First Lieutenant Francis C. Lewis

Captain Richard M. Winfield

Second Lieutenant Frank H. Tyson

First Lieutenant Reuben E. Halston .

Coast to Coast .....

Oh, What Sights! .....

Second Lieutenant Leonard W. Hartigan

First Lieutenant Chesley F. Jenness

First Lieutenant Tully C. Garner

Second Lieutenant Benjamin Knight

Second Lieutenant Alvin O. Bloedorn

"The President's Own"

Formal Guard Mount and Parade



PACE

159
159
159

163*
164



following 1 66 ^



169
169
169
173V

173
>73
173
173
177
178
193

"93
193
193

>93
194
203 V



Illustrations



XV



"E" Company

"F" Company

"G" Company

"H" Company

Major Leland S. Hobbs ...•••

Second Lieutenant William E. Field ....

Major Elmer E. E. Swanton, Q. M. C

Banquet in Honor of Colonel R. C. Croxton, April i i , 1919

"Yimca" and His "Ath-a-letes" .

First Lieutenant Edward D. J. Coughlan

Captain Walter A. Mack

Second Lieutenant Harry Boissonnault

The Regimental "Champs"

These are "The Hard Boys"

Such Things Happen ....

First Lieutenant Clinton L. Markley .

First Lieutenant Kenneth B. Gunn

Captain William V. Witcher, Jr. .

Second Lieutenant William M. Hutchins

First Lieutenant Laurence E. McDonald

Murphy's Midgets ....

First Lieutenant Jonathan W. Edwards

Captain Irving C. Avery

First Lieutenant Elijah G. Arnold

First Lieutenant Roy T. Rouse

Second Lieutenant Harold L. Green .



following 2 1 4



217

217

217

218

225'

226

226

226

233

234

234

245

245

245

245

245

246

259

259

259

259

259



XVI



Illustrations



First Lieutenant Oliver R. Clark

Who Won THE War?

First Lieutenant Alexander Clarkston

First Lieutenant Evan C. Dresser

Captain Stanley A. Thomson

Second Lieutenant Lawrence J. Brack

First Lieutenant Clyde H. Plank

No Offense, "Gobs"! . . . .

"I" Company

"K" Company

"L" Company

"M" Company



259

260'

273

273

273

273

273

274



following 282 ^'



A HISTORY

OF THE

SIXTY-THIRD U. S. INFANTRY



History of the 63rd U. S. Infantry



Introduction

LITTLE need be said by way of an introduction for the
following work, for, like 'Topsy,'' it merely grew.
That phrase may very aptly be applied to the regiment
as well. It does not take years to make history, and espe-
cially true IS this in time of war— hence we offer no apology
for the length of ours. Then, too, we feel that our history
is one of which every soldier should be proud— for truly it
dates back to the organization of the 12th Infantry (July,
1798), the parent organization of the 63rd Infantry. The
former regiment has an excellent record and fought in the
battles of 1812, 1845, the Indian campaigns, the Spanish-
American War, and the Philippine Insurrection.

It is not our purpose to recite the history of the 12th
Infantry, but from the campaigns in which our parent was
engaged it emerged with its share of the spoils of war, as well
as the scars incident to the horrors of the battlefield and
one third of the 12th Infantry, consisting of sixteen officers
and about six hundred enlisted men, became members of the
63rd U. S. Infantry.

The regiment came into existence June i, 1917, at the Pre-
sidio of San Francisco, California, in compliance with General
Orders No. 62, War Department, 1917. The first to command



2 History of the 63rd U. S. Infantry

the regiment was Major C. H. Miller, who,^owever was
lieved by the assignment of Lieutenant Colonel WiUis Uhne
on Tune 13th. Of the company commanders nothmg need
be said here, as each company has compiled its own story,
and mentioning them would only entail useless repetition.
Non-commissioned officers' schools were established and train-
ing commenced immediately. .

The Fifteenth Provisional Infantry Brigade was organized
about June 30th, consisting of the 12th, 62nd and 63rd Regi-
ments. Colonel E. F. Taggart was commanding officer

The nucleus of the regimental band. Band Leader John
Walters in charge, was organized at the same time and in the
same manner as the remainder of the regiment. It was care-
fully built up, in part by personal subscription from the officers,
until it reached a remarkable state of efficiency It has long
been a custom in the army to spare the band, which as a rule
practiced but a few hours each day-a concert now and the n-
and a growl forthcoming in the event of an extra hour s play-
ing It was not so with this band, for they were caused to
practice or play eight hours a day. Mr. Walters was an able
leader-conscientious and diligent in his work-and was
competent to instruct in any instrument. , , , •

Every Colonel must have a hobby— and so the band was
the hobby of ours! It was recruited from eight to the
authorized strength of twenty-eight with twelve men at-
tached; later it totaled fifty-four members. It has been
thought fitting to dwell somewhat upon the band because
of its evident influence upon the entire personnel. Ut the
men who were at the Presidio of San Francisco, Calitornia,
how many will forget how proud we were to stand in line
for ceremony or to "form up" in front of the singing stand
and sing the fourteen regimental songs? Hundreds and
sometimes thousands of spectators vied daily for a place
near the stand. The band played for one week at the



Introduction 3

Orpheum Theater, San Francisco, where its excellence was
recognized.

Little can be chronicled with reference to Lieutenant
Colonel Uline and Major Miller, due to their extremely short
stay with the regiment. Colonel Richard C. Croxton joined
the regiment July 16, 1917, and remained our commanding
officer up to the time of his retirement, December 30, 1918.
Colonel Croxton was a soldier in everything the word implies,
a gentleman, kind, just, absolutely firm; his personality set
a standard to be attained by all— his character inspired every
officer and man to loyalty.

During the month of July, 441 recruits joined the regiment,
which number brought its strength up to 1054.

Up to this time no further assignment of officers had been
made, and the regiment was indeed short of commissioned
officers. However, on August 29th, twenty-seven second
lieutenants, graduates of the Reserve Officers' Training Camp,
Presidio of San Francisco, California, reported for duty!
This number brought our commissioned personnel up to
about forty-five.

During the month of September, 1917, Major Herman
Koehler, Master of the Sword at West Point, had been in-
structing the students of the Second Reserve Officers' Training
Camp at the Presidio of San Francisco in calisthenics, at the
conclusion of which a course was extended to commissioned and
enlisted representatives of the regiment, who in turn instructed
the entire regiment. At the same time a course in bayonet
fighting was instituted by the same instructor and methods.
A number of French and British commissioned and en-
listed instructors had been sent from abroad and it was our
good fortune to have ours in the persons of Captain Clavel
and Lieutenant Batel, French army. The instruction con-
sisted principally of new infantry attack formations and was
quickly absorbed by all.



4 History of the 63rd U. S. Infantry

With the advent of October came a new hobby of our
Colonel-singing. It was strange to hear the numerous opm-
ions expressed, but the reader may be impressed with the
fact that from singing just one song, which later developed
into fourteen, there grew an fsprit which was a delight to see.
In hand with singing came the establishing of French classes
which were taught by the Rev. C. L. Miel. The classes were
held in the Y. M. C. A. hut.

We now pass to December 1 5th, which day was of consider-
able moment to the regiment, for instead of a badly needed
as.i.mment of men there came from the Second Reserve Ofti-
cers' Training Camp, Presidio of San Francisco, one captain,
thirty-two first lieutenants, and ten second lieutenants. 1 hey
were immediately assigned to companies and very quickly
adapted themselves to the daily routine. . ■ . •

The Regimental Intelligence Section was organized during
the month of December with Lieutenant E. H. Uark, Jr.,
as Intelligence Officer. The companies were called upon to
furnish selected men to fill this section and it was not long
before they were an extremely efficient body. Second Lieu-
tenants Donald H. McLaughlin and Edmunds Lyman also
became members of the Intelligence Section. Lieiitenant
Lyman later became Divisional Interpreter nth D|visioi^
There were also being held at this time Bayonet, Trench
Mortar, Sniping and Scouting, Machine Gun, and Grenade
Schools which were taught by British commissioned and non-
commissioned officers. , • „ ,u„
On December 31. I9i7. just preparatory to dissolving the
Fifteenth Provisional Brigade, the Brigade passed m review
before Colonel E. F. Taggart. It was at this time that the
i2th and 6znd Regiments left for Camp Fremont to become

part of the Sth Division. • • j

Our regiment now numbered ninety-four commissioned
officers and eleven hundred and seventy-SLX enlisted men.



Introduction 5

We now had hopes of an early recruitment and visions
of joining a Division soon. But no! This is what happened.
On January lo, 1918. Captain Alan Pendleton left with a
detachment of sixty-three men for guard duty at the Aviation
Field, North Island, San Diego, California. Captain Pen-
dergrast departed with a detachment of twenty-five for Beni-
cia Arsenal. Sergeant Reed of Company " C " entrained with
ten men for Los Angeles, California, for duty at one of the
quartermaster depots. This detachment was added to by
a detachment of twenty-five a few days later.

As you may well guess, our hopes were somewhat shattered,
but our spirit remained high, for shortly after the departure
of the last detachment, gas drill and instruction were com-
menced and continued up to the signing of the Armistice.

We had hoped that the last detachment sent out was to
have been the last detachment to leave the Regiment, but
in February, Captain Thomas L. McMurray, commanding
Company *'C," departed for Long Beach, California, for
guard duty at the Craig Shipbuilding Company. Captain
R. N. Winfield, commanding Company "D," departed with
his company on the same date for Garfield, Utah, where he
was to guard the International Smelting and Refining Com-
pany. On February 7th, Company "E," with First Lieu-
tenant A. C. Newell commanding, departed for the Presidio
of Monterey, for duty at that post. Company '*H" sent out
a detachment, commanded by Sergeant Royal B. Allyn, on
February i8th, for the purpose of guarding the Moore Ship-
building Company at Oakland, California. On February
2ist, Second Lieutenant Fred C. Lindquist, departed with
twenty-nine enlisted men for guard duty over the storage
warehouses at Lompoc, California. On February 27th,
twenty-eight enlisted men, commanded by Captain A. F.
Schmitz, 6th Battalion, United States Guards, departed for
duty at the Schaw-Batcher Shipyard, South San Francisco,



6 History of the 63rd U. S. Infantry

California. At this time the regiment was covering territory
from Idaho to Southern CaHfornia, and as far east as Utah
with Httle possibihty of the regiment being brought together
for some few months to come, but on March 3rd Captain
Winfield returned to the Presidio of San Francisco, Cahfornia.
It was not long after when all of the detachments were recalled,
and July 22nd saw the regiment once again within its own bar-
racks at the Presidio, when the detachment at Benicia Arsenal

returned.

On March 13th, fifteen second lieutenants reported for
duty from the Army Service School at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas. In April, classes were established for the instruc-
tion of non-English speaking soldiers.

Our numbers on June 30, 1918, totaled one hundred and
twenty-eight commissioned officers and thirty-six hundred
and four enlisted men. The esprit now was higher than ever
before and it was indeed an inspiring sight to watch the regi-
ment form daily for ceremony on the old Presidio Parade
Ground and immediately after form up for singing. On
August 2nd, the regiment passed in final review before Briga-
dier General E.J. McClernand.

On August 1 2th, the regiment entrained for Camp Meade,
Maryland, where we were to become a part of the 22nd In-
fantry Brigade, nth Division. On August 30th the regiment
began target practice, firing special Course *'C" with the


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