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gaged from the sixth of July until the fifth of August,
we went into what was expected to be a rest area. Hav-
ing in mind our experiences with rest areas I was a little
doubtful about this and was not disappointed. Instead
of its being a rest area we were kept pretty busy getting
our animals and trucks in condition for the St. Mihiel
spurt, which occurred on September twelfth, and the
latter part of August found us again on the way to the
front, destination at that time unknown. The objective
was the St. Mihiel salient. With a great deal of diffi-
culty in changing camps at night we went over the road
congested with trucks and caissons to the St. Mihiel sec-
tor and while we observed the utmost secrecy in our
movements, the French blocked the roads on both sides
during the day and if the Boche did not know the
offensive was to be pulled off I gave him credit for less
intelligence than I believe he had. In the St. Mihiel
drive boys of yours played a wonderful and important
part.

"After the St. Mihiel drive we continued on by stages
to a point in the vicinity of Verdun, where we operated
in the worst sector one could have to fight in. It was
the right wing of the Argonne-Meuse offensive, the
hinge of the whole movement, a dirty piece of work well
done.

"One year ago today Sergt. Lyman Pell and Private
Parker of Company E were killed at Plaumont, north-



THE PERIOD OJ'^ THE WORLD WAR 409

west of Verdun, the only two men killed outright by
shell fire during nine months' service at the front of the
One Hundred and First Ammunition Train, and I believe
we do well to have in the mind the sacrifice of these men.
They are sleeping in the shadows of the wall of the forii-
fied city of Verdun, in a little cemetery called Glorieux,
and, as we buried them, the shells of the Boches over our
heads were sounding their requiem."

In an order issued on the day of the Armistice, Colonel
Keville complimented the Ammunition Train highly, say-
ing in part : "You have done well. The most exacting
task-master could not fail to take cognizance of the
(juality of your service, your spirit of sacrifice, your
loyalty, your devotion to high standards of soldierly con-
duct and efficiency. The individual instances of failure
have been so rare that it may be said that they scarcely
mar the brilliancy of the proud record of this organi-
zation."

The following tribute from Gen. Clarence Edwards
deserves to go into the permanent record of Vermont's
part in the World War:

"Headquarters Northeastern Department

'V9 Chauncy Street, Boston, Mass., June 28, 1919.
"From Major General C. R. Edwards,
"To Colonel William J. Keville, Commanding 101st

Ammunition Train, 26th Division.
"Subject, Commendation.
"1. I find upon inquiry that the organization which
vou so ably organized and which made such a brilliant
record throughout the service of the Twenty-sixth Divi-



500 HISTORY OF VERMONT

sion, has not been cited in Division orders, that is, at
least I am at a loss to find such a citation.

"The service of this organization under your com-
mand warrants and should have had my citation had I
not been relieved as suddenly as I was on the night of
the twenty-fourth of October, after we had gained the
heights of the Meuse in a serious battle. This letter of
commendation, therefore, is sent to you officially in lieu
of an official citation to which you and your command
are distinctly entitled.

"2. I believe there was no other ammunition train on
the Western Front that did better work, was better dis-
ciplined, the enlisted personnel of which was inspired by
higher motives, than was this ammunition train. There
was not a truck salvaged, except for the cause of de-
struction by shell fire. The truck and horse sections
met every problem that was presented and there were
never greater demands than were presented by the supply
of ammunition to the front line of the Twenty-sixth
Division for the Artillery and Infantry.

"I recall that I frequently, officially, told you and the
Captains of your command how much I appreciated the
work; that I thought it was fine, that you ran supplies
ever farther than it was permitted to do — right up to the
front lines, under shell fire.

"I recall the fine piece of work of your Train in carry-
ing on from the 18th of July, when we went over the
top of Chateau-Thierry, until the fourth of August when
the Artillery and Engineers of the Twenty-sixth Divi-
sion were relieved; that you carried on with the Artillery
through our own, the Forty-second and Fourth Division



THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR 501

advances, and that you were delivering ammunition from
the south bank of the Marne nearly to the Fismes River,
fifty-five kilometers from the railroad; that the men
worked without regard to hours and many of them
seventy-two hours continually without relief.

"Like the Supply Train, your trucks were not of the
best, but they were always in condition; your lookouts
were on the alert, and your discipline was excellent.

"I recall the uncomplaining work that the personnel
of your organization performed when it was impossible
to get your equipment, horses, caissons, or trucks. That
with a lot of expert mechanics and other horsemen, your
command did fatigue for other organizations, of polic-
ing, cleaning up, and acting as railroad detachments,
without complaint, and that you and your men gained
the commendation of everybody with whom you served.

"I recall that after we arrived in the Boucq sector
one company of your horse section was furnished with
caissons and horses and the next day took the road to
join the division. I recall the fine condition of your
horses and their casualties.

"I remember the several cases of individual extra-
ordinary heroism of your motormen, drivers and your
personnel, and their excellent discipline.

"3. For all these things I congratulate you, your
field officers, your line officers, your non-commissioned
officers, and each and every one of your privates, and
ask that as far as practicable you see that a copy of this
letter of commendation, which I will have mimeo-
graphed, be sent to each of them.



502 HISTORY OF VERMONT

'*I will file an official copy of this letter with the
records of the Twenty-sixth Division as a written record
of this commendation of your organization. I apologize
that this recognition was not given before when I was
commanding the division, and it is now tendered as your
due for you and yours on the principle of 'better late
than never.'

(Signed) "C. R. Edwards,
"Major General, U. S. A.
"Formerly Commanding 26th Division."

As Vermont soldiers had an honorable part in the
achievements of the "Yankee Division/' the following
statements are given :

"From General Degoutte, commanding the \^Ith French

Army,
"To General Edwards, commanding the Twenty-sixth
American Division.

"The operations carried out by the Twenty-sixth
American Division from July eighteenth to July twenty-
fourth demonstrated the fine soldierly qualities of this
unit, and the worth of its leader. General Edwards.

"Cooperating in the attack north of the Marne, the
Twenty-sixth Division fought brilliantly on the line
Torcy-Belleau, at Monthiers, Epieds and Trugny and
in the forest of Fere, advancing more than fifteen kilo-
meters in depth, in spite of the desperate resistance of
the enemy.

"I take great pleasure in communicating to General
Edwards and his valiant division this expression of my
great esteem together with my heartiest congratulations



THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR rm

for the manner in which they have served the common
cause.

"Degoutte."

The following is taken from the Chicago Tribune of
July 28, 1918:

"The following marginal comment on the com-
muniques has been issued:

"If one wants to judge the offensive spirit which
animates the Americans and their tactical methods, one
has only to follow in detail the operation of a division
since the beginning of our counter-attack betw'een
Chateau-Thierry and Soissons.

"It was on the eighteenth at 4 A. M. that the order
to take the first line of German positions was received.
The American division whose movements we will relate
was at that time northwest of Chateau Thierry, in the
Boil-de-Belleau at the pivot of the Degoutte army. This
division was made up of New England troops and had
taken the place of a division which took part in the
operations of Belleau and Bouresches, and it wanted to
distinguish itself as well as these elite troops. But the
divisions placed at the pivot have to advance slowly,
according to the progress of the wings.

"On the very first day it was necessary to moderate
the ardor of the Americans who would willingly have
gone further than the first objective.

"Indeed, at the signal of the attack, the American
troops went with perfect discipline, in rear of the artil-
lery barrage, to the Torcy-Belleau-Givry line and the
railroad line up to the Bouresches station. They reached
this line in one sweep almost without meeting any re-



504 HISTORY OF VERMONT

sistance, and, excited by their success, they wanted to go
farther. However, it was necessary before continuing
the general advance to take Monthiers and Petret
Woods, still strongly occupied by Germans. There was
hard fighting on the part of the French troops on the left
to annihilate the resistance of the enemy.

"In order to relieve them, the Americans, on the eve-
ning of the twentieth, made an enveloping manoeuver
which was crowned with success. With splended
valiance, they went in one sweep as far as Etrepilly
height, the Gonetrie Farm and Halmardiers. It was
a model surprise attack, and it was a revelation of Ameri-
can audacity, notwithstanding the machine gim barrage
and the enemy's islands of resistance, they advanced for
two kilometers, capturing three guns, a .big minenwerfer
and numerous machine guns. Moreover, two hundred
prisoners were taken by the Americans.

" 'I could not have done better with my best troops
on a similar occasion,' commented General Degoutte upon
learning of this fine American success. The Germans
had then found themselves in such a disfavorable posi-
tion in Monthiers that they had to begin a retreat. On
the twenty-first the whole German line was in retreat and
the Chateau-Thierry-Soissons highway was reached.
The Americans were cleaning the ground and vigorously
pursued the enemy's rear guard. On the twenty-second
a battalion of Americans occupied Epieds. There was
hard fighting in the village and the enemy opened a
violent barrage fire.

"The fight was in open country and on that day it
was not possible to take the village entirely. Rather



THE PERIOD OP THE WORLD WAR 505

than to sustain heavy losses, the commander of the
American division preferred to take his troops to the
rear. It was necessary, if the difficulty was to be over-
come, to start the surrounding movement again, and on
the tw^enty-third the Americans sought to enter the
Trugny Woods south of Epieds. The Germans strongly
opposed this attempt and counter attacked with energy-,
but they learned at their expense what American tenacity
is. Stopped once in the maneuver, the Americans
occupied the fringe of the wood on the twenty-fourth,
entered it deliberately, took a whole company of Ger-
man prisoners, and continued their advance with such
fury that about 3 P. M. they w^re at the fringe of the
Fere Woods and on the same evening had reached the
road from Fere-en-Tardenois to Jaulgonne.

''This American division has, therefore, realized in
three days an advance of as much as seventeen kilo-
meters at certain points, fighting continuously night and
day, and displaying the finest military qualities. All the
liason services worked perfectly, both at the right and
left wings and between the units of the division. A dis-
cipline which caused the German to wonder and admire
animated the attacking troops. They were marching
with their officers as head of the column and their body-
guard on the flanks as the French troops. The German
prisoners were astonished. 'We do not often see those
who command us,' they declared to their captors.
'You're lucky : like the French you are led to the fight by
your officers.' The French and American high com-
mands work during the action in as close a harmony as
the troops.



506 HISTORY OF VERMONT

"The General commanding the division in question is
a leader of men, broad-minded, precise in his orders, of
practical mind, who from the first moment dealt with
the problems raised by the operations under way with a
mastery which cost dear to the enemy."

General Edwards issued the following statement:

"To the Officers and Men of the Tzventy-sixth Division:

"August 2, 1918.

"On July eighteenth you entered, as part of the Allied
drive against the enemy, upon the offensive, and con-
tinued the offensive combat until the major portion of
the command was relieved on July twenty-fifth.

"On the assumption of the offensive your position in
the line demanded an important and difficult maneuver.
Your success in this was immediate and great, and the
way in which you executed it elicited high praise from
the French Army Commander. The eight days from
July sixteenth to twenty-fifth, marking the first great
advance against the enemy in which American troops
bore proportionately a considerable share, are sure of
historical setting. Your part therein can never be for-
gotten. In those eight days you carried your line as far
as any part of the advance was carried. Torcy, Bel-
leau, Givry, Bouresches Woods, Rouchet Woods, Hill
190 overlooking Chateau-Thierry, Etrepilly, Epieds,
Trugny, and finally La Fere Woods, and the objective,
the Jaulgonne-Fere-en-Tardenois Road, belongs to your
arms. You are the recipient of praise, thanks and con-
gratulations of our Commander-in-Chief. You went
unafraid into the face of the enemy's fire; you forced



THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR 507

him to withdraw before you or to accept the alternative
of hand-to-hand fighting, in which you proved your-
selves morally and physically his superior; you gave
freely and you gave much of your strength and of your
blood and your lives, until pushed beyond mere physical
endurance, fighting night and day, you still forced your-
selves forward, sustained almost by spirit alone.

"These things are now part of your own conscious-
ness. Nothing can detract from them. Nothing that
I can say can add to them. But I can testify in this
way to my pride in commanding such troops so capable
of achieving success in every undertaking; and this testi-
mony I give to each of you gladly and with deep
gratitude.

(Signed) "C. R. Edwards,
"Major General, Commanding."

In an address delivered before the Vermont Legisla-
ture, February 6, 1919, Hon. John Barrett, Director
General of the Pan-American Union, and a native of
this State, read messages from army officials, concerning
Vermont's part in the war.

Under date of "Great Headquarters, American Expe-
ditionary Forces, February 2," Gen. John J. Pershing
cabled Director General Barrett as follows :

"Replying to your cablegram, it gives me pleasure
to send you a message about Vermont and New Eng-
land troops. Briefly stated, they merit the warmest
praise by the people they represent. They have main-
tained the best traditions of their New England an-
cestors and the spirit of '76 has been theirs. They have
played their full part in the splendid achievements of



508 HISTORY OF VERMONT

American arms on the battlefield and in the supporting
services."

On the same date, the Hon. Newton D. Baker, Secre-
tary of War, wrote Mr. Barrett as follows :

"I have just received your note of the first.

*'The Twenty-sixth or New England Division included
the One Hundred and Second Regiment of Infantry, the
One Hundred and First, One Hundred and Second and
One Hundred and Third Machine Gun Battalions. In
each of these organizations there are components of the
old First Vermont. In order, therefore, to have any
adequate appreciation of the services rendered by the
Vermont soldiers in this war it is necessary to follow
the fortunes of the Twenty-sixth Division which went
into the line on July 18 and fought at Chateau-Thierry,
Torcy and Belleau Woods. In September this division
occupied the left of the American army in the attack on
St. Mihiel, and closed the gap between the two Ameri-
can attacking wedges, cutting off the right of the Ger-
mans at midnight of the first day of that battle. Imme-
diately after the St. Mihiel victory, the 26th was moved
into the line east of the Meuse, where it remained in
active combat until the signing of the Armistice. With
the First and Second regular army divisions and the
42nd, or Rainbow Division, the 26th is numbered, they
being considered the first four veteran divisions of our
great American Expeditionary Forces, and I would be
glad to have the people of New England know that their
division, the first of the National Guard troops to
embark overseas, bore itself with distinction and gal-
lantrv, and that it contributed on every battle field to



thp: period of the worlo war 509

America's real participation in the fighting and the un-
broken success of our arms."

Gen. Peyton C. March, Chief of Staff, i)rovi(le(i Mr.
Barrett with the following summarized "chronological
statement of such activities of these troops as are now
available in the War Department" :

"The Vermont troops were incorporated into the 26th
Division, the members being distributed through the
101st Machine Gun Battalion, 102nd Machine Gun Bat-
talion, 102nd Infantry Regiment, 103rd Machine Gun
Battalion, 101st Ammunition Train and 57th Pioneer
Infantry Regiment.

"October 8, 1917. Division Pleadquarters left Boston,
October 31, 1917, arrived at U. S. P. O. No. 709, train-
ing area. No. 2, artillery, at Coetquidan for training
division, trained intensively in these areas until early
part of February. February 5, 1918, entrained for
front. Spent one month of trench instruction north of
Soissons with headquarters at Couvrelles, Division was
placed with the French 11th Army Corps.

-March 18, 1918. Withdrawn to Bar Sur Aube.
March 27, 1918. Upon completion of month's tour
ordered to line northeast of Toul to assist in the emer-
gency. Division headquarters at Reynel. In this sector
the division held a portion of the line usually assigned to
two divisions. Was attacked twice by picked troops.

"April 10-11, 1918. The 104th was attacked in the
forest of Apremont. April 20-21. 1918. The 102nd
Infantry was attacked at Seicheprey. Both attacks were
repulsed. From this date until June 30 the 26th Divi-



510 HISTORY OF VERMONT

sion held the Toul sector with more or less activity on
both sides.

"About July 7, moved to the Marne front. July 17,
1918. 52nd Brigade of 26th attacked and took Torcy
and Belleau. July 19, 1918. Whole division attacked,
reaching Bois d'Etrepilly.

"July 22, 1918. Withdrawn for rest. Month of
August resting. First part of September ordered to
line of St. Mihiel.

"September 19, 1918. On line near St. Hilaire.
Usual trench warfare in the vicinity of Fresnes until
October 23.

"October 23, 1918. Attacked. Captured Bois de
Belleau, Bois de Warville and Bois D'Etraye.

"November 11, 1918. Attacked. Halted by the
Armistice."

At one time during the war there were as many as
six thousand men stationed at Fort Ethan Allen, who
were in training for active service. Many Vermont
boys attended the Officers' Training Camps at Platts-
burg, N. Y. The Vermont colleges rendered splendid
service during the war, and their classes were depleted
as a result of the large number of men who enlisted or
went out as officers. The Student Army Training
Corps was established as a feature of the colleges.
About 2,250 men were trained in special signal corps,
radio and mechanical schools held at the University of
Vermont. In addition to the regular class rooms
utilized, temporary buildings were erected by authority
of the War Department. During the war President
John M. Thomas of Middlebury College served as a



PERCIVAL W CI.KMEN 1

Born in Rutland. Vt., July 7, 1846. He was educated
in Rutland High School and Trinity Collcfje. Hii father
was one of tlic leading marble producers of Vermont and the
young man entered his father's office as a clcjk. He has
been a bank president, owner of hotels in New ^'ork City,
principal owner of the Rutland Hfrald and president of the
Rutland Railroad Company. He built the Rutland-Canadian
Railroad through Lake Champlain and its islands, and the
Ticonderopa Railroad. He has been Mayor of Rutland,
has represented the city in the legislature, has served a.;
State Senator from Rutland county, as chairman of the New
England Railroad Conference Commission, member of the
Vermont Educational Commission and member of the
e.Tecutive committee of the Vermont Committee of Public
Safety. He was elected Governor of Vermont in 1918.
His rejidence is in Rutland.



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THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR 511

Chaplain on board transports plying between America
and Europe. Col. Ira L. Reeves, President of Norwich
University, entered the regular service and later was
designated as President of the American Expeditionary
Forces University at Beaume, France, designed to train
young men in the army. President Guy Potter Benton
of the University of V^ermont early in the war went to
France and organized the Young Men's Christian Asso-
ciation work in Paris, being the first American college
president to go overseas. Later he had charge of Y. M.
C. A. work in the advance section and after the war was
Educational Director of the Army of Occupation in
Germany. Gen. Joseph T. Dickman, who was post com-
mander at Fort Ethan Allen shortly before war was
declared, became one of the principal American com-
manders in Europe.

Col. Wait C. Johnson of Rutland was Chief Athletic
Officer of the A. E. F. Col. W. S. Peirce of Burlington
was made a Brigadier General in the Ordnance depart-
ment. Paul Ransom of Woodstock was one of those
who first bore the American colors through the streets
of Paris. Lieut. Col. R. E. Beebe of Burlington served
on General Pershing's staff. During the war Congress-
man Porter H. Dale of Vermont visited the battlefront
in France. Congressman Fr^nk L. Greene of Vermont
was one of the active and influential members of the
important Military Affairs Committee of the national
House of Representatives.

American naval officers did not have an opportunity
to distinguish themselves in battle during the World
War as the German warships seldom ventured from



512 HISTORY OF VERMONT

their fortified harbors to give battle. A great work
was done, however, by the American Navy, in coopera-
tion with the Allies, in transporting men and supplies
across the Atlantic. As in previous wars, Vermont
officers bore a prominent part in naval affairs, but in
the World War, a Vermonter, Admiral Henry T. Mayo,
was the ranking officer of the American Navy.

Henry T. Mayo was born in Burlington, Vt., Decem-
ber 8, 1856, being the son of Henry Mayo, one of the
prominent Lake Champlain captains. The lad attended
the public schools of Burlington and received at the
hands of Congressman Worthington C. Smith an
appointment as cadet at the United States Naval
Academy. He graduated at Annapolis in 1876, and was
given the rank of Passed Midshipman on the combina-
tion steam and sailing craft Tennessee. Two years
later he was promoted to the rank of Ensign. His apti-
tude for scientific subjects led him into the work of the
Coast and Geodetic Survey, the United States Naval
Observatory and the naval branch of the Hydrographic
Office at Port Townsend, Wash.

At the outbreak of the war with Spain he was a Lieu-
tenant. Before the war closed, he was transferred from
the Bennington to a position in the Bureau of Equipment.
After the war he was assigned to the battleship Wis-
consin, with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. When
he reached the rank of Captain he was given the com-
mand of the armored cruiser California, then the flag-
ship of the Pacific fleet. After being made command-
ant of the Mare Island Navy Yard he was called to
Washington, from San Francisco, for consultation, and



THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR 513

Secretary of the Navy Daniels was so favorably im-
pressed with Captain Mayo's knowledge that the Ver-



Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) → online text (page 34 of 43)