...The Negro Combat Division
Full Detailed Account of the Organization and Fighting Campaigns of the Famous Ninety-Second, as Recorded by the Division's Official Historian---Complete Official Reports of Every Battle in Which the Ninety-Second Took Part---Commendation by Commanding Officers.
Pursuant to War Department Orders, the 92nd Division (1) was organized November 29, 1917, from the first contingent of Negro draftees arriving at the various camps and cantonments throughout the United States during the latter part of the month of October, 1917. The entire enlisted personnel was made up of Negroes and represented practically all the States in the Union. The Staff and Field Officers, officers of the Supply Units, Quartermaster Corps, Engineers' Corps, and of the Artillery Units, with few exceptions, were white. The remainder of the commissioned personnel, comprising about four-fifths of the whole, were colored.
The plans of the War Department did not provide a separate cantonment for this division. It was therefore necessary to distribute its various units among seven widely-separated camps. This distribution was effected as follows:
Name of Camp Location 92nd Division Units Funston Ft. Riley, Kansas Division Headquarters
349th Machine-gun Battalion
Dodge Des Moines, Iowa 366th Regiment of Infantry Grant Rockford, Ill. 365th Regiment of Infantry
350th Machine-gun Battalion
Sherman Chillicothe, Ohio 317th Engineers Regiment
317th Engineers Train
325th Field Signal Battalion
Meade Annapolis Jct., Md. 368th Regiment of Infantry
351st Field Artillery
Dix Wrightstown, N. J. 349th Field Artillery
350th Field Artillery
317th Trench Mortar Battery
Upton Yaphank, New York 367th Regiment of Infantry
351st Machine-gun Battalion
At the time of organization the Staff Officers of the Division were as follows:
CHARLES C. BALLOU MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDING DIVISION Chauncey Dewey Captain F. A. Aide-de-Camp Allen J. Greer Lt. Colonel G. S. Chief of Staff *Harry L. Hodges Major Inf. Assistant Chief of Staff Sherburne Whipple Major Inf. Division Adjutant Robert P. Harbold Major Inf. Division Inspector Edward L. Glasgow Colonel Q. M. C. Division Quartermaster Perry L. Boyer Lt. Colonel M. C. Division Surgeon Philip S. Gage Major Ord. C. Division Ordnance Officer Alfred AT. Craven Major J. A. G. D. Division Judge Advocate Thomas C. Spencer Major Inf. Division Signal Officer
The 183rd Infantry Brigade comprised the 365th and 366th Regiments of Infantry and the 350th Machine-gun Battalion, and was organized as follows:
MALVERN H. BARNUM BRIGADIER GENERAL BRIGADE COMMANDER Edmund A. Buchanan Major Brigade Adjutant 365th Regiment of Infantry VERNON A. CALDWELL COLONEL REG'L COMD'R John J. Ryan Lt. Colonel Regiment Frederick E. Sweitzer Captain Regimental Adjutant James E. Abbott Major Comd'g 1st B'n Charles W. Mason Major Comd'g 2nd B'n William F. Robinson Major Comd'g 3rd B'n 366th Regiment of Infantry RALPH IV. PARROTT COLONEL REG'L COMD'R Adelbert G. Aldrich Captain Reg'l Adjutant James E. McDonald, Major Comd'g 1st B'n Ralph Leavitt Major Comd'g 2nd B'n: Horace F. Sykes Major Comd'g 3rd B'n 350th Machine-gun Battalion GEORGE M. LEE MAJOR B'N COMD'R Dennis M. Matthews 1st Lt. Actg. B'n Adjutant
The 184th Brigade was organized as follows:
WILLIAM H. HAY BRIGADIER GENERAL BRIGADE COMMANDER Herman S. Dilworth Major Brigade Adjutant 367th Regiment of Infantry JAMES A. MOSS COLONEL REG'L COMD'R William C. Doane Lt. Colonel Regiment Fred W. Bugbee Lt. Colonel Unassigned Frederic Bull Captain Regimental Adjutant Charles L. Mitchell Major Comd'g 1st B'n Wilford Twyman Major Comd'g 2nd B'n Fitzhugh L. Minnegerode Major Comd'g 3rd B'n 368th Regiment of Infantry WILLIAM P. JACKSON COLONEL REG'L COMD'R William S. Mapes Lt. Colonel Regiment Harry Armstrong Captain Regimental Adjutant Henry S. Terrell Major Comd'g 1st B'n Max A. Elser Major Comd'g 2nd B'n William R. Pope Major Comd'g 3rd B'n - 351st Machine-gun Battalion ROBERT M. BARTON MAJOR BN COMD'R Oscar C. Brown 1st Lt. B'n Adjutant
The 167th Field Artillery Brigade was organized as follows:
JOHN H. SHERBURNE BRIGADIER GEN.. BRIGADE COMMANDER 349th Field Artillery Regiment DAN T. MOORE COLONEL REG'L COMD'R Charles S. Blakely Lt. Colonel Regiment Royal F. Nash Captain Reg'l Adjutant William F. McCleave Major B'n Commander 350th Field Art. Regiment FRED T. AUSTIN COLONEL REG'L COMD'R Walter E. Prosser Lt. Colonel Regiment William Heffner Captain Regimental Adjutant Allen McBride Major B'n Commander 351st Field Art. Regiment WILLIAM E. COLE COLONEL REG'L COMD'R Edward L, Carpenter Lt. Colonel Regiment Earl Briscoe Major Comd'g 1st B'n Wade H. Carpenter Major Comd'g 2nd B'n
The 317th Engineers' Regiment was organized as follows:
EARL I. BROWN COLONEL COMD'G REGIMENT Henry A. Finch Lt. Colonel Regiment Charles Ecton Captain Reg'l Adjutant William H. Ferguson Major Comd'g 1st B'n Arthur E. Wenige Major Comd'g 2nd B'n 317th Engineers' Train PITTMAN E. SMITH 1st Lt. Train Comd'r Ether Beattie 2nd Lt. Tr. Adjutant
The 325th Field Signal Battalion was organized as follows:
IRVING DEEMS, MAJOR B'N COMD'R Luther N. Hull Captain B'n Adjutant
The 317th Supply Train was organized as follows:
OTTO W. RETHORST MAJOR TR. COMD'R John N. Douglass Captain Tr. Adjutant
The 317th Ammunition Train was organized as follows:
HENRY B. CLARK COLONEL TR. COMDR Allan R. Williams Major Comd'g Horse Sec. Charles C. McClure Major Comd'g Motor See, Charles C. Hoag Captain Adjutant Mot. See. Edward F. Springer Captain Adjutant Horse See. The 317th Sanitary Train: DAVID B. DOWNING MAJOR, M. C. TR. COMD'R Edward B. Simmons Captain, M. C. Comd'g Ambu. See. The 317th Trains Headquarters and Military Police: ISAAC S. JENKS COLONEL TR. COMDR Joseph C. Wilson Captain Tr. Adjutant The 349th Machine-gun Battalion: ROBERT S. STERRETT MAJOR B'N COMD'R Arthur Hubbard 1st Lt. B'n Adjutant The Division Headquarters Troop: EDWARD J. TURGEON CAPTAIN Troop COMDR Marion C. Rhoten 1st Lt. Troop Sidney D. Frissell 1st Lt. Troop Arthur R. Williams 2nd Lt. Troop
The Training in France
The organization and training of the Division extended over a period of five months. In May, 1918, the Division was ordered overseas to join the American Expeditionary Forces in France. The first contingent embarked at Hoboken, N. J., on June 10, 1918, and reached Brest (Finisterre) on the 19th day of June, 1918. During the same month the Infantry Units, the Divisional Trains and the Field Artillery Brigade, elements of the division which had not embarked with the first contingents, reached France and went immediately into a secondary period of intensive training.
Bourbonne-les-Bains (the baths of the Bourbons), in Haute Marne, was the first training area of the, 92nd Division in France. Bourbonne is a historic little town of five or six thousand inhabitants, situated almost midway between the lower reaches of the Marne on the west and the Moselle on the east, in the northeastern part of the country. To the east about one hundred miles flows the Rhine, while to the southeast at a less distance lies the border of Switzerland. Sixty miles north of the town, the battle line ran angling to the southeast and thirty miles northwest was Chaumont, the headquarters of the American Expeditionary Forces. Like most of the towns of France, Bourboune-les-Bains counted its age in centuries. In peace times its natural hot-water baths attracted health-seekers from all parts of the country. Tradition relates that the hot mineral waters of the surrounding springs had not only been a favorite gathering place for the Bourbon kings in the Middle Ages, but of the Romans as well, many centuries before. In the old city park, at, the foot of the hill, near where a moving-picture theater now stands, may be seen the ruins of ancient Roman colonnades, standing near an excavation in the solid rock. This excavation until recently was still used as a swimming pool, into which the same hot springs continue to flow.
The various units of the Division, except the Artillery Brigade and the Ammunition Train, were quartered in the numerous villages extending in a semicircle to the north and east of Bourbonne, ranging from six to sixteen kilometers from Division headquarters, which was established in the city. Following the plan of quartering the American army as it entered France, the soldiers were billetted in buildings vacated by the French people. These buildings consisted of public halls, hotel buildings, barns and in many instances the homes of families where available space could be found.
The training period continued through eight weeks, embracing all phases of offensive and defensive tactics found necessary to meet the actual methods in use in the allied armies. In the meantime, the complete Artillery Brigade and the Ammunition Train reached France and went into training July 18 at Montmorrillon, in the department of Vienne, the training area for artillery units.
Takes Over the St. Die Sector
Leaving this training area about the 7th of August, 1918, the Division moved up by stages to take over its first sector. Leaving Bourbonne-les-Bains, the Division established temporary headquarters at Bruyères, Vosges, remaining twelve days, during which time the Division was equipped for front line duty. From Bruyères the Division moved up by marches to St. Die on the 21st of August, and took over its first sector on the 25th of August, 1918.
From St. Die to the Rhine is not more than a day's march. From the towers and other elevations of the city, the dim outlines of the distant mountains---the foothills of the Alps---covered with impenetrable forests, are plainly visible. The clear and shallow waters of the river Meurthe flow through the heart of the city. A quaint bit of history connected with St. Die is that it gave the name to the continent of America. This is explained by large placards posted in different parts of the city to welcome incoming American troops, by the announcement in French that the city of St. Die is the "Marraine" of America, because it was for Americus Vespucius, a St. Diean monk, that the continent was named. One of the leading streets terminating at the square known as the " Place de Jules Ferry " is called "Rue de President Wilson. " The headquarters of the Division in this city of 10,000 inhabitants, was located in the historic old building formerly used by the Bishop of Eastern France as office and prefecture.
This rambling old building crowns the single eminence of the city and part of it is still used for church services by the native population.
The St. Die sector formed the southeastern tip of the great battle line which extended from the North Sea to the borders of Switzerland. Across the line opposite the sector lay Alsace. Beyond the Alsatian strip of country lay impenetrable mountains and forests. Physical barriers made extensive military movements impracticable, and for this reason the sector was comparatively a quiet one and usually assigned to inexperienced divisions coming into the front line for the first time. The city of St. Die, on the French side, was easily within range of enemy guns, and Saales, the Alsatian city opposite St. Die, was as easily within the range of our own artillery, but through a tacit understanding, neither of these cities suffered from artillery bombardment from opposing forces, although the villages and roads beyond were frequently bombarded.
The Baptism of Fire and Gas
With the coming of American troops, the sector became more active. The 92nd Division in this sector relieved the 6th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, and French units of the 33rd Army Corps, with which the 6th Infantry had been brigaded, less the French artillery which supported the 92nd Division. The Artillery Brigade of the 92nd Division was still in training at Montmorrillon. In a raid on the 16th of August, nine days before the 92nd took over the sector, the 6th Infantry had captured the village of Frapelle and extended its front line trenches. As a result of this loss, the 92nd found the enemy on the offensive and received its baptism of fire and gas on August 25, 1918. Amid intermittent shelling with shrapnel and gas, the front line trenches were taken over by three companies respectively from the 368th and. 365th Regiments, two companies of the 367th Infantry, and five, companies of the 366th Infantry, with other combat units in reserve and support.
From the 25th of August until the Division was relieved on the 20th of September, the principal activities consisted of patrolling and raiding parties, with artillery and aerial bombardment of enemy positions. Skirmishes between raiding parties were frequent. One of the most intense engagements during this period was on the night of the 31st of August, 1918, when the enemy made an attempt in force to retake Frapelle. In this attack the enemy was supported by intense artillery bombardment, employing mustard gas and flame projectors, but was repulsed with heavy losses. Our casualties were 34 wounded and gassed and four killed, including First Lieutenant Thomas Bullock, 367th Infantry, the first officer of the Division to meet death at hands of the enemy.
On the following day, the enemy attacked our forces at Ormont, after heavy artillery barrage, but were driven back by the 366th Infantry. In this attack more than 12,000 shells were fired into our front line trenches between the hours of 12:30 and 3:00 in the afternoon. After this intense barrage the enemy charged our gun fire. In this action, the 365th were commended for repelling the enemy's attack.
Following the enemy's defeat at Hermanpère, the enemy attempted a raid at Frapelle but was repulsed by our infantry, assisted by artillery barrage. Among the casualties on this date, Lieutenant Aaron Fisher of the 366th Infantry, later awarded a Distinguished Service Cross, was seriously wounded.
Negro Soldiers Eager to Attack
No immediate offensive operations were attempted by our forces at this time. Our officers and soldiers pleaded for an opportunity to attack the enemy, to assume the offensive; especially was this true at Senones, where our patrolling parties entered the town and mingled with its occupants, and brought back valuable information, but it was deemed inadvisable at that time. Troops not actively engaged in holding positions and repelling the enemy attacks were extending and repairing trenches and dugouts. The entrenchment system was inadequate for the protection of the troops and out of repair from long non-use. In the meantime it developed that notwithstanding the incessant activities of the enemy, he was nevertheless falling back and taking up new positions to the rear. Numerous patrolling parties sent out from our lines returned after long patrols and reported failure to come in contact with the enemy. In many cases enemy trenches were found abandoned. This was regarded as indicating that the enemy was not anxious to meet our troops in a general engagement.
At Hermanpère, La Fontenelle, La Raniese, Vanifosse, Ban de Sapt, Denipaire, Robedeau, Coichots, Ravines, Germanfaing, Moyenmoutier---villages occupied by the 92d in this zone of operations---the enemy kept up incessant bombardment, including a variety of gas shells. During the latter days of September aerial activity, both bombing and reconnaissance, increased daily.
A Duel in the Air
Near Raon L'Etape, on the 15th of September, our troops witnessed their first airplane duel. A German aviator, steering a combat plane of the larger Fokker type, entered our lines at an altitude of 8,000 feet. The enemy plane was reported by observers at 14 hrs. At 14:40 hrs. a combat plane from the French aero squadron which was cooperating with our forces in this area, had sighted the enemy plane and was climbing rapidly to give battle. Taken by surprise, the Boche aviator circled and attempted to rise to the level of his antagonist, but the French lieutenant was now opening his batteries on the port side of the Boche plane at a superior height of 800 feet. The accurate aim and superior maneuvering by Lieut. Fagon enabled him to reach the vitals of the Boche plane before the latter could bring his machine into position to defend himself effectively. After twenty minutes of circling, swooping, diving and sparring for advantage, the German plane with its propeller shot away, crashed headlong to earth, its occupant pierced many times with machine-gun bullets.
During the week of September 14, 1918, one of the raiding parties of the 366th Infantry surprised and captured a group of five German soldiers, the first prisoners taken by the 92nd Division. Other raiding parties captured enemy rifles, machine-guns and message dogs. In the meantime two members of one of our own patrolling parties fell into the hands of the enemy. In this way the Germans learned for the first time that the 92nd Division, the opposing force which faced them, was made up of American Negroes. With this information, the Germans changed their tactics for the moment and launched into our trenches the first propaganda which reached us. On the morning of the 12th of September, a section of the 367th Infantry was bombarded with what at first was thought to have been gas shells. On closer inspection it was found to be circular printed matter. Printed in good English, a copy of this circular read as follows:
"TO THE COLORED SOLDIERS OF THE AMERICAN ARMY"
"Hello, boys, what are you doing over here? Fighting the Germans? Why? Have they ever done you any harm? Of course some white folks and the lying English-American papers told you that the Germans ought to be wiped out for the sake of Humanity and Democracy.
"What is Democracy? Personal freedom, all citizens enjoying the same rights socially and before the law. Do you enjoy the same rights as the white people do in America, the land of Freedom and Democracy, or are you rather not treated over there as second-class citizens? Can you go into a restaurant where white people dine? Can you get a seat in the theater where white people sit? Can you get a seat or a berth in the railroad car, or can you even ride, in the South, in the same street car with white people? And how about the law? Is lynching and the most horrible crimes connected therewith a lawful proceeding in a democratic country?
"Now, this is all different in Germany, where they do like colored people, where they treat them as gentlemen and as white people, and quite a number of colored people have fine positions in business in Berlin and other German cities.
"Why, then, fight the Germans only for the benefit of the Wall street robbers and to protect the millions they have loaned to the British, French, and Italians? You have been made the tool of the egotistic and rapacious rich in England and in America, and there is nothing in the whole game for you but broken bones, horrible wounds, spoiled health, or death. No satisfaction whatever will you get out of this unjust war.
"You have never seen Germany. So you are fools if you allow people to make you hate us. Come over and see for yourself. Let those do the fighting who make the profit out of this war. Don't allow them to use you as cannon fodder. To carry a gun in this war is not an honor, but a shame. Throw it away and come over into the German lines. You will find friends who will help you along."
Be it said to the honor and credit of the many thousands of Negro officers and soldiers to whom this propaganda was addressed, the invitation had no effect other than to present an intimate view of German methods and to confirm in our men a loftier conception of duty.
On the 20th of September, 1918, the 92nd Division was relieved in the St. Die sector by the 81st (the Wildcat Division). During the four weeks the Division held this sector, all enemy attacks were repulsed, a number of prisoners and quantities of material were captured, trenches and roads were constructed and repaired, and most important of all, the Division demonstrated its ability to fight in or out of the trenches as it had been trained in the back areas.
Second Sector Held by the 92nd Division
Beginning on the 21st of September, 1918, the Division left the St. Die sector, dropping down into the Corcieux zone for entrainment. Orders from the Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces directed the Division to proceed to the Department of the Meuse and take up position as a Corps Reserve unit. From Corcieux and other nearby entraining points, the various units of the Division, less the artillery and Ammunition Train, were entrained and en route to the Argonne region within twenty-four hours after orders were received.
Preparations for the great drive of the Allies which had been scheduled to begin on the 25th of September, 1918, were almost complete. More than 650,000 American troops were hurrying day and night to take up their places in the line. The whole Hindenburg line contained no section more difficult than that assigned to the American Army. This great offensive operation was a part of the general program to break the German line. The objective for the American Army was a point opposite Sedan on the Meuse, to reach which it was necessary to drive the enemy entirely out of the, Argonne, a section he had held tenaciously for four years.
The distance of more than three hundred miles was covered by the 92nd Division in troop trains by the afternoon of the 23rd. With all equipment and supplies each unit was in place by the morning of the 24th of September. Division headquarters was established in echelons at Triacourt and Beauchamp, sixteen kilometers apart.
The Argonne is a narrow oblong strip of territory extending almost north and south between the Aisne and the Aire, with a ridge of hills through almost its entire length, skirted by the river valleys on either side. Several villages are located in the region, but the greater part is densely wooded, with gorges and ravines. In length it is nearly thirty miles from Grand Pré at one end to Triacourt at the other, and varies in width from eight to fifteen miles. The entire section is crossed by only two main wagon roads and one railroad. On the western side is St. Menehould, on the eastern side is Clermont. To the east a few kilometers lies battered Verdun, while westward of St. Menehould 90 kilometers lies naked Rheims. The line of railroad running from Metz to Paris and passing through Verdun, Clermont, St. Menehould, and Rheims, bisects the Argonne forest at Les Islets. The entire area of the strip is less than 500 square miles and yet because of the rugged terrain and impassable forests, the Allies found this section the most difficult of the whole line from which to dislodge the enemy. Throughout the whole period of the war this forest remained the scene of the fiercest struggles. It was overrun in 1914 when the German army advanced to the Marne after driving its wedge between Verdun and Rheims. After four years of fighting in which the German army had been pushed back gradually, that portion of the Argonne between the line of railroad and Grand Pré still remained in the hands of the enemy. On the date of the beginning of the Argonne-Meuse offensive, more than 21 divisions of the American Army held this portion of the line, while the enemy had more than 40 divisions opposite.
A change in the disposition of allied troops made it necessary for the 368th Infantry to take over the sector opposite Binarville on the 25th of September. At this time the 368th Infantry was commanded by Colonel Fred R. Brown with the following battalion commanders: First battalion, Major John H. Merrill; second battalion, Major Max Elser; third battalion, Major Benjamin F. Norris. For this engagement, the regiment cooperated with the French forces, the 4th French Army, commanded by General Gourard. Moving over from Vienne-le-Chateau it took up a position on the left of the American forces and on the right flank of the French.
The sector held by the 368th Regiment formed an irregular triangle projecting forward beyond the general line. In front of this position vast stretches of enemy wire entanglement extended at intervals in all the intervening "no-man's-land." Beyond this wire entanglement were numerous concealed machine-gun emplacements. At this point the fighting was harder than anything the Division had experienced up to that time. At least two unsuccessful attempts were made to advance before the first objectives were reached. The total casualties exceeded 450 men killed, wounded and gassed. Among the casualties in this action, the following officers were killed: Lieut. Norwood C. Fairfax and Captain Walter Green of the 368th Infantry. During the five days in which the 368th held this position a total advance of five kilometers was made and the village of Binarville was taken.
Infantry Activities of the Division
The following statement indicates somewhat in detail the Infantry activities of the 92nd Division: On August 23, 1918, the entire 92nd Division except the artillery moved from the training area into the St. Die (Vosges) sector, to relieve the 5th Regular U. S. Army Division. The front line trenches of this sector were established 60 days after the opening of the war and had not changed until the taking of the village of Frapelle. More than three years of attack and counterattack had caused both the French and Germans to conclude that the Vosges Mountains offered too many difficulties for either to advance and hold. This bit of rugged terrain had been used by both sides as a "rest sector." About the middle of August, 1918, the 6th Infantry of the 5th Regular U. S. A. Division in an early morning surprise attack captured the village of Frapelle. This is said to have been the first town taken by an American unit independent of any assistance from the French. Frapelle controlled a very important highway and its loss by the Germans threatened a railroad which was much used to convey troops and military supplies into Southeast Alsace.
Before the 6th Infantry had time to reorganize to hold the newly captured territory, the 366th Infantry (colored troops) was ordered to relieve them. The Germans were very angry at this loss and hurriedly moved Prussian troops in to replace Alsatian Guards (second class troops) and supplemented the sector artillery with many heavy guns. Counterattacks began immediately upon the arrival of the new troops and many efforts were made to retake the village. The casualties of the 6th Infantry were probably larger than the accomplishment would seem to merit. While the relief of the 6th Infantry by the 366th was in progress a bombardment of Frapelle took place which lasted four hours, and not a wall in the entire town was left standing. The Catholic church steeple was the last to topple over. That this had ceased to be a "quiet sector" was learned by the first company of the 366th Infantry the very night they entered the trenches, for two men were killed and six severely wounded before the relief was completed. In this sector the "doughboys" of the 366th were first introduced to a flame-projector attack. There the Germans also had air-superiority, and when the weather was clear, the front line trenches were bombed from above.
In addition to their systematic daily program of artillery fire, one and at times two barrages were placed over the front line positions. Aeroplanes flying above often directed the fire for more than thirty minutes at a time before being driven away by the French anti-aircraft guns. The roads traveled by the supply trains were bombed, shelled with shrapnel, high-explosive and gas shells every night.
Enemy Defeated with the Bayonet
After the first week in this sector the men of this (366th) regiment, not only took complete possession of "no-mans-land," but made nightly patrols over the first and second line trenches of the enemy. One bright Sunday morning after being in the trenches two weeks, the Germans following closely behind a most terrific bombardment, which battered down two front line dugouts, entered the front line trenches and after a hand-to-hand bayonet encounter were forced to retire in complete disorder. After this first and only time that the Germans actually entered the trenches, they seemed to conclude that the Negro infantryman knew how to use "cold steel" and that he was not to be driven from his post. Snipers, machine guns and artillery alone were used against him after that one attack. At night motor trucks armed with light artillery and machine guns were sent forward to commanding positions on the enemy side and the strong points shelled. With the aid of bright rockets on moonlight nights during the early part of September, 1918, these same trucks were used, and often very effectively, against the patrols in no-man's-land."
During the 28 days in the St. Die sector the men of the 366th Regiment gained a confidence in themselves and their weapons, such as could never have come in a camp or training area. They learned coordination and a real love for the war game. It became difficult to send out small patrols, for every officer and man desired to participate. Company commanders in order to settle disputes as to priority among the volunteers for night patrols and raiding parties were compelled to promise places days in advance of orders.
Many officers of the 366th Infantry think the regiment lost its best opportunity in this sector because orders were never received allowing them to advance. The mission of the regiment was to reorganize the captured territory and hold at any cost. They did this and more. Raiding parties succeeded in driving the German patrols from "no-man's-land" and out of their own front line trenches at night, without assistance from the French sector artillery, which was inactive most of the time, and being situated beyond range was ineffective in silencing enemy batteries when it did fire. Ten days before leaving the sector it was generally recognized that the regiment had superiority in all arms and could, it is believed by its officers, have gone over and captured the villages of Beaulay and Provenchires, thereby bettering their position with fewer casualties than were sustained by remaining in the valley of the Fave.
The March to the Argonne
Relieved by the "Wildcat" Division and a battalion of French troops the 366th Infantry, weary and badly rest-broken, moved back for what was rumored to be a rest. After a 20-kilometer march with heavy packs over the flinty roads of the Vosges Mountains to the railroad, they were entrained with other units of the 92nd Division and rushed to the village of Le Chemin, arriving there on the morning of the 23rd of September, 1918. The 92nd Division Headquarters was established at St. Menehould. At seven o'clock in the evening of September 23rd, in a very heavy rain, a start was made for the Forêt d'Argonne. The march from St. Die to Granges, which was very hard on the men, proved disastrous to the horses and mules. The road from Le Chemin to Camp D'Italien was strewn with dead animals and equipment which had to be abandoned for want of transportation. Most of the men of the 1st and 3rd Battalions of this regiment removed their shoes, while on the train, for the first time in ten days; this condition was but a trifle worse with the officers and men of the 2nd Battalion, who had been in the front line trenches twenty days under the most terrifying artillery fire. In recognition of the splendid services rendered during this period eighteen Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded the men of this battalion.
Resting in the woods of Camp d'Italien without shelter except from pup tents during the day of the 24th, another start was made that night and after marching nine kilometers, a part of which was over the famous Verdun highway, Camp Cabaud was reached early in the morning and rest once more established. The march over the Verdun highway that night will never be forgotten by the thousands of soldiers racing for a place in the great offensive of the First American Army. Several miles of trucks were stranded along this highway; congestion was never worse on any road. After several days' rain the shell-torn roads caused some of the trucks to turn end for end; some were on one side, while others were completely upside down. Every effort on the part of the Military Police failed to keep trucks and troops moving. Ammunition having the right of way over everything, forced infantry and even ambulances to halt.
Roads Blocked with Trucks
Determined to keep transportation moving, trucks were ordered forward over the left side of the road, when the right had become solidly blocked. Despite the skill and ingenuity of higher commanders, for both Major Generals and Brigadier Generals left their automobiles and vied with Colonels in spending every human energy in an effort to open the roads, the left side of the road became blocked about midnight and for seven kilometers trucks and troops were banked together in mud and mire. The infantry, moving forward by file in small detachments, finally reached the woods above Passavant-en-Argonne about 5 o'clock in the morning. The sky, though cloudy that night after the rain, was well lighted by the continuous flash from the big guns. The roar was deafening. Hearing one speak in ordinary tones beyond a few feet was impossible, though we were ten to twelve kilometers from the battery positions. It was not the ordinary noise of the battle front that night; every soldier knew that a something different was "coming off." Single guns could not be heard; no, not even single. batteries; it was just one continuous roar. So numerous were the guns and so regular the fire that the discharge could not be distinguished from the burst of the shells.
Secret Field Order No. 13, Headquarters 92nd Division, made this division, less the 368th Infantry, a Corps Reserve and designated its station as "the woods north of Clermont." Hardly had these woods (Camp Cabaud) been reached when, by verbal order of the Brigade Commander, the 1st Battalion of the 366th Infantry was ordered to go forward and build a road across "no-man's-land." The artillery of the First Army had done its work well, the infantry attacking waves of the assaulting divisions were moving forward. In order that the heavy guns, ammunition, and supplies might follow in close touch with the rapidly advancing troops, roads had to be built in great haste.
Amid gas, shrapnel, and high explosive shells, with but few casualties, this battalion did its work. So rapid was the advance the first few days that the entire 183rd Brigade, which included both the 366th and 365th Infantry, were ordered, in conjunction with the 317th Engineers (also of the 92nd Division), to move forward and engage in the work of making roads. In speaking of this work, General Pershing says in his report to the Secretary of War, dated November 20, 1918: "We had gained our point of forcing the battle into the open and were prepared for the enemy's reaction, which was bound to come as he had good roads and ample railroad facilities for bringing up his artillery and reserves. In the chill rain of dark nights our engineers had to build new roads across spongy, shell torn areas, repair broken roads beyond no-man's-land, and build bridges. Our gunners, with no thought of sleep, put their shoulders to the wheels and drag-ropes to bring their guns through the mire in support of the infantry, now under the increasing fire of the enemy's artillery. Our attack had taken the enemy by surprise, but, quickly recovering himself, he began to fire counterattacks in strong force, supported by heavy bombardments, with large quantities of gas."
Third Sector Held by the Division
About the 5th of October the 92nd Division was withdrawn from this sector and ordered to the Marbache sector. This sector extended along the Moselle river from Marbache to Pont-à-Mousson, a distance of 16 kilometers. The troops of the Division took up a position on a line crossing the river at right angles and resting on both sides of the picturesque stream. Division headquarters was established at Marbache. The elements of the Division were distributed in Belleville, Millery, Saizerais, Dieulouard, Pont-à-Mousson, Jezainville, Loisy, Ste. Genevieve, Ville-au-val, Norroy, Montauville, Port-sur-Seille, and Lesmesnils.
This section lies directly south of Metz in distances varying from 10 to 14 kilometers. According to the plans of the Commander-in-Chief, Metz was selected as one of the next important objectives in the forward movement of the American Army. With several lines of railroads centering at Metz and passing into Germany, its use as a base of the German army, and its location, it was considered an important strategic point. At the same time it was strongly protected by many outlying forts manned with powerful guns.
In the chosen plan of isolating Metz, the 92nd Division would have occupied a prominent place between the Moselle and the Seille and nearer than any other unit to German soil (Lorraine). These plans were interrupted by the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918.
The position of the enemy opposite the 92nd Division in the Marbache sector was strengthened by the fortifications of Metz. For this reason, the enemy was not falling back in this region as he was doing in other parts of the now shattered Hindenburg line farther to the north, but was stubbornly holding his ground until forced to fall back.
Active operations commenced in this sector about the 8th of October. The 69th French Artillery was relieved from the Division on the 10th of October by the 62nd Field Artillery Brigade, American Expeditionary Forces. By the middle of October the greater part of the Division's forces had crossed to the east bank of the Moselle and was pressing the enemy steadily back to second line positions. Patrols and raiding parties kept in constant touch with the enemy all along the front, with ever-increasing artillery bombardments. During the early days of November the enemy was driven from numerous positions which he held for many months and which were strongly fortified. Reference to this series of rapid offenses launched by the 92nd Division, in which the enemy was routed, is made in the following memorandum from the Commanding General:
HEADQUARTERS 92ND DIVISION AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
A. P. O. 766
7 November 1918.
OPERATING MEMORANDUM NO. 41.
1. When the Marbache sector was taken over by the 92nd Division, the Germans owned "No-man's-land" and were aggressive. They held Belle Air Farm, Bois de Tete d'Or, Bois Frehaut, Voivrotte Farm, Voivrotte Wood, Bois de Cheminot, Moulon Brook.
2. The consistent, aggressive action of our patrols, night and day, has resulted in many casualties to the enemy, and the capture of many prisoners.
3. Each of the places named above has been raided, as has Eply also, and patrols have penetrated north nearly to the east and west line through Pagny. The enemy has been driven northward beyond Frehaut and Voivrotte Woods, and eastward from Cheminot Woods across the Seille, destroying the Cheminot Bridge, flooding the Seille and attempting to destroy the Seille bridge---evidence of the fact that he regards the 92nd Division as an uncomfortable neighbor, with whom he intends to avoid close relations in the future.
4. West of the river excellent results have also followed energetic offensive action. The enemy has suffered losses in killed, wounded, and prisoners during the brief occupancy of this part of the sector.
5. The results should greatly stimulate and encourage every man of the Division. With the prospect of efficient artillery support in the future, there will be no let-up in the hammering of the enemy wherever found.
6. Unit commanders will promptly submit reports of all specially meritorious action of officers and enlisted men, in order that the same may be appropriately recognized.
7. This will be read to all troops of the 92nd Division.
By Command of Major-General Ballou:
(Signed) ALLEN J. GREER,
Colonel, General Staff, Chief of Staff.
Our own artillery brigade and ammunition train complete, joined the Division about the 18th of October, 1918. The splendid work of the artillery units soon showed itself in the effective support given in the capture of objectives taken from well-trained and seasoned soldiers---positions that had been organized and strengthened for more than four years.
An attack on Pagny and other positions of the enemy was ordered by the Commanding General of the 183rd Brigade, 92nd Division, to start at 5 A. M., November 10, 1918. This attack was under way and progressing when orders to cease hostilities were received on the morning of the 11th of November. A report of that operation is appended. Another report by the Division Commander is also appended.
HEADQUARTERS 183RD BRIGADE
A. P. O. No. 766, France,
November 19, 1918.
FROM: Commanding General, 183rd Brigade.
TO: Commanding General, 92nd Division.
SUBJECT: Report on Offensive Operations.
1. On November 8, 1918, the 183rd Infantry Brigade was garrisoning a portion of the Allied line immediately east of the Moselle river and extending from Pont-à-Mousson (east bank of Moselle river inclusive to Clemery, exclusive). This portion of the general front was known as Marbache Sector. Marbache Sector was normally divided into sub-sectors, namely, the subsector Seille, and the sub-sector Mousson. The sub-sector Seille comprised one center of resistance, the sub-sector Seille two, namely from East to West Les Menils and Mousson.
2. On November 8, 1918, plans were made at Brigade Headquarters for an attack to be executed on the morning of November 10, on the Bois Frehaut and the Bois Voivrotte by two battalions of infantry, each battalion supported by its machine-gun company. The co-operation of the divisional artillery was procured for this attack. Trench mortars and 37-mm. guns were to support the attack. The object of this attack was to capture and hold the Bois Frehaut and the Bois Voivrotte with the object of advancing the line of observation of the Marbache Sector to the northern boundary of these woods.
Operation Order No. 7, Hq. 183rd Brigade, Nov. 8, was issued describing the details of this attack.
3. The attack was to be made on the Bois Frehaut by the 2nd Bn., 365th Inf., Major Warner A. Ross, commanding. The attack on the Bois Voivrotte was to be made by two platoons, 2nd Bn., 366th Inf. At the zero hour, one Platoon, 366th Inf., was to occupy the Bois Cheminot in order to cover Cheminot bridge.
4. On Nov. 8 Marbache Sector was garrisoned as follows: C. R. Seille, by the 3d Bn., 366th Inf. and Co. A, 350th M. G. Bn.; C. R. Les Menils. by the 3rd Bn., 365th Inf. and Co. B 350th M. G. Bn.; C. R. Mousson, by the 1st Bn., 365th Inf. and Machine Gun Co., 365th Inf.
The 2nd Bn., 366th Inf., and Co. C, 350th M. G. Bn., were in support position southern part Forêt de Facq. The 2nd Bn. 365th Inf., and Co. D, 350th M. G. Bn., were in support position western part Forêt de Facq. The 1st Bn., 366th Inf., and the M. G. Co., 366th Inf., were held as Brigade Reserve at Bezaumont.
5. On the afternoon of Nov. 9, the 2nd Bn., 365th Inf., was in Pont-à-Mousson, the 2nd Bn., 366th Inf., in the northern part of Forêt de Facq, where they had been placed in preparation for the attack as specified above. The zero hour for the attack had been given for 5 A. M., November 10.
6. The plans for the attack were changed by telephone instructions from the Commanding General, 92nd Division, to the Commanding General, 183rd Brigade, received 12:45 A. M., Nov. 10. These instructions were to the effect that the second American Army would attack on the morning of Nov. 10 at 7:00 A. M.; that the 92nd Division would attack at that hour, pushing the advance as expeditiously as possible, and holding all captured ground.
Telephone messages were immediately sent the attacking troops, changing the hour for the attack from 5:00 to 7:00 A. M. The Commanding General, 183rd Brigade, with the Brigade Adjutant, started out at 2:00 A. M. by automobile to consult the Commanding Officer, 365th Inf. and 366th Inf., with reference to the change in plans. Both of these officers were notified as to the new plans, and given preliminary instructions as to their execution. The Brigade Reserve Bn. was ordered alerted and moved to Camp Schnable, Forêt de Facq. The supporting artillery was notified as to the change of plans.
7. At 6:15 A. M., Nov. 10, F. O. No. 24, C. S. 92nd Div. was received.
At 7:00 A. M., Nov. 10, attack as specified in Operation Orders No. 7 above was launched.
At 7:25 A. M., F. O. No. 19, 183rd Brigade, was issued. This order was based on F. O. No. 24, 92nd Division, as above, and required the advance to be pushed beyond the objective as ordered in Operation Order No. 7. It was in accord with verbal instructions given Regimental Commanders the early morning of Nov. 10.
8. At 8:00 A. M., information was received that the French Division on our right was not attacking. Telephone instructions were then sent to the Commanding Officer 366th Inf. to hold his 3rd Bn. in C. R. Seille, and to have his 3rd Bn. maintain liaison between the French Division on our right and the attacking troops.
At 8:12 A. M., a pigeon message was received from the C. O. 2nd Bn., 366th Inf., by runner, and relayed by telephone, to the effect that the Bois Voivrotte had been completely occupied and that three prisoners had been taken.
At 9:00 A. M. a message was received that sharp fighting by machine guns was going on in the Bois Voivrotte and the Bois Frehaut.
At 10:00 A. M., a runner message was received from the Commanding Officer, 2nd Bn., 365th Inf., to the effect that they were being heavily shelled in the Bois Frehaut by enemy artillery, and requesting counter battery fire; it was also stated that their advance had almost reached the northern edge of Bois Frehaut. Heavy artillery was asked to counter-fire on enemy artillery, which they promptly did.
At 10:30 A. M. a message from the Division was received that the attack of the 367th Inf., 184th Brigade, had been-repulsed (on our left), but that two companies were being sent forward to reinforce their attack.
At 11:15 A.M., a message from the C. O. 2nd Bn., 365th Inf., to the effect that Bois Frehaut was completely occupied, that Boches were shelling woods with gas and high explosives, and requesting counter battery fire.
At 11:16, Heavy Artillery asked to counter fire on German battery, which they promptly did.
At 11:30, the Commanding General, 167th F. A. Brigade, called in consultation in reference to artillery preparation for a further advance. After consultation, it was decided to bring forward reinforcements, and to launch a new attack on the strong enemy positions of Champey, Bouxières, and La Cote at 5:00 P. M.
11:50---Telephonic orders to Commanding Officer, 365th Inf., to move his 1st Bn. to the northern edge of Forêt de Facq as Brigade reserve, and to move his P. C. to C. R. Les Menils, and take command of the advancing troops of his regiment.
12:00 M.--- Information from Commanding General, 92nd Div., that one Bn., 368 Inf., was moving to Pont-à-Mousson, east bank of river, as reserve of 183rd Brigade; that 368th Inf., less one Bn., would be concentrated at Camp Schnable as Division Reserve.
1:05 P. M.---F. O. No. 20, 183rd Brigade, issued; 2:00 P. M., 365th Inf. reports capture one Boche, Bois Frehaut.
3:05 P. M.---Telephonic message from C. O. 2nd Bn., 366th Inf., that he had withdrawn his lines to southern edge of Bois Voivrotte because of heavy enemy shelling, high explosives and gas in woods.
3:55 P. M.---Orders received from Commanding General, 92nd Division, not to launch attack as planned for 5:00 P. M., but to consolidate positions gained, holding them at all costs against possible counter-attacks.
4:00 P. M.---Telephonic message sent Commanding Officer 365th-366th Inf., C. G. 167th F. A. Brigade to this effect.
4:10 P. M.---Operation Memo. Hq. 183rd Brigade issued.
5:50 P. A.M.---Telephonic instructions to C. O, 365th Inf., 366th Inf., and C. G. 167th F. A. that attack specified in F. O. No. 20 would be made at 5:00 A.M. on Nov. 11.
6:00 P. M.-F. O. No. 21 issued.
6:30 P. M.-F. O. No. 25cs 92nd Division received.
7:30 P. M.-Message from C. O. 365th Inf. that 1st Bn. was moving into Bois Frehaut to support of 2nd Bn.
November 11.---5:00 A. M., attack launched as ordered in P. O. No. 21.
Attacking troops met by strong enemy artillery, machine gun and infantry fire. Troops on right had reached the outskirts of Bouxières by 7:30 A. M. Troops on left had advanced a short distance, but had been forced to retire to woods.
7:18 A. M.---Telephonic message from Division to the effect that Armistice signed, effective at 11 hours, 11th Nov.; that all hostilities must cease at that hour. All firing ordered stopped by our troops by 10:45 A.M. Firing stopped promptly at that hour.
The line held by our troops at the cessation of hostilities was as follows:
Line shown by co-ordinates, Map, Pont-à-Mousson, 1/20,000.
65-97; 76; 98 (Ferme de Ponce) ; 81:02 (N. INT. corner) Bois Frehaut; 92-02, N. W. corner Bois Frehaut, 93-01; 95-01; 95-95; 01-96, N. W. corner Bois Voivrotte; 07-97, N. E. corner Bois Voivrotte; 06-92, La Voivrotte Ferme; 02-87; Norroy, thence East and S. E. as formerly held; 19-86; Bois Cheminot, held as an advance post.
9. The enemy units engaged between the Moselle and the Seille were, from west to east, the 86th and 30th Regiments of Infantry, 31st Landwehr Brigade, and the 47th Infantry Regiment. These regiments were supported by one Bn. of Sharpshooters. East of the Seille river were the 70th Infantry Regiment and the 6th Grenadiers, formerly 10th Division.
10. SUMMARY: (a) Our advance was for about a depth of 3 1/2 kilometers. When this Brigade took over the sector just east of the Moselle river there was a deep re-entrant next to the river, due to the St. Mihiel drive which advanced the line several kilometers on west bank of the Moselle river while the line on the cast bank remained in place.
The attack on the morning of Nov. 10, by the units of this Brigade, wiped out this re-entrant, by advancing our lines on the east bank of the Moselle river a distance of 2 1/4 km.
The advance thus made was held against heavy artillery and machine gun fire and high concentration of gas. The attack was renewed on the morning of Nov. 11, lines being advanced a distance of 3 1/4 kin., an original line. Our liaison with the troops west of the river was thereby greatly improved.
(b) A total of six prisoners was captured; three in the Bois Frehaut and three in the Bois Voivrotte.
(c) The following material was captured: 1,000 (approximately) grenades, all types; 5,000 (approximately) rounds ammunition; 25 (approximately) boxes .M. G. ammunition, in belts; 50 (approximately) rifles and bayonets, 10 (approximately) pairs field glasses, 4 (approximately) machine guns, 6 carrier pigeons, 1 signal lamp and battery, 2 Verey pistols, 3 carbide lamps, 100 helmets. Many overcoats, boots, canteens, belts, and other articles of equipment were left by the fleeing enemy.
(d) The following were our casualties:
Killed Wounded Gassed Missing Total 365th Infantry . 14 67 211 8 300 366th Infantry 17 52 63 0 132 350tlh M G. Battalion 1 0 11 0 12 Total 32 119 285 8 444
(e) Full use was made of auxiliary arms, machine guns, 37 mm. guns, Stokes mortars, and rifle grenades. All of these weapons, except Stokes mortars, were brought into play in the heavy fighting in the Bois Frehaut to combat enemy machine-gun nests. 37 mm. guns were pushed well to the front when direct fire at machine-gun positions could be obtained. It was to the extensive use of these weapons that the rapid advance through the Bois Frehaut was due. Machine guns were used frequently to cover the flanks of the attacking infantry. They aided materially in protecting the N. E. corner of the Bois Frehaut from an enemy counter-attack from Bouxières. Trench mortars were placed in position after the Frehaut woods were taken, to cover the new front.
(f) No tank or gas troops were available for this attack. Regtl. and Bn. gas officers and N. C. O.'s rendered valuable assistance in disinfecting infected areas, posting gas alarm sentinels, and upholding gas discipline.
(g) The divisional artillery supported both attacks with a rolling barrage, preceding the troops. These barrages were very well laid and proved effective. It also rendered valuable work in placing heavy concentration fire on enemy strong points and machine-gun nests. Its counter-battery work was excellent.
(h) The attack was executed over a very difficult terrain. For a distance of about 1 1/2 km. in front of our lines, the terrain was open, heavily wired with a downward slope. It was well registered by the enemy artillery, as the numerous shell holes over its surface indicated. The Bois Frehaut is a wood of about 1,500 meters square and breaks the western half of the sector attacked, about 700 meters to the cast of the Bois Voivrotte, a small wood about 600 meters square. Both of these woods were a mass of heavy German wire, much of it new. Their edges were protected by bands of heavy wire and chevaux-de-frise. Both of these woods were at the foot of and north of the ridge of which Eon hill, a hill 358 meters high, is the summit. From their southern slopes the ground rise's slightly for a distance of about 700 meters, then falls again to a deep ravine traversing the Bois Frehaut from east to west. It then rises again, culminating in La Cote hill, a hill 1,500 meters north of the Bois Frehaut, and 87 meters higher than the highest point of the Bois Frehaut, namely, Hill 260.8. This hill is heavily wooded on its summit, and was strongly held by infantry, machine guns, trench mortars, and light artillery. The southern slopes of this hill were protected by a small wood about 500 meters square about 200 meters north of the Bois Frehaut and by the strongly fortified towns of Bouxières and Champey. These towns, together with the small wood in question, were heavily garrisoned by enemy infantry and machine guns. They formed together a dominating and strongly organized position, protected by heavy bands of wire. Numerous tank traps had been prepared south of this position. These positions dominated the Bois Voivrotte, the Bois Frehaut and the ground to the north.
Conclusion.---The lines held by the Germans were unusually strong, being the result of four years of stabilization in that sector. Their artillery was most active, as unquestionably during these years they had registered on every point of importance in the sector. Furthermore, their positions were the first line of defense of Metz. The troops occupying them were young efficient men and not old soldiers from a rest sector.
From the time we entered the sector, our patrols were very active, so much so that we took complete possession of "no-man's-land." After the first few days we were unable to find any German patrols outside their lines.
Previous to November 10, we made several reconnaissances in force (that is, employing a company in each instance) to ascertain if the Germans were still holding their lines. The abundance of machine-gun fire developed in each case, showed that they were.
Our attack on the morning of November 10 was the first offensive move made by the Brigade which required artillery preparation. The Commanding Officers of units making the attack, and also of the artillery, were constantly stating that they were hurried into these movements without proper preparation. Had they been familiar with such operations, the time allowed would have been sufficient. Our artillery was having its first experience in the line and was meeting with the usual difficulties: Lack of transportation, unfamiliarity with sector, little opportunity to register on probable targets, etc.
There is no doubt that some details of the operation were not carried out as well as might have been done by more experienced troops. These were the results of mistaken judgment due to lack of experience, rather than to lack of the offensive spirit. These minor features have no effect on the general outcome.
From y intimate contact with the troops making these attacks, I can state definitely that these men were just finding themselves. The improvement in the aggressive spirit from day to day was manifest.
As a summary, I desire to again call attention to the following: 1st, that we were operating in a sector that had been organized for defense against us for over four years, and was made unusually strong on account of being in front of the great fortress Metz; 2nd, that our inexperienced troops were operating against trained soldiers of the greatest military power of the world; 3rd, that from the time we entered the sector our troops were constantly on the offensive; 4th, to the success that was obtained, viz., removing the reentrant and advancing our lines 3 1/2 kilometers.
(Signed) MALVERN HILL BARNUM,
Brigadier General, U. S. A.
Major A. E. Sawkins, commanding the Second Battalion of the 366th Infantry, in referring to the same offensive operations of November 10th and 11th, 1918, said:
2nd Battalion, 366th Infantry,
17th November, 1918.
FROM: Battalion Commander.
TO: Commanding General, 92nd Division.
SUBJECT: Conduct of troops in action.
1. Reference to action in which this battalion was engaged in Bois de la Voivrotte on 10th and 11th November, 1918, the following report is made on conduct of officers and men while in action.
Troops: 2nd Bn. 366th Infantry, Company C, 350th M. G. Bn. attached. Company A, 366th Infantry.
Officers and men deserving special mention have been recommended in other communications. An observation of the general conduct of officers and men is the reason for this report. I desire especially to call to the attention of the Division Commander the fact that the handling of their units by the company and platoon commanders was all that could be, expected from the most experienced officers. There was an absolute lack of any disorder, and I cannot say too much in praise of the manner in which these officers handled their men. The men responded as though at a maneuver, and although without food or sleep for 48 hours at time of the attack on morning of the 11th November, the men went into action in such a manner that I feel proud to command such fine, soldierly troops.
(Signed) A. E. SAWKINS,
Major 366th Infantry.
The Commanding General of the 92nd Division reported as to these operations of November 10-11, 1918, as follows:
HEADQUARTERS NINETY-SECOND DIVISION
American Expeditionary Forces
A. P. O. 766
30 November, 1918.
FROM: The Commanding General, 92nd Division.
TO: The A. C. of S., G-3, G. H. Q.
SUBJECT: Report on Operations 10-11 November, 1918.
1. This report made pursuant to paragraph 3, G. O. 196, G. H. Q., American Expeditionary Forces, 1918, embodies the operations of this Division during the period 10-11th November, 1918.
(1) Situation at Beginning of Operations
On November 9, 1918, it having been reported that the enemy, disorganized, was retreating along the entire front, the Commanding General of the 2nd Army, of which this division is an element, gave the order for an attack at 7 hours, 10th November, 1918, along its entire front, following the enemy in his withdrawal, pushing with all energy to secure decisive results and holding all ground taken. The mission assigned to the Division was to push forward west of the Seille river, along the heights on both banks of the Moselle river in the direction of Corny, maintaining liaison with the 32nd Army Corps (French) and the 7th Division on the left. The western boundary of its zone of action being the same but extending north---Preny (Excl.) ---Gorze (excl.). At the beginning of operations 10th November, 1918, the 92nd Division of the 6th Corps, 2nd Army, with three regiments in line and one in reserve, P. C. Marbache, held the Marbache sector, constituting the existing front of the 6th Corps and extending from Clemery (Excl.) to Preny (Excl.). The 165th D. I. (Fr.), P. C. Custines, occupied the sector on the right. The 7th Division, P. C. Euvezin, occupied the sector on the left. The Divisional limits were as follows:
Eastern Boundary.-Port-sur-Seille (incl.)---Ste. Genevieve (incl.)---Bezamont (incl.)---Ville-au-Val (incl.)---Autreville (incl.) ---Belleville (incl.) ---Marbache (incl.)---Sazerais (incl.).
Western Boundary.---Preny (excl.)---Eastern edges of B. des Rappes---Villers-sous-Preny (excl.)---about one kilom. west of Montauville---Gezoncourt (incl.)---Rogeville (incl.).
Southern Boundary.---Roiseres-en-Haye (excl.)---St. Georges (excl.).
The portion of the sector east of the Moselle was divided into two sub-sectors. The dividing line being---Ste. Genevieve (inclusive) north through southern portion of Forêt de Facq to a point on the Atton-Morville road about two kin. N. E. of Atton (381.2-234.6) then N. E. along road for 1 km. to road cross, then north by west along Ste-Genevieve-Les Mennils road to road cross at (381.5-236.5) (1:50,000) Cheminot map, thence east by north along road to front at point 383.0-237.2. This portion of the sector was organized in successive positions, viz.:
(a) A covering position consisting of a line of observation and a zone of resistance and including the special defense position of the region of Aon.
(b) A position of resistance consisting of a high line and a low line.
The garrison east of the Moselle consisted of the 183rd Brigade and elements of Divisional Machine-Gun Battalions (349th) with Division and corps artillery support. The 366th Infantry with one battalion in line, one battalion in support, one battalion in reserve, garrisoned the sub-sector east of the Division line. This will be referred to as C. R. Seille. The other sub-sector east of the Moselle was garrisoned by the 365th Infantry with two battalions in line and one in support. The areas occupied by these two battalions were referred to as C. R. Les Mesnils and C. R. Mouson respectively. The region included between the Moselle and the western boundary of the division area was known as the C. R. Vandières, it was garrisoned by the 367th Infantry with one battalion in line, one battalion in support, and one battalion in reserve.
At the commencement of operations units of the Division were disposed in conformity with its defensive mission announced in F. O. No. 19, Hqs. 92nd Division, 11 October, 18 (See Appendix "A"), and amplified by F. O. No. 20, Hqs. 92nd Division, 24 October 18, Appendix "B," F. O. No. 23, Hqs. 92nd Division, 8 November, 1918 (See Appendix "C").
In the event of forward movement, advance P.C.'s had been selected after reconnaissance and had been announced. The Division advance P.C. was at Ville-au-Val.
On 10 November, 1918, at 3:30 hours, F. O. No. 4, Hqs. 6th Army Corps issued prescribing interalia. as follows:
"1. It is reported that the enemy, disorganized, is withdrawing along the entire front.
"The second army will attack at 7 hours, 10th November, and follow closely the enemy in his withdrawal, pushing him with all energy to secure decisive results, and holding all grounds taken.
"2. The 6th Army Corps will attack in conjunction with the 4th Army Corps on the left.
"3. (a) The 92nd Division will push forward west of the Seille River along the heights on both sides of the Moselle River in direction of Corny. It will maintain liaison with the 32nd Army Corps (Fr.) on its right and the 7th Division on its left; Western boundary of its zone of action being as at present, extended North as follows: Preny (excl.)---Gorze (excl.).
"Artillery taken forward will be limited to that which can be fully horsed and adequately supplied with ammunition.
"(b) Corps Artillery. Counter battery work on such targets as may be designated by the Chief of Artillery.
"(c) The 115th Engineers. Company D at disposal of Commanding General, 92nd Division. Regiment (less Company D) will await orders in Forêt de Puvenelle, It will be in readiness to promptly repair the bridge across the Moselle River at Pont-à-Mousson and to open and maintain road communications North therefrom.
"(d) The Chief of Air Service will make the necessary assignments of Artillery, infantry and command planes, and will prescribe the observation to be executed by the 10th Balloon Company.
"(e) Corps Signal Troops will maintain communication between 92nd Division, Corps Artillery, 115th Engineers, Corps Air service and these headquarters.
In conformity with the foregoing, the Division Commander having received advance information, issued F. O. No. 24, Hqs. 92nd Division, 3 hours, 10 November, 1918, as follows:
HEADQUARTERS 92ND DIVISION
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES, A. P. O. 766,
10 November, 1918 3 hours.
Field Order No. 24.
1. 2nd Army attacks at 7 hours, 10 November, 1918. 6th Corps attacks with Western boundary same as at present, extending north-Preny (excl.) Gorze (excl.). Eastern limit of action-Seille River.
2. 92nd Division will attack in direction of Corny, advancing from present front at 7 hours, 10 November, 1918. Decisive results will be obtained and all ground taken will be held.
3. (a) Division Artillery will support advance with standing and rolling barrage east of the Moselle in initial phase of advance, thereafter following advancing infantry with all mobile elements and supporting further advance as occasion presents.
(b) 183d Infantry Brigade will attack east of the Moselle River with elements of two battalions in line maintaining liaison with the 165th Division (Fr.) on the right.
(c) 367th Infantry will attack west of the Moselle with two companies in line maintaining close contact with elements of the 7th Division on its left.
(X) Liaison between advancing elements east and west of the Moselle will be maintained by all means possible. Strong combat liaison between all advancing elements will be maintained and liaison from front to rear will be given particular attention.
(Y) Division reserve will await orders in alert positions.
4. Administrative instructions follow.
5. P. C.'s later.
By command of Major General Ballou.
(Signed) ALLEN J. GREER,
Colonel, General Staff. Chief of Staff.
The detailed dispositions of the infantry and artillery units in each of these C. R.'s (Centers of Resistance) are shown in the annexed reports of the Commanding General, 183rd Brigade, Commanding General 167th Field Artillery Brigade, and the C. O 367th Infantry, which are hereto appended, and marked appendices "D," "E," and "F" respectively.
(2) The Attack---A Chronological Statement of Enemy Units Engaged--Time and Place.
9 November, 23 hour. Instructions received from 6th Army Corps in advance of F. O. No. 4, 6th Army Corps, 10 November, 1918, relative to projected offensive along front of 2nd Army.
9 Nov. 23 hr.---Instructions given to C. G. 183rd Brig., C. G. 167th F. A. Brig., C. O. 337th Inf., relative to projected attack and in advance of F. O. No. 24, Hqs. 92nd Div., issued.
10 Nov. 3 hr.---10 November, 1918, at 3 hours. The exact time when these instructions were received and detailed action taken shown on appended reports.
10 Nov. 4 hr.---Received F. O. No. 4, Hqs. 6th Army Corps, dated 10 November, 3:30 hrs., prescribing attack and confirming telephone instructions.
10 Nov. 7 hr.---Attack initiated along front east of Moselle between Moselle and Seille Rivers. Division reserve in alert position at the time of the attack.
10 Nov. 8 hr.---Information received that the French Division on right was not attacking, whereupon C. O. 365th Infantry was directed to hold 3rd Battalion in C. R. Seille maintaining liaison with the French on right.
10 Nov. 9:30 hr.---Attack by 367th Infantry west of Moselle not prosecuted because of failure of the 56th Infantry, 7th Division, to capture Preny. The report of the C. O. 367th Infantry at pages 2 and 3 shows the facts and reasons.
10 Nov. 11 hr.---All first objectives east of Moselle were attained. The exact progress of the attack and orders and messages sent and received are shown clearly in the appendices. They are not reproduced in great detail here.
11 Nov. 1:40 hr.---C. G. 184th Brig. directed to proceed with two remaining battalions and other remaining combat elements of the 184th Brigade to Forêt de Facq, locating P. C. at crossroads at 382.5-233.3. Field and combat trains to same position after dark. Command to be placed off road awaiting employment.
11 Nov. 3:59---Artillery directed to put down barrage on northern edge of Bois de la Voivrotte, this point not being occupied by our troops.
11 Nov. 4:13---Five o'clock advance called off. Divisional Artillery and 6th Corps notified. Advance troops directed to organize first position.
11 Nov. 16:30---Received F. O. No. 5, 6th Army Corps, 10 November, 1918, 18 hr., directing continuation attack.
10 Nov. 18 hr.---Issued F. O. 25, Hqs. 92nd Division, 10 November, 1918, 18 hr. (Annexed. as appendix " G "), continuation of attack directed.
11 Nov. 5 hr.---Attack launched on front of 183rd Brigade between Seille and Moselle Rivers, direction as before.
7:10 hr.---Information from 6th A. C. received that armistice had been signed, effective 11 hr., 11 November, 1918. Attacking troops met by strong enemy artillery, machine-gun and infantry fire.
11 Nov. 10:45 A. 11. A.M.---All firing by our troops ceased in accordance with armistice.
(3) Statement of Enemy Units Engaged, Time and Place.
Inasmuch as the 367th Infantry operating west of the Moselle made no advance due to the fact that it was necessary that the 7th Division should. first capture Preny before an advance was practicable. No report is made here of enemy units engaged west of Moselle. The same condition applies under subheads (4) and (5) of this report. The report of the Commanding General of the 183rd Brigade under these heads is adopted with some modifications as the report of the Division and to that extent is embodied herein.
The enemy units engaged by elements of the 183rd Brigade between the Moselle and the Seille were, from west to east, the 96th and 30th regiments of infantry, 31st Landwehr Brigade, and the 47th Infantry regiment. These regiments were supported by one battalion of sharpshooters. East of the Seille River the 70th Infantry regiment and the 6th Grenadiers, formerly 10th Division, were encountered. See report of the Commanding General 183rd Brigade, appended.
Our advance was for a depth of 3 1/2 km. When this Brigade took over the sector just east of the Moselle River there was a deep re-entrant next to the river, due to the St. Mihiel drive, which advanced the line several kms. on the west bank of the Moselle, while the line on the east bank remained in place.
The attack on the morning of the 10th of November, by one battalion, 365th Infantry, and the Machine Gun company of that regiment, and one battalion 366th Infantry supported by Company C, 350th Machine Gun Battalion, wiped out this re-entrant, by advancing our lines on the east bank of the Moselle River a distance of 2 1/2 km.
The advance thus made was held against heavy artillery and machine-gun fire and high concentration of gas. The attack was renewed on the morning of the 11th, the lines being advanced to the northern edge of the Bois Frehaut; a distance of 3 1/2 km. from an original line. Our liaison with the troops west of the line was thereby greatly improved.
The line held by our troops at the cessation of hostilities was as follows: (Details already given).
A total of six prisoners were captured, three in the Bois Frehaut and three in the Bois Voivrotte.
The following material was captured: 1,000 grenades, 5,000 rounds of ammunition, 25 boxes of M-G ammunition in belts, 50 rifles and belts, 10 pair of field glasses, 4 machine-guns, 6 carrier pigeons, 1 signal lamp and battery, 2 Verey pistols, 3 carbide lamps, 100 helmets, many overcoats, boots, canteens, belts, and other equipment left by the fleeing Germans.
The following were our casualties:
Killed Wounded Gassed Missing Total 365th Infantry . 14 67 211 8 300 366th Infantry 17 52 63 0 132 350tlh M G. Battalion 1 0 11 0 12 Total 32 119 285 8 444
Full use was made of auxiliary arms for this attack---Machine-guns, 37 mm. guns, Stokes mortars, and rifle grenades.
No tank or gas troops were available for the action.
The Divisional Artillery supported both attacks, with a rolling barrage preceding the troops in placing heavy concentration fire on enemy strong points and machine-gun nests.
The attack was executed over a very difficult terrain. For a distance of about 1 1/2 km. in front of our lines the terrain was open, heavily wired, with a downward slope. It was well registered by the enemy artillery as the numerous shell-holes over its surface indicated. The Bois Frehaut is a wood of about 1,500 meters square and breaks the western half of the sector attacked, about 700 meters to the east of the Bois Frehaut, and about on a line with the southern edge of the Bois Voivrotte, a small wood of about 600 square meters. Both of these woods were a mass of heavy German wire, much of it new. Their edges were protected by heavy bands of wire and chevaux de-frise. Both of these woods were at the foot of and north of the ridge of which Eon hill, a hill 358 meters high, is the summit. From their southern slopes, the ground rises slightly for a distance of about 700 meters, then falls again to a deep ravine traversing the Bois Frehaut from east to west. It then rises again, culminating in La Cote hill, a hill 1,500 meters north of Bois Frehaut and 87 meters higher than the highest point of the Bois Frehaut, namely Hill 260.8. This hill is heavily wooded on its summit and strongly held by infantry, machine guns, trench mortars and light artillery. The southern slopes of this hill were protected by a small wood about 500 meters square, about 200 meters north of the Bois Frehaut and by the strongly fortified towns of Bouxières and Champey. These towns together with the small wood in question were heavily garrisoned by infantry and machine guns. They formed together a dominating and strongly organized position protected by heavy bands of wire. Numerous tank traps had been prepared South of this position. These positions dominated the Bois Voivrotte, the Bois Prehaut and the ground to their north. In the area west of the Moselle, the ground in front of the position slopes to the north into a basin with little or no cover. On the west Preny heights rise precipitously out of the plain and the town and citadel dominate the entire basin up to Preny and beyond.
This basin is enfiladed from the right by enemy artillery N. E. to S. E. over an arc of 140 degrees in part by direct fire. Moulon creek crosses the basin from west to east about 1 km. in front of position.
Creek line formerly held by enemy as advanced night outpost, taken by us and held for same purpose. This line in daylight can be reached by infiltration or by patrols but owing to flanking fire from Preny has been found untenable except at night, any small body of troops attracting both machine-gun and artillery fire under conditions of fair visibility.
At the time of our attack east of the Moselle, there was no general retirement immediately on our front. A vigorous resistance was interposed by the enemy. The attack was made on very brief preparation, too brief in view of the strength of the enemy positions, which were very strongly held. The wire entanglements about Bouxières rendered a very considerable artillery preparation necessary to make a further advance possible. The attack was to have been continued with this preparation had not the armistice occurred. A decided improvement in offensive spirit and aggressive action was shown by all troops engaged.
(Signed) CHARLES H. MARTIN,
Major General Commanding.
After the Armistice Was Signed
Immediately following the signing of the armistice, the 92nd Division was named among those divisions scheduled to embark for the United States in the first available transportation. The various units of the division were withdrawn gradually from front line positions to back areas for rest and renovation.
At this time the rail facilities of France were taxed to the utmost in transporting supplies into the area to be occupied by the allied armies according to the terms of the armistice. In addition to the hundreds of troop trains going forward daily, all wagon roads leading toward the region of the upper Rhine were crowded with troops forming the army of occupation. After waiting, five weeks at Marbache, transportation was finally supplied and the Division moved down to Maronne for entrainment on the 19th of December, 1918. Leaving Maronne between the 19th and 22nd of December the elements of the Division arrived at Mayenne, in the zone of the embarkation center, on the morning of the 24th of December. Pending orders to move forward to Brest, the units of the Division were billeted in the following towns and villages: Mayenne, Ambrières, Domfront, La Chapelle, Couterne, Lassay, Villaines, Javron. In this section, formerly a part of old Brittany, many evidences remain of the earliest days of the country's settlement. One of the principal roads leading through the section was laid out by Julius Caesar, more than fifty years before the birth of Christ; at Domfront the old fort built by the Roman legions remains in a remarkable state of preservation. The language of the ancient Bretons is often spoken by the people at this time.
Five weeks were spent in this area completing preliminaries incident to embarkation and waiting for transportation to the seaboard. The last units left Mayenne on the 29th of January, passing through the forwarding camp at Le Mans and arriving at Brest the first week in February. The first transports left Brest bearing our troops homeward on the 5th of February and were followed by others throughout the month and until the 12th of March, when the last unit of the 92nd Division landed at Hoboken, completing nine months of foreign service.
Casualties of the Division
The total number of casualties in the 92nd Division was as follows:
Officers Enlisted Men Killed in action 6 208 Died of wounds 1 40 Died of Disease 1 43 Died of other causes 0 9 Severely wounded 6 203 Slightly wounded 46 348 Gassed 43 672 Missing 0 20 103 1,543
Personal Conduct of Troops
The statistics of the Judge Advocate's Department show that the individual conduct of the soldiers of the 92nd Division was highly creditable. Both in number of offenses committed against military law and the nature of the offenses, the record of the 92nd Division compares most favorably with that of any other Division in the American Expeditionary Forces. The only case of a conviction with death penalty assessed applied to a soldier who was not a member of the 92nd Division, but whose trial was held in the Division's courts for convenience.
During the month of October, twelve hundred enlisted men were granted furloughs with privilege of visiting Aix-les-Bains, the leave center for soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces. The report of the Commanding Officer of Aix-les-Bains leave area is referred to in the copy of General Order 31 given below:
HEADQUARTERS 92ND DIVISION
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
A. P. 0. 766
7 November, 1918.
General Orders No. 31.
1. The Division Commander desires to make known to the members of this command the fact of his appreciation of the exemplary conduct of the men composing the first and second leave quotas at Aix-les-Bains during October, 1918.
The Commanding Officer of Aix-les-Bains reports that the neatness, general appearance, and military courtesy of the men of the 92nd Division while on leave, was highly commendable.
By Command of Major General Ballou.
(Signed) ALLEN J. GREER,
Colonel, General Staff, Chief of Staff.
EDW. J. TURGEON,
The Artillery Brigade
From the outset of the 92nd's organization, it was a problem to get together and build up an artillery brigade that would in all essentials be thoroughly efficient and dependable. In such warfare as the European war entailed, the artillery arm was of the greatest importance. It was doubted whether or not an artillery brigade made up of Negro soldiers could be developed and sufficiently trained in the technique of artillery to make an effective fighting artillery unit. Men were needed for this branch of the service who were educated and who could be depended upon to know fractions and be able to read scales, deflections, and other technical details. In the ordinary run of the enlistment, the draft did not furnish enough men qualified along these lines to build up the artillery regiments, and it therefore became necessary for the officers of the artillery brigade to make special canvasses to secure a sufficient number of qualified men. In this work, voluntary enlistments were called for. In the course of time enough men were enlisted to make up the Artillery Brigade. Tuskegee Institute furnished a group of students. Baltimore, Pittsburg and other cities furnished men from the high schools and other institutions. Through this special canvass the great bulk of the artillery troops was secured.
In recruiting these men, specially qualified for the artillery regiments, through the process of voluntary enlistments, much credit is due the following officers of the Brigade: General John H. Sherburne, Colonels Fred T. Austin, William E. Cole, Dan T. Moore; Lieutenant-Colonels Walter E. Prosser, Edward L. Carpenter, Charles L. Blakely; Captains Royal F. Nash, William Heffner, and Lieut. Harry K. Tootle. The last named officer made personal canvasses in the churches and schools of Pittsburg and other cities.
As a result of this plan of building up the Artillery Brigade, the three regiments were made up of picked men, forming the first artillery brigade of Negroes ever organized in the world. During the training period and afterward on the battlefield, General Sherburne frequently expressed the opinion that his artillerymen were the equals of any artillerymen in the American Expeditionary Forces. Even during the short time in which the artillery was engaged, the high degree of efficiency was evidenced by the accuracy and effectiveness of their barrages and bombardments as laid down by these Negro gunners.
The following is a copy of the last General Order issued to the Brigade by General Sherburne just before his transfer from the Division to take up other duties:
HEADQUARTERS 167TH FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE
92ND DIVISION, A. E. F.
3 February, 1919.
General Orders No. 1.
1. In leaving the 167th Field Artillery Brigade, to take up other duties, the Brigade Commander wishes to record in General Orders the entire satisfaction it has given him to have commanded the Brigade, the first Brigade of Negro artillerymen ever organized. The satisfaction is due to the excellent record the men have made. Undertaking a work that was new to them, they brought to it faithfulness, zeal, and patriotic fervor. They went into the line and conducted themselves in a manner to win the praise of all. They bad. been picked for important work in an offensive which had been planned to start after November 11.
2. The Brigade Commander will ever cherish the words of the Commander-in-Chief, the compliments he paid in all sincerity to this Brigade, while he watched it pass in review last Wednesday. He wishes the Brigade to understand that these words of appreciation were invoked because each man has worked conscientiously and unflaggingly to make the organization a success.
3. The Brigade Commander feels that he should also make an acknowledgment in General Orders of the remarkable esprit-de-corps displayed by the officers of the brigade. They were pioneers in a field where, at the start, success was problematical. This being the first brigade of its kind ever organized, it has been only natural that the work of the men should have featured prominently, yet the same prominence and the same praise should be accorded the officers. While the Brigade Commander takes this occasion to praise splendid work, he believes the greatest praise will come from the men themselves, not only now, but ever in greater measure when they have returned to civilian life and have secured the perspective of time and experience that will teach them how fortunate they were in making the race's initial effort as artillerymen under officers who were both skillful artillerymen and sympathetic leaders.
By Command of Brigadier General Sherburne.
(Signed) HARRY KING TOOTLE,
First Lt. F. A., U. S. A.
Praised by General Pershing
The passage in the foregoing General Order from General Sherburne, in which allusion is made to the compliments from the Commander-in-Chief, refers to the address delivered to the assembled units of the 92nd Division at Le Mans on the 28th of January, 1919. On this occasion General Pershing reviewed the troops of the Division for the last time before its embarkation for the United States. In the course of his address to the officers and soldiers of the Division, the Commander-in-Chief, General Pershing, said:
"I want you officers and soldiers of the 92nd Division to know that the 92nd Division stands second to none in the record you have made since your arrival in France. I am proud of the part you have played in the great conflict which ended on the 11th. of November, yet you have only done what the American people expected you to do and you have measured up to every expectation of the Commander-in-Chief. I realize that you did not get into the game as early as some of the other units, but since you took over your first sector you have acquitted yourselves with credit, and I believe that if the armistice had not become effective on the 11th day of November, the 92nd would have still further distinguished itself. I commend the 92nd Division for its achievements not only in the field, but on the record its men have made in their individual conduct. The American public has every reason to be proud of the record made by the 92nd Division."
The following memorandum, issued on the date on which Major General Ballou left the Division as Commander to take up other duties to which lie had been transferred, marks the last official order from the officer to whom, more than to any other individual, is due the credit for organizing and training the first Division of American Negro soldiers ever placed in the field:
HEADQUARTERS 92ND DIVISION
American Expeditionary Forces
A. P. 0. 766
18 November, 1918.
Five months ago today the 92nd Division landed in France.
After seven weeks of training, it took over a sector in the front line, and since that time some portion of the Division has been practically continuously under fire.
It participated in the last battle of the war with creditable success, continuously pressing the attack against highly organized defensive works. It advanced successfully on the first day of the battle, attaining its objectives and capturing prisoners. This in the face of determined opposition by an alert enemy, and against rifle, machine-gun and artillery fire. The issue of the second day's battle was rendered indecisive by the order to cease firing at eleven A. M. when the armistice became effective.
The Division Commander, in taking leave of what he considers himself justly entitled to regard as his Division, feels that he has accomplished his mission. His work is done and will endure. The results have not always been brilliant, and many times were discouraging, yet a well organized, well disciplined and well trained colored Division has been created and commanded by him to include the last shot of the war.
May the future conduct of every officer and man be such as to reflect credit upon the Division and upon the Colored race.
By Command of Major General Ballou:
(Signed) ALLEN J. GRIER,
Colonel, General Staff, Chief of Staff.
EDW. J. TURGEON,
Changes in Official Personnel
Through the process of transfers and promotions, many changes secured in the official personnel of the numerous elements of the 92nd Division. The same was true on a larger scale of the entire American Expeditionary Forces. In keeping with military methods of promotions, transfers, etc., every promotion, transfer, or discharge resulted in a chain of promotions or transfers or vacancies in all units affected. Through this method, every unit of the A. E. F. experienced a continual changing and shifting of its official personnel. This was true of Field officers as well as Staff officers. Among the names of officers who made up the Staff of the 92nd Division when it sailed for France in 1918, not one was on the roster when the Division returned.
The following synopsis, with military record, of the Division Commanders gives an idea of the changes in the General Staff:
1. Major General CHARLES C. BALLOU: Born in Orange, Schuyler County, New York, June 13, 1862. Entered West Point June 6, 1882 by appointment from Fourth District, Illinois. Graduated June 12, 1886. Commissioned 2d Lt., 16th Infantry, July 1, 1886, and served in that regiment in Texas, Utah and Sioux campaign of 1890-91 in South Dakota. Promoted 1st Lt., 12th Infantry, April 23, 1893. Served in Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Georgia, Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Mustered in 8th and 9th Illinois Volunteers at Camp Tanner, 1898. Promoted Captain, 12th Infantry, March 2, 1902. Served in that regiment as captain in the Philippine Insurrection, during which time he participated in several battles and small actions. Name sent to Senate by President Roosevelt for confirmation for brevet of Major for "distinguished gallantry in action near Anzeles, Luzon, P. I.," August 16, 1899. Quartermaster 12th Infantry. Transferred to 15th Infantry February, 1904. Quartermaster 15th Infantry. Commissary, 15th Infantry. Transferred to 12th Infantry, February, 1906. Detailed in Quartermaster Department October, 1908. Promoted Major 7th Infantry, June 26, 1909. Duty in Quartermaster General's office 1909-10. Transferred to 24th Infantry in 1912. Lt. Colonel 24th Infantry February 7, 1915. Commanded 24th Infantry during portion of campaign in Mexico. Colonel of Infantry July 19, 1916. Conducted Training Camp for Colored Officers, Ft. Des Moines, Iowa, 1917. Brigadier-General, August, 1917. Commanded Depot Brigade, Camp Dodge, Iowa, September and October, 1917. Major General, November 28, 1917. Organized, trained and commanded 92nd Division, October 26, 1917, to November 19, 1918. Attended Infantry and Cavalry School at Ft. Leavenworth Field Officers' School, and War College. Five times in Philippine Islands. Sailed for France June 10, 1918. On front line August 24 to November 19, 1918.
2. Major General CHARLES H. MARTIN: Commanded 86th Division prior to transfer to 92nd Division. Organized 86th Division at Camp Grant, Ill. Camp Commander Camp Grant, Ill., 1917-18. Commanded 92nd Division from November 19, 1918, to December 15, 1918.
3. Brigadier General JAMES B. ERWIN: Cadet U. S. Military Academy June 12, 1875. Second Lieutenant, Cavalry, June 12, 1880. First Lieutenant, 4th Cavalry, March 18, 1886. Captain, 4th Cavalry, March 18, 1896. Major, 9th Cavalry, April, 1903. Lieutenant Colonel, Inspector General's Department, May, 1911. Colonel, January, 1914. Brigadier General, August, 1917. With 82nd Division to December 27, 1917. Organized and served with 6th Division to December 14, 1918. Commanding 92nd Division since December 15, 1918. Honor Graduate Infantry and Cavalry schools, class 1883. Inspector General 1906-10 and 1911-15, Adjutant General September, 1914-August, 1915. Served in Indian wars, Philippine Insurrection, Punitive Expedition in Mexico, and European War, 1914-18.
Staff of General Ballou---Captain Chauncey Dewey.
Staff of General Martin---Captain J. E. Eddy, Captain E. H. Spencer, Captain Gordon McCormick.
Staff of General Erwin---Lieutenant, Charles H. Cox, Lieutenant Henry B. Tompkins.
Chiefs of Staff:---
1. Colonel ALLEN J. GREER: Appointed Second Lieutenant, 4th Tennessee Volunteers, July 5, 1898. Second Lieutenant 4th Infantry, October 5, 1899. Appointed First Lieutenant, July 1, 1901. Transferred to 26th Infantry, September 29, 1904. Twenty years continuous service in grades of second and first lieutenants, captain and major in regular army. Appointed Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to duty as Chief of Staff, 92nd Division, November 2, 1917. Promoted to rank of Colonel, August, 1918. Continuous service as Chief of Staff with 92nd Division until December 4, 1918.
2. Colonel GEORGE K. WILSON: Regular Army, May 1, 1898. Second Lieutenant Infantry, June, 1900. First Lieutenant, May, 1904. Captain, April, 1915. Major, August, 1917. Lieutenant Colonel, 1918. Colonel, October, 1918. Transferred to 92nd Division as Chief of Staff, December 4, 1918.
Assistant Chiefs of Staff:---
Lieutenant Colonel James P. Barney, Major Frederick P. Schoonmaker, Lieutenant Colonel Van L. Willis, Major Charles S. Buck, Major Donald J. McLachlan, Lieutenant Colonel John D. Sayles, Major Harding Polk, Major H. L. Taylor, Lieutenant Colonel James L. Cochran.
Major Sherburne Whipple, Captain Edward J. Turgeon (Acting), Major Alfred E. Sawkins, Major Ralph H. Leavitt, Major Edward J. Turgeon.
Major Robert P. Harbold, Major Clifford D. Davidson, Major Clifford B. King, Major Clifford D. Davidson.
Colonel Edward L. Glasgow, Major Odiorne H. Sampson, Major Joseph T. Byrne.
Lieutenant Colonel Perry L. Boyer, Lieutenant Colonel Jonas T. White.
Division Ordnance Officer:---
Major Philip S. Gage, Captain Warner F. Russell.
Division Judge, Advocate.---
Major Alfred M. Craven, Major Adam E. Patterson.
Visitors to the Division
During the sojourn of the 92nd Division in France, several distinguished visitors, all of whom were interested in war work of one phase or another, called at headquarters, or visited camps where our troops were quartered.
In July, Miss Elsie Janis, famous actress and movie star, in company with her mother, visited the Division at Bourbonne-les-Bains. The coming of Miss Janis had not been generally announced.
It was therefore only a small group of soldiers whom she entertained in an impromptu program in the city park on the afternoon of her visit.
Mr. Ralph W. Tyler, of Columbus, Ohio, editor and writer, and formerly Auditor of the Navy under President Roosevelt, visited the Division during the month of October and remained throughout several weeks in the Marbache sector. Mr. Tyler visited a number of organizations of Negro troops not included in the 92nd Division. During his tour he represented the Committee on Public Information.
Dr. R. R. Moton, principal of Tuskegee Institute, in company with Mr. Thomas Jesse Jones, national educator, Mr. Nathan Hunt of Tuskegee Institute, and Mr. Lester A. Walton, of the New York Age, visited the Division in December at Marbache. Dr. Moton came as the representative of the administration at Washington and directly from the War Department to bring official greetings to Negro troops in France. Dr. Moton discharged this mission in a manner creditable to himself and to the race.
Dr. John Hope, President of Moorehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, energetic Y. M. C. A. worker, visited the Division from time to time in connection with Y. M. C. A. work.
Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, editor and writer, visited the Division during the months of December and January.
1. The information contained in this chapter with reference to the organization, operations and other data of the 92nd Division has been supplied for this work by First Lieut. T. T. Thompson of the 92nd Division, who accompanied it to France and served during the whole period at Headquarters at Camp Funston and In France as acting Personnel officer. He was specially detailed as Historian of the 92nd Division.
1st Lt T.T. Thompson
Chapter XII. Citations and Awards, 92nd Division
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