John T. McCutcheons Wartime Valentines groupJohn T. McCutcheon partnered with another Hoosier author, George Ade, to create a series of valentines for charity during World War I. Four of McCutcheon and Ade’s valentines are publicly available through Indiana Memory/Digital Indy and the Digital Public Library of America. 

John T. McCutcheon’s Wartime Valentines

By Justin Clark
via the Indiana History Blog

On Valentine’s Day, we thought it would be a great time to share a different side of Indiana culture during the tumultuous years of World War I, in the form of valentine cartoons. John T. McCutcheon was one of Indiana’s most celebrated cartoonists from the era, and his “wartime valentines” help us understand how the home front viewed this integral time in world history.

John T. McCutcheon was a Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, where he worked for 43 years. Born in South Raub, Tippecanoe County, Indiana on May 6, 1870, McCutcheon grew up “in the rural areas surrounding Lafayette.” He attended Purdue University where he was “a founding member of the University’s first fraternity, Sigma Chi” and the “co-editor of the University’s first yearbook, the Debris.” After graduating college in 1889, he worked as a cartoonist for the Chicago Morning News and Record-Herald until he moved to the Tribune in 1903.

His artistic style mirrored his experiences growing up the Midwest; he developed a character called “A Boy in Springtime” who would appear in front-page pieces having small-town fun with friends and his dog (the dog first appeared in a William McKinley presidential campaign cartoon, and became much beloved by readers). As R. C. Harvey of the Comics Journal noted, McCutcheon’s cartoons were “the first to throw the slow ball in cartooning, to draw the human interest picture that was not produced to change votes or to amend morals but solely to amuse or to sympathize.” 

Paralleling his more personable cartoons, McCutcheon partnered with another Hoosier author, George Ade, to create a series of valentines for charity during World War I. The idea originated from the Indianapolis Branch of the American Fund for French Wounded and its contributors were a who’s who of Indiana arts, including Ade and McCutcheon as well as Meredith Nicholson, Kin Hubbard, and William Herschell. As reported in the South Bend News-Times on January 28, 1918, “Prominent Indiana artists and authors this year have been making comic valentines . . . and are guaranteed by those who have seen them to send grins and cheer to soldiers at home and abroad.” The article also outlined the American Fund for French Wounded, noting that “the proceeds will go for furthering the work in France among wounded soldiers and destitute families, which is the committee looking after the funds is carrying on.” Ads even ran in the Indianapolis News to promote the Valentines, published by Charles Mayer & Company, once they were available.

Four of McCutcheon and Ade’s valentines are publicly available through Indiana Memory/Digital Indy and the Digital Public Library of America.

 

There is No Expiration for Valor 369th shipboardSoldiers of the 369th Infantry Regiment of the New York Army National Guard — also known as the Harlem Hellfighters — arrive in New York harbor on Feb. 12, 1919, after serving in France during World War I.

"There is No Expiration for Valor"

A university in Missouri has taken on the task — with the support of VFW — of correcting the military records of marginalized veterans of World War I 

via the Veterans of Foreign Wars web site 

For the past few years, a task force at a Missouri university has made it its goal to give many Doughboys of World War I the proper recognition for their acts of valor.

A team from Park University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War — located in Parkville, Missouri, near Kansas City, Missouri, — is working on the project with the World War I Centennial Commission, members of Congress and veterans service organizations, including the VFW.

In November 2019, VFW granted $70,000 to the group of researchers led by Timothy Westcott, director of the Robb Centre and associate professor of history at Park University.

Westcott, a Marine Corps veteran, said that 121 WWI troops have been recognized for their acts of valor, but only four Jewish Americans, two African Americans and one Hispanic American were awarded the Medal of Honor for their feats. Westcott, who served from 1980 to 1988, added that three of those veterans posthumously received the nation’s highest award for valor in the past 30 years.

Westcott said that no Asian American or Native American troops were awarded the Medal of Honor in World War I. He said that there is a “national obligation” to ensure all troops are judged by their character and actions.

“Our fight on behalf of these men stands on the ideal that their strains for fairness — no matter how harsh or painful to recount — deserve examination in the most candid light,” Westcott said. “There is no expiration for valor.”

 

 Erik KokeritzAngered by his success, the German Kaiser Wilhelm put a bounty on Erik Kokeritz's head

Erik Kokeritz: Remembering a forgotten American WWI hero a century on 

via the BBC News web site 

He was a World War One merchant mariner hailed a hero for defying Germany's naval blockade of Europe.

But within a year of a voyage that would bring him international acclaim he was dead and, in the years since, his story all but forgotten.

His final resting place now is marked by a single white cross but for more than a century his grave lay unmarked.

BBC News NI look at how Captain Erik Kokeritz came to be laid to rest in Londonderry's City Cemetery.

Born in Sweden, Kokeritz emigrated to the US in 1894.

By the time World War One broke out, he was sailing as a merchant sea captain.

When in 1917 US commercial ships were needed for the war effort, Kokeritz was one of two captains to volunteer to take supplies across the Atlantic.

It was a mission the captain and crew of the SS Rochester knew was fraught with danger.

 

 IN THE WIRE, a body of an American soldier caught on barbed wire fence, probably in France, 1918. Photo by Eyre Powell, Chief of Union Pacific Press Bureau, which was attached to the U.S. Army 89th Infantry Division, which fought in France in 1918  (BSLOC_2017_20_179)Whatever hopes the combatants might initially have had that World War I would be brief and relatively painless soon died amid the trench lines and barbed wire. A body of an American soldier caught on barbed wire fence, probably in France, 1918. Photo by Eyre Powell, Chief of Union Pacific Press Bureau, which was attached to the U.S. Army 89th Infantry Division, which fought in France in 1918 (BSLOC_2017_20_179)

What if World War I was just a tragic accident? 

By Daniel McEwen
via the History Net web site 

People still regard World War I with horrified disbelief. That four-year “ecstasy of fumbling” killed some 10 million soldiers and perhaps as many civilians, numbers that defy comprehension. Shell-shocked governments had little to show for the fields of white crosses popping up on their pockmarked landscapes. Grieving families the world over wanted to know who was to blame for having sent their sons, fathers and husbands to die ghastly and useless deaths in what American diplomat and historian George F. Kennan termed “the great seminal catastrophe,” or Urkatasrophe (“original catastrophe”) to Germans.

Who indeed? And why? Over the decades since the guns of the—apologies to H.G. Wells—“War That Didn’t End War” fell silent, the writers of some 30,000 books, technical reports and scholarly papers have debated the chain of events prompting unprecedented historical, social, economic and technological consequences that left Eurasian politics radioactive through century’s end. New research continually adds to this library, often bringing more controversy than clarity.

That there were knights and knaves in all camps is a given. However, if they appeared to have acted like fools, scoundrels or madmen, judge them “in the context of their times, not ours,” urge historians, which sounds suspiciously like having to accept “it seemed like a good idea at the time” as an explanation.
Whether the war was inevitable or avoidable depends on which books one reads. Many stand by the notion that in the decades leading up to 1914 all Europe was enthusiastic about going to war, that its nations were armed camps, and that by amassing million-man armies it only fed what Australian historian Sir Christopher Clark has called “the illusion of a steadily building causal pressure.” In this version of the story imperial Germany was an emergent dynamo infused with visions of finding its well-deserved “place in the sun” and got into a race for colonies and naval superiority that dangerously upset the balance of power.

In what is known as the “Scramble for Africa,” from the mid-1880s up till the eve of World War I nearly 90 percent of the continent was colonized by Western European powers, primarily Britain and France. Though Germany fired the starting gun, its ambitions went unfulfilled. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck had convened the 1884–85 Berlin Conference for the express purpose of partitioning Africa in a manner designed to avoid stumbling into a war. The scramble itself was marked by a number of “international incidents” involving some combination of Germany, Britain or France, but these were resolved peacefully.

The concurrent naval arms race between Britain and Germany is the showpiece of the pro-war argument. By the time Germany effectively conceded that race in 1912, Britain had 61 top-of-the-line warships to Germany’s 31 of middling quality. A single brief sortie at Jutland in 1916—though a tactical victory for the Imperial German Navy—was enough to keep it docked for the duration of the war. An angry Vice Admiral Curt von Maltzahn was heard to fume, “Even if large parts of our battle fleet were lying at the bottom of the sea, it would accomplish more than it does lying well preserved in our ports.”

 

 Fort Totten mapMap of where the Fort Totten Metro is in relation to the trail. (Courtesy U.S. Park Service)

WWI shell found in Fort Totten was chemical weapon, prequel to massive Spring Valley cleanup 

By Neal Augenstein
via the WTOP radio station (DC) web site 

A World War I-era unexploded shell discovered in July 2020 by the National Park Service during construction of a trail through Northeast D.C.’s Fort Totten could be a prequel to the decadeslong cleanup of a former World War I chemical weapons site near American University’s campus.

The type of weapon recovered and the history of where it was recovered have suggested a link between the discovery in Ward 5’s Fort Totten and Ward 3’s Spring Valley cleanup at the former American University Experiment Station used by the U.S. government for research and testing of chemical agents, equipment and munitions — once dubbed the “mother of all toxic dumps.”

In response to WTOP’s reporting, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said she will be calling a joint meeting of the park service, the Army Corps of Engineers and Metro to discuss the issue of the chemical weapon and what should be done about it.

“This is about the last thing Ward 5 wanted to hear,” Norton told WTOP. She said she hoped the joint meeting would also include the council members for Ward 3 and Ward 5 as well as the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.

After 20 years of Spring Valley cleanup, “For them to discover traces of chemical weapons has got to be very concerning, which is why I believe we need a discussion of these issues immediately, with the appropriate agencies,” she said.

The once-buried 75-millimeter shell was exposed after a period of heavy rain in a section of Fort Totten Park, where the National Park Service was constructing a paved, lit path to replace informal trails through parkland used by Michigan Park residents to reach the Metro.

 

Sabin Howard Departing Dad 5 Triad Guys 6 and 7 1Sabin Howard is working tirelessly on A Soldier’s Journey, the 60-foot-long bronze relief bound for the nation’s capital. In the completed section shown, the soldier heads into battle with two comrades.  

Behind the Epic WWI Memorial Being Sculpted in an Englewood Warehouse 

By Leslie Garisto Pfaff
via the New Jersey Monthly magazine web site

Behind the soaped window of a former warehouse in downtown Englewood, an epic journey is taking shape. Under a skylight that catches the day’s waning glow, Sabin Howard is carefully applying small swipes of clay to the figure of a soldier in a World War I doughboy’s uniform. Howard’s gaze moves from the sculpture to actor Mark Puchinsky, a live model who looks every inch the young warrior, down to the authentic olive drabs that Howard purchased from World War I reenactors.

The figure, about 10 percent larger than life, is one of 38 that will eventually comprise an intricate, 60-foot-long bronze relief titled A Soldier’s Journey. It will form the centerpiece of the country’s first national World War I memorial, commemorating the 4 million Americans who served in what was once known as the Great War. Chosen out of a field of 360 entries in an international competition, Howard’s piece will be installed in Pershing Park, just steps from the White House, in the fall of 2023 or the following spring.

The uncertain timing reflects the arduousness of Howard’s process. Each figure requires some 600 hours of work, meaning Howard can complete only nine or 10 figures in a year, even with two assistant sculptors and a team of models. Considered a master of modern classicism, Howard, 57, creates sculpture that is startlingly realistic. He is, says project manager Traci Stratton—the novelist/documentarian who is also Howard’s wife—a perfectionist: “If he had 800 hours to complete a work, he’d want 1,600,” she says. “If he had 1,000, he’d want 2,000.”

In fact, the project would literally have taken a lifetime to complete if Howard had followed his traditional routine: creating a drawing of the proposed sculpture, producing a small-scale 3-D maquette (or preliminary model), building foam-covered steel armatures (or frameworks) of each figure, applying clay to the armatures, and then casting the work in bronze. He was able to skip the labor-intensive third step in favor of a digital process in which the armatures are 3-D printed.

The work is a departure for Howard in another significant way. “I had to change from being a strict classicist”—sculpting idealized, largely static forms—“to being an expressive humanist. You can’t have a visceral impact on the viewer with art that’s purely cerebral.”

 

Contrasting lives: WWI Black Veterans Everett Johnson and Robert Chase 

By Dr. Richard Hulver
via the Veterans Administration VAntage Point web site 

Battery E, 349th Field Artillery Commander Lieutenant Everett Warren Johnson (1896-1964) and one of the non-commissioned officers in his unit, Sergeant Robert Chase (1891-1958), entered the war from similar backgrounds. Johnson volunteered for an officer training program and Chase was drafted, but they fought on the same battlefield and chose similar post-war professions.

War impacted their lives in profoundly different ways.

Everett Johnson

Everett JohnsonEverett JohnsonThe Philadelphia born Johnson left Penn State College two months after the United States entered WWI and enlisted in the Army’s only Black-officer training program at Fort Des Moines, IA. On October 14, 1917, he was commissioned a first lieutenant and assigned to the 349th Field Artillery at Camp Dix, NJ. After additional training at the Army’s artillery school at Fort Sill, OK, he went to Philadelphia to recruit African Americans with the technical education necessary to serve in the field artillery.

Shortly later, Johnson sailed to France, where was given command of Battery E. He led them in action during the final weeks of the war and was honorably discharged on April 15, 1919, a month after returning home.

Johnson resumed his studies and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s in education in 1924. He devoted his life to advancing the opportunities of African Americans through education and religion. He held leadership roles in Christian education organizations and advocated for Black Veterans.

In 1939, Johnson headed a coalition of Veterans groups in Philadelphia lobbying for a Black unit in the state’s National Guard. He retired from teaching science in 1963 at an accelerated Veterans Program at Benjamin Franklin High School. He died of cancer a year later in the city’s Veterans Administration Hospital. He is buried in Beverly National Cemetery, NJ (Sec. Y, Site 2171).

Robert S. Chase

Baltimore native Robert S. Chase served in Johnson’s battery. He studied chemistry at Howard University and graduated in 1916. WWI interrupted a budding teaching career in Delaware when he was drafted into service in the spring 1918. Chase sailed for France less than two months after leaving Wilmington for training at Camp Dix.

 

Inspired by Teaching History in England, I Explored the Unconventional Memorials Created by the Forgotten Female Veterans of World War I

By Allison S. Finkelstein
Special to The Doughboy Foudation web site 

For any American who has been in Great Britain during the month of November, the enduring relevance of the memory of World War I in British culture is hard to miss. From the tradition of wearing a poppy to the nationwide two minutes of silence observed on Remembrance Sunday, many Britons remain deeply preoccupied with the Great War. After living among these rituals while teaching in the history department of an English boarding school, I started to wonder: why does the memory of World War I remain so much stronger in Great Britain than in the United States? This question led me on a long path to the publication of my first book: Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials: How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 1917-1945. By investigating the groundbreaking role American women played in the memorialization of the war, the process of writing this book uncovered new ways to answer this question and revealed significant but too often overlooked aspects of World War I’s history that have renewed relevance today.QUEENS CEMETERY PUISIEUX France CWGC May 2009 by ASF 100 4413Queen’s Cemetery in Puisieux, France, a British World War I cemetery run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Photograph by Allison S. Finkelstein 

Book Cover Jkt Finkelstein MKTGThe seeds for Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials were planted during my time in England. After participating in British remembrance rituals and taking our students on a trip to the sites of the Western Front, I entered graduate school upon my return home. At the University of Maryland, College Park, I focused my studies on military commemoration. Two summers spent interning at the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)—where I would later work—steered me firmly toward the First World War as my area of focus. I dove into this question about the American memory of the war through archival research as well as fieldwork at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France.

By the time I selected my dissertation topic, I knew enough to realize that answering this question was far too big for just one project. Instead, I decided to approach the question by specifically examining how American women commemorated the war. Doing so, I hoped, might provide some explanation of America’s waning memory of World War I. Little did I know that my research would do more than just shed light on answers to this question, but it would also help to resurrect a forgotten group of American women from the recesses of history. The more time I spent researching these women as I transformed my dissertation into a book, the more passionate I became about sharing their stories.

In its final form, Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials investigates how American women who somehow served or sacrificed in World War I commemorated that conflict. I argue that these female activists considered their community service and veterans advocacy projects to be forms of commemoration just as significant and effective as traditional memorialization methods such as monuments and statues. In other words, these women sometimes preferred projects that helped a broadly defined group of male and female ‘veterans’ as an alternative to physical monuments and memorials. These are the invisible memorials mentioned in the book’s title.

 

 A scene from the stage production of The Great Forgotten.  The successful off-Broadway play about nurses who served in WWI is aiming to become a TV show soon.A scene from the stage production of The Great Forgotten. The successful off-Broadway play about nurses who served in WWI is aiming to become a TV show soon.

The Great Forgotten: A Television Series Honoring the Nurses Who Served in World War One 

By Kacie Devaney & Karen Devaney
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site 

Have you ever dreamed of watching a TV series set in WWI France, side by side with the aftermath that follows in New York City’s Roaring 20s? And told through the eyes of nurses? Two sisters, to be precise? We have, a lot! That’s why, in 2019, we turned our play, The Great Forgotten, into a Pilot.

A Pilot is the first episode of an episodic television series. After years of aiming for Broadway, and after a sold-out run in the 2015 New York City International Fringe Festival with our play version, we were asked one evening by a prominent theatre Producer, “Ever think of turning The Great Forgotten into a TV series? It’s epic, and you have so much to tell.” “No!” We hadn’t. And that’s where our journey began.

In 2019, we started the arduous climb of transitioning from playwrights to television writers. From studying books on the craft to bingeing series, and listening to podcasts, it wasn’t until we started working with other writers in the industry that we truly blossomed.

2021 threw a wrench in our momentum. The Great Forgotten had landed in the hands of a few successful production companies in both Paris and Hollywood, things were looking up, and then, the Global Pandemic swept through the USA with a vengeance.

In the melee of trying to tell the nurses’ story and fighting to stay afloat during an international shutdown, there was a silver lining. We were forced to grow as writers. Being trapped indoors for hours on end allowed us to fine tune our skills and focus on what was and wasn’t working in our narratives. Additionally, we had extra time to learn the business and weed out who and who not to trust. Had we sold our show right out the gate, we wouldn’t have the incredible team we have now, confidence in our abilities as budding writers for TV, and the creative collaborative control that’s essential for us to maintain as we push forward.

 

 Soldiers dressed as Doughboys in processiont Nov 11 21 U.S. Army photo by Sgt Charlotte CarulliSoldiers dressed as Doughboys in procession on Nov 11 2021. U.S. Army photo by Sgt Charlotte Carulli

Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration

By Allison S. Finkelstein, Ph.D., Senior Historian, Arlington National Cemetery
Special to the  Doughboy Foundation web site

In 2021, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) served as the designated government leader of the congressionally mandated Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration. This centennial recognized the 100th anniversary of the Tomb’s creation at ANC on November 11, 1921.

As the culmination of years of work by the entire ANC team, this yearlong commemoration produced a wealth of content for the public about the history and meanings of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, much of which focused on World War I (WWI). We are excited to share these resources with readers of the Doughboy Foundation Dispatch Newsletter so we can continue to raise awareness about the Tomb’s significance.

Over the next several months, we will be contributing a series of articles that highlight the different projects we created for the Tomb Centennial. Just as the 1921 ceremonies for the burial of the WWI Unknown Soldier involved mass public participation, the Tomb Centennial engaged the public through a variety of means: exhibits, publications, webinars, videos, digital media, an education program, and participatory ceremonies. For more information on the Tomb Centennial, please visit the following websites:

This month, we are sharing our Commemorative Guide to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In the years leading up to the Centennial, the ANC History Office undertook in-depth research into the history of the Tomb and its legacy. This research will eventually yield two publications.

 

Fighting For Respect – African Americans in World War I France 

via the Blue Lion Films web site 

Postcard imageBlue Lion Films, Inc, the authors of the award-winning documentary 'Paris Noir – African Americans In The City Of Light' has launched a new film in their series examining the African American experience in France. 'Fighting For Respect – African Americans in WWI' digs deep into the often overlooked yet compelling story of 200,000 Black soldiers willing to fight for democracy abroad while it was violently refused them at home. The film shows why this story still matters today.

The one-hour documentary challenges America's notions of patriotism, equality and citizenship. Jim Crow discriminatory laws dominated every aspect of the Black inductees' experience - from induction, in training, and in placement. In late 1917, 200,000 segregated US Army troops, including a handful of officers, were shipped across the Atlantic towards the battlefields of France. They wanted nothing more than to prove their loyalty and valor to America and the world by going to the Front. Most got no closer than toiling in the Services of Supply, gruelling labor battalions modeled after Southern chain gangs.

The lucky ones were 'loaned' to the depleted French army who trained them in trench warfare. Amid the grimness and carnage of the Western Front, these undervalued regiments performed admirably, leading to victories for the Allies. Hundreds of them earned medals of honor, including the Croix de Guerre. The most renown regiment – the 369th Harlem Infantry - musician-soldiers introduced jazz to France as they marched and so began a cultural exchange between Black America and France.

Laborers or combat soldiers, their experiences left an indelible mark on them. For the first time in their lives they were treated with respect, and it came from the French military, officials and townspeople.

Returning home in 1919, veterans expected that their services and heroism would translate to civil rights at home. Instead, they and their communities became the target of unspeakable violence waged by white supremacists during the fiery Red Summer of 1919 and beyond. But the veterans fought back.

World War One did more than transform the world at large. It led to a radicalized political consciousness at home. Testimonies from several distinguished soldiers gave traction to the fight for equal rights in America. Black leaders, intellectuals and the Black press including WEB Dubois, Marcus Garvey, and Harlem Renaissance literary authors built on the growing movement for civil rights, justice and respect.

Says director Joanne Burke, “Fighting For Respect grew out of my deep passion and commitment to tell the exciting but also heartbreaking stories of African American soldiers during WW1.”

 

Mustering Out: the Navy’s First Black Yeowomen

By Cara Moore Lebonick
via the National Archives' Rediscovering Black History web site

The United States entered the Great War, now known as World War I (WWI), with a surge of new enlisted and conscripted soldiers hitherto unseen. These new soldiers went through various mustering depending on their branch of service. For the U.S. Navy (USN), one division monitored and tracked all of these soldiers throughout the war: the Mustering Personnel Division. It was lead by John T. Risher, a Black seaman, and the active service personnel for the bulk of U.S. involvement in WWI were Black Yeowomen (a Naval member who performs administrative duties).

Jones Olga F 1446172 NVOMPF PartialRecord file envelope for Olga Jones, one of the first 14 Black women to serve in the U.S. Navy in World War I.These first Black yeowomen to serve in the U.S. Navy were later referred to as the “Golden Fourteen (14),” a nod to the Golden 13, the first Black Navy Officers who would not come until WWII. These fourteen women were first written about by Kelly Miller. There, he provided a listing of their names. These names had some spelling variations that made future research more difficult, but not impossible thanks to their available National Archives Catalog entries.

While Black individuals had an established history in the military leading up to WWI, in the USN most Black seamen served as non yeoman in the mess department. Black and white women also had military related history, largely limited to civilian or nursing roles. The 1917 draft included Black men for the first time, but the Navy still limited the roles they could hold in their service. They were allowed to serve on ships with white seamen but those who remained stateside were limited.

Women were not subject to the draft and Black women, therefore, followed the same role limitations as Black men. They were not thought to be part of the Navy yeoman rank prior to President Truman’s 1948 Executive Order 9981, which officially desegregated the Armed Forces. In Marie Mitchell’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) we can see that she was serving in the mess unit prior to her transfer.

The beginning of women in the Navy starts with the loophole of the Naval Reserve Act allowing women to enlist, a fact exposed by Loretta[o] P. Walsh. She enlisted in the Naval Reserves on March 17, 1917 as a Yeoman (F), which would later become known also as Yeowoman and Yeomanette. As the history goes, more white women followed by enlisting and filling clerical vacancies as Yeoman (F), with the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels in full support. Armelda H. Greene, though, enlisted August 13, 1918 becoming a Black Yeoman (F). She was assigned to the “Division of Enlisted Personnel, Mustering”, referred to as the Muster Roll Division, the first of the Golden 14.

Contrary to what some histories may claim, the records of the Golden 14 are not lost, it just takes a bit of specialized reading and interpretation of records to piece together the whole unit. For example, Kathryn E(ugenia) Boyd nee Finch (one of the 14), is commonly misspelled as Catherine. Misspelling the name can make it difficult to discern if the correct individual has been identified. Through these women’s records we can glimpse not just Black service in the Navy, but the service of Black females decades prior.

 

2018 cemeteryA World War I helmet with the 27th Infantry Division insignia. The NYD stands for New York Division. Our local soldiers in the 107th New York infantry Regiment fought under this symbol. This picture was taken at the Somme American Cemetery on the centennial of the Battle of the Hindenburg Line, Sept. 29, 2018. Behind the helmet is the burial ground of the soldiers who were killed in action including many from Orange County.

Orange County Historian to host trip to Europe to pay tribute to the Harlem’s Rattlers (the 369th New York Infantry Regiment) in World War I

Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site 

Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun will host a trip to Belgium and France next year to honor the soldiers who served in the 369th New York Infantry Regiment. The trip will take place from July 10 -19, 2023 and will explore locations that served as notable backdrops during World War I.

For more information about the trip, log onto https://www.grouptoursite.com/tours/WWI-tour-with-johanna. Space is limited to 45 guests.

Harlem’s Rattlers, the 369th New York Infantry Regiment, later nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, was a regiment of soldiers of African American descent from New York City, the Hudson Valley and other parts of the county. Major Hamilton Fish, who set up recruiting stations at Newburgh, Middletown and Goshen, N.Y. later stated, that the members of the regiment, “[had] comparatively little camp training on this side, as their assignment to railroad building on the other side, and when this was over, their placing in the frontline trenches to do battle with the enemy…they were placed in the same line as the French troops, and they held their own against all comers.” They would spend 191 days in combat, a longer span than any other U.S. unit.

During the journey to Belgium and France, we will pass through Givry-en-Argonne to see where the 369th shed their American weapons and were assigned to French command, visit the battle site of Belleau Wood and the tiny village of Séchault to view the memorial dedicated to the famous Harlem Hellfighters. We will also pay tribute to the fallen soldiers who are buried at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery. Throughout the trip we will discuss important members of the group including the artist Horace Pippin from Goshen, N.Y. and Elmer Earl of Goshen/Middletown, N.Y. who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions as well discussing the long-lasting impact of the regimental band led by James Reese Europe.

The group tour will also include visits to sites of significance related to the 107th New York Infantry Regiment. Over 40 soldiers from Orange County perished on September 29th, 1918 during a the breaking of the Hindenburg Line and are buried at the Somme American Cemetery.

Suggested reading: Duty, Honor, Privilege: New York’s Silk-Stocking Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line by Stephen L. Harris, and Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: the Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality by Jeffrey T. Sammons and John H. Morrow, Jr.

For more information about the trip, contact Johanna Yaun via jyaun@orangecountygov.com or to sign up for the Orange County History newsletter visit http://www.johannayaun.com/


 

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