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Château Thierry - June 1918

Maps / Photos / Misc.

Herley's Notes: I was here. No cooked food for over wk.

The last week in May 1918, the Regiment was located in the vicinity of Hallaincourt Château, about 45 kilometers northwest of Paris, completing its intensive training preparatory to its move to the Montdidier Sector. May 30th — Decoration Day — was a beauty, and the holiday given to the men was appreciated by all. One formation at high noon, when the companies stood at "Parade Rest" with heads bowed for five minutes as a mark of respect for those who died in the Civil War, was the only formation. But that afternoon the newspapers brought the news that the Germans had launched another drive — Soissons had been evacuated — and they were advancing rapidly towards Paris. The orders, which had just come, to be ready to move towards the north, were quickly changed to orders to be ready at a moment's notice to embus for another destination — at that time unknown to anyone. So before darkness had come, the regiment was ready to march to the camions (buses). Heavy packs were made, all wagons loaded, and kitchens made ready to move, before the stables were cleaned and billets policed in the usual way. Then each company had its own formation in its own area, stacked rifles, and unslung equipment to await orders to move.

There was little real rest during this wait, because everybody had to sleep on the ground near the rifles, so as to be ready for a quick move. Just before dawn the orders came to march to the camions which would be on a highway about four kilometers away. Upon arrival at this place, the Regiment found itself all together and ready to move, but no camions. A hurry-up order was sent back for the kitchens to come and try to feed the men some breakfast before the trucks arrived. The kitchens came and some cold meat and bread was served with hot coffee, which made everyone feel mighty good. Incidentally this meal soon became a memory, for much hiking and work was done before another was eaten.

The camions — Chinese driven — came at eleven o'clock and the Regiment embussed. That was as much advance knowledge as anyone knew until the camions were well on their dusty way. May 31st this was, and the day was hot and sultry. The men, with their rifles, equipment, gas masks and helmets, being packed to overflowing in the small trucks, the trip was very uncomfortable. The beating sun, the dust saturated air, and the men's hunger and thirst, added to the inconvenience of the trip. Orders could not be given to eat the reserve rations. The men drank the water in their canteens, and the thick grayish powder that covered everybody made the trip still more uncomfortable. However, the recently dejected French people, who cheered the men on with their smiles and flowers and little drinks of wine and cider, made everyone thankful that they could help those people who were victims of circumstances.

By the time the Regiment reached Meaux, the trucks were scattered along many miles of the road. It was very difficult for the camions to pass this vicinity because a German bombing squadron was working here, and because of the congested traffic of big guns and refugees moving to the rear, and soldiers and ammunition to the front. About six o'clock on the morning of June 1st, after many lost trucks had been found and many broken ones had been fixed, the Regiment managed to reach a place where it could leave the little "chinks" with their dilapidated busses and take to the ever reliable "hot foot". This place was on the Meaux-Soissons Highway, just south of May-en-Multien. Here the companies were formed, rolls were called, and as it was found that some men were absent yet, those who were present took the opportunity to police themselves and rest while waiting for the others to show up. Soon, however, the companies began to move—most of them with all present. On this march the two Battalions of the Regiment separated, going by different routes to the vicinity of Montreuil-aux-Lions, where Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment were established. Headquarters Detachment remained at Montreuil-aux-Lions throughout the Regiment's stay in the Château-Thierry sector. The company transportation was formed into a regimental train and placed under the Regimental Supply Officer, First Lieutenant R.C. Lilly, with Headquarters at Montreuil-aux-Lions.

Leaving the vicinity of May-en-Multien about seven o'clock on the morning of June 1st, 1918, the First Battalion, under command of Major Milo P. Fox, marched all day under a very hot sun, arriving at Montreuil-aux-Lions by two in the afternoon. The men came in very tired but in good condition considering the hardships that they had endured. Here they were told that a temporary camp would be made and that they could cook and eat some of their reserve rations. Some beans were found, so the men set to building fires to prepare the first hot meal they had had in over forty hours. But this was too good to be allowed. In less than an hour after the companies arrived, orders came to follow the Infantry. So beans were spilled, bacon was thrown away, fires left burning and at three o'clock Companies "A", "B", and "C" in order left Montreuil-aux-Lions in combat groups parallel to and near the Paris-Metz highway towards Château-Thierry.

The sun was still hot and the roads were still dusty. The men had ridden twenty hours in camions, and had already hiked sixteen kilometers that day with practically no food and little drink. The road was long, Boche shells could be seen bursting ahead, and French artillery was cracking on all sides-the front was not far away. The hike, parallel to the Paris-Metz highway was continued across the fields, until "C" Company fell out for the night in the woods near Ventelet Farm, and "A" and "B" Companies came to the Paris Farm where the men were issued picks and shovels. Darkness came here, but their destination was not reached yet, so the hike was continued. The two companies left the Paris-Metz highway here and, going by the way of Coupru, continued in the darkness till they encountered La Croisette Woods. As the small scale maps showed this wood to be very small, a passage in single file was undertaken, but the maps, which had to be examined by camouflaged flashlight, were deceiving. After becoming lost and wandering in labyrinth fashion for three hours in a dense jungle, the companies emerged from La Croisette Woods near the place where they entered it, and continued the journey around the woods. The night by now was well spent, the men were more tired than ever, and at every halt many would fall asleep only to be awakened in a few minutes to continue on. After getting out of the jungle of La Croisette Woods, they went to Les Aulnois Bontemps farm, where Battalion Headquarters was established and from which the two companies went in different directions. "A" Company went to the First Battalion, Ninth Infantry, in the Loup Woods, and "B" Company to the Second Battalion, Ninth Infantry, between La Thiolet and Tafournay Farm.

"A" Company left Les Aulnois Bontemps and arrived at its destination in the Loup Woods just at daybreak after a continuous trip of over sixty hours and a hike of thirty kilometers. There never was a more tired bunch of men than these when they reached the place where they were told they could go to sleep, so in five minutes every man, except two sentries, was sleeping on the ground, and not one awoke until mid-afternoon. Fortunately, no shells struck in this part of the woods while they were asleep, although the place was in range of the German guns, and there was a battery of French 155's directly in rear of the woods to draw enemy fire.

The Company assisted the First Battalion of the Ninth Infantry in preparing a position at that place, working at night and resting in the nearby woods during the day. The Company was divided into platoons, each cooking, camping, and working under its platoon commander in order to cover the assigned front with the least circulation. Captain George R. Spalding, commanding the company, who had his headquarters at the Beaurepeare Farm, made it possible for them to do the work, by getting permission from the French Authorities to scour the community for tools and utensils. The company left this vicinity just at dusk on June 3rd, and arrived at La Croisette Woods about dawn, June 4th, after assisting the Ninth Infantry to consolidate positions just east of that place during the night.

On the early morning of June 6th, Company "A" left those woods and proceeded to Bourbelin Woods, a distance of about two kilometers, to assist the Ninth Infantry prepare a front line position. When practically at its destination, six or eight Boche shells burst close overhead very unexpectedly, instantly killing one man and wounding three. These were the Company's first casualties. The Company immediately deployed into the woods and began digging "Fox Holes" with mess kit lids and bayonets. The enemy shelled the woods that day, and many stray machine gun bullets went through the trees. During the afternoon the Company went out to dig trenches on the line held by the Ninth Infantry until about dark when orders were received to proceed to Lucy-le-Bocage.

"B" Company left Battalion Headquarters during the night of June 1st-2nd, and arrived at its destination between La Thiolet and Tafournay Farm shortly before dawn where the men turned in for a much needed rest and sleep. The Company slept till noon when everyone awoke, and, since fires could not be had, a cold mid-day meal of hardtack and raw bacon was eaten. After dinner one-man rifle pits were dug, and that night details were sent out to dig machine gun emplacements and platoon positions for the Ninth Infantry, all of which were completed and camouflaged without casualties, though parts of the work had to be done with the men wearing gas masks.

Underground spring at Lucy le Bocage, France

The following day, June 3rd, the men rested in individual shelters, receiving in the afternoon some French hard bread and their introduction to "Monkey-Meat". Although this was the first food issued, the Company had not fared badly. It found a herd of cows in a nearby field that provided milk, while a Boche shell that killed a beef gave the Company butcher an opportunity to dress a quarter. The platoons were located in different places, each operating independently from the other. Work was done on trenches and wire by day, and the preparation of stakes by night until June 5th, when the Company was assembled and moved up to La Marette Woods. Here the men dug shelter pits again, and remained in them during the day of the 6th of June when orders were received to proceed with Company "A" into Lucy-le-Bocage.

Herley's Notes: I was butcher that dressed cow. It didn't last long. Only one meal. Sure was good. This is the only place we got drinking water. I walked two miles to get it. Was gassed on way and shot at.

Just before dark on June 6th, Company "A" and Company "B", under the Battalion Commander proceeded by way of La Croisette Woods and Coupru to Lucy-le-Bocage, in the southern edge of Belleau Woods. Upon arrival here, further orders were received to proceed to Bouresches, so the column, with "A" Company in the lead, left Lucy-le-Bocage by way of the Bouresches Road. When the column was hardly out of Lucy-le-Bocage the enemy commenced shelling the road with one-pounders and high explosives, but the column continued to go forward and Company "A" entered Bouresches at 1:00 A. M. June 7th. Battalion Headquarters and Company "B" left the road and entered Belleau Woods on the left.

A short distance from Lucy-le-Bocage, as Company "B" was leaving the road to skirt the woods, a Sergeant First Class was wounded by a shell fragment. This was the Company's first casualty. After the Company left the road, it followed the line of the woods until it reached a ravine. It followed this until it found the Marines, under whose guidance it occupied a position on Hill 181 by 2:30 A.M., June 7th-having suffered other casualties from shell fire as it entered the wood. When the Company left Lucy-le-Bocage in single file in the darkness, someone in the line lost contact with the man ahead of him. Instead of turning to the right towards Bouresches he continued straight on so that a portion of the third platoon and all of the fourth, under First Lieutenant Jesse Gover, found themselves separated from the rest of the Company at the outer edge of the town. The detachment was then marched on toward Bouresches. The Boche was shelling this whole area over which the Marines had advanced but a short time before, putting over both high explosive and gas. When the detachment reached Bouresches its commander put his men at the disposal of the Marine Commander of the town. There being a large number of wounded and no means of evacuation, Corporal Wilkinson volunteered to go for an ambulance, and taking cover along the ravine to La Cense Farm managed to reach the Paris-Metz road where he succeeded in obtaining one. The ground that he traversed was swept by enemy small arms and machine gun fire.

In the meantime, this detachment had established liaison with the remainder of the Company and orders were received to join it at dark. That evening the detachment started out following the ravine that lead from Bouresches to Belleau Woods. It was a very dark night and the ravine was obstructed with boulders and tangled underbrush, and a Sergeant and several men arriving at a fork in the ravine turned in the wrong direction and came unexpectedly upon three Germans on guard at a culvert. The men left the ravine and took cover in the nearest woods. For three days the party, its retreat cut off, wandered behind the German lines, frequently engaging enemy patrols, and having desperate experiences. The remainder of the detachment reached the Company's position without incident about 11:00 P.M., June 7th. While in this position the men got a short rest and received rations of French bread, syrup, raisins, and monkey meat. Company "B", under Captain A.A. Dederer, occupied a position in support of the Marines, and about 12:30 A.M., June 8th, simultaneously with his attack on Bouresches, the enemy opened up on our positions in Belleau Woods with an intense trench-mortar and machine-gun barrage. His attack was not seriously pushed here, so just before daylight the Company was withdrawn to the ravine at the foot of the hill.

At dawn the next morning, the Marines again attacked, the First Platoon of Company "B" under First Lieutenant Lester C. Smith following in support, and the Second Platoon under Second Lieutenant James M. Gregory, being used for flank patrols. Later, the Fourth joined the First, while the Third remained in reserve in the ravine. On the night of June 9th the Company was withdrawn from Belleau Woods, and marching all night, bivouacked in La Croisette Woods near Company "A".

Shortly after entering Bouresches, Company "A" separated into platoons-each one seeking the best cover available in caves, buildings, and so forth. The bombardment of the village by the enemy continued all through the day and became so intense at times that the shifting of platoons to better positions became necessary. The men rested all day the 7th, but that night working parties were sent out, the First Platoon under First Lieutenant Tucker S. Wyche, being used to barricade the street in the center of the line. The Second Platoon under First Lieutenant Allan Burton commenced improving strong points, digging machine gun emplacements and making splinter proof shelters on the left flank. Twenty men of the Third Platoon under Second Lieutenant George B. Woodle went to improve the position in the extreme right flank, while the remainder of the platoon stayed in billets in reserve. The Fourth Platoon, under Second Lieutenant Walter B. Booth was engaged in constructing machine gun emplacements and strong points in the center of the line.

About 12:30 A.M., June 8th, while the platoons were engaged in this work, the enemy attacked the town under a heavy machine gun barrage. All work was immediately stopped and the positions were occupied and held by both Marines and Engineers against all enemy efforts to take them. The attack continued until about 2.00 A.M., when the enemy, completely beaten, was repelled and forced to his old positions. The town was heavily shelled the next two days, although no further attempts were made to take it.

At 8.00 P.M., June 9th, orders were received to leave town. These orders were voluntarily brought before darkness by Private Louis D. Goodrich from Battalion Headquarters near Lucy-le-Bocage, across a path which was swept by enemy shell and machine-gun fire. He was later awarded the D.S.C. for this act of heroism. At 1:30 A.M., June 10th, Company "A" left Bouresches in the hands of the Marines. Great difficulty was encountered in getting the Company together prior to leaving the town owing to heavy shell fire and sniping, but the move was accomplished with few casualties, and it arrived at La Croisette Woods, near Company "B", at 4:00 A.M., June 10th.

Companies "A" and "B" made themselves as comfortable as possible here by digging small one and two-man dug-outs and improving the camp in general until they were joined by Company "C" on June 14th. On June 11th, Company "A" and Company "B" began to work the line of fortification through the village of La Thiolet and Tafourney Farm, to La Nouette Farm where it joined the French line.

Company "C", under the command of First Lieutenant Arthur G. Spencer left the First Battalion on June 1st, at Ventelet Farm, and spent that night in the nearby woods. The next morning, the Company left those woods and went to report to the Twenty-Third Infantry, a day's hike away, at Coulombes. It spent the night on the hillside near Germigny-sous-Coulombes, and the next day found the Infantry. Here the Company was split up into platoons. Just before the Infantry moved to their positions in the front line, each Battalion was given one platoon of Engineers. The Germans at this time had almost been checked, for they had little or no artillery to support them while the Americans were well supported by their own and French artillery. However, the Germans did have a few guns and when they caught sight of the Americans coming toward them they opened fire with every gun they had. Most of the shots went wild though, because there were only a few casualties, all of which were in the Infantry.

The afternoon of June 2nd and all day the 3rd and 4th were spent by the company eating, sleeping, digging trenches and putting up wire entanglements. Rations were now very hard to get and when they were obtained they consisted chiefly of French Army bacon and monkey meat. On June 4th, Company "C" was ordered back to the woods near Ventelet Farm, so, marching all night, it arrived there at dawn June 5th. Here the men rested all day, but as soon as darkness came they started once more-this time up the Paris-Metz highway toward Château-Thierry. About 2:00 A.M. they reached the Clarembouts Woods, just west of Le Thiolet, where they waited until daybreak to construct individual dug-outs. In the afternoon when they were just ready to enjoy a much-needed rest, orders came to follow the Twenty-Third infantry over the top at any minute. Light packs were made, picks and shovels issued, and the Engineers fell in behind the Doughboys. They had no sooner started than machine-gun bullets began to whistle overhead. Advancing in a formation of squad columns, casualties were very few until the leading column reached the crest of the hill on which the enemy had entrenched himself. Then the order to deploy as skirmishers and fix bayonets was given. The number of casualties began to increase. On the right the infantry advanced into a wheat field and the Second Platoon under Second Lieutenant Edward C. Constantine followed to a point about twenty yards from the German position. But here the machine gun fire was too hot and they were forced to drop to the ground. Shrapnel began to burst behind them, but no damage was done, as the Engineers were too close to the Boche for him to decrease his range. An aeroplane was flying back and forth over the field, its machine guns spitting continuously. For two hours the Engineers laid there, not knowing whether to advance or retire, so they stayed where they were. The machine gun bullets came from three sides; it was impossible for a man to raise himself off the ground. The men's packs were shot full of holes, but hugging the ground and digging at times, they managed to escape with very few casualties.

Here the Americans were under fire of their own machine guns from the trenches at the foot of the hill. They did everything to attract attention, but the bullets continued to whizz. Finally, a wounded infantry Sergeant volunteered to go straight down the hill towards the guns if two other men would go along. The little party started, and the fire increased, but as the men were recognized, it stopped. The engineers now joined the Machine gun Company on the left where they remained till long after midnight digging in for themselves and the machine gunners. They than fell back to their own lines. All day June 7th, after more than thirty-six hours of hard working and fighting, the men slept, but at nightfall were ordered out again to dig trenches and construct machine gun emplacements. The night was quiet until shortly after midnight, when the Boche attempted to come over. A machine gun spit out the warning and as the men dropped into their "foxholes" a flare went up. For half an hour or more the attack continued, the enemy never getting even close. Then the order to cease firing was given and what was left of the Germans had hurried back to their trenches. From now till June 14th, the work was chiefly routine, when Company "C" moved to La Croisette Woods and joined the remainder of the Battalion.

Since the First Battalion came to La Croisette Woods, the rolling kitchens had been brought up and rations had begun to come. Every one was more comfortable as the dugouts were larger than the first ones and there was more room to move about in. The "Y" man, Mr. Robbins, came around every day with chocolate, cakes and tobacco, which he would bring from the rear himself.

The work on fortifications was all in the vicinity of the enemy, and was about evenly divided between work in the open and work in the woods. Operations in the woods were carried on during the day, and in the open at night, but the going to and from work usually necessitated the crossing of open places, so most of the traveling was done at night. The men were under a strain during the stay in this camp, as they were subject to intermittent shellfire all the time. For the first few days, two or three men were wounded each night by shellfire, but in spite of this the work was carried on without interruption, until June 30th. The Battalion had completed two lines of wired trenches, machine gun emplacements and strong points across the front of the Third Brigade sector.

Barb Wire in Champagne Region Herley's Notes: Barb wire which I helped put up at night at Shatue Terrney [sic Chateau Thierry] June 1918

On June 29th, "A" and "C" Companies were ordered to support the Infantry and consolidate the positions captured in the attack on Vaux. "B" Company was to remain in camp as reserve. The attack was scheduled for the afternoon of July 1st, so about 2:00 A.M. that day, Companies "A" and "C" went to La Marette Woods, where they rested until afternoon. "A" Company was to support the Second Battalion of the Ninth Infantry, in its capture of the village. About 4:00 P.M. it left this place, and traveling through woods and ravines under terrific bombardment to the village of Monneaux, it took up a position in a sunken road in the north edge of that town. By 5:00 P.M., the Boche had knowledge of the impending attack, and put over all he had for the hour the men lay in this jumping off place.

In taking up the position in the sunken road, Captain Spalding, who was leading the Company stopped, with his headquarters, in the edge of the village of Monneaux to give some final orders to his platoon commanders as they filed by. Before the last platoon had passed, a shell struck in the group and killed or wounded every man but one. Captain Spalding was wounded severely and died in the hospital the next morning. The Company went into battle a few minutes later without its Captain and without the Fourth Platoon having received its final instructions. This platoon was commanded by Sergeant First Class Joseph Gallo, who later received the D.S.C. for his action this day. The D.S.C. was also awarded to Corporal Simpson Levan for extraordinary heroism on this date by continuing with the fight and remaining on his post in the front line after he had received a severe wound. At exactly 6:00 P.M., Company "A" followed the Second Battalion of the Ninth Infantry at forty yards distance into Vaux and assisted in capturing, consolidating and holding the village. Our artillery had compelled the enemy in Vaux to seek shelter in the cellars and the entrance to the town was accomplished with few casualties. The company assisted the Infantry in consolidating the positions on the outskirts and in the village that were fairly strong except (due to the fact that the French had failed to occupy Hill 204) the right flank was menaced from that position. Two platoons of Company "A" were held in the front line and two in reserve-these latter were used to keep communication with the rear, to fortify supporting positions, to bring up ammunition and care for the dead and wounded. During the stay in Vaux, much trouble was experienced in obtaining food and tools for use of the Company due to the fact that it was impossible to bring the rolling kitchens and tool wagons near the scene of operations.

About 10:00 P.M., July 4th, Lieutenant Wyche, with half the Company left Vaux and returned to camp in La Croisette Woods, leaving the other half with Lieutenant Burton to finish some work on consolidation. They reached camp at 11:00 P.M. the following night.

"C" Company was to support the Third Battalion of the Twenty-Third Infantry in its attack on La Rochette Woods, just west of the town of Vaux, and everything was made ready to follow the Infantry as soon as they obtained their objective. About 5:00 P.M., the Company moved forward through moderate shellfire to a deep ravine, where later it suffered a few casualties. Shortly before dark, with wire and stakes, the First, Second and Third Platoons crossed the old front line and the Paris-Metz road and went into the woods on the other side where the Infantry had established themselves. The Fourth Platoon remained behind and furnished carrying details. Shelling had practically ceased on the new front line, but it was still intense in the rear. The First and Third Platoons succeeded in finishing their work that night and returned to camp in La Croisette Woods, but the Second, after using all the material it had, was forced to wait till almost daylight before it returned to camp. The day was spent in digging trenches and machine gun emplacements. A large quantity of wire and stakes, left behind by the retreating Germans, was found and everything made ready to finish the work that night, but the constant shell fire caused the night of July 2nd to pass without a bit of wire being emplaced. The night of July 3rd was the same, but on the next night the work was completed and the platoon returned to camp in La Croisette Woods. During this action, while engaged as a runner from his Company headquarters to the different platoons, Private Onal M. Cope made several trips through severe shell fire and was later awarded the D.S.C. for his courageous work.

The Battalion was once more together, and after a day's rest, companies started to work on the support positions, but were relieved before much was done. About midnight July 8th-9th, the First Battalion left camp in La Croisette Woods where it had lived under shell fire for more than a month, and marched to a new camp in the woods near Pisseloupe where it went into Army reserve with the remainder of the Regiment.

When the Second Battalion, under command of Major William A. Snow left the vicinity of May-en-Multien on the early morning of June 1st, 1918, it made a very long and hot trip to Montreuil-aux-Lions, where the men rested and cooked some meat and beans to eat with their hard-tack. After this rest, the companies moved out along the Paris-Metz highway toward Château-Thierry, as far as the Paris Farm, where entrenching tools were issued.

Company "D", under command of Captain Edwin N. Chisholm, then went on down the Paris-Metz road to the vicinity of Le Thiolet, where it was placed in the line with the Marines. This was "D" Company's first real action, and the men showed excellent conduct under fire. First Sergeant Mack C. Byrd, while wounded, showed gallantry in action, and was later awarded the D.S.C. After staying here four or five days, the Company moved out and took up a reserve position near La Voie du Chatel, where, with the rest of the Battalion, it remained in reserve from 3:30 to 7:00 o'clock on the morning of June 6th. Company "D" then moved to Hill 142 to support Companies "B" and "F", which were already in line there with Major Terrill's Battalion of Marines. Here it entrenched itself and remained on duty about two days, when it was withdrawn to the Division reserve in the Bois-Gros-Jean. After two days rest, Company "D", with Company "F", was sent forward on the evening of June 11th, under command of Major Snow to assist the Marines in Belleau Woods.

Herley's Notes: I was gassed here. Company "D" was my company.

American Cemetery at Belleau Wood

The following is the report of the Commanding Officer of Company "D" relative to the action in Belleau Woods:

"Company "D" on June 11th, 1918, was ordered from the rest camp in Bois-Gros-Jean to report to Lieutenant Colonel Wise at the edge of Belleau Woods. Upon reporting there at or about 4:00 P.M. the same date, the company was ordered to the firing line position on the northwest corner of the woods. After wandering around the woods, we arrived at the designated positions about 7:30 P.M. This position was very much exposed to Artillery, machine gun and trench mortar fire, and was also bombed by aeroplanes.

"The dispositions of Platoons: The first Platoon under First Lieutenant L. M. Chase was taken into action with the Marines against machine gun positions: this platoon soon ran out of ammunition, but managed to pick up more in the woods. This engagement lasted about half an hour. After the engagement, the platoon took its position with the Company, and dug in. This platoon went into action with 44 men, and came out with 26.

Herley's Notes: I was one 26.

"The Second Platoon assisted the Marines as Raiding Parties. After the raiding parties came in they rejoined the Company and entrenched themselves. This platoon was in a very exposed position, and was subjected to artillery, machine gun and trench battery fire. The platoon was also subjected to heavy mustard gas attacks.

"The Third Platoon remained in the line held by the Company the entire time, and was subjected to artillery and machine gun fire.

"The Fourth Platoon was not called on to leave the Company position. It was subjected to artillery and machine gun fire and bombing by aeroplane, and was exposed to searchlights operated by the Germans. This made their position an extremely hard one to hold."

During this action, Corporal Joseph D. Sanders displayed extraordinary heroism and was later awarded the D.S.C. While in command of an important outpost, he exposed himself to rifle and shellfire to better observe the movements of the enemy. He was knocked unconscious by a shell burst, but returned to this post immediately upon regaining consciousness. On June 13th, he carried a wounded officer through an intense barrage to a dressing station.

Private William J. Steimel also displayed extraordinary heroism by refusing to go to the rear until his mission was completed although he was severely wounded in several places by an enemy hand grenade. After receiving first aid treatment, he again returned to the front line although it was at the time being subjected to a severe shelling.

After Company "E", under command of Captain John T. Costello, received its entrenching tools at Paris Farm on June 1st, it moved to the vicinity of Lucy-le-Bocage with orders to go into the line with the Marines and entrench them. As there had been no line established yet, there was no entrenching done the first night, so the Company bivouacked in a farm near Lucy-le-Bocage. The Company Commander was wounded the first day the Company was in action and the command passed to Captain J.J.F. Steiner, who had been Regimental Supply Officer. On the death of Captain Jesse Lowen, of Company "F" two weeks later, Captain Steiner took command of that Company, and Captain Myron H. Peck took Company "B" for the remainder of the stay in this sector.

At about 7:00 A.M. June 2nd, after a reconnaissance, Company "B" took a position in line with the Marines near Triangle Farm, to entrench them and construct hasty machine gun emplacements. The position was continually harassed by artillery, machine gun and sniper fire, which caused a few casualties, but the company remained in line with the Marines at this place throughout the day and assisted in repelling an attack. On the night of June 3rd, the Company moved to an orchard one thousand meters northeast of Lucy-le-Bocage and assisted in establishing a front line position with the Marines where the enemy was expected to break through. Here the Company was exposed to very heavy artillery and machine gun fire, but it established outposts and patrols and gained much valuable information concerning enemy positions. In the afternoon, the Company advanced to a more favorable position. The cooks salvaged cooking utensils and set up a kitchen in an old house in Lucy-le-Bocage, which was constantly under very heavy artillery fire. Food and coffee were successfully cooked and carried under shellfire to men in the line. On June 4th, the Company again changed positions to a point five hundred yards to the east of and in front of its former one, thus gaining an important position which aided materially in the attack on Belleau Woods which came later. About 11:00 P.M., June 4th, the Company was relieved by the Marines, and retired to the woods one kilometer south of Marigny-en-Orxois to replenish their reserves rations and get a much-needed rest.

Ravine at Belleau Wood
Ravine along the southern edge of Belleau Woods.
Herley's Notes: Note the trees. Many were killed here. This creek is where I got gassed June 13, 1918.

About 12:30 A.M., June 6th, Company "E" moved to the woods one kilometer east of La-Voie-du-Châtel where it was shelled at intervals until after daybreak. It received cold rations that morning and about 8:30 A.M., orders came to move to Hill 142 to entrench the Marines and assist in holding the line. The Company was under very heavy shellfire on this march and suffered several casualties. After arriving at the destination, two platoons were put in the line with the Marines and two were detailed to carry water and ammunition to the front line. The Company was in line all afternoon with the Marines and was ordered to go forward in an attack. After deploying and advancing a short distance, it was ordered to halt as French troops on the left had failed to gain an important objective. The Company established a line and sent out out-posts and patrols. Two platoons were engaged that evening in the attack in the woods northeast of Hill 142, which was taken and the positions consolidated, under very intense shell, machine gun and gas shell fire. The Company was ordered back to Marine Brigade Headquarters at midnight, and after arriving there was ordered to Maison Blanche to await orders.

Company "E" remained at Maison Blanche all day and received one hot meal, the first in several days. About 8:00 P.M., June 8th, it was ordered to Bois-Gros-Jean, where another hot meal was served about 11:00 P.M. June 9th, 10th and 11th were spent in making reconnaissances for a second line position from a point north of La-Voie-du-Châtel connecting with the front line position and a point to the cross roads to Lucy-le-Bocage near Montgivrault. From June 11th to July 8th, the Company assisted in constructing a second line position consisting of platoon and half-platoon trenches and a number of machine gun emplacements to enfilade the wire at critical points. This entire sector was under constant enemy observation by aeroplanes and most of it by balloons. All this Work, except that which was done under cover of woods had to be done at night. Much was done under shellfire and the Company suffered several casualties while engaged in this work.

Company "F", under command of Captain Jesse Lowen, moved out of the ravine just south of Montreuil-aux-Lions about 5:00 P.M. on the afternoon of June 1st, 1918. At 8:00 P.M. the same day, the Company was deployed in a field just west of the Paris Farm, and there remained until orders were received to procure tools and proceed to Lucy-le-Bocage to take position and await orders. Arriving at Lucy-le-Bocage about 11:00 P.M. the men rested for the night and on the morning of the 2nd day of June. Orders were received to dig a line of trenches just north of Lucy-le-Bocage on the crest of the hill. In the meantime the enemy, having brought up his artillery, in a mad dash for Paris, shelled the positions heavily with high explosive and shrapnel. Shortly after the beginning of the bombardment, the Company gained sufficient protection from the trenches to protect the men from further casua1ties. Here it remained in the line north of Lucy-le-Bocage until 1:00 A.M., June 5th, beating off continued Boche attacks to break through, all the time improving and connecting the different firing positions. Finally, they were relieved by the Marines, and the Company marched four miles to the woods near Marigny-en-Orxois for the purpose of getting a much needed rest. On the morning at the 6th, they returned to the woods near La-Voie-du-Châtel, reaching there about 2:00 A.M. At 8:00 A.M. of the same day, the First Platoon, under Lieutenant Charles A. Dean was ordered to take up a position on the left of the line near Hill 142. The Third and Fourth Platoons moved out at 9:00 A.M. and took uppositions on the same hill, all platoons immediately entrenching themselves. The Second Platoon and Company Headquarters remained in the woods near La-Voie-du-Châtel and marched to the Sixth Marine Headquarters at 8:30 P.M. for the purpose of carrying ammunition, rations and water to the Marines. Everything remained fairly quiet with only intermittent shelling until about 1:00 A.M. on the morning of the 8th, when the enemy launched an especially heavy attack on Hill 142. The Boche advanced in massed formation behind their barrage until they struck the thinly held line of the Americans. Here they were stopped by the intense fire of rifles and machine guns and a hand-to-hand encounter at which the Americans more than excelled.

After this, the three platoons of Engineers were ordered to report back to Marine Headquarters and there, being joined by the Second Platoon, they marched to Maison Blanche. After resting all day they continued the march to La Loge and reached camp at 12:30 A.M., June 9th.

On the afternoon of June 11th, the Company again reported to Colonel Wise of the Fifth Marines in Belleau Woods. The men were at once placed in position along the west edge of the wood, where they entrenched themselves, remaining under heavy shell and machine gun fire until 5:00 P.M., June 12th, after which the Company was ordered to reinforce the Marines on their front. This change was made with much difficulty, having to pass through a heavy barrage, with which a great deal of mustard gas was mixed. During this movement Captain Lowen was killed. Out of the entire Company of 185 men, only about 50 men under Lieutenant Barrons arrived at their objective. The remainder that could proceed became lost in the thick woods and underbrush, not being able to travel while wearing gas masks.

The part of the Company that reached the front took up its position along the north edge of the woods, facing the open field. Shortly after arrival, part of these men, assisted by a few Marines, succeeding in capturing or killing about 30 Germans who had barricaded themselves along ditches at the road sides. About 8:00 P.M., patrolling parties of the Marines succeeding in driving out enemy machine gunners who had got around behind the lines.

At daybreak of June 13th, the Company's position was again shelled very heavily for half an hour. The remainder of the day became fairly quiet except for enemy machine gun and trench mortar fire. At last, after much fighting and enduring hardships, Company "F" was relieved by the 80th Company of the Sixth Marines, and at 3:30 o'clock on the morning of June 14th marched to the woods at La Loge near Montreuil-aux-Lions, where it pitched camp and rested a few days. From June 14th to July 7th, the Company continued work with the remainder of the Battalion in the Zone of Principal Resistance across the sector held by the Fourth Brigade.

During the action of the Second Battalion in Belleau Woods, Major William A. Snow displayed extraordinary heroism on several occasions, was wounded twice, and later awarded the D.S.C.

The Second Battalion was relieved on July 7th and marched to the woods near Pisseloupe, where the whole Regiment was camped together for about a week. During the time, the companies worked a little on the reserve position, but the time was mostly used in resting, bathing in the Marne, and getting re-equipped. It was also while, the Regiment was at this place that Colonel McIndoe was relieved from the command of the Regiment and ordered to the Fourth Army Corps as Corps Engineer. He was later promoted to Brigadier General. Colonel William A. Mitchell was assigned to the Regiment on July 6th, and took command immediately.

United States, and John Archer Lejeune. 1919.
A History Of The Second Regiment Of Engineers, United States Army:
From Its Organization In Mexico, 1916, To Its Watch On The Rhine, 1919
[Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified].
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