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Col. William A. Mitchell


 
Col. William A. Mitchell

On July 4th, Col. W. A. Mitchell arrived to relieve Colonel Mclndoe of command of the regiment, as Colonel Mclndoe had been selected for Corps Engineer of the IV Corps. Colonel Mitchell was a first honor graduate of West Point and had spent four years there as instructor and Assistant Professor in Military Engineering and the Art of War. He was also very fortunate in that he had recently completed the courses at Fort Leavenworth in the Line and Staff classes.

On October 26th, Colonel Mitchell left the regiment on a mission to General Headquarters, American Expeditionary Forces and Headquarters Service of Supplies.

Colonel Mitchell and Lieut.-Col. Strong were not with the Regiment, so Major Steiner was in charge of the movement with the 2nd Division to the new field of battle.

On October 29th Colonel Mitchell returned from the trip to the Service of Supply and General Headquarters, and stopped overnight at the office of the Department of Light Railways and Roads, at Vraincourt.

Colonel Mitchell had been especially successful in his trip to the Replacement Depot. The 2nd Engineers needed officers, and he had been to the Engineer replacement depot at Angers, in order to obtain them promptly. The C. O. of the Engineer Replacement Regiment, 116th Engineers, Colonel Olson, was especially anxious to assist; he stated that everyone in the replacement regiment was watching the work of the 2nd Engineers, and that all were anxious to join it. With Colonel Olson's permission, Colonel Mitchell selected six of his best instructors, and next day obtained orders for them from the Chief Engineer to join the 2nd Engineers. All of them except one, actually did join the regiment in time to participate with glory in the last fight of the Division on the night before the Armistice.

On October 30th, Colonel Mitchell and Major Steiner went to Army Headquarters and saw the Chief Engineer of the Army. Returning, they stopped by Corps Headquarters and obtained a list of the water-points and of the Engineer Dumps of the Army and of the Corps, so that the usual map of engineer information could be prepared by the Map section of Regimental Headquarters.

The second stop was made at Dampicourt, Belgium, where the regiment stayed two days for rest and readjustment. At this place, Col. William A. Mitchell was relieved from the command of the regiment, and assigned to duty as Corps Engineer of the VIIIth Corps. Before leaving, Colonel Mitchell published the following order:


ORDER NO. 19:

1. I have been relieved from duty with the 2nd Engineers and assigned to duty as Corps Engineer. Before leaving the regiment, I wish to express my appreciation of the untiring energy, unquestioned bravery, unusual intelligence, and unswerving loyalty exhibited by practically all members of the regiment during the time that I have been connected with it.

2. As a result of the efficiency of this regiment, the regiment and myself have been decorated with the Croix de Guerre, which is a decoration rarely given to a whole regiment. Likewise, it is well to note that the reputation of the regiment is not surpassed and is probably not equalled by that of any Engineer Regiment in the whole American Army.

3. During six campaigns, the regiment has always done its duty, and more than its duty. It finally wound up this glorious record by what I consider its best work; namely, launching two foot bridges over the Meuse River in the record time of 7 minutes, and building a strong high bridge 186 feet long in 48 hours at Pouilly.

4. Every member of the 2nd Engineers can feel justly proud of his Regiment, and I regret very much that the requirements of the service separate me from it.

W. A. MITCHELL
Colonel, Engineers.

 
 
 
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