History of the 26th "Yankee" Division

American Legion Post 35 Table of Contents

'Welcome Home YD'

In Commemoration of the Foreign Service
and Home-Coming of the 26th Division

Published by the "Committee of Welcome"
Appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts,
Hon. Calvin Coolidge
and the Mayor of Boston,
Hon. Andrew J. Peters.

Official Programme -- 25 cents -- April 25, 1919
A Narrative Compiled by Direction of the Commanding General by Officers of the General Staff Sections, Division Headquarters, from Field Orders, Operations Reports, and Records in Division Adjutant's Office.

Sgt. Marshall Sidney Holman
101st Ammo. Train, 26th Div.
[This narrative is dedicated to the memory of my father
Sgt. Marshall Sidney Holman,
of the 101st Ammunition Train of the 26th "Yankee" Division,
who served in France during World War I, 1917-1918.]
{Compiled & edited by John M. Holman, Hampton History Volunteer,
Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, New Hampshire}

Section I


THE TWENTY-SIXTH DIVISION -- the "Yankee Division," as it has been most appropriately named -- was organized from National Guard troops of all the New England States, except a small draft of recruits from the 76th Division used as replacements just prior to the departure of the Twenty-Sixth overseas. In the great majority of units, however, the strength was composed exclusively of volunteer State troops (as in the 101st Machine Gun Battalion); it comprised organizations whose military history in many instances (1st Mass. Engrs., 1st Conn. Inf., for example) dated back to Colonial or Revolutionary times. The Division was formed pursuant to telegraphic authority of the War Department dated August 13, 1917

Brigade Commanders were designated at the same time as follows:


A large majority of the troops had been in active service, on guard duty or in training, following response to the call of the President on various dates before and after the declaration of war on April 6th. Mobilized at the State or other training camps, at Framingham, Westfield, and Boxford, Massachusetts; New Haven and Niantic, Connecticut; and Quonset Point, Rhode Island, the units of the Division were held there for further training, and to receive their equipment, until the time should come to send them overseas.

The first elements of the Division to arrive abroad were Headquarters, 51st Infantry Brigade, and 101st Infantry, which, sailing from Hoboken, N. J., on September 7, landed at St. Nazaire, France, on September 21, 1917.

The remainder followed rapidly, until by the end of October all units had arrived in France. Thus the Twenty-Sixth was the second Division to arrive in France (whither the First Division had preceded it); and it was the first division of the National Guard or the National Army troops to be organized, equipped, and sent overseas. The 51st F. A. Brigade was assembled for training at Coetquidan; the infantry brigades, machine gun battalions, engineers, field signal battalion, and trains were assembled in the area just south of Neufchateau, where Division Headquarters was established on October 31.

Section II


Intensive training for trench warfare began at once. A very thorough, progressive course was laid out by the training section, G. S., G. H. Q.; and this was followed, though, at the same time, it was necessary for large details from all units to be used on construction work on barracks, telephone lines, quartermaster storehouses, hospitals, and other buildings. To demonstrate the latest methods of trench warfare, the 162nd and a detachment of the 151st Regiment of French Infantry were put at the disposal of the Division. Daily instruction was thus given in grenade throwing, machine gun and automatic rifle practice, Stokes mortar and 37mm. guns, and in formations of approach and attack. A school for officers and N. C. O.'s in bayonet fighting was established at Bazoilles; many other officers were sent to the First Corps School at Gondrecourt for infantry instruction; others were sent to the Army General Staff College at Langres for training as staff officers; details of machine gun officers and N. C. O.'s were sent to machine gun schools conducted by the British or the French; other detachments took courses as signallers and liaison agents in schools at Neufchateau. In a similar way, officers and men of the artillery brigade, at their station at Coetquidan, were given courses of intensive special training, while many received advanced artillery instruction at French or British school centers. A feature of the infantry and engineer instruction in the Neufchateau area was the construction of a model system of fire, cover, and support trenches, suitable for a battalion front, in which practical problems of attack and defense were worked out during December and January. Units in turn occupied this "Noncourt Sector," as the trenches were nicknamed, and all had opportunity to become accustomed to trench methods of warfare by these means.

During this period the following changes occurred among officers commanding organizations and in the divisional staff: Colonel W. C. Hayes was succeeded by Colonel G. H. Shelton in command of 104th Infantry, January 2, 191 S. Colonel E. L. Isbell was succeeded by Colonel J. H. Parker in command of the 102nd Infantry, January 11, 1918. Major A. Ashworth succeeded Major W. S. Gatchell in the 103rd Machine Gun Battalion, January 21, 1918. Major 0. S. Albright succeeded Major H. G. Chase in the 101st Field Signal Battalion, January 10, 1918.

Major T. C. Baker succeeded Captain D. G. Arnold in 101st Supply Train, January 21, 1918. Captain 0. Wolcott was succeeded by Captain B. L. Ashby in 26th Division Headquarters Troop, January 2, 1918, the former becoming A. D. C. to the Division Commander.

As Division Chief of Staff, Colonel G. K. Shelton was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Dowell, then judge Advocate. Lieut.-Colonel G. S. Simonds was succeeded by Major L. W. Cass, who, in turn, gave way to Lieut.-Colonel C. A. Stevens, as Division Adjutant.

Section III


This preliminary training came to an end the first week in February, 1918. The Division, with its artillery, was placed under the tactical direction of the Commanding General, 11th Army Corps (French), for the purpose of giving to all elements, by a month's actual experience in the front line, a finishing course of practical instruction. Between February 5th and February 8th the Division entered the line north of Soissons, in the famous Chemin des Dames sector, between Pinon Forest and Pargny-Filain. At first, infantry companies (with two platoons on the line and two in support) were alternated in the line with French companies; the batteries were also allowed at first to take over only a few positions; at all headquarters were detailed experienced French officers and N. C. O.'s, who gave minute personal instruction to all units, down to the smallest. Patrols, working parties, machine gun and artillery sections - all were supervised and taught by the French day and night. Confidence and proficiency were secured rapidly. By degrees, larger stretches of the front line were entrusted to the American troops and the French were withdrawn, until practically the whole division front was occupied by the infantry regiments, each with one battalion in line, one in support, and one in reserve. In a similar way, a continually increased number of positions was allotted to the artillery and the machine guns.

Although the sector had been considered a quiet one, it was only a very short time before the enemy tried out the new arrivals, whom they took at first to be British. On February 19th, in the vicinity of the Bois Quincy, the enemy attempted to raid the sub-sector occupied by Company B, 104th Infantry, and the Machine Gun Company, 104th Infantry. He was beaten off, with a loss both in killed and wounded, and also in prisoners. On February 28th he made a second attempt, this time against the 2nd Battalion, 102nd Infantry. near Chavignon, where he had no better success. On March 16-17 he put down a heavy and continuous gas bombardment, mainly directed on the part of the Division's front occupied by the 101st and 102nd Infantry, between Pargnv-Filain and Chavignon, as well as on the Battery positions. This caused us some losses, especially in the 3rd Battalion, 102nd Infantry; but the retaliation fire by the 51st F. A. Brigade was exceedingly severe, and did the enemy much damage.

Raids to make prisoners, and to give our troops experience in this form of trench warfare, were undertaken against the enemy in conjunction with the French. Thus, on February 23rd, a volunteer detachment of the 101st Infantry, supported by the 101st F. A., 103rd F. A., and Company B, 101st Machine Gun Battalion, raided the German lines at Grand Pont, bringing back 22 prisoners, two of whom were officers. This affair was doubly noteworthy in being the first raid in which American infantry had engaged, and in that, for the first time, an attacking force advanced behind a rolling barrage laid by American artillery. Other similar raids were carried out by the 102nd and 104th Infantry.

Section IV


Between March 18th and 21st, 1918, the Division was relieved in the Chemin des Dames sector, with the result that good practice was given in road discipline, billeting, and supply when in movement, the troops, after a short railroad trip to Brienne le Chateau and Bar sur Aube, began a march of five days' length to the Rimaucourt (Ninth) Training Area, which lay west of Neufchateau, adjoining the area where the first period of training had been passed. It was supposed that the Division would have opportunity, on settling down in the new area, to be refitted with much-needed shoes, clothing, and equipment, to rest, and to perfect its training and discipline. But the military situation required it to return to the line at once. Forty eight hours after the troops arrived in the rest area, they were taken by motor truck and rail, less the artillery, which marched direct to the so-called "La Reine" or "Boucq" Sector, northwest of Toul, where the Division relieved the First Division between March 28th and April 3rd, 1918.

The line here taken over extended from the vicinity of Apremont, on the west, in front of Xivray-Marvoisin, Seicheprey, and Bois de Remieres, as far as the Bois de jury, on the right, where the French line joined ours. Division Headquarters were at Boucq.

The stay of the Division in this sector was marked by several serious encounters with the enemy, where considerable forces were engaged. There were furthermore almost nightly encounters between patrols or ambush parties, and the harassing fire of the artillery on both sides was very active.

On April 10th, 12th, and 13th, the lines held by the 104th Infantry in Bois Brule (near Apremont), and by the French to the left, were heavily attacked by the Germans. At first the enemy secured a foothold in some advanced trenches which were not strongly held, but sturdy counterattacks succeeded in driving the enemy out with serious losses, and our line was entirely re-established. For its gallant conduct on this occasion the 104th Infantry was cited (April 26th, 1918) in a general order of the 32nd Army Corps (French), and had its colors decorated with the Croix de Guerre. The units engaged included 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 104th Infantry; 3rd Battalion, 103rd Infantry; M. G. Company, 104th Infantry; Company C, 103rd M. G. Battalion; 51st F. A. Brigade.

April 20th, 21st, the Germans made a second raid on our lines. This, like the attack at Bois Brule, appears to have been one of many similar local operations undertaken at this time. To accomplish them successfully, the enemy employed usually a specially trained and experienced body of infantry ("Stosstruppen," or "shock troops"), to attack in conjunction with troops on the ground. It was a force of this description which attached our lines about and in the town of Seicheprey and Remieres Woods, supported by exceptionally severe artillery fire. The 1st Battalion, 102nd infantry, and the 102nd Machine Gun Battalion, on which the full force of the attack fell, suffered very severely, both in killed and wounded and in prisoners, although Company E, 102nd Infantry, and the 3rd Battalion, 101st Infantry, also endured casualties. The strength of the attack was such that it looked for a time like the beginning of an important operation; but at length the enemy force withdrew, while our artillery and machine gun fire caused him very heavy losses, as he himself later acknowledged. If an operation more extensive than a raid to make prisoners was planned, it was abandoned.

May 27th another raiding party, numbering about 400, attacked the line held by the 1st Battalion, 101st Infantry, at Humbert Plantation, in the vicinity of Flirey; but the enemy was unable to penetrate the line and was repulsed with loss. It was at this time that the front held by the division was shifted easterly to include the Bois de jury and Bois de Hazelle, as far as Flirey (inclusive). The German attack caught the infantry just as they came into the line, and the artillery (101st F. A.) had barely occupied their new positions.

A third raid was launched on June 16th against the sub-sector held by the 103rd Infantry at the village of Xivray-Marvoisin. Preceded by a heavy bombardment and a dense barrage, a strong German force moved against the village and nearby trenches, but failing to get within our defenses, immediately withdrew, leaving many dead and wounded. Troops engaged were 3rd Battalion, 103rd Infantry; M. G. Company, 103rd Infantry; 103rd M. G. Battalion; 51st F. A. Brigade.

As if in retaliation for the decisive check the enemy had suffered, he delivered throughout the day (June 16th) exceedingly severe artillery fire on the battery positions and rear areas, as well as up and down the forward parts of the sector. Division Headquarters was forced to change location from Boucq to Trondes; casualties and material damage were caused in Cornieville, Royaumeix, Bernecourt, Broussey, and Raulecourt; also in the already ruined towns of the sector such as Beaumont, Mandres, Ansauville, Rambucourt, and Xivray itself.

Two offensive operations were undertaken by the Division at this time. A raid in force, to make prisoners, against the German positions in Richecourt, was made by 300 volunteers of the 101st Infantry, with strong artillery support, on the night of May 3oth-31st. A destructive gas projector attack was directed against enemy lines in the Bois de Sonnard (Saillant du Renard) on June 6th, which is said to be the first attack of its kind to be delivered by American troops, and to have broken up an assembly for attack on the part of the enemy.

On June 24th-28th the Division was relieved by the 82nd Division (less artillery, machine gun units, and one infantry regiment) and the 154th Division, French) less one infantry regiment.

The 51st F. A. Brigade, in addition to its work within the Division, was employed on four occasions, either as a whole or in part, to support operations of French divisions to right or left.

Noteworthy was the fact that all through its three months' occupation of the Boucq Sector, the relations with the French, both higher command and neighboring units in line, continued on the same plane of intimate friendship and mutual high esteem which began on the Chemin des Dames and continued to the end. The Division, on entering the sector March 28th, took over the front of a division, and functioned as such as a unit of the 34th Army Corps (French).

Change in command of organizations during this period (March 28th-June 28th) included the following: 51st F. A. Brigade, Brig.General W. L. Lassiter succeeded by Brig.General D. F. Aultman, May 9th, 1918; 103rd F. A., Colonel E. T. Smith succeeded by Colonel P. D. Glassford, June 15th, 1918; 102nd M. G. Battalion, Major John Perrins succeeded by Captain D. T. Gallup, April 9th, 1918, who was succeeded by Major J. D. Murphy on April 15th, 1918; 101st F. S. Battalion, Major O. S. Albright succeeded by Major S. W. Walmsley, April 29th, 1918, who was succeeded by Major Paul W. Fugne, June 19th, 1918. Colonel D. K. Major became Division Chief of Staff on April 18th, 1918. May 1st Captain M. J. O'Connor, Chaplains' Corps, was appointed Senior Chaplain.

Section V


Upon relief from the Boucq Sector, the Division was concentrated by decauville (tramway) and marching in and near Toul, but proceeded two days later by rail to the vicinity of Meaux, with Division Headquarters at Nanteuilles-Meaux. On July 5th it moved up to support positions near Montreuil-aux-Lions; and between July 5th and 8th it relieved the Second Division (9th Infantry, 23rd Infantry, 5th and 6th Marines) in the line just to the northwest of Chateau Thierry.

The great German drive southward between Compiegne and Rheims had reached the Marne River. For the moment it had been stopped, but a renewal of the attack was to be expected, and was intended to start not later than July 15th. It was just before the date when the great counteroffensive stroke by Marshal Foch was to begin that the Division resumed duty on the front, taking over the hotly contested and hard-won line from Vaux (inclusive) -- Bouresches -- Bois de Belleau -- to vicinity of Bussiares (exclusive). It formed part of the 1st Corps (U. S.), commanded by Maj.-General Hunter Liggett, together with the 167th Division (French), which was on our left, and the 2nd Division (afterwards the 4th) in support. On the Division's right was the 39th Division (French). For the first time an American corps entered the line to attack as an organization; and in the lead of the corps was the Twenty-Sixth Division.

In this so-called "Pas Fini" Sector, awaiting the hour to attack, the Division suffered. With no system of trenches or shelters, there was great exposure to enemy machine gun and artillery fire; the woods and villages on the line (Vaux, Bouresches, Lucy le Bocage) were drenched with gas; a vigilant and aggressive enemy allowed no respite in his attentions. On July 12th and 13th he made a vigorous thrust at our positions in Vaux, held by the 101st Infantry, which beat back the blow as fiercely as it was dealt.

July 10th, Major M. G. Bulkeley, Jr., succeeded Lieut.-Colonel J. L. Howard in command of 101st Machine Gun- Battalion. July 12th, Colonel J. H. Sherburne, commanding the 101st F. A., was promoted to Brigadier General and transferred to duty away from the Division. July 16th, Brig.-General Peter E. Traub, commanding the 51st Infantry Brigade, was promoted to Major General, and assigned to command the 35th Division, being succeeded by Brig.-General George H. Shelton (then commanding 104th Infantry).

July 18th the attack of the Division, as part of the general operation to reduce the Chateau Thierry salient, and thereby avert the threatened danger to Paris, was begun by the 103rd and 104th Infantries. The whole operation was a very difficult maneuver, for the right element of the Division (101st Infantry) could not advance until the general line to the left had been brought up abreast of its position in and near Vaux; and, furthermore, no other element of the Division could attack until elements further to the left had advanced sufficiently to straighten the general line. The Division's axis of attack, moreover, required two changes of direction to be made. The closest liaison and mutual understanding were required of every unit down to companies.

The attack of July 18th, led by the 3rd Battalion, 103rd Infantry, advanced the line of the 52nd Brigade successfully. The villages of Belleu, Torcy, and Givry were taken; Hill 193, behind Givry, was twice won, but had to be abandoned owing to the fact that the French on our left had not been able to make rapid enough progress to secure the position. Heavy opposition was encountered, especially at Bouresches railway station and Bouresches Wood, the enemy employing many machine guns and well-placed artillery fire.

On the afternoon of July 10th the right of the Division (51st Infantry Brigade) moved forward, clearing the eastern part of the Bouresches Wood and other pieces of woodland where enemy machine guns and snipers found ideal positions.

By noon of July 21st the Division reached the Chateau-Thierry-Soissons road, where a brief halt was made prior to resuming the advance toward the Epieds-Trugny position and the more distant objective, the Jaulgonne-Fereen-Tardenois road. Later that day the advance guard (102nd Infantry) developed the enemy positions at Trugny and Epieds. On the morning of July 22nd, an attack was delivered which was unsuccessful, although some progress was made. On July 23rd, with thorough artillery preparation, the Division attacked again the right brigade (51st), endeavoring to penetrate and clean up Trugny Wood, while the left (52nd) drove at Epieds and the woods behind it. Although stubbornly opposed, and in spite of severe losses, our troops went forward steadily. On July 24th the retiring enemy was followed closely, and our troops disposed on a line running through Bois T between Breuvardes and Le Charmel. The attack was to have been resumed on July 25th, but on that day the front line elements of the Division were relieved by the 58th Brigade.

Even a summary history of the work of the Division in the Aisne-Marne offensive would be incomplete without allusion to the high commendation all elements won from the French Army Commander (General Desgouttes). His only criticism was that the troops were too impetuous -- that in attack "they went ahead too fast." The efficient work of the military police and of the services of supply and evacuation, throughout a week of continuous attack and advance, was most notable, as was the audacious dash of the motorized 101st Machine Gun Battalion, who preceded the final forward movement of the infantry toward the JaulgonneFere-en-Tardenois road in the same manner as independent cavalry. A battalion of the 101st Engineers served as combatant infantry before Trugny on July 22nd-23rd. A detachment of the divisional military police entered Epieds with the advance infantry, and had the EpiedsBezu road traffic under control almost before the possession of the road was secure. The record of the 51st F. A. Brigade in this offensive was also remarkable. In common with the 101st Ammunition Train and the 101st F. S. Battalion, the artillery was not relieved on the same date (July 25th-26th) as the infantry. Continuing in action, it supported successively the 42nd, 4th, and 28th Divisions, advancing as far as the Vesle River (a total advance of 41 kilometers), and was firing on Fismes when it was relieved finally on August 5th. The Division as a whole effected an advance of 17.5 kilometers, took many prisoners, and a very large amount of material, including heavy artillery.

Section VI


Upon relief from the line (July 25th-26th) the Division (less artillery, which rejoined some days later) was marched to a place in reserve, with headquarters at Merv-sur-Marne. Some opportunity for recuperation was given, but training for open warfare, with target practice, was promptly resumed. August 13th-i8th the Division moved by rail to the Chatillon Training Area, with headquarters at Mussv-surSeine. Here, replacements were received; considerable new clothing and equipment were issued; and every effort was made to replace the animals (especially of the artillery), who had become very seriously reduced, both in numbers and condition, by their work at Chateau Thierry.

Changes in command at this time included: 102nd Infantry, Colonel J. H. Parker was succeeded by Colonel H. P. Hobbs, July 31st, who in turn was succeeded by Colonel H. I. Bearss (U. S. M. C.) on August 10th. Colonel D. K. Major took command of 104th Infantry on July 31st and was succeeded by Colonel G. McCaskey on August 13th. Colonel Albert T. Bishop took command of 101st F. A. on August 26th and was succeeded by Colonel Robert E. Goodwin on September 9th. In 102nd F. A., Colonel M. E. Locke was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel J. F. H. Herbert on August 13th. Captain J. A. Walsh succeeded Captain R. A. Greene in command of 101st Trench Mortar Battery on September 11th. On August 1st, Captain A. L. Ford succeeded Captain B. L. Ashby in command of Headquarters Troop. August 15th, Colonel O. W. B. Farr succeeded Brig.-General D. F. Aultman in command of the 5ist F. A. Brigade.

Active training was carried on every day for open warfare until, on August 25th, the troops began moving again, by rail, to the vicinity of Bar-le-Duc, as a unit in the 5th Army Corps.

Section VII


As fast as they detrained near Bar-le-Duc, the troops were marched north. The greatest efforts were made to keep the movement secret. By day the troops stayed under cover, and circulation was reduced to a minimum. Concentrated first in the vicinity of Somme-Dieue, the Division was moved almost at once to the so-called Rupt Sector, where (September 5th) it relieved the 2nd French Dismounted Cavalry Division. The line which was taken over extended from Les Eparges, on the left, through the Bois des Eparges, Mouilly, across the Ravin de France, and thence in a generally southwest direction to Vaux-les-Palameix, exclusive. Until September 12th the sector remained quiet. On that date, however, began the great attack in force on the St. Mihiel salient by the 1st American Army, which had been long in preparation. At 1 o'clock the artillery began a heavy preliminary bombardment of seven hours duration, the 51st F. A. Brigade being reinforced by the heavy artillery of the corps and army in great strength. A 8 o'clock the infantry attacked, following a rolling barrage, the 101st, 103rd, 104th from right to left, in that order. The 102nd Infantry was held out as divisional reserve with the 101st Machine Gun Battalion. Rapid progress was made, in spite of the enemy resistance, in the thick woods of the Bois de St. Remy (through which the 101st Infantry advanced) and from Le Chariot Bois, where the 103rd and 104th had to cross wide stretches of open country without cover. The principal defense of the Germans was machine guns, well placed in concrete pill boxes; there was very little artillery response from the enemy to the formidable fire of our own guns. All objectives were reached during the afternoon and early evening of the 12th. The French on our right (2nd D. C. a P.) had been equally successful. The enemy on their front retired rapidly, and it was thought he was withdrawing toward St. Maurice-sous-les-Cotes, which lay on our left on the edge of the Woevre plain. Since our mission, like that of the French, was to drive the enemy off the high ground of the Cotes de Woevre, the French division commander proposed that the Twenty-Sixth Division should act jointly with the 2nd D. C. a P., and move to its own left on St. Maurice. This plan was on the point of being put into execution when word was received from headquarters 5th A. C., about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon, that every effort must be made to reach Hattonchatel and Vigneulles,for the purpose of effecting a junction with the American advance from the south. Within a half hour after the order went to the Division reserve to push through at once to Vigneulles, the troops (102nd Infantry and 101st Machine Gun Battalion) were on the march, the machine gunners carrying their guns and ammunition by hand. The 102nd Machine Gun Battalion and 101st Infantry followed shortly after. Pressing forward at top speed along the Grande Tranchee de Calonne, and through the woods not yet completely cleared of the enemy, the 102nd Infantry entered Vigneulles at 2:3o on the morning of September 13th. Detachments dispatched toward Heudicourt and Creue got in touch with the left elements of the 1st Division a few hours later. the 101st Infantry occupying Hattonchatel. On the left the 52nd Infantry Brigade cleared the high ground from Thillot-sous-les-Cotes to St. Remy, and, following the retreating enemy with energy, established outposts far out in the Woevre plain at Wadonville and Saulx, patrols going even further.

The success of the St. Mihiel operation was complete. At comparatively slight cost, the Division executed to the letter the mission required of it, all elements outdoing each other in zeal and soldierly quality. Hardly less noteworthy than the night march to Vigneulles was the work of the engineers in making the wrecked roads passable for the field artillery, which was able to follow almost on the heels of the advancing infantry, while the trains and military police performed duty of a kind to win the highest praise. A great store of artillery and engineer material was captured, as well as many prisoners.

Section VIII


The Division remained on the line it had won for some time after the St. Mihiel drive. Certain minor adjustments were made in the sector held by our troops, and by the French on our right and left; the position on the Cotes de Woevre was organized and prepared against a possible counteroffensive movement by the enemy. The Division passed under the orders of the 2nd Colonial Army Corps (French), and headquarters were established at Troyonsur-Meuse. Very active raiding operations to make prisoners were undertaken, the foist Infantry executing a raid on Bois de Warville, the 102nd executing another in the direction of St. Hilaire, while the 52nd Brigade was equally active against the enemy's new line on the left. Many prisoners were captured, and the enemy constantly harassed by these means. His artillery fire, both gas and high explosive, caused our troops, in such advanced positions as Hannonville, Saulx, Wadonville, and Herbeuville, considerable losses, while weather conditions and the insufficiency of shelter made the occupation of the sector very trying. When the situation warranted the move, such elements as could be spared were brought back to positions further in rear, where better living conditions were available. It was at this time the official division insignia to be worn on the left sleeve was authorized and adopted, -- a blue YD monogram on a diamond of khaki color.

On September 26th, the Division was given the mission of executing a heavy raid against the German positions at Marcheville and Riaville, as a diversion in the general attack of the First American Army, which was to start on that date on the whole Meuse-Argonne front. Similar raids were to be executed by the other divisions of the corps at the same hour, the orders being to penetrate the enemy lines, make prisoners, and occupy the position throughout the day, withdrawing under cover of darkness. The operation, undertaken under cover of dense fog by a battalion each of the 102nd and 103rd Infantry, strongly supported by machine gun detachments and the divisional artillery, operating under exceptional difficulties, was success fully accomplished despite heavy enemy resistance and counterattack, which caused severe casualties. The 103rd Infantry entered the enemy lines in perfect order, while for the meritorious conduct of the troops of the 102nd Infantry, the regimental colors and 1st Battalion of that regiment were decorated with the Croix de Guerre by Marshal Petain in person on January 14th, 1919.

Changes in command at this time included the following: 104th Infantry, Colonel G. McCaskey succeeded by Colonel B. F. Cheatham on September 28th; 102nd F. A., Lieut. Colonel J. F. J. Herbert succeeded by Colonel J. A. Mack on October 9th; 103rd F. A., Colonel P. D. Glassford succeeded by Colonel J. A. Twachtman on October 20th, Colonel Glassford being promoted to Brigadier General and succeeding Colonel O. W. B. Farr in command of the 51st F. A. Brigade. October 1st, Major F. B. La Crosse succeeded to the command of the 101st F. S. Battalion; October 18th, Major H. L. Bowen took command of 103rd M. G. Battalion; October 1st, Major W. Denton took command of 101st San. Train; September 28th, Captain W. L. Morrison took command of Div. Hdqrs. Troop; September 18th, Major Henry Wheelock succeeded Major T. C. Baker in command of the 101st Supply Train; October 19th, Captain J. R. Sanborn succeeded Lieut.Colonel J. D. Murphy in command of 102nd M. G. Battalion.

Withdrawn from this (Troyon) sector, the Division passed into army reserve, concentrated in and near Verdun. On October 14, the 104th Infantry was put into sector as reserve of the 17th Army Corps (French); it relieved elements of the 18th Division -(French), and took part in an attack for the purpose of obtaining possession of the Bois d'Haumont on October 16th, supported by tanks. The following day, the Division Headquarters was moved from Verdun to the advanced command post near Bras, and the relief of the 18th Division was completed. The occupation of this sector (Neptune) continued until November 14th. While the larger part of the army, in conjunction with the 4th French Army, was operating west of the 1Vleuse, in the Argonne Forest, the 17th Corps (which included the 33rd, 29th, 79th, and 26th American Divisions, as well as three French Divisions) was charged with the duty of protecting the army's right flank and extending its success easterly and northeasterly by clearing the enemy from his very strongly held positions on the Cotes de Meuse above Verdun. To hold this line, which guarded a main line of communications, was vitally important to the Germans. The successive reduction and occupation of such strong points and resistance centers in the general position as Bois de Consenvoye, La Grande Montagne, Bois Belleu, Hill 360, Hill 324,Bois d'Ormont, Ville-devant-Chaumont, Bois de Ville, and La Warville, to name only the principal strongholds, was the difficult task assigned to the various units of the corps. Conditions were very severe, not only for the Twenty-Sixth, but for all divisions. Influenza was prevalent; the rain was almost continuous; shelter was insufficient. The enemy occupied positions of great natural strength, and was backed by a numerous artillery. What estimate the enemy placed on the importance of the Verdun front may be judged from the following captured official German document:

* * * * * * * *
"Vth Army Staff
Ia No. 10619 Secret
  Army Hq.,
Oct. 1, 1918

According to information in our possession, the enemy is about to attack the Vth Army east of the Meuse and try to push toward Longuyon. The object of this attack is to cut the Longuyon-Sedan line, the most important artery of the Army of the West. Moreover, the enemy's intention is to render it impossible for us to exploit the Briey basin, on which depends in large part our steel production. Thus the heaviest part of the task will once more fall on the Vth Army in the course of the combats in the coming weeks, and the safety of the Fatherland will be in its hands. It is on the unconquerable resistance of the Verdun front that depends the fate of a great part of the west front, perhaps even of our nation. The Fatherland must rest assured that every commander and every man realizes the greatness of his mission and that he will do his duty to the very end. If we do this, the enemy's attack will, as heretofore, break against our firm will to hold.

The Commander in Chief,
Von der Marwitz,
General of Cavalry and Adjutant General."
* * * * * * * *

To insure that the Verdun front would hold, the enemy concentrated there the best troops at his disposal. And that as many German divisions as possible should be pinned there, and thus diverted from the defense of the Argonne line, was the purpose of the higher command. Thus, if the service of the Division at Verdun was difficult, it was even more a service of the highest responsibility and honor.

Attacks were made on October 23rd-27th inclusive, in conjunction with the 29th Division against the Pylon d'Etrayes-Bois Belleu-Hill 360 positions, by the 51st Infantry Brigade, which won for us a considerable advance, in spite of our heavy losses. For the possession of Bois Belleu, the 101st Infantry struggled desperately; to win a foothold on Hill 360 beyond the Bois d'Ormont, the 102nd Infantry gave of its best, just as the Division's neighbors on the left (the 29th and 33rd, and later the 79th Divisions) had fought for every meter of ground between our line and the river Meuse. Our rapidly waning strength in effectives was very serious, especially as no replacements, either of officers or men, were forthcoming at the time. On October 24th, Maj.-General Edwards was succeeded in the command of the Division by Brig.-General Frank E. Bamford. In the 51st Infantry Brigade, Colonel H. I. Bearss (of the 102nd Infantry) had taken Brig.-General G. H. Shelton's place during the latter's illness, between October 14th and 25th, on which date General Shelton resumed command. On October 25th Colonel E. L. Logan of the 101st Infantry was succeeded by Colonel H. P. Hobbs. Following the attacks of October 23rd-27th, the next few days passed without any action save vigorous and successful patrolling to make prisoners, though the artillery executed heavy retaliation and destructive concentrations every day on the German battery positions and assembly points. But, following the reported commencement of an enemy withdrawal on November 7th, the Division, with its general axis of advance changed from east to southeast, executed a second attack on a wide front, toward the Jumelles d'Orne beyond the Chaumont-Flabas line. The attack was renewed daily up to and including November 11th. The battalions, reduced to mere skeletons at their effective strength, were pushed forward slowly but steadily in the face of the heaviest opposition, the enemy yielding only very gradually. Finally, at 11 o'clock, of November 11th, the line attained extended southward from Ville-devant-Chaumont, past Cap de Bon Esperance and St. Andre Farm, to the vicinity of the Ouvrage de Bezonvaux, where the cessation of hostilities brought the active operations of the Division to a conclusion. A few days earlier, on November 6th, Colonel F. M. Hume, of the 103rd Infantry, had been succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Dowell. On November 9th Brig.-General C. H. Cole was succeeded in command of the 52nd Infantry Brigade by Brig.General G. H. Shelton, whose command of the 51st Infantry Brigade was taken over by Colonel H. I. Bearss. On November 2nd Captain R. Myers succeeded Major M. G. Bulkeley in command of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion. The latter days of the Verdun operations brought in daily captures of prisoners, secured by raiding patrols from all the infantry regiments. The stay of the Division on the Verdun front was longer than that of any other (25 full days) except its neighbor, the 26th French. Its ground gained amounted to a depth of 5.5 kilometers, every inch of which was secured by the hardest fighting against the greatest difficulties.

On November 14th the Division was relieved in the Neptune Sector by the 6th Division, and proceeded by marching to the Eighth Training Area, where headquarters were established at Montigny le Roi on November 23rd. An extensive program of training -- drill, ceremonies, terrain exercises, and maneuvers -- was undertaken. The troops were refitted, and many replacements received from hospitals and depot, so that gradually approximately full strength was resumed. On the occasion-of the visit of President (Woodrow) Wilson to G. H. Q., December 24th-25th, the guard of honor was furnished by the 2nd Battalion, 102nd Infantry, with the band of the Engineers; the Division was represented at the Presidential Review at Humes by a provisional battalion of infantry, and detachments from the 102nd Machine Gun Battalion, 101st Engineers, and 101st Field Signal Battalion; and the President ate Christmas dinner with the Commanding General and officers of Division Headquarters and officers who had received American or French decorations.

Changes in command during this period were as follows: In the command of the Division, Brig.-General F. E. Bamford was succeeded by Maj.-General Harry C. Hale on November 17th. On November 23rd, Brig.-General L. L. Durfee succeeded Colonel H. I. Bearss in command of the 51st Infantry Brigade, and was succeeded by Brig.-General G. H. Shelton on December 7th. Brig.-General C. H. Cole resumed command of the 52nd Infantry Brigade December 7th. On February 7th, Brig.-General P. D. Glassford was succeeded in command of the 51st F. A. Brigade by Brig.-General J. H. Sherburne. On February 4th, Colonel E. L. Logan resumed command of the 101st Infantry. On December 12th, Colonel D. Potts took command of the 102nd Infantry. On December 2nd, Colonel P. W. Arnold succeeded Lieut.Colonel C. M. Dowell in command of the 103rd Infantry, and following the death of Colonel Arnold, on January 25th, Colonel F. M. Hume resumed command (February 4th). In the 101st Machine Gun Battalion, Major L. H. Watres was in command December 27th-January 14th, and Major S. Westbrook succeeded him on February 28th. Major W. R. J. Carpenter commanded the 102nd M. G. Battalion December l0th-February 22nd, succeeded on the latter date by Major J. R. Sanborn. On January 11th, Major A. L. Crafts took command of 101st Field Signal Battalion. On December 10th, Lieut.-Colonel F. E. Jones took command of 101st Sanitary Train. On January 5th, 1st Lieutenant T. J. Byrne was placed in command of Divisional Headquarters Troop. Jan. 21, 1919, the Division began moving to the American Embarkation Center, where headquarters were opened at Ecommoy (Sarihe). On March 14th, orders were received for the movement of the Division to the embarkation port for home -- almost exactly eighteen months from the date the first units of the Division arrived in France.

Section IX


The Division was organized on August 22, 1917, in BOSTON, MASS., from units of National Guard troops of the NEW ENGLAND STATES and a quota of National Army troops from CAMP DEVENS, MASSACHUSETTS

It was trained at the following places: --
Division Headquarters Boston, Mass.
Headquarters Troop Boston, Mass.
101st Field Signal Battalion Boston, Mass.
Hdqrs. 51st Infantry Brigade Framingham, Mass.
101st Infantry Framingham, Mass.
102nd Infantry New Haven, Conn
102nd Machine Gun Battalion Framingham, Mass.
Hdqrs. 52nd Infantry Brigade Westfield, Mass.
103rd Infantry Westfield, Mass.
104th Infantry Westfield, Mass.
103rd Macine Gun Battalion Quonset Point, R.I.
101st Machine Gun Battalion Niantic, Conn.

First troops sailed from HOBOKEN, N. J., on September 7, 1917, and landed at ST. NAZAIRE, France, on September 21, 1917.

The Division remained in the Training Area, with headquarters at NEUFCHATEAU, for about four months, during which time details of troops were engaged constructing hospitals, building telephone lines, acting as labor detachments, assisting in organizing sections of the SERVICE OF SUPPLIES, and otherwise making preparations for the ARMY which began to arrive after January 1st, 1918.

PRISONERS CAPTUREDOfficers, 61; Other Ranks, 3,087; Total: 3,148.
  Officers Men Total
Killed: 78 1,652 1,730
Wounded Severely: 100 3,524 3,624
Wounded Slightly: 111 2,708 2,819
Gassed: 113 3,250 3,363
Missing: 10 273 283
Prisoners: 9 127 136
Totals: 421 11,534 11,955
Offensive Date Depth, Kilo.
AISNE-MARNE: July 18-25,1918 17.5
ST. MIHIEL: Sept. 12-13, 1918 14.0
MEUSE-ARGONNE: Oct. 18 - Nov. 11, 1918 5.5
  Total depth of advance: 37.0

Section X

The Division has been cited in American and French orders and commended in letters and service memoranda as follows: -Cited in G. O. No. 7, Hq. 11th Army Corps (French), March 15, 1918.
Cited (104th Inf.) in G. O. No. 737 A, Hq. 32nd Army Corps (French), April 6, 1918.
Commended (101st Inf.) in Service Memorandum, Hq VIIIth Army (French), June 8, 1918.
Commended in Service Memorandum, Hq VIIth Army (French), June 17, 1918.
Congratulated in Memorandum, Hq. 32nd Army Corps (French), June 18, 1918.
Cited in G. O. No. 131, Hq. 32nd Army Corps (French), Jun 18, 1918.
Commended (103rd Inf.) in letter from G. H. Q., A. E. F., June 20, 1918.
Cited in G. O. No. 133, Hq. 32nd Army Corps (French), June 27, 1918.
Congratulated in letter, Hq. VIth Army (French), July 29, 1918.
Cited in G. O. VIth Army (French), August 9, 1918.
Cited in G. O., G. H. Q., American E. F., August 28, 1918.
Cited (102nd Inf.) in G. 0. No. 19, Hq. 5th Army Corps, American E. F., September 18, 1918.
Commended in letter from Hq. 2nd Colonial Corps (French), October 3, 1918.
Commended in letter from Hq. 2nd Colonial Corps (French), October 7, 1918.
Commended in letter from Hq. 17th Army Corps (French), October 24, 1918.
Commended (104th Inf.) in letter from Hq. 18th Division (French), November 17, 1918.
Commended in letter from Hq. 2nd Colonial Corps (French), November 14, 1918.
Cited in G. O. No. 232, G. H. Q., A. E. F., December 19, 1918.
Cited in G. O. No. 238, G. H. Q.,-A. E. F., December 26, 1918.

The Medal of Honor was awarded to two privates of the 26th Division, in the following terms: --





FRANCE, March 8, 1919.

The Division Commander is pleased to announce the award by the President, in the name of Congress, of the Medal of Honor to thfollowing named enlisted men, for acts of gallantry and intrepidity, above and beyond the call of duty, performed in action against the enemy while members of this command.

PRIVATE, FIRST CLASS, GEORGE DILBOY (Deceased), COMPANY "H," 103rd INFANTRY (Medal awarded December 5, 1918)

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, above and beyond the call of duty, in action with the enemy on July 18, 1918, near Belleau, France.

after his platoon had gained its objective along a railroad embankment, Private Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon by an enemy machine gun from one hundred yards. From a standing position on the railroad track, fully exposed to view, he opened fire at once, but failing to silence the gun, rushed forward, with his bayonet fixed, through a wheat field towards the gun emplacement, falling within twenty-five yards of the gun, with his right leg nearly severed above the knee, and with several bullet-holes in his body. With undaunted courage he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing two of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew.

PRIVATE, FIRST CLASS, MICHAEL J. PERKINS (Deceased), COMPANY "D," 101st INFANTRY (Medal awarded February 20, 1919)

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, above and beyond the call of duty, in action with the enemy at Belleu Bois, France, October 27, 1918.

Private Perkins, voluntarily and alone, crawled to a German "pill box" machine-gun emplacement, from which grenades were being thrown at his platoon. Awaiting his opportunity, when the door was again opened and another grenade thrown, he threw a bomb inside, bursting the door open; and then drawing his trench knife, rushed into the emplacement. In a hand-to-hand struggle he killed or wounded several of the occupants and captured about 25 prisoners, at the same time silencing seven machine guns.

Such acts as these are rare indeed, and it is to be regretted that both these soldiers lost their lives as a result of their extreme courage and fearlessness. Their deeds will stand recorded in the annals of this division and will remain in the memories of its officers and men as true examples of the highest spirit of patriotism and self-sacrifice.

  Major General Commanding.

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