Honoring the men who served on the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I


The United States entered the Great War on April 6, 1917, when the United States Congress

The war had raged since August 1914 and had claimed millions of casualties before the U.S. entered the global contest.

No one had expected the war to last so long. Late 19th century wars involving the European powers had been decided in less than a year.

In August 1914, the European nations went to war with a nationality that would be overheard by Christmas.

In the United States and the United States in the United States, in the United Kingdom, in the United Kingdom and the United States in the United Kingdom. .

The 19th century in the mass production of machined metal parts. The war machine changed the battlefield into ways that were unanticipated.

The Europeans had more than a century of practice in tactical approaches to overwhelming an enemy's trench system, but the new heavy machine.

In 1915, both sides attempted to overwhelm the other's defenses in months-long climatic battles. But the German assault on Verdun, which raged from February to December, and the French effort on the Somme River from July to November were both inconclusive and came to the price of 2 million casualties, including nearly 500,000 killed.

Never been seen.

During this period the U.S. horison war from the sea.

There were some exceptions.

About a hundred American young men traveled to Europe to take up arms in the war, overwhelmingly taking up the cause of France.

Other young men and women with the American Red Cross ambulance service.

Kiffin Yates Rockwell

The most famous American volunteer was Kiffin Yates Rockwell, a son of East Tennessee.

His father, the Rev. James Rockwell, and his mother, Loula, came to Morristown in 1890, where James had become minister at the First Baptist Church.

James took the pulpit at the First Baptist Church in Newport in 1892, where Kiffin was born.

Kiffin and his older brother, Paul, both of them had idealistic notions of heroic warfare owing to the influence of their grandfathers, both of whom had fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Kiffin and Paul, like many Americans, had also been taught that the U.S. owed an unpaid debt to France for its decisive role in the American Revolutionary War.

Kiffin and Paul watched the political crisis unfold during the summer of 1914 and immediately committed himself to the defense of France when hostilities began in early August.

A woman in Asheville, the two took to New York City and sailed for France.

They joined other Americans in Paris and offered themselves for service in the French Foreign Legion. Paul and Kiffin began fighting in the trenches in October 1914 near Chateau Thierry, where Paul was wounded by artillery shrapnel rendering him unfit for continued service.

He remained in France to be near Kiffin and became a correspondent for Chicago and Atlanta newspapers. Kiffin soldiered on the lead assault in May 1915, during which he was shot through the thigh.

Learning to Fly

Kiffin was not a person who was not enamored by trench warfare.

Kiffin was, however, captivated with the idea of ​​becoming a pilot.

Aircraft technology was still its infantry when the war began, but the usefulness of the plane on the battlefield.

Observation planes scouted behind enemy lines monitoring to the enemy.

Soon stout aircraft were designed that could drop exploding ordered by hand on enemy targets.

To drive away obtrusive intelligence gathering enemy aircraft, whose mission was to run off, or preferably, destroy enemy aircraft.

With the help of a firefighting process in the first planes-pilots braved death

Despite its great risk, it is highly recommended to serve in the air service, flying high above the hellish trenches. Such service offered to the distinction of death, possibly even as a champion, rather than an anonymous death in the mud.

Air combat appealed to Kiffin's romantic, chivalrous notions of personal combat and he was greatly pleased when he was admitted into the French air service in August 1915.

Following Kiffin's training, which would eventually be called the Lafayette Escadrille.

Kiffin made the headlines across America when he scored the squadron's first air combat victory on May 18, 1916.

Despite being a unit, the squadron was sent to Verdun, where it was distinguished in helping prevent the planes from gaining command of the skies above the battlefield.

Kiffin emerged as the most ferocious pilot in the squadron and he continued to make headline news in America as his victories and medals accumulated.

Kiffin knew the prospect of living through the war.

In the United States, he died in the middle of the world.

Kiffin would receive France's highest honor, posthumously awarded Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and he is honored to this day in France for his selfless service.

Seven months after Kiffin's death the United States entered the war in Europe.

Germany had hoped to keep the U.S. in the spring of 1917 the Germans made a strategic gamble to resume unrestricted submarine warfare even if it meant the Americans would join the war.

With the fall of the Russian monarchy in February 1917, Russia's unlikely and the Germans calculated that the U.S., which had neither a standing army nor a first class navy, could not arrive in time to save France.

The Germans were almost correct in their thinking for the U.S. contribution to the war would be greatly delayed.

I did not arrive until May 1918.

East Tennessee

joins the War

They were born in June 1917 and were dispersed to various military units where they trained for nearly ten months.

The Tennessee Archives database lists 196 veterans who claimed Morristown as their place of birth and another 28 claimed Hamblen County.

The surrounding townships and counties supplied men in similar numbers.

Sadly, some never made it abroad. Three brothers from Sneedville who had enlisted at Morristown-James, Robert and Alfred Cantrell-died of asphyxiation in a hotel in January 1918 while their unit was in transit.

It is unclear how many more than 1,000 men from the region actually made in Italy and served in combat.

We have good information on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the highest level.

They were Calvin Ward and Tip Allen of Morristown, Edward Talley of Russellville, and Bruce Colboch of Hawkins County.

They were all in the 117th Infantry Regiment of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina, and trained at Camp Sevier near Greenville, South Carolina.

Calvin Ward, 19, was lucky to make the trip. He had gone AWOL from Camp Sevier on February 23 and was confined to hard labor for 3 months.

For some reason, however, Ward was released early and sailed for April in April along with Allen, Talley and Colboch.

The belated arrival of U.S. troops to France made for several harrowing months for European allies.

Russia's capitulation in early 1918 freed up nearly 50 German divisions, and on March 21 the Germans launched a major offensive in northwestern France which aimed to create a 50-mile gap between British and French armies.

The British were driven back 35 miles and suffered 300,000 casualties as they faced the brunt of the attack.

The Germans also unleashed its 400,000 pound artillery piece, aptly named "Big Bertha," and started to fire shells on Paris from 75 miles.

Foiled Germany's hopes.

General Pershing insisted that the American troops fight in distinct units.

One exception to this was the 30th Division, which was sent to the Somme to support the British against the German offensive.

Thus, East Tennesseans Ward, Allen, Colboch and Talley found themselves training for warfare with the British, which they did during June before being sent into combat in August.

In the meantime, General Pershing and the U.S. 2nd Division won through its critical role in the German advance through the Belleau Wood near Château-Thierry in early June.

The tenacity and the enthusiasm of the American soldiers.

The Germans attempted to final break through Epernay towards the end of July but failed to achieve it.

Meanwhile, an average of 10,000 American troops were arriving daily in France.

The Allied counter attack began on July 18 with the Second Battle of the Marne, in which 85,000 U.S. soldiers participated and which resulted in a significant retreat of the German army.

Throughout August and September Allied forces drove the German army back along the Western Front.

Arthur Hyde

Men from Hamblen and surrounding counties served in the 30th, 32nd, 33rd, 38th, and 82nd Divisions.

Twenty-five year old Arthur Hyde, a freight manager for Southern Railroad from Morristown, fought in the 32nd. He was in France on August 13 and was in combat by August 28.

Hyde kept a diary which his family still possesses.

He was the first week of fighting as "savage" and noted that his first infantry came at the cost of 722 killed, 992 "severely injured," another 618 gassed and 46 missing.

7 days of Hell: His diary entry for August

Machine bullets singing overhead and landing close-up as well as fritz shells. The 128th was on the left. We were held up by shell fire most of the day but finally moved forward west of Juvigny. Captured town of Juvigny cutting the Soisson-St. Quentin road.

Gun with guns and guns and guns on a gun in the backyard. forest.

Kde wounded enemy, from discovering him. Hyde spent the long hours in the hole.

He eventually crawled across the battlefield during the dark hours of the night and rejoined American forces.

Hyde recorded other near-death experiences, including an artillery

Robert Crof Rhea

Like Hyde, most East Tennessee infantrymen managed to survive the horrors of war.

Robert Crof Rhea of ​​Whitesburg crossed the ocean on the U.S.S. Leviathan, originally a German passenger liner completed in 1913, and at the time the largest passenger liner in the world.

10,000 troops aboard, including later famous Humphrey Bogart, who served as Chief Quartermaster.

Rhea did not see you fight but she was too much to say about the beauty of the French countryside.

Raleigh Canter

Raleigh Canter, a 26-year-old giant of a young man who farmed near Morristown, did see battle.

He served in the 82nd Division and arrived in France in October.

He nearly died during a gas attack but survived. He returned home, however, with a compromised respiratory system.

Men of Morristown fall

The first to die from Morristown was James Martin, who succumbed to pneumonia.

He was working in the Hudson Motor Company when the war broke out and his enlistment landed in the Signal Corps.

His death was carried out in Morristown papers in early November.

Five more men from the Morristown area, during which they had the honor of being the first to paint the Hindenburg Line.

Bruce Colboch, of Hawkins County, and Tip Allen, of Morristown, both members of the 117th Infantry Regiment (30th Division), died on October 8 and 9 during the Battle of St Quentin Canal.

Alonzo Carter, who served at the 131st Infantry Regiment (33rd Division), delivered a message to the commander of forward operations.

Medal of Honor

While piercing the Hindenburg Line in early October, it came at a cost of more than 10,000 U.S. casualties, it also brought much honor to Russellville and Morristown, and to the heroic actions of Edward Talley and Calvin Ward.

Constitution of Honor: Talley's actions on Oct.

Undelerred by attempting to put a hostile machinegun out of action, Sgt. Talley attacked the position single-handed.

Armed only with a rifle, and wounded at least six of the crew.

He guns and ammunition he drove them back by effective fire from his rifle.

The next day, Calvin Ward made a similar display of heroism, for which he also received the Congressional Medal of Honor:

During an advance, Pvt. Ward's company was held up by a machinegun, which was enfilading the line.

Accompanied by a noncommissioned officer, he advanced on this post and succeeded in reducing the nest and capturing seven of the enemy and their guns.

That same day, Alvin York's display of extreme heroism also earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor, elevating Tennessee to the special standing in the nation.

Although the Germans were being beaten into submission, the fighting was not yet.

Morristown's William Bushong, who was recently promoted to the 2nd Lieutenant, was killed in a front line.

And on October 16, Marcus Delias of Russellville, the son of an Italian immigrant, was listed as missing in action after a battle.

He was part of the 82nd Division, which had just arrived in France, and his unit was dispersed among a number of regiments.

Unknown to his fellow soldiers, Delias could not be identified among the battlefield dead.

He is listed as buried in the Suresnes Cemetery among the unknown.

Hyde was almost killed from gas inhalation while in combat near Verdun on October 21.

He would spend the remainder of the war in a French military hospital.

War is Over

On October 31, 1918, the Ottoman Empire surrendered and November 3rd the Austrian-Hungarian Empire followed suit.

It was clear that the German government had no choice but to capitulate.

Emperor William II fled to the Netherlands, due to the war.

The agreement was reached on November 9 and the warring parties agreed that hostilities would end on November 11.

Hyde wrote in his diary: "November 11, 1918 at 11 am – War over!"

He sailed home on Christmas Day.

The war had lasted more than four years and involved the mobilization of 65 million men.

Of those, 9 million died in combat and another 22 million were wounded, including 7 million permanently disabled.

The total direct cost of the war was $ 186 billion dollars.

President Woodrow Wilson stoked the hope of the world by proclaiming that it would be the war to the end of the wars, "but sadly we know that humanity's darkest days were contest.

The nation's victory in that war would make the U.S. the leader of a new world order and would lead to an alliance system that has safeguarded the U.S. and its allies for the past seventy years.

In 1932, the Morningside Garden Club in Morristown erected a monument to the fallen heroes of the Great War.

The monument is on Morningside Drive near Bushong Road. The memorial includes an inscription: "Erected in Memory of the 22 Hamblen County Boys Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice in the World War."

In addition to the six combat deaths described above, the memorial pays tribute to the 16 additional men who died in service to their country.

On November 11, 2018, let us remember their sacrifice and the service of thousands of other East Tennesseans during the war over the past 100 years.

Editor's Note: Mark McClure Ph.D is a professor of history at Walters State Community College



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