Source: NC Digital Collections
Company D, 105th Engineers Regiment, 30th Division; Camp Jackson, SC; probably 1919, before mustering out
Harvey T. Chadwick
Shallotte, Brunswick County, NC
March 21, 1918 – September 29, 1918
May 26, 1918 – September 29, 1918
Killed in Action: September 29, 1918
Harvey T. Chadwick was born and raised in Shallotte, NC. His family appears to have remained in the area throughout their lives. All are buried in Gurganus Cemetery in Shallotte.
Harvey’s twin brother Harry also served. He served with the Replacement Engineers in Virginia throughout WWI. He was discharged January 20, 1919, returned home and passed away many years later in 1979. Harry’s grave includes a WWI plaque.
Harvey and Harry were living in Shallotte during the WWI draft in 1917. Harvey was single and listed farming as his occupation.
Harvey was ordered to report to the Brunswick County military board on March 22, 1918, with 13 other men from Brunswick County [source:ancestry.com]. Included in this group of 14 men was Thedford Lewis from Supply and Samuel Peter Cox from Bolivia. All were sent to Camp Jackson, SC. On April 24, Harvey and Thedford joined the 105th Engineers, Company D, 30th Division. Samuel joined Company A. Their very strenuous training was at Camp Sevier, SC, which was detailed in a previous post.
As the table in a previous post listed, three Brunswick County men in the NC National Guard were already members of the 105th Engineers. They were: Lawson Ballard (Company A), George Harker Hewett (Company A), and Vander L. Simmons (Company A). On May 26, 1918, Harvey boarded Talthybius to France, along with the other five Brunswick County men.
The 30th Division soon took positions at the Hindenburg Line between the 27th American Division on the left, and the 46th British Division on the right, in front of the Tunnel of St. Quentin.
Their goal: Break the Hindenburg Line.
Built in late 1916, the Hindenburg Line—named by the British for the German commander in chief, Paul von Hindenburg; it was known to the Germans as the Siegfried Line—was a heavily fortified zone running several miles behind the active front between the north coast of France and Verdun, near the border of France and Belgium.
By September 1918, the formidable system consisted of six defensive lines, forming a zone some 6,000 yards deep, ribbed with lengths of barbed wire and dotted with concrete emplacements, or firing positions. Though the entire line was heavily fortified, its southern part was most vulnerable to attack, as it included the St. Quentin Canal and was not out of sight from artillery observation by the enemy. Also, the whole system was laid out linearly, as opposed to newer constructions that had adapted to more recent developments in firepower and were built with scattered “strong points” laid out like a checkerboard to enhance the intensity of artillery fire.
The Allies would use these vulnerabilities to their advantage…
Source: This Day in History
Source: By Jbulera8271 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Germans occupied the higher ground, giving them machine gun fire on all approaches.
There were a large number of reinforced dugouts, wired with electricity, with steps down 30 feet, capable of protecting 4 – 6 men.
The large tunnel where the canal ran could shelter an entire division. It was wired for electricity and filled with barges. There were tunnels connecting the trenches and to the basement of a large stone building used as headquarters. This large subterranean system of tunnels with hidden exits and entrances formed a safe method for communication and reinforcement for the Germans.
See the post about the NC Museum of History’s WWI exhibit. The diorama has a detailed view of trench warfare.
The assault began at 5:50am on September 29, 1918.
Source: NC Digital Archives
(To zoom in further, use the map from the Source.)
In the early hours before the assault began, the 105th Engineers were responsible for the laying of the “Jumping off Tape.” The tape guided the infantry and ensured they left on a straight front. According to Colonel Pratt’s diary, Lieutenant Griffin from Company A and several of his men were severely gassed, with two corporals missing. Recall that Corporals Ballard and Hewett from Company A were severely gassed on this date. There are no details on the circumstances surrounding the Brunswick County casualties. But another possibility may be found in this account of Company A’s activities (Corporals Ballard and Hewett were in Company A):
Company A: The detail of 50 men from Company A, under Lieut. Taylor, carried out its work of searching for traps, mines, captured dumps and reporting on dugouts, roads, and other accommodations. During the 29th they exploited the territory covered by the infantry to a line between G 15 d 5.4 and A 27 a 9.7. This detail suffered eight casualties from gas shells during the day. Source: Page 140 of The History of the 105th Engineering Regiment of Engineers
Pvt Chadwick was in Company D. Their activities that day are detailed on page 147. They were responsible for keeping the roads clear. They filled shell holes, removed obstacles, and filled in trenches and machine gun pits. They were constantly under fire, sometimes got ahead of infantry, and captured prisoners, some refusing to surrender. On the 29th, Company D reported 5 KIA, 42 Wounded, and 1 MIA. Pvt Harvey T. Chadwick was Killed in Action.
When the assault had ended, the entire Hindenburg system and beyond was captured, including numerous surrounding cities and trenches. (More on NC and Breaking the Hindenburg Line)
Chapter XV, the Honor Roll of the 105th Engineers, begins on page 277 of The History of the 105th Engineering Regiment of Engineers.
Pvt Harvey Chadwick’s name is on the first page, which is shown in its entirety on the left.
Pvt Chadwick’s hometown is listed as “Charlotte.” There were many mistakes in the names of cities in various documents, but one very common mistake seen was between Charlotte and Shallotte.
Pvt Harvey Chadwick’s sacrifice was not in vain. The breaking of the Hindenburg Line was pivotal in ending the years long war. Congratulations were received from Australia and Britain, who participated in the battle with the 30th Division.
An excerpt from one is shown below. (From Major General E.M. Lewis, Commander of the 30th Division)
To be given the task, in its initial effort, to play an important role in breaking through the Hindenburg Line, the strongest defenses on the Western Front, was a great honor, and the fact that the break-through was actually made on the divisional front is ample evidence that the honor was not misplaced, and is a credit to the fighting efficiency of the division, of the command of which the undersigned has every reason to be proud.
Another letter dated February 16, 1919 from Major General E.M. Lewis, Commander of the 30th Division, to Colonel Joseph Hyde Pratt, Commander of the 105th Engineers reads:
SUBJECT : Service of the 105th Engineers.
1. Before you pass from under my command I wish to tell you how much I appreciate the services of yourself and of the officers and enlisted men of your splendid Regiment.
2. The entire Regiment rendered splendid service in the operations of this Division and its allied units. Called upon to perform a great variety of duties from building railroads in the back areas to accompanying attacking troops to assist in consolidating the position, its personnel has uniformly exhibited courage, fortitude and skill, and has repeatedly earned and received the commendation of Commanders. No matter how difficult the task given it there has never been exhibited the least doubt or reluctance in attempting it.
3. Upon your return to the United States may you all receive the well-earned reward of the expressions of a grateful people, whom you have well served.
Source: Page xiv of The History of the 105th Engineering Regiment of Engineers
December 16, 1921: Several years after the war, Pvt Harvey T. Chadwick’s remains were returned to the United States on USAT St. Mihiel. [Source: ancestry.com]
His remains were buried in Gurganus Cemetery, Shallotte, with his family.
Some members of the The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range visited the cemetery recently to pay tribute to Pvt Chadwick and take photos of his headstone.
While not an official military headstone, it does include his service.
Harvey T. Chadwick gave his life for his country.
Most of the information gathered was from The History of the 105th Engineering Regiment of Engineers; and Operations, Thirtieth Division, Old Hickory; as well as the incredible diary Colonel Pratt kept for his wife and son.
If you would like to help us honor Harvey T. Chadwick or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:
Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
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