Category Archives: Honor a Veteran

WWI Profile: James Isaac Jenrette 1894-1973

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Insignia of the 3rd Division
James Isaac Jenrette
Ash, Brunswick County, NC
Regular Army
Private
Served:
November 22, 1917 – January 10, 1919
Overseas:
April 6, 1918 – December 31, 1918
Wounded: July 26, 1918

James Isaac Jenrette was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. A partial family tree is located in FamilySearch. James had two brothers who also served, Wendell Vivian Jenrette, who served stateside in the Army, and Walter Regan Jenrette, who served in the Navy.

His WWI Draft Registration shows he was single, living in Ash, and working for his father on his farm.

James did not wait to be drafted, but enlisted in the Regular Army on November 22, 1917, at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. He was assigned to Company G, 4th Infantry, 3rd “Rock of the Marne/Blue and White Devils” Division.

On April 6, 1918, Pvt Jenrette boarded Great Northern [Source: Ancestry] at Newport News, VA, with the rest of his unit [Source: Ancestry].

Pvt Jenrette was present when his Division earned their nickname “Rock of the Marne” after famously holding back the Germans on the Marne River on July 14, 1918. Their commanding officer cried, “Nous Resterons La” (We Shall Remain Here), which became their motto. General Pershing called this stand “one of the most brilliant pages in the annals of military history”.

Source: Wikipedia: 2nd Battle of the Marne
The Second Battle of the Marne (July 15 – August 6, 1918) was the last major German offensive on the Western Front. The attack failed and marked the start of the relentless Allied advance which culminated in the Armistice with Germany about 100 days later.

The Germans’ target was the salient, shown at left, in the shape of a triangle with Château-Thierry at the apex. The other sides, about 45 km each, were formed by the cities of Soissons and Reims.

Source of map, photo, and descriptions below: The Journal of the World War One Historical Association: Rock of the Marne, from a lecture in the 1930s for the US Army Infantry School at Leavenworth, KS

This map shows the Marne River and the location of Pvt Jenrette’s division, which was under French command. The 3rd Division is in the lower section of the map, which includes four infantry regiments: 4th, 7th, 30th, and 38th. Pvt Jenrette served in the 4th Infantry.

The Army’s defensive positions had not been completed before the enemy struck.

At midnight, July 14-15, the Germans began the artillery barrage. At 3:50am on July 15th, the enemy began their advance.

With hard fighting occurring all around them, the sector occupied by the 3rd Division faced the severest fighting by the American troops.

The Marne River in this area is 30-40 yards wide and too deep to ford. There were no bridges, and forests concealed the enemy’s approach. The area being defended by the 3rd Division was a vantage point desired by the enemy due to its tactical and strategic point of view.

As the enemy began to cross the river, Pvt Jenrette’s 3rd Division gave everything to prevent them from landing. Those Germans who succeeded in reaching the banks wiped out several platoons.

“At 3:30 am the general fire ceased and their creeping barrage started—behind which at 40 yards only, mind you, they came—with more machine guns than I thought the German Army owned.

“The enemy had to battle their way through the first platoon on the river bank—then they took on the second platoon on the forward edge of the railway where we had a thousand times the best of it—but the [Germans] gradually wiped it out. My third platoon [took] their place in desperate hand to hand fighting, in which some got through only to be picked up by the fourth platoon which was deployed simultaneously with the third. By the time they struck the fourth platoon they were all in and easy prey.

“It’s God’s truth that one Company of American soldiers beat and routed a full regiment of picked shock troops of the German Army. At ten o’clock the Germans were carrying back wounded and dead [from] the river bank and we in our exhaustion let them do it—they carried back all but six hundred which we counted later and fifty-two machine guns.

“We had started with 251 men and 5 lieutenants. I had left 51 men and 2 second lieutenants.”

~ Capt. Jesse Woolridge, Commander of Company G., 38th Infantry, 3rd Division


A German Officer’s Impressions

“I have never seen so many dead. I have never seen such a frightful spectacle of war. On the other bank the Americans, in close combat, had destroyed two of our companies. Lying down in the wheat, they had allowed our troops to approach and then annihilated them at a range of 30 to 50 yards.’The Americans kill everyone,’ was the cry of fear on July 15—a cry that caused our men to tremble for a long time.”

~ Lieutenant Kurt Hesse, Adjutant, German 5th Grenadiers

By the end of July 15th, the 3rd Division had not only stopped the two attacking enemy divisions, they had blocked the important Surmelin Valley and thereby halted the entire German advance. The last German offensive of the war had ended.

“A single regiment of the Third Division wrote one of the most brilliant pages in the annals of military history in preventing the crossing at certain points of its front, while on either flank the Germans, who had gained a footing, pressed forward. Our men were fighting in three directions, met the German attacks with counterattacks at critical points, and succeeded in throwing two German divisions into complete confusion, capturing 600 prisoners.”

~ General Pershing

Department of Army Poster, US Army Center of Military History
Near Mézy, France, July 1918. Here the German Army made its last great attack of World War I. It struck in the Marne River area along the road to Paris, and the weight of the blow fell on the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment under the command of MG Ulysses G. McAlexander, of the 3rd Division. This was their first fight. Firing in three directions, blasted by artillery fire, taking all flesh and blood could stand, the regiments held on doggedly and threw the enemy back across the Marne. This defense checked the Germans’ assault and made an Allied offensive possible. General Pershing called it “one of the most brilliant pages of our military annals.”


Pvt Jenrette’s NC WWI Service Card shows he was slightly injured on July 26, 1918. No details are available and it is not known when he returned to service.

The 3rd Division was not relieved until July 31st, totaling a bruising 70 days in continuous front line service.

During the operations in the Marne area, the 3rd Division suffered the following casualties:
1096 KIA
4833 Wounded
1777 Gassed
231 Missing
34 POW

In all, the 3rd Division was credited with the following operations:
Somme defensive
Lys defensive
Aisne defensive
Montdidier-Noyon defensive
Champagne-Marne defensive
Aisne-Marne Offensive
Somme Offensive
Oise-Aisne Offensive
Ypre-Lys Offensive
St. Mihiel Offensive
Meuse-Argonne Offensive
with the total number of battle casualties 16,456.

On November 14, 1918, after the Armistice, Pvt Jenrette transferred to Prisoner of War Escort until December 1918. According to his NC WWI Service Card, he returned on December 31, 1918. The Passenger List [Source: Ancestry] shows he boarded Ryndam for the return home on December 18, 1918, with other sick soldiers. The excerpt below shows him classified as “B-1” or “Available for limited military service.” Although unconfirmed, the likely reason is a temporary illness such as influenza. He was honorably discharged with no disability on January 10, 1919.

Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.

He returned to farming at his family’s farm in Ash. Soon after, he married and raised a family, continuing to farm in Brunswick County. Years later, his son, James Herman Jenrette served in the US Army after graduation from Mars College (now Mars University) in Asheville, NC.

James Isaac Jenrette passed away on November 13, 1973, in Elizabethtown, Bladen County, NC. He was laid to rest in McKeithan Cemetery in Ash, NC, with other members of his family. Military honors are not displayed.

Sources:
Hemenway, Frederic Vinton (1919) History of the Third division, United States army, in the world war : for the period, December 1, 1917, to January 1, 1919. Andernach-On-The-Rhine: M. Dumont Schauberg

The Journal of the World War One Historical Association: Rock of the Marne, from a lecture in the 1930s for the US Army Infantry School at Leavenworth, KS

If you would like to help us honor James Isaac Jenrette 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

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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WWI Profile: Guy Ellis Watson 1895-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Guy Ellis Watson
Leland, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
March 21, 1918 – October 21, 1918
Died of Disease: October 21, 1918

Guy Ellis Watson was born around 1895 in either New Hanover or Brunswick County, NC, and raised in Brunswick County. The 1900 Census shows him born in June 1893 (with brother Quincy Manual born in March 1893, clearly a mistake was made), living in Town Creek, Brunswick County, with father Wiley Worth and mother Eliza Jean Watson.

The 1910 Census lists Guy as 15 years old, a laborer at the farm. His brother Quincy is now reported as 17 years old, also a farmer. There are a total of seven children reported as born, all living.

Guy’s WWI Draft Registration Card (listed as Ellis Watson) shows him born in New Berlin, NC, on June 9, 1894, living in Leland, single, and working at a sawmill (Appomattox Box Shook Company). His NC WWI Service Card lists “Hanover, NC” as his birthplace.

Ellis Watson was ordered to report for duty on March 22, 1918 [Source:Ancestry] and sent to Camp Jackson, NC.

On April 24, he went to Medical Detachment, Embarkation Hospital, at Camp Stuart, VA. At the same time, Brunswick County Privates Willie Winfield Millinor (on our WWI Wall of Honor) and Roy McKeithan (later Sgt) were assigned, presumably making the trip with him.

Note: More Brunswick County men could have served there. NC WWI Service cards of those serving in Medical Detachment units do not always include the location of the hospital.

Embarkation Hospital, Camp Stuart.
Source: National Archives

There were many responsibilities at the hospital, and no information to determine exactly what Private Watson did while serving. Some of the more interesting duties include mosquito control due to Camp Stuart located within a swampy area; the control of flies, many because of the holding area for horses to ship overseas and the dumping of manure into the swamp; the control of bedbugs, cockroaches, fleas and lice; and embarkation and debarkation delousing stations.

In 1918, over 273,000 troops moved through the embarkation port.

Private Watson was attended from October 9, 1918 to October 21, 1918 in the Camp Stuart Hospital for influenza. During that time, his older brother Quincy Watson passed away from influenza/pneumonia on October 11 in the High School Emergency Hospital in Wilmington, NC, where many were dying from the influenza pandemic [Source: Death Certificate in Ancestry]. Read more about how influenza affected NC in Robert Guy Farmer’s WWI Profile post.

Guy Ellis Watson eventually succumbed to acute lobar pneumonia on October 21, 1918. [Source: Death Certificate in Ancestry] Historical data shows a peak of patients and deaths occurred in the hospital during the month of October 1918 during the influenza pandemic with a total of 5,562 patients (4,425 new cases of influenza) and 204 deaths.

Guy Ellis Watson was laid to rest in Benton Cemetery in Maco, Brunswick County, NC, joining his older brother, Quincy Manual Watson. His headstone, shown above, gives no indication he died while serving his country.

Source: The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, Volume IV, Activities Concerning Mobilization Camps and Ports of Embarkation. Washington : US Govt Printing Office : 1928, Chapter 24

If you would like to help us honor Guy Ellis Watson 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

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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WWI Profile: Fred Wilson 1895-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Fred Wilson
Fairmont, Robeson County, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
April 1, 1918 – May 26, 1918
Overseas:
May 8, 1918 – May 26, 1918
Died of Disease: May 26, 1918

Note: Because the 1890 Census records were destroyed and the family is recorded as no longer living in Brunswick County by 1900, more details than normally included are presented to assist with the identification of the family and determine when and where they lived in Brunswick County.

Fred Wilson was born in Brunswick County, NC, the son of Jackson and Francis Shine Wilson. His sister Kizzie Wilson Buck, the only sibling whose death certificate was found, is also identified as being born in Brunswick County. Her death certificate is also the source of their mother’s maiden name, Shine. The entire family is repeatedly recorded in census records as born in North Carolina.

The 1900 Census shows the family was now living in Hillsboro, SC, farming. In 1910, the family was living in Fairmont in Robeson County, NC, where they appeared to have remained for many years. His father was now working in a saw mill.

Fred’s mother presumably passed away between the 1910 Census and 1912 or 1914, when his father married Cora Stephans. FamilySearch shows the date as 1914, while Ancestry shows 1912, although the image of the marriage license in Ancestry shows the actual marriage took place in 1914.

Fred Wilson’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was born in Brunswick County, NC, living in Fairmont, NC, and working at the Beaufort County Lumber Company in Fairmont.

Transfer Machine, Beaufort County Lumber Company in Fairmont, NC, 1905-1915 [Source: NC Postcards]
The Beaufort County Lumber Company operated in Fairmont, NC, from 1910-1925, employing up to 400 people at its peak. The company included a lumber yard, sawmill, and kiln drying plant as well as a company village named North Fairmont with streets and houses for workers.

In 1927, while the company began moving operations to Columbus County, parcels were bought by Richard Bradshaw, a former sharecropper and the first black entrepreneur in Fairmont. Bradshaw rented the houses and sold them over many years.

Fred Wilson was ordered to report for military duty on April 1, 1918. He and the other draftees were received at Camp Grant, Illinois on April 8, 1918 [Source: Ancestry].

On May 8, 1918, at Hoboken, NJ, he boarded USS George Washington, famous for warning ships of an iceberg it passed on April 14, 1912, which sank Titanic hours later.

Pvt Wilson was serving in a Labor Battalion, 10th Company, Camp Grant Reinforcement Draft [Source: Ancestry]. A total of 15 Companies formed the Camp Grant Reinforcement Draft. The soldiers would be assigned where needed after arriving overseas.

On May 26, 1918, Pvt Wilson passed away from lobar pneumonia. His name was published on national casualty lists. [Online source of clipping shown above: Polk County news and the Tryon bee, 1918 Sept 06, p.3]

The location of his death is unknown. There is no record of his remains returning to the US and no record of burial overseas. It was only 18 days after he boarded USS George Washington.

John Carlisle is another Brunswick County veteran who died of pneumonia overseas. No record was found for the return of his remains, yet a headstone is in Griffin Cemetery in Ash, NC. It is possible that Fred Wilson’s remains were returned despite no record. If so, the cemetery below is the likely place his remains were laid to rest.

Fairmont Cemetery

Richard Bradshaw’s daughter Marie married a Fairmont undertaker named Robert Alston. A Mr. Bradshaw had purchased the Fairmont cemetery many years earlier that was used for African Americans, as described in the online Fairmont Board of Commissioners Minutes of 2002.

It appears that this cemetery is where Fred Smith’s sister Kizzie Wilson Buck was buried in 1950 (05/09/1892-05/07/1952) [Source: Ancestry]. The funeral director’s name is R.J. Alston. Fred Wilson’s father is also listed as buried in Fairmont Cemetery (d. 01/23/1921) [Source: Ancestry]. It should be investigated whether Fred Wilson is also buried there. If his remains were returned to the country, his remains would likely be placed in the cemetery with his family.

If you would like to help us honor Fred Wilson 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

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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Graveside Honors: Greer Cemetery, Bolivia, NC

During the Christmas holidays, supporters from Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range traveled to Greer Cemetery in Bolivia, Brunswick County, to attempt to locate David Williams‘ gravesite, one of the 23 Brunswick County WWI veterans who gave his life during war. His gravesite had not yet been found.

David Williams served overseas with the 545th Engineers, building and maintaining roads and railways both during the conflict and afterward for the Army of Occupation. Like many who died in the US military during WWI, David Williams died of disease. His date of death was March 18, 1919.

David’s remains were returned to the United States on November 26, 1921. There was no record found to help locate his gravesite. His wife’s death certificate showed her burial at Greer Cemetery. It was hoped that David Williams’ gravesite would be found there too.

Greer Cemetery (also known as Williams Cemetery):
Detailed directions can be found on the Brunswick County Cemetery maps here and here.

The cemetery is difficult to find, located off a dirt road with driveways and overgrown brush. It is still active, as a 2018 gravesite was located. There were flowers at many of the headstones, indicating it has not been forgotten.

David Williams‘ headstone was spotted immediately. It is not a military headstone but mentions his service. It includes the statement “Erected by his wife Florence M. Williams.” They had been married only four months when he was called for service. Their son, David Jesse Williams, was born after Pvt Williams had left the country.

DAVID WILLIAMS
Privet [sic] 545 Eng. USA
Died March 18, 1919.
Erected by his wife,
Florence M. Williams

The gravesite of his wife was also located.

Florence Marie Williams remained a single mother, raising their son, who would later serve in WWII. She became a school teacher, teaching at Brunswick County Training School in Southport, the only African American high school in the county.

David Williams and his family are featured in his World War I Profile. His story has been updated to include his final resting place.

Finding these headstones and documenting them here and in the planned book, as well as in Findagrave is important. It allows their entire story from beginning to end to be told and not forgotten.

If you are interested in assisting with the discovery of gravesites, please read this post: Memorial Day 2018: Graveside Honors for more information.

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WWI Profile: Owen Ransom Mintz 1886-1963

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Henry Lindon Clemmons (center) is shown with the six other men from Brunswick County ordered to report for duty on October 15, 1917. Beside him (order unknown) are Luther J. Inman, Owen R. Mintz, Willie H. Hewett, Robert W. Holden, Mack Leonard, and Isaac Fred Edge.
Contributed by Gwen Causey, granddaughter of Henry Lindon Clemmons

Owen Ransom Mintz
Ash, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
October 15, 1917 – July 26, 1919
Overseas:
April 24, 1918 – July 22, 1919
Wounded: October 21, 1918

Owen Ransom Mintz was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. He was the eldest of four brothers, all serving in WWI.

Forney Boston Mintz was the first to enlist in the US Army in 1913 at age 21. Half brother Samuel Leob Mintz enlisted in 1916; Martin Newman Mintz and Owen were drafted.

All four brothers served overseas. Like Martin, Forney and Owen were wounded.

Leob and Forney made a career in the Army.

Owen’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was living in Mill Branch, Brunswick County, single, and working on his own farm. He was described as medium height, weight, with brown eyes and black hair. (If anyone can identify each man in the photo based on their physical descriptions, please contact Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range.)

He was ordered to report for duty on October 15, 1917, with the other six men shown in the above photograph. All were sent to Camp Jackson, SC, and officially accepted on October 26. [Source: ancestry.com], then assigned to Company F, 322nd Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division, but as previously included in the 81st Division history, many soldiers were transferred to other needed divisions.

On February 5, 1918, Pvt Mintz was assigned to Company C, 11th Infantry, 5th Division.

The previous posts describe the creation of the division and activities up to the taking of Frapelle, and finally the operation at St. Mihiel, the first all-American operation of the war, which was a success.

The 5th Division had lost many men, which meant green recruits were added to their ranks and required training. Their camp was in Foret de Hesse, 15 kilometers west of Verdun and 20 kilometers below the current front.

They would soon be called upon for the first phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

The sector on which the Division was embarking had been the scene of terrific fighting since the launching of the assault on September 26. American bombardments and barrages and German counterfire had converted the open ridges, ravines and slopes into stretches of churned and shell-torn earth. The wooded areas, dense with the tangled underbrush, looked as though they had been struck by fierce cyclones. The villages of the areas were wrecked and ruined.

[On October 11] The front was reported to be from the neighborhood of Cunel eastward along the road to Brieulle.

From the very first entrance of our troops into the area they were subjected to harassing shell-fire. Inasmuch as the sector was only a few kilometers west of the Meuse and throughout its entire length was visible from the eastern heights still in the hands of the enemy, his artillery sheltered in those hills could constantly deluge the whole region with gas, shrapnel and high-explosive.

The Division had suffered severely from its exposure to a day and a half of continuous shelling. Their first attack was set for October 14 at 8:30am. The Tenth Brigade (6th and 11th Infantries) were selected as the assault brigade. The operation from the start promised to be a hard one.

At dusk, the troops moved up toward their positions for the operation and took their assault formation. Assault battalions found that the jumping-off line at the front was three quarters of a kilometer south of the one specified in the attack order. Then it was discovered that the 32 Division which was to protect their left flank had orders to begin at 11:30am, thereby exposing the 5th Division on that side. Furthermore, an American deserter had informed the enemy of the attack.

[Before the attack had started], the Germans put down the strongest counterfire the men had ever seen. For two hours, the positions of the assault battalions were raked with high explosives.

At 8:30am the assault was launched with vigor and courage, despite the punishment that had just been undergone. The men still remembered the victorious rush at St. Mihiel and dashed forward impetuously. But it was a different enemy here, one who was sticking till the last and fighting for every foot of ground.

[Due to the confusion earlier of the jumping-off point] our own artillery barrage had not been close enough to our lines to be effective and our battalions looked down into Ravin des Perrieres and at the Romangne-Cunel road, thickly populated with German machine gun nests.

After many feats of courage and gallantry and many losses, the only possible action was to dig in.

The afternoon was spent in organizing the dearly won lines, in connecting shell-hole to shell-hole by shallow scooped-out-trenches.

Our men lay in the shell-holes scattered over the entire area of advance. The intense shell-fire and barrages had inflicted casualties that for the day’s fighting surpassed the thousand mark.

The attack on Bois des Rappes was ordered to be continued at 7:30am of the 15th.

After another confusing day with erroneous reports such as one that all officers were killed, no new attack was ordered for October 16th. Time was spent organizing and planning. October 17th was spent solidifying the front. The Division’s Command was relieved and replaced. Small combat troops were employed on the 18th and 19th, and an attempt at a direct attack was made on the 20th.

Six days of fighting had failed to conquer Bois des Rappes. It was evident that only a surprise attack could force the enemy to give up the place.

New command for the 11th Infantry planned the surprise attack on the 21st. The battalions were stealthily filtered up to the attack line, the artillery shelled the front lines for only 5 minutes.

At 11:30am the assault plunged forward and literally overwhelmed the Germans on the front lines. The surprise was a success.

Finally, the enemy was routed. Bois des Rappes was won for good.

Casualties of the Tenth Brigade (6th and 11th Infantries) were over two thousand. The 11th Infantry, which included Pvt Mintz, had suffered more than any other regiment:
12 Officers KIA
210 Men KIA
952 Wounded

Command of the sector passed to the 90th Division. The 6th and 11th Infantries withdrew to the zone south of Montfaucon and buried their dead.

Bois des Rappes had turned into a glorious victory, after a withdrawal due to misunderstanding of circumstances. The casualty list of the Division was 20%, 4,449 men. Fifty-one officers and 728 men had given their lives.

During those eleven days men and officers alike had existed under the most trying and wearing conditions. Throughout almost all the period there had been rain, which kept clothing wet and rendered battlefields “seas of mud.” The chill of autumn was in the air and the warmth of a fire was never possible in the open under the observation of the enemy. A shelter tent stretched over a shell-hole half filled with water was all the protection that could be had against both artillery and weather. Food reached the front lines cold and in insufficient quantities. Water was very scarce and often contaminated. Practically every officer and man was suffering from diarrhea and exposure.

3000 replacements were received on the 24th. Most were untrained but time was short. The next battle of the 5th Division was their most famous and the one which earned them the nickname “Meuse Division.” Their crossing of the Meuse and establishing a bridgehead while clinging to the banks for several days is an exciting read in the Division history source below. General Pershing declared it “one of the most brilliant military feats in the history of the American Army in France.”

Pvt Mintz was slightly wounded on the surprise battle detailed above. He would remain in France and return with his Company on July 11, 1919, presumably serving in the Army of Occupation with the 5th Division.

He was honorably discharged on July 26, 1919, with a 10% disability. No details were found describing his wound, recovery, or the source of his disability.

The 1920 Census shows him living at home along with his brothers Martin Newman, Forney Boston, and his sister Mary. He would continue to work on the farm and never marry.

On April 26, 1963, Owen ran off the road and was crushed by his truck. He was 76.

Owen Ranson Mintz was laid to rest in Mintz Cemetery. A military headstone was installed.

If you would like to help us honor Owen Ransom Mintz 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

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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WWI Profile: Herbert Burnell Ward 1894-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: Soldiers of the Great War, Vol. II
Herbert Burnell Ward
Ash, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Corporal
Served:
October 4, 1917 – September 12, 1918
Overseas:
April 24, 1918 – September 12, 1918
KIA: September 12, 1918

Herbert Burnell Ward was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC.

Herbert’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was living in Ash, single, and working on his family’s farm. His registration included his previous service, one year at Fort Sherman. This was also handwritten on his NC WWI Service Card with the dates April 22, 1916 – May 21, 1917.

Herbert had four brothers near his age. They were never called to duty. Willie Davis Ward was disabled due to a broken foot. Luther Lewis Ward was employed by the US Government as Mail Carrier, while John Butler Ward was a substitute carrier. George Brooks Ward Jr was too young for the 1917 Draft Registration but did register in September 1918 when the age range was expanded.

Herbert was ordered to report for duty on October 4, 1917. He was accepted for service on October 15, 1917, at Camp Jackson, SC [Source: Ancestry]. A handwritten notation states that they were intended for the 322nd Infantry of the 81st Division, but as previously included in the 81st Division history, many soldiers were transferred to other needed divisions.

On February 6, 1918, Pvt Ward was assigned to Company M, 11th Infantry, 5th Division. He had moved up and down in rank during that time, likely because of the shuffling of men where needed. On April 1, 1918, he attained the rank of corporal, which he would hold for the remainder of his service.

The previous post describes the creation of the division and activities up to the taking of Frapelle. The 5th Division’s next operation was at St. Mihiel, the first all-American operation of the war.

The American First Army was organized in August and September 1918. The training schedule emphasized open warfare methods. The use of maps and compasses, and rifle and machine gun firing was stressed, and the wearing of gas masks was enforced for training.

The Division began a 50 kilometer march on September 4th. Absolute secrecy was maintained. All marching was between the hours of 8pm and 4am. No lights were permitted. By day the troops and trains remained concealed. The area around Martincourt was the destination of the Fifth Division.

Those forced night marches stand out most vividly in the mind of every man in the Division. It was the first hurry-up march the troops had undergone; the weather was one continuous downpour of rain; the roads were slippery and wound over steep hills and through wet woods; as the organization approached the lines the traffic on the highways grew denser and denser until those arteries were solid-streams of vehicles and men, with a current in each direction.

Orders were that the artillery should be in the sector and in position by September 8th; but the enormous traffic on the roads, the scarcity and wretched condition of the horses and the incessant rain made it impossible to complete the march on time. Forage was scarce, water was often unobtainable. Horses died along the road or had to be abandoned to the mercy of French peasants. The muddy ground made the entrances and exits of woods extremely difficult; sometimes as much as three hours were consumed merely in getting organizations out of the woods and on the road. The strain on men and animals was terrific. Sleep was almost unheard of.

Fourteen American divisions were gathered for the operation: 1, 2, 4, 5, 26, 42, 82, 89, 90; Reserve: 3, 35, 78, 80, 91. The objective was to reduce the German’s occupation of the St. Mihiel salient, or the triangular portion jutting out as shown in the map below. The plan was to cut it off on all sides with the various divisions. The Germans had been prepared for the possibility of withdrawal to the famous and supposed impregnable Hindenburg Line, which the 30th Division would break in their famous assault on September 29. But the Germans were still taken unaware.

The blackness of the nights and the perpetual rain exhausted everyone. The Military Police especially were called upon for supreme effort, for they had to act as column markers throughout the night and then spend the ensuing day getting in position for the next stage of the Journey. Officers and men alike were footsore and weary from exposure to the raw weather and loss of sleep when the brigades reached their designated stations.

The 5th Division was assigned to drive practically due north, about 8 kilometers, to the Hindenburg Line.

The German positions that faced the troops of the Fifth Division were excellently situated for defense. They included four successive heights, three of which were defended by well organized systems of trenches. Each of the heights commanded several valleys where enemy reserves were stationed and from which counter attacks might normally be planned should the heights be taken.

The Germans had foreseen the attack and had prepared for withdraw. But the attack came 48 hours before it was expected, so the assault caught the Germans as they were beginning evacuations. Because of the secrecy of the attack, the Americans faced reduced resistance.

By midnight before the morning of September 12, the troops had reached their posts for the attack. At 1am the bombardment began.

The roar of cannon was deafening and bursts of flames lit up the sodden sky. At first the Hun artillery attempted to reply, but by 1:55 am their last gun was silent. Doughboys waiting in the trenches were impatient of the delay. Already all except the forward strands of defensive wire in front of their jumping-off trenches were cut to speed their advance. The rain soaked everyone to the skin. H hour was 5 am.

At 4:30 the machine guns all opened up a heavy barrage of indirect and overhead fire on the points in the German lines when counterattacks might come.

At the instant that the barrage came down the Doughboys dashed forward. Four thin waves of mud-stained men, helmeted and under full pack, bayoneted rifle in hand, swept through the lanes in their own barbed wire. It was not quite dawn.

The enemy “must have quaked as the avalanche descended upon them.” Frantic calls by them for counter-barrages were unanswered.

Machine gunners had difficulty in keeping pace with the fast-going Doughboys. The unwieldy tanks struggled to catch up, but floundered in the mud and shell-torn stretches of No Man’s Land.

German prisoners taken by the infantry began arriving at 6:15 am. The photo below shows prisoners taken by the Tenth Brigade (6th and 11th Infantry) being escorted by the 5th Division. Ultimately, 1,210 enlisted men and 32 officers were taken prisoner by the 5th Division during the operation.

Cpl Ward and the 11th Infantry descended on Vieville, taking the town. Dressing stations were opened, caring for the wounded and serving hot coffee, bread and corned beef, and chocolate to tired soldiers. The orders were “Press advance to the First Phase Line. Rush digging with great vigor.” The advance pushed on.

The 6th Infantry met less resistance than the 11th.

The troops had to cross open fields in the face of fire from heights where machine gunners were making a stand. The resistance of the enemy grew stiffer.

The First Day Objective was reached and the troops began to dig in. Everywhere the first day’s operation of the American Army had been successful.

Losses in the Division that day were heavy. The 11th Infantry alone lost 3 Second Lieutenants. 3 more officers were KIA. 18 officers were wounded. 450 enlisted men were wounded. 144 were KIA, including Cpl Herbert Ward.

The Division would go on to end the successful operation, capturing the St. Mihiel salient and driving to the Hindenburg Line. It wasn’t won easily, as the enemy fought hard and continued targeting the Americans after being driven beyond the Hindenburg Line. In total, the 5th Division had casualties of 1,612 from September 12-16. Most were suffered by the 6th and 11th Infantries. Thirteen officers were killed, 44 wounded, and 11 gassed. The enlisted men had 305 killed, 1,123 wounded, and 116 gassed. Two were captured.

The spoils won by the 5th Division were high: 25 77-mm guns, 4 105-mm guns, 13 150-mm guns, 7 anti-tank guns, 1 anti-aircraft battery, 30 trench mortars, 125 machine guns, 550 rifles, over 100,000 rounds of artillery and trench mortar ammunition, 65 horses, 30 flat cars, several miles of railroad equipment, one complete field hospital, 20 wagons, thousands of dollars worth of signal, engineer, and medical property, many maps and secret documents, and other miscellaneous property.

It is not known when Corporal Herbert Burnell Ward was killed that first day. It is hoped that he experienced some of the success of this major victory for the Americans, made possible due to his sacrifice.

Corporal Herbert Burnell Ward’s remains were returned on May 23, 1921 [Source: Ancestry]. He was laid to rest in Ward Cemetery in Brunswick County with his family. A military flat marker is displayed.

Source:
The Society of the Fifth Division (1919) The Official History of the Fifth Division USA, During the Period of its Organization and its Operations in the European World War, 1917-1919. New York, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Company.

If you would like to help us honor Herbert Burnell Ward 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
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WWI Profile: Barfie Randel Long 1895-1947

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.


Barfie Randel Long
Winston-Salem, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
September 18, 1917 – July 29, 1919
Overseas:
April 9, 1918 – July 22, 1919
Wounded: August 17, 1918

Barfie Randel Long was born and raised in Brunswick and Columbus Counties, NC. (His daughter’s birth record shows his name as “Barfield Randal Long.”) His findagrave listing and death certificate shows he was born in Columbus County, whereas his WWI Draft Registration and NC WWI Service Card shows he was born in Brunswick County. He had one brother who also served, Pvt Vanderbilt Long.

In 1900, he and Vanderbilt lived with their family in Shallotte, Brunswick County. By 1910, they were both working on the family farm in Chadbourn, Columbus County, NC.

His Draft Registration in 1917 shows he was single and working as a mechanic at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem, NC.

Barfie was ordered to report for duty on September 18, 1917 in Winston-Salem. He was accepted for service on October 16, 1917, at Camp Jackson, SC [Source: Ancestry]. A handwritten notation states that they were intended for the 321st Infantry of the 81st Division, but as previously included in the 81st Division history, many soldiers were transferred to other needed divisions.

Pvt Long eventually was assigned to Company M, 6th Infantry, 5th Division. The division was not organized until December, and did not unite as a division until the following spring in France, so Pvt Long likely remained in SC or transferred to GA (Camp Forrest) where the 6th Infantry trained. Because it is not known when his transfer took place, it is not known exactly where he trained.

The 5th Division insignia is shown. The nickname is “Red Diamond” or “Red Devils.” They were also referred to as “The Meuse Division” after WWI because of their crossing of the Meuse River and establishing a bridgehead in an area considered impregnable.

The 5th Division’s capture of the riverfront and points east was called “one of the most brilliant military feats in the history of the American Army in France” by General Pershing. Some details will be shared in the WWI Profile of Pvt Owen Ransom Mintz.

There are five known Brunswick County men who served with the 5th Division, as shown below. The rosters are also available on the World War I Army/Marine Division Rosters webpage.

5th Division, 6th Infantry

Name Co.
Cpl Charles Byron Drew HQ
Pfc Barfie Randel Long M Severely Wounded 08/17/1918
Pfc John William Mills M

5th Division, 11th Infantry

Name Co.
Pvt Owen Ransom Mintz C Slightly Wounded 10/12/1918
Cpl Herbert B. Ward M KIA 09/12/1918

Pvt Long boarded Covington with the 6th Infantry on April 9, 1918, for France [Source: Ancestry]. The movement of the entire 5th Division overseas was piecemeal.

The atmosphere of France was a shock after the cheer of England.

Those days of April and May were grave and menacing to the French, for the Germans had launched their last great offensive that was to win or lose the war.

As each unit arrived, it began immediate and intensive training for the front. They were introduced to the French method of conservation: not just concerning food, but methods of firing to save the largest amount of ammunition and construction using an economy of materials.

In late May, the division was declared ready for introduction to the front. They were placed under command of the French and entered the Upper Alsace and Vosges Mountains as the first American troops in that sector. There they participated in patrols, and harassing and raiding the enemy. They experienced their first casualties in June and later a gas attack killed and wounded many. As the Americans became more familiar with trenches, the Americans took over command of the division.

On July 15, the division moved into the St. Die sector. Here, the Germans controlled No Man’s Land. They had visibility of all American daylight movement. German airplanes were constantly monitoring. The 5th Division took a more offensive stand. Sniping was developed until the enemy dare not show himself.

Hungry Huns attempting to reach their cabbage and vegetable gardens by crawling on hands and knees were often forced to scuttle to some protecting shelter by our snipers or machine guns turned on sensitive points.

An Observation Post (O.P.) of the Sixth Infantry

The patrolling and raiding grew bolder and stronger as the 5th Division became experienced in the trenches. Then the first real engagement was booked. The mission was to capture the village of Frapelle (bottom right on map), about 9 kilometers east of St. Die, as well as Hill 541, just north of the town.

This mission was assigned to the third battalion of the 6th Infantry. (Third battalion includes Companies I, K, L, M.) Privates Barfie Long and John William Mills along with the rest of Company M were to lead the attack with Company L. Private Long was severely wounded during this attack.

Use the map above to set the battle positions.

They were positioned just behind the lines at Charmont, about 1 kilometer west of Frapelle. The second battalion (Companies E, F, G, H) was at Nayemont, about 4 kilometers west of Frapelle. The first battalion (Companies A, B, C, D) was at Vanifoss on the Fave, about 4 kilometers southwest of Frapelle. Thirty-six batteries had moved up to concealed emplacements more favorable to fire on the area of attack. The Ammunition Train had moved ammunition and the 99th American Aero Squadron was ready to give air support. “H” hour was set at 4am of August 17.

At 3:54am, the artillery opened up on the enemy’s lines with a heavy barrage. For ten minutes the rain of high-explosive and gas poured on the town of Frapelle and Hill 451, on the Hun trenches and on every known enemy battery.

At four, the bombardment changed to a box barrage, smoke shells were thrown into enemy observatories, and behind the curtain of shell the infantry went over the top.

Companies L and M led the assault while I and K occupied the trenches from which the former departed. Companies A and C were held in support. Each assaulting company was deployed in four waves and had “moppers-up” of engineers and infantry. A platoon of machine guns accompanied each company in its advance.

Evidently the enemy was prepared for the attack, for his counter-barrage came down upon the departure trench at exactly 4:06am and caught the second, third, and fourth waves. With considerable losses the troops pressed through the heavy and accurate barrage toward their objectives. Company M encountered a heavy machine gun barrage on Hill 451 and was held up for a time. The lines were re-formed, the enemy was rushed and the height was won. Company L advanced without serious opposition and occupied Frapelle. With the aid of the engineers enemy shelters were blown up and dugouts and houses searched.

No sooner had the troops gained their objectives than the German artillery was turned on Frapelle and Hill 451. At 6:30am the deluge of fire began, which lasted with varying intensity for three days and nights. The men of the Signal Battalion had carried their telephones and wire over the top in the first assault waves, to establish communication to the rear from the forward command posts. So continuous was the shelling that the telephone lines had to be abandoned.

Large quantities of gas were used, with concentration of mustard. The wooded areas, overgrown with thick underbrush and filled with depressions, were drenched with fumes. Gas overcame many of the parties working at night on the entanglements and the trenches.

The operation received considerable comment in the French and American press. It was the only change that had taken place on this front in three years.

Casualties reported:
81 KIA
5 Died of Wounds
18 Missing
80 Severely Wounded
237 Slightly Wounded
Over 150 of the wounded were gas cases.

It is unknown what type of wounds Pvt Barfie Long experienced. Perhaps it was gas, given that he had several lung diseases at his death many years later.

In addition, Pvt John W. Mills was reported missing in US newspapers on October 31. He was later reported found in reports published in newspapers in December. Newspapers were very much behind reporting casualties so it could have been from this operation or a later one, which will be covered in the next WWI Profiles of the 5th Division.

Private Long returned with his unit in July 1919 and was honorably discharged July 29. A 1920 Census could not be located.

The 1930 Census shows Barfie living with his mother in Chadbourn, Columbus County, NC, farming his land. His father had passed away a year earlier.

In 1936, his brother, Pvt Vanderbilt Long, died of influenza at age 41 and was laid to rest in Chadbourn, Columbus County, NC.

The 1940 Census shows Barfie now married to Emma Louise Long, age 20, from SC. They had a two year old daughter, Helen Elizabeth Long, born in NC. Barfie’s mother is still living with him. Barfie continued to work his farm.

At age 51, November 6, 1947, Barfie Randel Long passed away at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oteen, NC, near Asheville. He had multiple diseases of the lungs.

The Asheville Citizen-Times published an obituary on November 8, 1947, on page 2.

BARFIE R. LONG

Barfie R. Long, 51, of Chadbourn, Columbus county, a veteran of World War I, died yesterday morning in a hospital here following a long illness.

Surviving is the widow, Mrs. Emma Long.

The body was sent to Chadbourn for funeral services and burial. Morris-Gearing and Black funeral home was in charge of arrangements.

His mother applied for a military headstone, which is in Chadbourn, NC, where Pvt Long was laid to rest. His mother was laid to rest near him at her death in 1959 at age 89.

Records of his wife could not be found, nor is it known whether they had more children. However, his daughter married and raised a family in Brunswick County.

Source:
The Society of the Fifth Division (1919) The Official History of the Fifth Division USA, During the Period of its Organization and its Operations in the European World War, 1917-1919. New York, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Company.

If you would like to help us honor Barfie Randel Long 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

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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WWI Profile: Lennox Walker Clemmons 1892-1980

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: Kathryn Kalmanson, descendant
Lennox Walker Clemmons
Supply, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private

Served:
August 7, 1918 – April 25, 1919
Overseas:
September 15, 1918 – March 3, 1919

Lennox Walker Clemmons was born and raised in Lockwoods Folly, Brunswick County, NC. There is a family tree in FamilySearch.

Walker’s father passed away in 1911, leaving his mother to raise many children alone. When Walker registered for the WWI Draft he indicated he was 25, single, and farming for his mother, partly responsible for her. It appears that he was the oldest son living at home at the time.

Lennox Walker Clemmons was ordered to report for military duty on August 7, 1918.

Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917–1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013

Walker’s name was typed incorrectly on the Brunswick County Board List excerpt as shown (Leonix Walker Hewett).

His WWI Draft Registration handwritten name shows why his name was misspelled as “Leonix.” And the typewritten Brunswick County Board List was likely typed incorrectly because the name above Walker’s had the last name of “Hewett.”

There are three methods to verify this is Lennox Walker Clemmons.

  • An excerpt from his WWI Draft Registration has been edited to highlight the handwritten number on the top left “651.” This can be matched with the highlighted typed number on the Brunswick County Board List.
  • The second method is using compiled alphabetical county board lists located in the NC Archives. “Leonix W. Clemmons from Supply” is listed.
  • Of course, you can also see these dates on his NC WWI Service Card.

Pvt Clemmons trained in Camp Wadsworth, SC, along with the other Brunswick County men listed in Kendrick Outlaw’s WWI Profile. He embarked with them for France on September 15, 1918.

As mentioned in Elijah Milliken’s WWI Profile, there is no known documentation describing the operations of the 55th Pioneer Infantry. It is also not known whether Pvt Clemmons transferred to the 81st Division for their final operation. Although his NC WWI Service Card does not show he did, it is not sufficient to discount the possibility.

If Pvt Clemmons participated in the grueling hike of the 81st Division as described in Craven Ledrew Sellers’ WWI Profile Post, then it may explain why Pvt Clemmons returned to the US on a Convalescent Detachment from Bordeaux, France. He could also have suffered from gas exposure or the influenza pandemic.
Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.

It’s fortunate that the passenger list provides details for those soldiers returning from France on the Convalescent Detachment of February 20, 1919. Pvt Clemmons was suffering from chronic bronchitis. He arrived in the US on March 3, 1919, but was not honorably discharged until April 25, indicating he spent some time recuperating before discharge. Still, he was discharged with a 10% disability, which explains the (D) rating in the passenger list above, “unfit for military service.”

Note: The photograph above of Pvt Clemmons shows him with a gold service stripe on his left sleeve. The stripes are awarded after 6 months overseas service.

Walker Clemmons married in early 1920. The 1920 Census shows he was living with his mother, wife, and some siblings, working on his mother’s farm.

His mother passed away in 1929. A year later, the 1930 Census shows that Walker and his family lived in Southport. He was working as a mechanic.

When Walker’s first wife passed away, he remarried and settled in the Winston-Salem area.

Lennox Walker Clemmons passed away on November 1, 1980, in Winston-Salem. He was laid to rest in Gardens of Memory Cemetery in Forsyth County, NC. No indication of military service is shown.

If you would like to help us honor Lennox Walker Clemmons 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
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WWI Profile: Elijah Milliken 1896-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: findagrave
Elijah Milliken
Rocky Mount, Nash County, NC
US Army
Private

Served:
August 5, 1918 – December 11, 1918
Overseas:
September 15, 1918 – December 11, 1918
Died of Disease: December 11, 1918

According to Elijah Milliken’s NC WWI Service Card, he was born in Southport, NC, on August 30, 1896. The 1900 Census and 1910 Census show him living in Shallotte, the oldest son of Robert and Mary Milliken. His father Robert was a farmer.

When the first draft registration was held for WWI on June 5, 1917, it was required for men between the ages of 21 and 31. Elijah was not yet 21.

A city directory from Wilmington, NC, [Source: Ancestry] has a listing for Elijah Milliken as a clerk, living at 1810 Castle, along with Bruce, mill hand, and Robert L. This is very likely Elijah and his brother, Robert Bruce, and father Robert.

The building at 1810 Castle St in Wilmington is a low brick building built in 1900. [Source: New Hanover Count Tax Records] It still exists today, although it’s no longer residential. You can see it on Google street view here. An advertisement from the October 3, 1915, issue of The Wilmington Morning Star lists the residence at 1810 Castle for rent, 5 rooms.

They weren’t listed in the 1918 city directory, but as shown below, in 1918 Elijah and his father were in Rocky Mount working at a mill there.

When the second draft registration was held on June 5, 1918, to include males who were 18 years and older, Elijah registered. At that time, Elijah was single and working at the Rocky Mount Mills. He listed his nearest relative as his father at Rocky Mount Mills.

Elijah was ordered to report for military duty on August 5, 1918 [Source: Ancestry] in Nash County, and sent to Camp Wadsworth, SC. He joined others from Brunswick County assigned to 55th Pioneer Infantry, as described in Kendrick Outlaw’s WWI Profile.

The Companies the soldiers were assigned seem to have changed often. Below is a photograph for Company D, which is the company referenced as Pvt Millken’s in the Mother’s Pilgrimage document near the end of this profile. He and the other Brunswick County soldiers may or may not be included in the photograph.
Source: NC Archives

Pvt Milliken and all of the Brunswick County soldiers in the 55th Pioneer Infantry left for France on September 15, 1918.

Pvt Elijah Milliken passed away from pneumonia on December 11, 1918.

His final three months are difficult to determine. No documents were found describing operations of the 55th Pioneer Infantry, possibly because they were created specifically to assist in combat or engineering work as needed.

Using the NC WWI Service Cards from Brunswick County 55th Pioneer Infantry soldiers shown in Pvt Kendrick Outlaw’s WWI Profile (also located on the World War I Army/Marine Division Roster webpage), many of the soldiers from the 55th Pioneer Infantry were transferred to the 81st Division on November 1, 1918, whose operations are covered around that time beginning with Willie Hasper Hewett’s WWI Profile.

Pvt Milliken’s NC WWI Service Card has no information regarding whether he served in combat or remained ill for several months before succumbing to pneumonia.

By the 1920 Census, the family had returned to Shallotte.

Source: Sewell, Patricia and Cecilia Palin, eds.. U.S. World War I Mothers’ Pilgrimage, 1929 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

Elijah’s mother, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Milliken, was given the opportunity to take a Mother’s Pilgrimage in 1929 to visit his gravesite. All three mothers listed from Brunswick County declined.

Pvt Elijah Milliken was laid to rest in Saint Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in Lorraine, France.

If you would like to help us honor Elijah Milliken 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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WWI Profile: Kendrick Whiteleaf Outlaw 1892-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: Soldiers of the Great War, Vol. II
Kendrick Whiteleaf Outlaw
Winnabow, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private

Served:
August 7, 1918 – October 5, 1918
Overseas:
September 15, 1918 – October 5, 1918
Died of Disease: October 5, 1918

Kendrick Whiteleaf Outlaw was born in Winnabow, Brunswick County, NC. A family tree is shown in FamilySearch. There is some confusion due to census records that show Kendrick as “Hendrick” and “Henry.”

His WWI Draft Registration shows he was living in Winnabow, single, and working on a farm.

Kendrick was ordered to report for duty on August 8, 1918.

25 men were called to report that day in Brunswick County and sent to Camp Wadsworth, SC. 11 of them, including Kendrick, were eventually assigned to the 55th Pioneer Infantry. [Source: Ancestry] Elijah Milliken, who was born in Southport, NC, but currently lived in Rocky Mount, is included in the WWI Brunswick County list, to make a total of 12 Brunswick County men serving with the 55th Pioneer Infantry.

Camp Wadsworth, SC, was established in 1917 and abandoned in 1919.
Source: Spartanburg County Library

55th Pioneer Infantry: Camp Wadsworth, SC
Note: The companies listed do not necessarily match NC WWI Service Cards. Not all have companies identified, so the companies were found through the US Army Transportation records located in Ancestry. Therefore, the companies listed are the ones the soldiers sailed with overseas, giving us insight into their experiences.

Name Co.
PVT David D Beck K
PVT Benjamin K Caison K
PVT Julius H Clemmons K
PVT Lennox W Clemmons K
PVT Hiram Hewett M
PVT William A Hewett M
PVT William L Inman K
PVT Jacob M King K
PVT Elijah Milliken C Died of Disease 12/11/1918
PVT Sandy Milliken K
PVT Kendrick W Outlaw H Died of Disease 10/05/1918
PVT John T Watts H

 

Pvt Outlaw’s NC WWI Service Card has no beginning date for overseas service. However, the US Army Transport Passenger List shows Pvt Outlaw and the soldiers above sailing on September 15, 1918. Paging through the very long passenger lists for Pvt Outlaw, the first few pages show that USS Aeolus sailed from Newport News, VA, on September 15, 1918, to France, with over 3500 passengers. There is no arrival date found.

When the United States entered the war on April 6, 1917, German ships in US ports were seized. The USS Aeolus was formerly SS Grosser Kurfürst. The German crews were sent to internment camps, but not before they sabotaged the ship.

She was repaired and renamed USS Aeolus, god of wind in Greek mythology, making eight round-trip voyages to France during World War I, and seven post-war voyages returning troops.

Pvt Outlaw passed away from lobar pneumonia on October 5, 1918, soon after arriving in France. The location of his death is unknown.

Around this same time, General Pershing’s Chief-of-Staff wired that “a great number of cases of severe influenza and pneumonia and consequently many deaths among troops recently arriving in France.” Back home, Southport and Brunswick County were struggling with the pandemic, as described in Robert Guy Farmer’s WWI Profile, yet another Brunswick County soldier who died of pneumonia in October 1918.

Pvt Outlaw’s remains were returned on June 29, 1920 on USAT Mercury and laid to rest in Lebanon Baptist Church Cemetery in Winnabow, NC, where his mother and later his father were buried.

Source: findagrave
A military headstone was requested in 1950 [Source: Military headstone application in Ancestry] by his sister Flossie Outlaw Willets, and placed in the cemetery.

If you would like to help us honor Kendrick Whiteleaf Outlaw 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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