|The Battle of Belleau Wood in Retropspect (Literary Digest, 1927)|
Nine years after he commanded the U.S. Fourth Corps during World War One, Major General Joseph T. Dickman (1857 - 1928) reconsidered the necessity of fighting for that ground in his memoir, The Great Crusade, and concluded that:
"Belleau Wood was a glorious, but an unnecessary sacrifice...It was magnificent fighting, but not modern war."
The battle was fought by the U.S. Marines attached to the Second Division, which was under the command of General Dickman. If you would like to read a small piece regarding the war record of the U.S. Fourth Corps in France, click here.
Click here to read about the celebrations that took place in Paris the day World War One ended.
Click here to read some statistical data about the American Doughboys of the First World War.
The Decorated Marines from Belleau Wood (New York Times, 1918)
Filed by Edwin L. James (1890 - 1951) of the New York Times was his eyewitness account of the decoration ceremony that took place on a sweeping lawn of an unnamed French chateau in the Marne Valley on July 11, 1918. The ceremony was presided over by U.S. Army General James Harbord (1866 – 1947) and well over 100 Marines of the U.S. Second Division were cited for their "deeds in the fighting North-West of Chateau-Thierry":
"It is with inexpressible pride and satisfaction that your commander recounts your glorious deeds on the field of battle. In the early days of of June on a front of twenty kilometers, after night marches and with only the reserve rations which you carried, you stood like a wall against the enemy advance on Paris. For this timely action you have received the thanks of the French people whose homes you saved and the generous praise of your comrades in arms..."
Listed are the names of 37 Marines who were decorated that day; including the name of Lieutenant Louis F. Timmerman, who was to receive the Distinguished Service Cross (the bureaucracy didn't get the medal to him until 1942!)
*Watch a Short Film-Clip About the Battle of Belleau Wood*
Letter from Belleau Wood (With the Help of God and A Few Marines, 1919)
The following letter was written by a Belleau Wood veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp's Sixth Regiment, Private Hiram B. Pottinger. It was included the World War One memoir, "With the Help of God and a Few Marines" (1919) by Brigadier General A.W. Catlin, U.S.M.C. (1868-1933), who believed it rendered accurately the enlisted man's view of the battle.
The letter is accompanied by a black and white photograph depicting what is clearly a re-staging of the Marines mad dash across the wheat fields that sit just outside the Bois de Belleau.
Click here to read about the U.S. Navy railroad artillery of W.W. I.
RETREAT? HELL! (The American Legion Weekly, 1922)
This four page history of the Battle of Belleau Wood is primarily concerned with the fighting that took place at Les Mares Farm; it was written in 1921 by William E. Moore, formerly a U.S. Army captain who was attached to the Historical Branch, General Headquarters of the A.E.F..
Throughout his article, Moore compared the fight at Les Mares Farm to the Battle of Gettysburg, and believed it to have been just as decisive. Convinced that this contest was as slaughterous an event for the German Army as "the Bloody Angle" was for General Picket's men on July 4, 1863, the author concluded:
"That was the last effort the Germans made to force their way to Paris... It is is truly at Les Mares Farm where the Gettysburg of the A.E.F. lies, and there some day a monument should rise to inform the world what deeds were done upon that field."
German historians have long maintained that the Battle of Belleau Wood was not as significant as the Americans have liked to think that it was.
The U.S. Marines Land Over There (The Spectator, 1918)
A British journalist encountered the United States Marine Corps and found them to be an impressive curiosity that spoke an odd, nautical language. One Marine in particular was singled out and, although anonymous some of you will recognize right away that he could only be one man: Sergeant Dan Daily of the Fifth Marines.
Click here to read about the high desertion rate within the U.S. Army of 1910.
The American Marine in France (Leslie's Weekly, 1920)
Attached are a smattering of photos of the U.S. Marines as they appeared shortly after their arrival in France.