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:
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"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.
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:
"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.
An eyewitness account of the decoration ceremony that took place on a 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".
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.
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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.
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.
Attached are a smattering of photos of the U.S. Marines as they appeared shortly after their arrival in France.