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Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.-- General George Patton Jr
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Our cavalry brigade arrived in Peronne in November 1917, after a long trek up from billets. We had had a fairly easy time during the summer of that year. For a few months we had been dismounted and had been up at Vimy Ridge doing all sorts of work: digging reserve trenches, reinforcing communication trenches and digging new ones - in fact, doing real navvy work, which, on the whole, was enjoyable, as far as anything could be enjoyable in France during the War. The weather was good, rations were plentiful, though the water had a wicked taste.
As the War had to be, I shall always be glad I was able to play even a negligible part in it, or I should never have known with such certainty the madness of it. During training I was aware only of the glamour of War. I prepared myself for it with enthusiasm, and bayoneted and clubbed the stuffed sacks representing the enemy with a sort of exalted ferocity. I was as jealous of my regiment as I used to be of my school.
I shall never forget the morning of March 28th, 1918, when I watched our trenches and the familiar landmarks disappear under the intense bombardment of hundreds of minenwerfers - those earthquakes in miniature. I watched and waited in a state of mental numbness or apathy, and at last the bit reserved for me hit me in the head. When I took a further interest in matters I was a prisoner.
I bade farewell to my right leg, and to my career as a soldier, outside a trench at Gheluvelt, near Ypres, on October 29th, 1914. In the First Battle of Ypres the British were out-numbered by seven to one. On the previous evening we took over trenches, not deep or elaborate ones, from an English regiment.
How does one become a combat field historian? You would think the combat field historian would be an individual who had a great love of history, studied history or was a history major in college. Those would certainly be ideal prerequisites in a peacetime scenario when you were searching for the ideal candidate.
With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
1st. May. To Arras for money.
On the last day but one of the march of General Joseph E. Johnston's army to join General Beauregard, an order reached me at Rectortown, through Brigadier-General Barnard E. Bee, to collect the four field batteries of Johnston's army into one column, and, as senior artillery captain, to march them by country roads that were unobstructed by infantry or trains as rapidly as possible to Manassas Junction, and to report my arrival at any hour, day or night, to General Bee, who was going forward by rail with his brigade.
During May 1942, I was a lieutenant assigned as Executive and Engineer Officer of the USS PC-469 at the George Lawley Shipyard in Neponset, Massachusetts. Three other officers were assigned - Lieutenant Commander Richard Morell as the Commanding Officer with Lieutenant (junior grade) Kenneth Potts and Ensign Richard Young as watch officers. Upon arrival, I became very familiar with the PC design since the ship was in the throes of final outfitting and on the building ways - the keel having been laid on 22 October 1941.
March 22, 1952. I was just 22 years old. Dawn found me on the flight deck of the USS Valley Forge in the Sea of Japan, warming up my Skyraider. As a pilot in Fighter Squadron 194, the "Yellow Devils," I was the standby in case one of the 8 planes scheduled for the morning's flight became inoperative.
I just received your letter of Nov. 27, and as I have time I will anser immeidatly. I have been on the front twice and as Joe Nugent wrote home and told his people I suppose I may as well tell you. He is in the 314 Inf. which is in the same Div. that I am in the 79th.
It was a hot, sunny day, the tenth of June, the year Nineteen Eighteen, that I voluntarily answered the call of my country, which was then plunged into the greatest and most terrific war mankind has ever known. I enlisted at Camp Beauregard, and through the kindness and assistance of a friend of my sister's, Sergeant Whitmel Reed, was assigned to the Intelligence Section, Headquarters Company, 156th Infantry Regiment, 39th Division. A few days after my arrival I was equipped in olive drab, and soon made a full fledged soldier of "Uncle Sam".
Jefferson City Aug 1861 Dear Folks at Home I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all enjoying god Health
Saturday, November 3, 1917
New York and S.S. "St. Paul"
Got up 6:30 a.m. after only 2:45 sleep. Went to paymasters for mileage checks. Saw Mrs. Whiting and received box from her to take to Ken Whiting in Paris. Got money changed and went on Board the St. Paul at 11:30 a.m. We sailed at 12:30 with only 47 first class passengers and apparently not many 2nd class. I have seen three women and a small boy.
December 25, 1917: In this book I shall try to tell the important things which happen while I am in the U. S. Army today is Christmas I have had good time have received lots of presents mostly eatables saw a good wild west show would have liked to have been at home today well I suppose that is all except one thing if anything should happen to me please mail this book to mrs Ola Cruzan 1120 Tenny Ave Kansas City Kansas or to Miss Faye M Butler 54 East 32nd St Kansas City Missouri United States of America
Note: by Bugler Benjamin Edgar Cruzan, Battery F, 341st Field Artillery, 89th Division, 3rd Army AEF 8743 Reads
1777: The Battle of Punk Hill takes place in Amboy, New Jersey.
1862: The Confederate ironclad ram C.S.S. Virginia (formerly U.S.S. Merrimack) is launched.
1862: The ironclad ram CSS Virginia destroys the USS Cumberland and the USS Congress.
1862: Confederate and Indian troops under General Earl Van Dorn suprise Union troops at the Battle of Pea Ridge, but eventually Union troops win the battle.
1915: The first U.S. Navy minelayer, the Baltimore, is commissioned.
1917: The U.S. invades Cuba , for a third time, due to political unrest and corrupt government actions.
1942: Dutch forces surrender to the Japanese after two months of fighting on Java.
1942: Japanese troops capture Rangoon, Burma.
1943: Japanese forces attack American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville. The battle will last five days.
1951: The Philippine 10th Battalion Combat Team secured objectives in the vicinity of Chamsili Island.