History of Company "B" 346th Infantry AEF - 1919
Banner of Company "B" of the 346th Infantry, 87th Division, AEF - 1919. GGA Image ID # 133f81b6b6
We are Company B — and we don't apologize to anyone — or make any excuses about it. Ever since we busted into the world on Oct. 2nd, 1917 with Captain Sanders bossing the job; through all the snows and drills of Arkansas; during the worry and worse of the trip overseas, to the time when we finally landed in Montoir, with Captain Huggins at the helm we have been just Company "B" stood on our own, feared only God and the Colonel, and told the rest of the world that if they didn't like it or us they might find something to suit them down below.
And now we are supposed to write our own history; Why it would take a book. From the day when Sergeant Martin and Daddy Wertz first clicked their heels together and reported to Captain Sanders in Camp Pike, Arkansas, we have been making history hand over fist.
The first big event in the history of the Company was when Martin was appointed Top and Voyer, Company Clerk. And now, Martin is chasing a gold bar, and Voyer is the big boy at Regimental Headquarters: It was about that time that Cassinelli got his job. We wonder how he got it sometimes and why he holds it sometimes but when we have been living at a British rest Camp for a week or so and then hit his grub for a change, we sort of admit to ourselves that as a Mess Sergeant he has the Tommies beat to a frazzle... thought we never admit it out loud. Too much praise is bad for discipline the Lieutenant says. It was about that time that Parham started eating smoke too, I think.
But those early memories are only for a few of us for on Nov. 14th most of the Arkansas boys went down to Beauregard, and where they all are nobody knows.
We weren't lonely for in a few days a lot of rookies blew in from Camp Taylor and a day or so later a lot came from Camp Dodge — and it is from that bunch that most of our hard-boiled sergeants at present came, though if you told one of them that he was a rookie about a year ago he wouldn't believe it himself.
But he was. And we used to whoop it up some in those days too. It was Christmas of last year with sleet and snow thick on the ground outside that Company "B" had its first big blowout. Just a regular Company "B" time, with lots of chocolate cake and ice cream and all sorts of nice fixin's after it.
And the drills on that slippery, snowy parade ground, with our old Krag rifles and the Major, always over in the corner of the field waiting for an unwary corporal to bring his squad around. It was during that time that we began to be bothered with bayonet drill, and with Lt. Hugill on our trail that was a sort of rapid exercise.
I think that the worst thing about those days was the quarantine. It seemed like everybody in the Company was getting measles, mumps, and scarlet fever and all the other diseases in the dictionary at a different time, and it was months before some of us- got a look into Little Rock. But it wasn't all bosh, that sickness, for we got our first casualties from it.
Privates Grams and Peters died while at the hospital, and a lot of us stopped for a moment and realized that the game we were in was going to leave a lot of sore places in this country of ours before it was over and a lot more of us weren't going home.
After our Captain J. Y. Sanders talked to us one day, we agreed that the game was worth the candle and settled down to work. We will never forget that talk of the Captain.
But the sickness wasn't just for us bucks for at one time or another all of our Officers were in the hospital too, that is all except Lieut. Sunny Brooks. I guess that he was too good-natured to get sick.
Along about spring, transfers started again, and most of the Company were sent overseas. That was when hard times in Company "B" started though we didn't have the song then. Just when we were trained and ready to go overseas and whip the hell out of any Prussian division that the Kaiser had, the Company was again broken up, and we were again disappointed.
But we sent them a fine lot of men, and every one of them was a soldier from the soles of his feet to the top of his head, and we have since learned that they got in the big push last summer and made a great record. So we feel better about their going now.
Here's the record of one of Company B's boys. Pvt. Burtis Endicott of Company C. 102 Inf. for the following act of extraordinary heroism in action at Marcaeville, France, on Sept. 26th, 1918, Pvt. Endicott was awarded the bronze oak leaf to be worn on the distinguished service cross awarded to him on Sept. 27th, 1918, while isolated from his platoon and under violent machine gun and artillery fire Pvt. Endicott was wounded in the arm by machine-gun bullets. After receiving first aid, he returned to duty and continued in the fight until again wounded.
For seven long months was with old Company B. where he taught all the tricks and arts of open warfare. He was well liked by all for lie was the life of the second platoon during the hard winter at Camp Pike. Fun was all he ever thought of until he was called Into real action, and he soon showed what one of Company B's products could do.
From Camp Pike to Camp Dix
The last 66 men left on the 11th of June, and on the 15th, we moved with the whole 87th. Division to Camp Dix, N. J., and got ready to come overseas ourselves. We got the first of our new men on the 20th, 89 from New York and New Jersey; then, the drilling started all over again; only this time, it was midsummer with the thermometer around 100 instead of the winter.
We spent a lot of the time on the target range even on the hottest days, and not one of us from the oldest Sergeant to the youngest recruit will ever forget those hikes along that dusty, sandy road.
It was hard work, but it was real soldiering and put the new men on their mettle and made them soldiers all the quicker.
However, we weren't to be allowed to go overseas in peace even yet for just before we left our Captain, and three of our Lieutenants were taken away from us. It is true that the Captain was called to Regimental Hqtrs. as Intelligence Officer while Lieut. Ferguson went just next door to C. Company, but they were lost to us as a Company.
Then Lieut. Bramlett was made a captain and given command of Company C., so you see that B. Company has contributed to the welfare of the Regiment in all sorts of ways. Lt. Brooks was made 1st. Lieut, and sent to a new division which was being formed and we suppose that he is giving them B. Company discipline and his smile right now.
For a while, we prospered under Lt. Payne's hand and then Capt. Huggins came and took us in charge and has been bossing the job since then. About that time, Lt. Mc Whorter, who had also been with us down in Camp Pike, was assigned to us again and a little later Lt. Foltz dropped in and has been with us ever since, although Lt. Me Whorter has since gone to the Army of occupation.
The Voyage to Liverpool on the SS Ceramic
The 24th of August was a date that we can never forget, for that is the day that the Ceramic steamed down New York bay with Company B. on board. We had left Camp Dix and boarded the ship the day before, but our convoy didn't leave until about 7 o'clock the next morning.
We pulled out of the harbor in the center of a flotilla of Destroyers and chasers with a few friendly planes and dirigibles overhead and with many hopes and a few misgivings in our hearts. But the Subs didn't bother us although we got .quite a scare one night when the engineer got free with the whistle and woke on the morning of the 4th. of September to find the ship plying down between Ireland and Scotland. That last day was the best part of the trip, with the possible exception of the baths that we took on board ship.
The morning of the 5th, we got our feet on solid land again at Liverpool, England, and hunted up the railway station at once for a little trip through the country. We traveled very comfortably in regular coaches (built like a family carriage), for we hadn't yet made the acquaintance of the soldier's pullman.
Winchester England to Southampton
We unloaded in the afternoon at Winchester and spent three days there before going to Southampton and boarding the Yale. Now about the next twelve hours, it is just as well not to talk. Any conversation on the subject would never pass the proofreader. If a vote were taken in Company B.
Crossing the Channel on the SS Yale
I think the Lord would agree that the next time lie makes the world he can leave the English Channel oil the plans. We have never quite forgiven the English for allowing such a thing to be named after them. But we got to Le Havre safely, and after a few days there we set off in Pullman cars again.
Le Havre, France
There is another thing that it just as well not to talk about in connection with Winchester and Le Havre. Grub. Breakfast was bad enough, but tea in the evening at 4 o'clock was the climax. And when it comes to English mess, there is a unanimous a "Never again" vote in Company B.
However, as I said, it didn't last long, and we were soon on our way again, this time not stopping till we got to Beante, near Saintes, in the province of Cliereaute in Ferieuer. We got off there and hiked over through the little town of Breves.
And there we spent our most pleasant time in France. It was a little village, with nothing much but a church and a store. Company B. was billeted in three different places. Two of the platoons of us and Hqtrs. stayed in an old 765 house at M. Boucher's place, and many of us remember that fine little Frenchman yet.
Then the 4th platoon, with Lieutenants Hugjll and Foltz stayed up the track at M. Menoud whose whole family, including the children, Denis, and Jeanette, made friends with our boys. The other platoon had the distinction of staying at the Mayor's farm, though we all messed together at Hqtrs.
We had the whole Chereante River to swim and wash in, and some of the Sergeants and Lt. Hugill tried fishing, but no one ever saw them catch anything, although they still talk about the fish, we saw jump. We worked hard, drilling all day, but those were happy times, except when it rained, and even then, it wasn't bad.
But they didn't leave us there long for we got orders on the 23rd of September and left early the next morning, just one month to the day and hour after we left the United States. Our march to Saintes that morning is another thing that most of us will long remember, for not only was it a long march, but it rained nearly the whole way, and we were carrying full packs.
Over at Montoir
And now we are here in Montoir, been here since that unlucky day that we pulled in here from Breves. Of course, at first, we lived in the warehouse in the hollow along with Companies, A, C, and Machine Gun, but that was only for the first month which was just as well for the place is all underwater now, and can’t be reached without a Ceramic or a canoe or something.
Up here, we can get around in rubber boots or could until Lt. Foltz and Corporal Petersen fixed the street, and now we get stuck fast every now and then and have to get one of the Mechanics to pry us loose. Still, things might be worse. We don't mind the way things look so much, for we never get a chance to see them anyhow. It's dark when we leave camp in the morning and dark when we come back at night, so what's the use of landscape gardening?
I think that the boys were a little better satisfied with the place before the latrines were moved back in the woods out of sight. There's something so reasoning about a latrine right handy in plain sight, especially when the cooks feed so many prunes as they do these days.
They have been talking about sending us home. First, it was the end of November, then the middle of December, then New Years, and now the end of January. It sounds well and gives us something to think about at night when we can't sleep, but no one takes much stock in it, not even old Nick.
It doesn't much matter Reckon we'll all get back some time and meanwhile most of us are loading rails for the Engineers, moving floors for the Quartermaster and shouting for more, that is those who haven't been lucky enough to get over to St. Malo.
And that reminds me of the tales that the first lot told of the time over there "Yes" says Clarkson to an admiringly eager crowd around him, e 1 had just finished having dinner with a French Major and I was coming out of the restaurant trying to make him understand that the champagne hadn't been as good as that which I had had the evening before when I had supper with a Canadian Colonel.
I almost bumped into Cassinelli and the Swede. They had a girl on each arm, and they looked like the boys did the day the Armistice was signed, just that happy. Swede says "I”, but he just winked at me and...» And then comes the usual tale of... but you have heard it before.
Well, that's our history as far as I know it. We are B. Company 346th, and as I said before, anybody that doesn't like it or us may find better Company downstairs. Elevator just across the German border, Sir.
Images for Company "B"
Part 1 of 3, History of Company B, 346th Infantry, 87th Division of the AEF. GGA Image ID # 1348e3b733
Part 2 of 3, History of Company B, 346th Infantry, 87th Division of the AEF. GGA Image ID # 1348ea80d9
Part 3 of 3, History of Company B, 346th Infantry, 87th Division of the AEF. GGA Image ID # 1349a34a83
The Dizzy Squad by Pvt. Herbert R. Meisler; Roster of Company "B" of the 346th Infantry, Part 1 of 3. GGA Image ID # 134a30cc55