History of Company "G" 346th Infantry AEF - 1919
Banner of Company G, 346th Infantry, 87th Division of the AEF. GGA Image ID # 1374aeddb6
Hdqs. Co’s “G“ and “H” 346th Inf. - St. Seurin, France. Sept. 22, 1918
The following is a literal translation of the letter given the Commanding Officer of this detachment, by the Mayor of St. Seurin, France.
From the Mayor of St. Seurin de Paleune, France, to the Captain Commandant of American troops at St. Seurin.
My Captain :
In my double position as Captain in the French Army and as Mayor of the village of St. Seurin, I hope you will pardon the liberty I take in addressing you these few words, in remembrance of your too short stay in our midst.
Permit me to say in the beginning that the conduct of the Officers, under Officers and soldiers under your orders has been in all respects perfect. That all the people without any exception hold an excellent remembrance of you.
We have not the power to express ourselves clearly to each other (and for reasons) but in reality, we well understand, and have a great sympathy for each other.
We would have been glad to have you remain longer, with us, but no, we were obliged to separate. Acting soldiers and soldiers of the great Sister Republic, you have recalled the noble actions accomplished by our Grand Ancestors, La Fayette, and Rochambeau, and you have rushed to the aid of bruised France, who has suffered and who will suffer still, but who will not die.
When you will have conquered the barbarians and will have forced them to bow down before the Flags of the Allied powers and particularly before the Starry Flag, you will then be the defender of Civilization, Liberty, Justice and Right, and Saviour of the world.
It is with the living hope that I leave you, my Captain, and I pray you to accept my best wishes and brotherly love, for you in particular and all your men in general.
St Seurin de Paleune, 22 Sept. 1918.
Hdqrs. Co’s. “G” and “H” 346th Inf. - St. Seurin, France.
Sept. 17, 1918
The following communication was written by 1st. Lieut. William P. Smith Co. “H” 346th Inf., at the request of the Commanding Officer of this detachment and was translated by Cook Leynaud, Co. “G” 346th Inf., assisted by a citizen of St. Seurin.
Upon receipt of orders to vacate this area, it was presented to the Mayor by the Commanding Officer of this detachment.
TO THE MAYOR :
The Commanding Officer, speaking for himself, the other officers and the men, wishes to express his sincere thanks to the Mayor and the people of the town for the kind treatment the officers and men have received since their arrival here. The Mayor has been constantly courteous to us and attentive to our wants and needs. The people welcomed us with open arms and have ever since done all in their power to add to our comfort and happiness.
The difference in our languages has made it difficult for us to converse with each other, but your greetings were expressed toward us in kindly smiles and good treatment. Such a language is understood everywhere. Your smiles and many acts of kindness has told better than words could have done, that we are welcome here. We have received nothing but smiles and good treatment since we have been in France.
Our people have always had a warm feeling for the people of France. They have not forgotten that France helped make America free. We are now in your midst and are proud of the privilege to help repay in part that debt. Since we have seen what a beautiful land and what a patriotic people you have, we are more grieved than ever to think of the brutal efforts a modern savage nation is making to destroy your homes and devastate your land.
We are far from our homes and loved ones, but we are now prouder than ever before to help conquer the nation that is trying to destroy homes and peaceful lands everywhere. It is sad for us to think how your people have suffered by this war, a war that has converted gardens into cemeteries and homes in houses of mourning, has taken the flower of the young manhood and in a little while sends part back crippled and maimed and leaves part on the field of battle cold, withered and dead.
We as well as you, long for the day of peace, when the war drum shall be heard no longer and the battle flags are furled, when we can once more devote our energies to the arts of peace and simple husbandry. But we shall not grant peace to a proud and haughty enemy. We expect to see that the murderers of millions pay the price for such a crime. Such a military pride and purpose as Germany now has must be conquered and crushed forever, we know that you will still be of stout heart and good cheer. The spirit and morale of the American soldier and American people is high. We are all firmly resolved to fight side by side with you and our allies till not only France and Belgium but the whole world is safe for freedom and democracy.
Harry U. Bray - Capt. 346th Inf.
Assorted Glimpses of Life in Company G
- CpI. Pickard, the only man in the world too bow legged to put his socks in a suitcase.
- It was a beautiful sight crossing the English channel on a tug called the Archangel with an umbrella for a sail. Everything was pretty until about ten bells when the men began going to the rail in squad rushes, to feed the fish. The Channel was so rough the boat would be tossed out of the water and sounded like one of Henry Ford’s engines falling apart.
- I was down in the hold all night asleep, but in the morning, it could be plainly seen that an all-night a session had been held on the deck. I was told my friend Cpl. Seth lasted until midnight, made peace with his Lord, laid down his Bible and made preparations for his funeral.
- It was a pitiful sight to see the cows driven out of their long accustomed stalls at St. Seurin just to let a bunch of dough boys sleep in their quarters for ten days.
- It was very kind of the French people to do this for us but in the long run they were well paid. The boys cleaned the village, bought all the wine within twenty miles which caused much sickness and a few fits.
- After several unsuccessful attempts of Sgts. And Cpls. trying to run the M. P. lines at No. 1, Bally Lenord, better known as the King of the Rice Swamps, made the trip with one private and returned with the desired dinner bell to the Kitchen of Co. “G”.
- The headquarters platoon can only let two men go on furlough at a time as the rest must stand submarine guard at the port holes in the kitchen.
- Every time Sgt. Joe, the top kicker, growls off the details, it makes me wish that I was never born. The other morning he stepped out in the hall with a paper in his hand and blew his nose, instantly every private in the barracks jumped to attention. -
- We all agree that Lieut. Cross is there when it comes to close order drill, but I saw a n**** out run him in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
A Dough Boy’s Revenge
Upon arrival of this Company at the seaport of St. Nazaire, it was found that the Marines were in full charge. They paraded up and down the beach and streets with M. P. bands upon their arms, and preyed upon the Non-commissioned Officers and Privates of our regiment, and little dreamed that they would ever bow their heads to the new men in their midst who had a burning desire for revenge.
Instead of advising the men of the location of the restricted districts, they permitted them to enter off limit zones, and would then apprehend them. In this manner the men of this regiment received humiliation and punishment for which they were not responsible. It was illustrated by the Marines from the beginning that life could hardly be bearable, much less pleasant under their rule.
But at last our Star of hope appeared. The order came relieving the Marines from their duties as Military Police and they were placed in the same camp with us. We then received orders to furnish the guard for this camp, and Companies “G” and “II” were assigned to this duty.
Co. “G” was ever watchful for her hour of revenge. An old army dough-boy, who belonged to Co. “G”, while inspecting the camp, discovered holes in the fence opposite the area occupied by the Marines.
As his company was coming on guard that evening, and lie saw his opportunity, he passed the good news on, for he had discovered that well-worn paths led up to these holes, It seemed that our hour of revenge was near.
The war council was called together at once by the Sgt. of the guard, and they then laid their plans for what proved to be the most satisfactory event of the Company's History. Two carefully selected patrols consisting of two Corporals and six privates were to represent the company on this great enterprise.
According to the carefully prepared plans of the war council the patrols appeared upon the selected ground promptly at the appointed hour. They promptly dispersed, taking their proper positions and patiently lay in the slimy mud awaiting their victims. Soon to their expectant ears came the sound of many tramping feet and the blood raced through their veins at the thought of the joy soon to be theirs.
Suddenly the victims appeared, sharply outlined on the skyline, and the patrol eager to do its duty slowly arose to a crouching position. As the enemy cautiously crawled through the fence, he was greeted with a whispered “Halt” and a bayonet point at his throat. Courteously he was directed to the Guard House, and for fear he would lose his way, he was provided with an orderly, armed with a rifle and bayonet to protect him from further harm.
The frightened and humiliated Marine offered his Cognac and last Franc for his freedom, but nothing could rob us of the fruits of our victory. We had won. Eighteen Marines were ours, which fully repaid us for causalities suffered at their hands.
Images from Company "G" of the 346th Infantry
Literal Translation of Correspondence from Jeoffrey, Mayor of St. Seurin de Paleune, France to to the Captain Commandant of American Troops at St. Seurin (Companies "G" and "H" of the 346th Infantry), dated 22 September 1918. GGA Image # 1374df105b
Communication dated 17 September 1918, Written by 1st. Lieut. William P. Smith Co. “H” 346th Inf. to the Mayor of St. Seurin, France, at the Request of the Commanding Officer of This Detachment and Translated Into French by Cook Leynaud, Co. “G” 346th Inf., Assisted by a Citizen of St. Seurin. GGA Image ID # 1374e2a71c
Anecdotes of Life in Company "G" while serving in France during the Great War (World War I). GGA Image ID # 1374ea3ca8
Short Story by an Unknown Soldier of Company "G", 346th Infantry, AEF entitled "A Dough Boys Revenge." GGA Image ID # 137532c4ff