History of the First, Second, and Third Battalions, 346th Infantry AEF - 1919
First Battalion History
This modest chronicle of the birth and achievements of the First Battalion, 346th Infantry will be both brief and unassuming: rather serving the part of a foreword or preface to the history of the individual companies of the mother organization, than comprising an independent treatise in itself.
The organization of the First Battalion of the 346th Infantry is coincident, as to date and place, with the formation of the Regiment itself, to wit : Year 1917, Camp Pike, Arkansas.
It was at Camp Pike that the Battalion developed throughout its youthful days, into a complete and virile combat organization. It was there that the grueling days of training fitted the officers of the Battalion for the task beyond the seas. It was there in the heat of a Southern sun that boys were made into men and civilians transformed into trained and disciplined soldiers.
And almost as rapidly as the training progressed, were the men taken from the organization which had developed them and transferred to the four corners of the globe. It was there that the First Battalion took first honors on the rifle range, and on the baseball field, and it was there that it learned to feel a pride in itself and rejoice in its appearance at parades and reviews.
Then came the transfer to Camp Dix, whence the battalion became a stranger in a strange land. But soon the stranger began to absorb the natives, and after a sojourn of about two months, the ranks of the 1st Battalion, 346th Infantry, were filled with those souls whose names had recently adorned the rosters and reports — not excluding the sick reports — of such and such- a Depot Brigade.
These new sinews that were to make the muscle and brawn of the battalion, were sorted into squads, groups and classes ; drilled, tormented and instructed, until they too, took partly the shape and appearance of military personnel.
Then came the final chapter : The trip across the seas ; the tours of England, and the travels through France, the Rest Camps, the training area, the billets, the winning of friends among the natives, the collisions with their customs, the strangeness of their tongue; the orders to duty in the S.O.S., and the happenings there. All of this will be set forth in detail in the history of individual companies which comprise the First Battalion of the 346th Infantry.
It may not be out of place to add here, that the Organizer and Commander, and he who now stands at the helm of the First Battalion is Major George H. Barngover, who has spent the best years of his life in the Military Service of the United States.
Comments on the Roster of the First Batallion
Butterfield:- "Roaring Ralph" "The Marines Friend" He is over fourty now. What will he do when he enters fifty?
Gregg:- "Granny" The original discoverer of the fact that "Orders Home" relieve and well nigh cure rheumatic legs.
Daniels:- "The Musketeer" With nothing to say and less to do, he holds fourth on the appointment of Company Cooks and dertifies that the direction from "here" to the "Red Barn" is not on any map or compass.
Kouns:- "Andy" "Take it from me!"
Dyer:- "Ran" Ever Effervescent.
Hodsoll:- "Joe" "Like patience on a monument smiling at grief."
Faulkner:- "Physic" Oh you Nurses -- see who'se here.
Council:- "Cocky" And it fits - ne c'est pas?
Golden:- Plain "John" "Now Major, if you will only let me tell you G Company can dress "right smart"."
Gross:- "Issy" The Yahoota M. P.
Kimberlin:- Just "Sam" What mournful sound do I hear Tis Sammys Mandolin so dear.
Smith:- "Cyclist" Bettern known as Subway Bill.
Murphy:- "Murph" The M. P.'s are all right but oh you Second Battalion.
Letter dated 30 January 1919 from Major Ralph B. Butterfield, Commanding Officer to the Second Battalion, 346th Infantry, 87th Division of the AEF. GGA Image ID # 13779e0884
Second Battalion, 346th Infantry,
Camp No. 1, Base Section No. 1,
St. Nazaire, Loire-Inf., France,
January 30, 1919.
From: The Commanding Officer
To: The Battalion.
Subject: God Speed.
- Our orders release us this date from duty with the A E F , and our embarkation for home and mustering out is imminent. I, therefore, take this time when we are still together to say “good-bye” to the second battalion as an integral part of our regiment and of the U. S. Army.
- Few of you, I fear, will credit the fact that as I write this, a lump persistently rises in my throat at the thought of the separation; but it does Hard and “hard boiled” I may have been to officers and men, but necessity is a hard task master an' you have been my necessity; you-hard workers, hard trainers, hard players, hard breakers of minor regulations and, well do I know, given the chance, hard as hell on the Hun You needed a hard commander and your efficiency blossomed and bloomed to the fullest under two of them.
- Carry with you into your civil life the indomitable spirit, the indefatigable wi 11, and the “managing” ability you have shown me and your future is assured. None need worry about you.
- Given another war and another opportunity to lead a battalion, I shall pray for this one unchanged.
- Officers, Non-commissioned Officers, Privatês, American Soldiers All!
I salute you!
Ralph B. Butterfield.
Third Battalion Officers School
By Lt. H. R. Spangler.
Scène : Officer’s Mess Hall, Camp Pike, Arkansas — Times : Saturday Afternoon - 1918. — Costumes : Gus Blass and Q. M. Dept. — Scenery : Cantonement Contractors and nature.
The Officers of the Third Battalion are seated at the tables in the Mess Hall.
Enter-Major Byrd. — « Attention ».
Major Byrd. — « Sit Down ». — Officers resume their seats.
Major Byrd. — « I Co. ». — Captain Kisele. — « All Here ». « K Co. » Captain (now major) Fenner. — « Here », « L Co. » Captain Hillman. — « Here », « M Co. » Captain Wrape. — « Here ».
Major Byrd. — Hillman, have you completed the construction of your overseas boxes ?
Captain Hillman. — Yes Sir, two weeks ago. So long ago I’ve almost forgotten about them.
Major Byrd. —•- Captain Fenner.
Captain Fenner. — I beg your pardon Sir.
Major Byrd (louder). — Have Your overseas boxes been made yet ? Are you deaf ?
Captain Fenner. — Well. Yes, yes, Sir, yes, Sir. Oh yes, some months ago. Certainly.
Captain Hillman '(aside). — He’s deaf. Old Fenner’s got one foot in the grave anyway.
Major Byrd. — Stop that talking. There’s been a number of complaints registered at Headquarters of timber being stolen from the 347th area. If that applies to any companies in my battalion I want it stopped.
Captain Hillman. — I told that sergeant not to let them see him taking wood in the day time.
Major Byrd. — Where did you get the timber for your boxes, by the way ?
Chorus of Captains. — Issued timber Sir.
Major Byrd. — I wasn’t satisfied at all with the condition of your company areas and kitchens to day, most of them were positively filthy.
Chorus of Captains. — The Division Inspector told me this morning that my kitchen was the cleanest in the entire Division.
Major Byrd. — Hell’s Catoot ; You poor fools never saw a clean kitchen. Now in the Philippines I have seen an Inspector take a white silk handkerchief and go over the entire barracks of a company without... What’s that noise back there ?
Lt. B. C. Geisenberger. — I moved my seat Sir.
Major Byrd. — What for ?
Lt. Geisenbcrger. — Spangler slapped a curse on me Sir.
Major Byrd. — Both of you turn in a map of the Division area before 12 A. M. Monday. Have you studied the lesson I assigned for this period ?
Lt. Geisenberger. — Yes Sir, I’ve read it over four times I think.
Major Byrd. — What are combat orders ?
Lt. Geisenberger. — Combat orders are the expression of a fixed decision and must definitely state the end in view...
Major Byrd. — We-l-l.
Lt. Geisenberger. — That’s all, Sir.
Major Byrd. — If I ordered you to remain within the confines of the regimental area for a period of ten days, would it not be the expression of a fixed decision?
Lt. Geisenberger. — Yes Sir, and the end in view.
Major Byrd. — Would it be a combat order.
Lt. Geisenberger. — So far as 1 am concerned it would... or rather I mean the order must relate directly with combat-such as to attack or to take up and defend a position.
Major Byrd. — Can it be possible that some of you Show a faint glint of intelligence?
Lt. Geisenberger. — Yes Sir. And I haven’t studied much either Major. I’ve had all the canteen books to balance, and everything.
Major Byrd. — Spend more time with your company and less with the canteen.
Lt. Geisenberger. — Very well Sir.
Major Byrd. — Lt. Spangler ?
Lt. Spangler. — Yes Sir.
Major Byrd. — Do you know this lesson?
Lt. Spangler. — Yes Sir. In fact I am the only officer in the Battalion who has read your book through from beginning to end.
Chorus of Officers, — I’ve read it.
Major Byrd (turning to back of book). — Then you ought to be pretty familiar with it. Give a ten minute talk on the zone of the line of Communications.
Lt. Spangler. — I don’t remember seeing anything like that in your book Sir. Besides, I shouldn't think it would apply to the Infantry anyway. The Infantry is the principal and most important arm of the »service, is charged with the main work and decides the final issue of combat, and...
Major Byrd. — Sit Down. — And you may read the book over again.
Major Byrd. — Captain Wrape?
Captain Wrape. — Yes Sir.
Major Byrd. — Why have you not turned in your map?
Captain Wrape. — The Sergeant hasn’t completed it Sir.
Major Byrd. — You are confined to Camp for the duration of the war.
Captain Wrape. — Sir, I can’t find time to draw maps, study and look after my company too. I am going to see that my company gets a square deal and we are not getting the issues of clothing and food to which we are entitled. I’d rather see the whole damn Division go naked and hungry than one of Co. M’s men.
Captains Kisele, Fenner and Hillman. — I wanted to take that up with you too.
Major Byrd. — Keep quiet. This is school time. I’ll see all of you regarding that matter in my room after you are dismissed.
Captain Eiselc. — Sir, I would like to be excused as I wanted to go to Hot Springs this afternoon. I haven’t been home for three months.
Captain Fenner. — Yes Sir. I thought I would like to run over with him if its all right with you. We’ve had a pretty hard week.
Chorus of Officer's. — We sure have.
A terrific noise is heard outside.
(Note, attention property-man. — It is the wish of the producer that all simulations be as exact as possible, in order to produce the desired effect. Suggest that in the production of the above sounds in addition to the thunder-machine the following be used — drop a cooking-stove down a flight of stairs, follow with a bag of glass, a dozen or more cow-bells, from twelve to fifteen cannon-balls and a refrigerator).
Chorus of Officers. — Jumping to their feet (with exception of Keith).
What in the Heel Was That
Lt. (now Captain) Bray. — (Looking out of the window). Only Pete Hugill singing. « Over there ».
Officers resume their seats.
Major Byrd. — Lt. Keith?
Lt. Keith (waking up). — Yes Sir.
Major Byrd. — Were you asleep ?
Lt. Jenkins (Answering for Lt. Keith). — No Sir.
Major Byrd. — What factor is necessary to success
Lt. Keith. —Discipline. Sir.
Lt. (now Captain) Boudreaux (pounding the table). — That’s it. Discipline. That’s what the Anny needs. By Gad we should have it. I have it in my platoon and I intend to always have it. And Salutes, half of this army doesn’t know when, where or how to salute. I actually passed a second lieutenant on the street the other night and he failed to salute.
The next time this happens there are going to be charges preferred. Even Officers lack dis...
Lt. Cudd. — If every man in my platoon does not know how to Salute I don’t want no more okra.
Captain Hillman. —• Firmness,, kindness and justice, that’s me. I’ll treat you fair and I expect the same. Otherwise my name’s Sam and I don’t give a damn’ Major have you got a cigar on you?
Lt. Walker. — The second Battalion had a rotten parade yesterday.
Chorus of Officers. — Absolutely rotten. They always do. So does the first. We are the only ones who can throw a parade.
Major Byrd. — Walker.
Lt. Walker. — Yes Sir.
Major Byrd. — That reminds me to tell you to stay here to-morrow and read up on parades and reviews.
Lt. Walker. — Tomorrow's Sunday Sir.
Major Byrd. — Is it ? Then you’ll have more time to read. « Kayer. »
Lt. Kayer. — Yes Sir.
Major Byrd. — Did you ever have any time off in the Phillipines?
Lt. Kayer. — No Sir, Never.
Major Byrd. — Did you ever miss a hike because it was Sunday?
Lt. Kayer. — No Sir, never. Rain, mud, sand or snow notwithstanding.
Major Byrd. — And these poor boobs want to rest on Sunday. I would like to have seen some of you children at West Point. If we even mentioned Sunday there we received twenty-five demerits, and fifty would cause you to be thrown out.
Exit. — Major Byrd to get a supply of cigars and a map from his room.
Lt. Dupont. — I’ll be willing to wager that West Point was not near as hard on a man as any of the « Officers Training Camps ».
Chorus of Officers. — Hell No. Say do you remembers* ?1/4 O1 Awol?" () :”1/4). Enter Private Porteno Grangasperri, (late of Italy) fondly nicknamed « Gaspipe», veteran of a small pox epidemic, the Turko-Italian war and Intensified Matrimony, now pride of the Battalion and orderly to Captain Eisele. (note* — music — during the entry of the above character the orchestra will play softly the Garabaldi Hymn).
Gaspipe (looking around with a grin). — Cap. Eye. Sir-me catch-a two more of da chinch in your bed — I cana prove-a dis time — I keep um to show you if you lika —.
Captain Eisele. — Six and two is eight — D — M. Clean out that room — scrub it — tear everything down — move everything — hot soap and water — get four men to help you — get some listerine, carbolic acid and an atomizer — give away, all my clothes, burn my linen and shoes — and —;
Gaspipe (continuing). — And — two of your blankets burn up-a. I seen Sam throw-a da cigarette on da cot, ail —.
Captain Eisele. — You’re not worth a d—u. I told you to watch those—.
Gaspipe (continuing). — And, Sir borrow twenty-five doll. I gotta get a— I like-a to divorce from my wife. I hit him last night and he getta mad and raise hell. I been-a marry four day. No like mueha, wauta —.
Captain Eisele. — Here comes Major Byrd. See Him.
Enter Major Byrd (cigars and map in hand).
Gaspipe. — Say Maje — I like-a borrow twenty- five doll to getloose from wife. II pay-a you back, honest tcGGodjl hit-a him, I call-a police and lock him up. He marry me to get-a da insurance.
Major Byrd (lighting a cigar, and putting another in a pocket opposite the side on which Captain Hillman is sitting). — All right. Look in one of the books on the floor in my room and get fifty dollars. If you find any small change in any of my boots or under the bed put it in the window.
Exit. — Private Grangasperri. (note * — Music — during and just prior to the exit of the above character the orchatftra will render the first two verses of a « Hot time in the old town To-Night », and the last two of « Good Bye Forever »).
Major Byrd. — Lt. Killough.
Lt. Killough (very straight and very dignified). — Yes Sir.
Major Byrd. — This map of yours is very creditable.
Lt. Killough. — I did not elaborate it as much as I would have liked to. Sir.
Major Byrd. — Hell’s Catoot. That’s just exactly what I don’t want you to do. All T want is a few lines on paper. Just—an amount sufficient to enable your commander to locate a position. I cannot get it into your thick skulls that when you draw a map under fire you will not have time to paint a beautiful picture. Next Saturday I wish another map turned in by each of you of all the division area southeast of 16th St.
Lt. Evans. — How far southeast, Sir.
Major Byrd. — Just as far as you can make it before dark, and if it isn’t as much as I think it should be you may complete it on Sunday.
Major Byrd. — Lt. Christian.
Lt. Christian. — Yes, Sir.
Major Byrd. — Recite the first twenty-four paragraphs of, the U. S. Army Regulations and the twenty-third Psalm.
Lt. Christian. — I don’t believe I can Sir.
Major Byrd. — I did not expect you to be able to answer correctly on account of the Tea Dance-last night. I wish that Officer’s Club would burn down or either serve some other purpose.
Major Byrd. Lt. Upshaw.
Lt. Cypert. — He can’t talk Sir, on account of his sore throat Sir.
Major Byrd. — I’m not at all surprised, I heard that quartette going half the night (A scratch at the door is heard).
Major Byrd Opens the door to let Sam and Spike enter.
Chorus of Officers. — Here Sam. Here Spike. (Showing one touch of nature makes the whole world kin).
Major Byrd. — Spike’s crazy. Sam’s the smartest dog I’ve ever seen. Both them sleep in my bed every night. Sam can whip anything on four feet thirty pounds over his weight.
Chorus pf Officers. — Yes Sir. « And we’re going * to take him to France with us ».
Lt. Levine. — God, how I dread the day we snail sail for France.
Lt. Geo Brown. — Major, I heard that d-Lt. Blaine threw a rock at Sam a few days ago..
Chorus of Officers. — I’ll see about that.
Lt. Brown. — I hate to see anyone hurt a dumb animal. I’m trying to get a real He Goat for my fellows now.
Major Byrd. — I’ve told you ten million times not call your men ’fellows’. You’re confined to camp for a week.
Lt. Swanson. — Major, I would like to collect the monthly mess bill from each officer.
Major Byrd. — You have my permission to try it.
Lt. Swanson. — Everyone hand in forty-eight dollars ands seventy-six cents.
Chorus of Officers. — Whistles, and protests. Where does it go. We would much rather eat with the companies. They have better food. The Waldorf would be cheaper. Somebody’s getting a rake off. Shades' of Hoover.
Major Byrd. — Always a kick. Where in the world does your money go. You have absolutely no expenses other than this small mess bill.
Silence. — (Everyone is thinking of Gus Blass, sixty-five dollar uniforms, twenty dollar shoes, sixty dollar overcoats, taxi-fares, Reggie Thompson watches, club dues, and whisky, well adulterated, selling for twelve dollars per quart, with the return of the battle).
Lt. Cunniffe. — I love good food when I can get it and I would like wine with my meals.
Lt. Miller. — In order that this matter should be handled in a business like way at the end of the month a bill should be submitted to each individual who in turn would refund by check.
Lt. Swanson. — I haven’t even got a pen and ink with which to make out a bill.
Major Byrd. — That reminds me. I want each of you to buy a new pair of field glasses, a rubber bathtub and an Australian Prismatic Compass before Wednesday, as we are going, to have a night march every night next week.
Lt. Levine faints and is carried out by Lt. Bray, neither of whom return during the session.
Lt. Cunniffe. — (aside) I hope I get to town before the Banks close. I want to kill this pay check.
Major Byrd. — Anything anyone else wishes to take up?
Silence. .. Not one sound.
Major Byrd. — If there’s nothing further you are dismissed. « One moment ». I’ll take those confinement off this time and I’ll see all the Captains Monday instead of this afternoon.
Chorus of officers. — Thank you.
Major Byrd. — I’ve told you a million times-not to thank me. I’ve, a good mind to take you on a strategical hike. — But he's talking to an empty room.
Images from the Third Battalion
Page 1 of 3. Third Battalion Officer's School - A Screenplay by Lt. H. R. Spangler. GGA Image ID # 1377df7709
Page 2 of 3. Third Battalion Officer's School - A Screenplay by Lt. H. R. Spangler. GGA Image ID # 137877db83
Page 3 of 3. Third Battalion Officer's School - A Screenplay by Lt. H. R. Spangler. GGA Image ID # 1378ac31a5