after the battle that brought undying glory to American arms and especially
to the Marine Corps. America's War for Humanity
The Marines earned their nickname “Devil Dogs” from the Germans in WW1 at
the Battle of Belleau Wood. They used 1903 Springfield Rifles with such
effective marksmanship that they decimated German troops from a distance of
over 800 yards.
Ernest Franklin Hess
, USMC, Gunner, Ripley County , Indiana
Wounded at Belleau Wood. Struck in left thigh, both arms and left eye. Hospitalized for five weeks to recover and fitted with glass eye.
Came over in a Hospital ship in a Casual Co. We sent on arrival to the
Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia for two months. Was sent to the
Marine Barracks at Norfolk Va. for one month.
Served as gunner on an outpost when wounded at Belleau Wood, June 23, 1918.
Service in the trenches at Verdun consisted of raiding, extending
excavations of trenches and building roads. Was under constant shellfire and
subject to gas attacks almost every night.
“Had only a week’s rest after the Verdun trenches until sent to
Chateau-Thierry. Advanced eight days in this attack, doing hand to hand
fighting with nets, rifles and machine-guns. (French ‘sho-sho’ guns).
Marched back for rest when relieved by 7th Infantry. A barrage was put over
the first night after this relief. The 7th Infantry fell back, the Germans
rushed in and retook all the Marines had gained in the eight days. “The 6th
Marines were sent immediately to relieve the 7th and went again into battle
about 8 or 9 AM, June 2, 1918. They succeeded in retaking Belleau Wood,
advancing four kilometers. They continued the advance for twenty-odd days
until the entire wood was taken and held.
“Private Hess carried a wounded Lieutenant from a hill in Belleau Wood to a
First Aid station in a ravine. The Lieutenant was then carried by the First
Aid men to a Field Hospital. Both of these men received medals for this
action. Orders to all marines were to drag wounded out of further danger, so
this action was in the line of duty. Nearly all soldiers served their
comrades in this way.”
Victor Keenan Baughman
, 5th reg., USMC, K. I. A. Grant County, Indiana
Wounded by shrapnel October 4, carried to field hospital #15 and died
October 6, 1918, Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge.
General Gouroud, in proposing the citation of the 2nd Div.
‘On October 3, this Div. drove forward and seized in a single assault the
strongly entrenched German positions between Blanc Mont and Medeah Farm
making in the course of the whole day, an advance of about 6 km.
It captured several thousand prisoners – This attack resulted in the
evacuation by the enemy of his positions on both sides of the river Suippe.
In this fight, and in the week of advancement following, the casualties
amounted to 95 officers and 2,369 men in the 4th Brigade of the Marines
alone, of whom only 31 men were reported missing.
Victor K. Baughman was the son of John A. and Ella McNair
Baughman and was born in Marion, Indiana.
The following is a letter received from the soldier who buried him
Bendorf, Germany, March 5, 1919:
Dear Sister; Since receiving your letter of February 5, asking me to try and
give further particulars of the death of Victor K. Baughman, I have made
mental and clerical research with good results.
If I told you that I secured the little manual from a boy in the Argonne, I
was mixed up. Here is the way I secured it. I was on burial detail. On
bearing a body, the pockets were emptied of money and valuables and these
were sent home. When we buried this lad, instead of leaving the minor
trinkets and papers in his pockets as usual, I took the little book as a
Victor K. Vollman, serial # 42604357, Private, 51st Co., 5th Marines,
wounded by shrapnel in the left knee and abdomen, at the Battle of Blanc
Mont Ridge, October 3-4, carried from field to Field Hospital #15, where he
died on the sixth of October, 1918. Buried in grave #97, in the little
cemetery we started near Suippes, (near Chalons).
I helped bury him. He was buried in a blanket and his uniform worn when
wounded. Service was read by a chaplain and taps blown. We buried five
others at the same time. The Blanc Mont Ridge Battle remains a highwater
mark in the history of American valor. The French foreign Legion failed to
take it; the 2nd Div. did not fail.
Suippes is situated out from Chalons.
Wounded Marine receiving first aid in the trenches
National Archive photo 12151 Group 111
Courtesy Indiana War Memorial Archives
Joseph Cyrill Coffee,
, Allen County, Indiana,
Pharmacist Mate, US Marine Corps, U.S. Navy
Transferred from Navy to first aid detachment of Battalion 1, 5th Regiment,
US Marines early in June, 1917 and sailed the same month from Philadelphia
for St. Nazaire, France and upon arriving unit underwent six months of
Coffee was one of a group of 15 men transferred to the Marines at the same
time, he was appointed Pharmacist Mate.
Battles: Verdun Sector, Paris-Metz Road Sector, Belleau Woods, Soissons, St.
Mihiel Salient, Champagne Sector, Argonne Forest and Meuse Valley.
Awarded the Croix de Guerre
, the under being bestowed by the French, General
Pershing, on the 21st of March, 1919, at Walbricht, Bach, Germany. Coffee
was also recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross, which had not yet
been conferred when the young man visited Ft. Wayne on furlough.
Joseph Coffee held the rank of Pharmacist Mate in the Navy previous to
transfer to Marine Corps, in which he was in member of a first aid
detachment of 15 men, of whom he is the only survivor.
On two occasions he displayed so fearless a type of bravery as to the
awarded the honors mentioned above. On June 6 in the Defense of the Paris,
Metz Road, Coffee repeatedly crawled out into a wheat field, under a rain of
machine gun bullets, to bandage in injured comrades wounds and drag him to a
place of safety in the woods, continuing the work until the guns were
silenced. The citation* reads: Pharmacist’s Mate Joseph Coffee, of Ft.
Wayne, Indiana etc., etc. as preceding… In the fighting in the Champagne
sector, from October 1-11 occurred the acts for which the Croix de Guerre
was conferred, the citation reading “For extreme bravery under fire
section was unusually hazardous, and Coffee and two comrades went out to
care for wounded, under a raking fire of machine guns, and exploding shells.
They carried a Red Cross banner, but the Germans paid no respect for the
sign of mercy. The other brave lads were killed, but Coffee escaped
miraculously in his rescue work, and returned uninjured from his trips.
The Battalion to which young Coffee was attached, entered the trenches in
the Verdun sector, March 4, occupying until late in May when they were
relieved by other troops. This is the only period during which the 5th
Marines were protected with real, improved trenches. Everywhere else the
shelter from fire was roughly improvised. On the Defense of the Paris Metz
Road, the unit lay underneath cover three days, emerging on the 6th of June
and chasing the Boches for six kilometers.
The Regiment held the frontline in Belleau Wood until July 5 and from there
went to Soissons and over a series of trenches, as shock troops. After three
days fighting, they were given a brief rest, and then assigned to the
participation in the St. Mihiel Drive, the Regiment being on continuous duty
for eight days. From October 1-11, Coffee was attached to a division holding
the Champagne sector, this being the place where his bravery won him the
Croix de Guerre.
When mustered out, July 20, 1919, Joseph Coffee had served four years in the
Navy and in the Marines. An extreme modesty distinguished the young man's
behavior put on furlough, and he preferred to tell of a comrades bravery
rather than speak of
his own acts. Only one other Ft. Wayne boy is known to
have won both crosses.
*this was the citation for the Distinguished Service Cross
Photo: Sydney F. Schafer, Pvt,
Marion County, Indiana
Served in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Marion County in the Great War,
Indiana State Library Archives
The following is and excerpt from the Sons of Men
Evansville's War Record, (source 41)
"THE LUCKY FIVE
"The name 'Lucky Five,' is a result of the induction of men into the
United States service in the city of Evansville, Indiana and
designates a fighting quintet of soldiers which was represented in
two branches of service the Marines and the Infantry. They
were members of the Glass Bottle Blowers Association of the United
States and Canada and were employed at the Graham Glass capital
assetactory when they entered the bloodiest of all wars. Since her
early childhood they have been closely associated, and for many
years they worked side by side at the Graham factory.
"When the war ended the only one of the 'Lucky Five' who did not
come back was Ernest James Osborne, the Marine. He was Evansville's
second Marine to give his life in battle, and earned for her the
"Osborne was the son of John F. And Josephine Osborne. He was born
in Loogootee, Indiana, July 3, 1895. He was a graduate of St.
Joseph's parochial school there, and was attending high school when
he took up the glassblowing trade. He was finally transferred to the
headquarters of the Graham Glass Company in Evansville, where he
remained until he enlisted May 22, 1917. He was given military
training at Port Royal, and Paris Island, South Carolina, and at
Quantico, Virginia. He was assigned to the 80th Company, second
Battalion, sixth Regiment, US Marine Corps, AEF. He sailed for
overseas service on January, 1918. By April he had taken part into
sharp engagements with the enemy. He qualified as a sharpshooter,
and was one of the machine gun squad. He made good record as a
soldier and was proud of being a Marine. He carried out the
traditions of the family, as his father was a Civil War veteran and
had served in Company G, 10th Kentucky infantry. The young Marine
was killed in France June 3, 1918, (just one month to the day before
he would've attained his 23rd birthday), while in the thick of the
fight in which the Marines drove the enemy from their footholds just
northwest of Château Thierry near the Marne. Their bold dash at the
German forces prove fatal to him, but he fell a hero while gallantly
fighting and pressing forward in the last of a series of victories
of the daring Marines.
"In his last letter from the trenches dated May 16, 1918, he
strangely forecast the drive of the Marines on the German lines,
when he said, 'Wait until we Americans make our drive, then there
will be a change. The enemy will soon be through with their drives
forever.' The next news of him was a dispatch from overseas which
contained: Ernest James Osborne killed in action. He had finished
his fighting on the battlefield near Martin, and his steering
Marines body now lies in the American Cemetery Commune
Essommeres-Sur Marne, Aisne, France."
Merrill Robert Rhodes
, USMC, Wounded, Gibson County,
M. R. Rhodes, a marine invalided from France, whose home is in Winslow, is
in the city visiting the family of Dr. A. H. Rhodes in W. State Street. Rhodes, a stout looking fellow, was in France eight months. He took part in
the battles of Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thierry, where the American Marines
gave the Huns the blow that won the war for the allies. Soldier Rhoades
stated today that of the 8000 Marines who took part in the battle of
Chateau-Thierry, more than half came out casualties, but only 47 were
captured by the Huns in the entire battle.
Soldier Rhodes was in the front-line trenches for two months. He fought from
July 2 to July 26 and on the 26th he was shot in the top of the head. He was
in a hospital until November 11, the day of the armistice signing and sailed
on that day, arriving in the United States November 21. Although the wound
in the head has healed considerably, there is yet a large hole left in the
top of his head.
He wears a service stripe and a wound stripe on either sleeve. He will
report at Portsmouth, Virginia in a short time when he will receive his
discharge from Army service. Princeton Clarion-News, Monday, December
17, 1918, p4, c6
Frederick Tutewiler Evans
, Corporal, USMC, Marion County,
His transport ship, USS Henderson burned at sea during his trip to France. Crew rescued, landed at Brest, France. He is also listed in the Shortridge
Daily Echo, Dec. 18, 1918 a listing of graduates from Shortridge High
School, Indpls, Indiana in military service.
William Alpheus Kreuzman
, Navy Cross
USMC, Ripley County , Indiana
“Paraded in Linden and Paris while overseas and before rulers and Generals
of practically all Europe. Paraded in New York City, September 10, 1919 and
Washington D. C. September 17, 1919.
“The Agamemnon and Von Steuben collided in crossing to France, October,
1917, in mid ocean. Struck front of ship 6 PM, November 6. Guns were
misplaced and lifeboats destroyed on one side of ship. The watertight
compartments of the Von Steuben prevented sinking. Crew and Marines on board
wore life-belts for the rest of the trip, six days.
Charles Samuel Gibson
, USMC, Ripley County, Indiana
.was selected with Will Kreuzman of the same Company and regiment and the
same home town, as members of Pershings Composite Regiment, May 2, 1999.
.. In Paris, July 4th to July 14. 1919 at Pershing Stadium, drilled and
paraded before different kings, generals and presidents, etc. of France,
Serbia, Montenegro, Sczecho-Slovakia, etc. Paraded in Linden, July 19, 1919.
Received on July 18, by Prince of Whales. Paraded in New York, September 10,
1919, and in Washington D. C., September 17, 1919.