History of the 145th Infantry to July 27, 1919.

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This document is an abridged history of the 145th U.S. Infantry. The document comprises pages sixty-nine through seventy-five of the Frank Gerlach file.

Gallery of Original Documents


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World War I

History of the 145th U.S. Infantry to July 27, 1919.

The 145th Infantry was organized from the old 5th Ohio Infantry, which had seen service in every war since its formation in 1882, including a nine month tour of duty on the Mexican Border in 1916-17. Prior to the great war it was composed of the following organizations:

Regimental Headquarters————Cleveland.

Headquarters Company—————Cleveland.

Machine Gun Company—————Cleveland.

Supply Company————————Cleveland.

Medical Detachment——————Cleveland.

Company A——————————Berea.

Company B——————————Elyria.

Company C——————————Cleveland.

Company D——————————Warren.

Company E——————————Ashtabula.

Company F——————————Cleveland.

Company G——————————Norwalk.

Company H——————————Cleveland.

Company I———————————Cleveland.

Company K——————————Cleveland.

Company L——————————Conneaut.

Company M——————————Painesville.

The Regiment was called into the service by the President of the United States on July 15, 1917, after the declaration of war against Germany. Several weeks of intensive training in the respective home towns of the various organizations followed. The companies were well quartered; some in armories, some in fair grounds, and some in tent camps on the outskirts of their respective towns. Many company commanders allowed their men to sleep at home, due to the shortage of quarters. This of course, was one of the pleasant features, which was soon to be taken away. Their time was exclusively taken up in recruiting to full war strength and training the new men in the rudiments of the soldiers’ game.

The war spirit was not very strong among the people at this time and may interesting expedients were resorted to in order to bring men into the ranks of the National Guard. Speeches were made by the officers and by many prominent citizens. Many parades were held, seeking to inspire the hesitating youth with the wisdom of immediate enlistment. Patriotic demonstrations of many kinds were staged, all of which gradually gained the desired results, for slowly the ranks were filling, awaiting the glad day when the regiment would be ordered to a southern camp for training.

Since a great majority of the men in the regiment came from Cleveland, it is natural to look to that city for some of the interesting incidents of this somewhat trying period. During August a mammoth parade was held Cleveland in which every organization, fraternal, commercial or otherwise was represented. The parade was several miles long and succeeded in arousing the enthusiasm of the entire northern parts of the state. For a week after the parade the enlistment booths were crowded, and the impetus given to

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recruiting was noticed in all the organizations of the regiment. At about the same time, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce erected a large frame building on the Public Square, which was used as a recruiting office for all branches of Uncle Sam’s service. Speeches were made here twice daily, and the enthusiasm which had been created by the parade was kept at a high pitch for Cleveland and Northern Ohio was rapidly eclipsing the entire country in its recruiting efforts. During this eventful month “The Rope Stunt” was introduced. The Regimental Band, four times daily, would march thru the main down-town street followed by a hundred or more enthusiastic recruits with “Enlisted” arm bands on their arms, carrying a rope in the form of an enormous “U”. This “U” on the return to the Central Armory always contained about half a hundred of the unenlisted, many of whom signed without hesitation.

On August 3, 1917, the regiment was formally drafted into the Federal Service and each man and every officer found himself a soldier of the U.S.A for the “Period of the Emergency”. The main drill floor of the Central Armory was turned into a huge dining room, and 1000 men were fed there three times a day. A small guard house was established in one corner, but it was seldom occupied [redacted] for everyone was busy drilling on the courthouse and city lawn.

About the middle of August Company “C” of Cleveland was ordered to proceed at once to Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, Alabama, for the purpose of preparing the camp site. Major Arthur S. Houte accompanied this unit and superintended the construction work.

On September 24, 1917, War Department Order No. 20 was published, changing the historic name “5th Ohio” to the “145th United States Infantry”. The following officers were with the regiment on this date:

Colonel Abert W. Davis

Lt. Col. Florence S. Van Gorder.

Major Arthur S. Houts

Major John R. Southam.

Major Fred C. Valentine.

Major Arthur M. Harrison (Medical).

Capt. LeRoy J. Linn (Adjutant)

Chaplain Alfred J. Funnell.

Capt. Paul J. LaMarche.

1st Lt. John J. Francies.

Battalion Adjutants.

1st Lt. Fred W. Hutchins.

1st Lt. Robert L. Quisser, Jr.

1st Lt. Frederick W. Marcolin.

Machine Gun Company.

Capt. Charles C. Chambers

1st Lt. Charles L. Weddow.

2nd Lt. Frederick D. Pierce.

Company A.

1st Lt. John J. Baesel.

2nd Lt. Rudolph Ursprung.

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Company B.

Capt. Roy E. Hultz.

1st Lt. Mather A. Jenkins.

2nd Lt. Clarence W. Lawrence.

Company C.

Capt. Clayton C. McNabb.

1st Lt. Milton C. Reed.

2nd Lt. Phillip R. Heyward.

Company D.

Capt. Henry R. Raymond.

1st Lt. Ralph N. Weitzel.

2nd Lt. Keith M. Wilcox.

Company E.

Capt. Dallas D. Dennis.

1st Lt. Thomas C. Humphrey.

2nd Lt. Newton O. Mott.

Company F.

1st Lt. Edward F. Thompson.

2nd Lt. Frederick C. Stafford.

Company G.

Capt. Hugh S. Purdue.

1st Lt. Thomas J. Quayle.

2nd Lt. Benjamin C. Robinson.

Company H.

Capt. Wm. C. Howells.

1st Lt. Robert F. Baker.

2nd Lt. Dale Brown.

Company I.

Capt. Guy W. House.

1st Lt. Murrow D. Schwinn.

2nd Lt. Homer S. Whitney.

Company K.

Capt. Ross F. Crosby.

1st. Lt. Robert J. Crampton.

2nd Lt. Charles C. Farnsworth.

Company L.

Capt. Arthur A. Harrington.

1st Lt. Victor H. Morgan.

2nd Lt. LeRoy Van Dusen.

Company M.

Capt. Thorpe A. Klumph.

1st Lt. John F. McCafferty.

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Medical Detachment.

Capt. James Norton.

1st Lt. Heber P. Gahm.

1st Lt. Wagner.

On the 25th day of September the welcome order came, and Camp Sheridan, Alabama, was to be our training camp. We arrived there on the 28th and began the real work for which we had been preparing. It had been raining on the night of our arrival, and the cotton fields that were soon to be made into one of the healthiest and cleanest cantonments in the United States, were practically flodded [sic] with water. The advance guard, Company “C”, had completed some of the work, but there was much more which had to be done. The first night at Sheridan the regiment was greeted with a tropical storm, which drove everyone into the mess halls and infirmary for sleep and shelter.

The first few weeks were spent in making a home for the regiment. Officers, as well as enlisted men, labored daily in the construction of small houses, building up the pyramidal tents and completing mess halls. Roads were builty [sic] and company streets graded. Cotton fields were turned into parade grounds. In three weeks [sic] time the results obtained surprised even the workers.

On October 28, the regiment absorbed 1004 officers and enlisted men from the 62nd Depot Brigade, consisting of men from the former 2nd and 7th Infantry Regiments, Ohio National Guard. , The men from the Seventh Ohio Infantry represented the following Ohio towns: New Lexington, Zanesville, Athens, Marietta, Pomeroy, Somerset, Gallipolis, Logan, Ironton, Portsmouth, McConnellsville. Those from the Second Ohio Infantry came from the following Ohio towns: Ada, Van Wert, Findlay, Paulding, Lima, Hicksville, Spencerville, Bowling Green, Kenton, St. Marys, Sycamore, Ottawa. The following officers came to us from the Seventh Ohio: Capt. C. C. Wiltshire, 1st Lt. Cecil R. Daniels, 1st Lt. Joseph Horchow, 1st Lt. Francis P. Frebault, 1st Lt. F. C. Leslie, 2nd Lt. Wm. H. Harsha, 2nd Lt. Robert H. Drake, 2nd Lt. Henry C. Orr, 2nd Lt. Elmer S. Aumand, 2nd Lt. Heber P. Galm. The following officers from the 2nd Ohio: Capt. Raymond C. Leslie, Capt. David P. Anderson, Capt. Moyer, Capt. Charles C. Church, 1st Lt, Milo E. Terry, 1st Lt. Wm Daley, 1st Lt. Arthur E. Risser, 1st Lt. David O. Mellinger, 1st Lt. Lee M. Deardorf, 1st Lt. Virgil H. Say, M. C., 2nd Lt. Arthur B. Barthold, 2nd Lt. Stephen S. Beard, 2nd Lt. Marty.

Shortly afterwards the regiment lost its commanding officer, Colonel Albert A. Davis, who was succeeded by Colonel Sanford E. Stansbery, formerly of the Military Police, who brought with him as his adjutant, Capt. John J. Saslavsky.

Intensive training was now in full progress. The first schedule covered a period of eighteen weeks, starting with the elementary drilling of a recruit, and ending with the maneuvers of brigades and divisions. Trench systems were constructed and occupied by the infantry for twenty-four hour periods, envolving [sic] work as in actual warfare. A rifle range was completed in Elmore County across the Talapoosa River. Battalions successively marched to this range and stayed there for a period of three to six days. Men who three months before had never fired a service rifle were taught the effective use of this weapon by experienced instructors.

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Shortly after the regiment arrived at Camp Sheridan the Infantry School of Arms was organized. Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers were trained there in the specialties brought out in the European War by experienced American, British and French instructors.

The first occasion of the regiment’s going “over the top” was the Second Liberty Loan. The officers and men showed they were not only willing to fight for the principles of the nation, but also were willing to loan the government o[p]art of their earnings, which were already somewhat depleted by the War Risk Insurance premiums.

During these weeks the best men of the regiment were being continually picked and sent overseas as specialists in their particular line of work. This steadily depleted the strength of the enlisted personnel until eventually each company averaged about one hundred men.

Many Non-Commissioned Officers, who had sown [sic] marked ability, were promoted, after a preliminary examination, to Second Lieutenants by a War Department Order (If the Division Historian desires to include at this point a list of these men, their names will be accessible in the Division files).

The regiment anticipated the centralization of all company officers, and accordingly established all company clerks in one central building under a chief clerk. Sgt. Kenneth Norris, Machine Gun Company, where all paperwork was handled. Later a Personnel Officer was authorized in the Tables of Organization and Capt. John J. Saslavsky was appointed. Capt. William C. Howells succeeded him as Adjutant.

Just before the holidays the division was reviewed by Major General Charles G. Treat and Governor James M. Cox of Ohio on the parade grounds in front of Division Headquarters. This was the first time the Division had ever been reviewed. Following the review, the officers were assembled and introduced to the Governor and Mrs. Cox. Later the Division paraded in the City of Montgomery before Governor Henderson of Alabama. This was the first time that Northern troops had ever paraded in the old Capital of the Confederacy. It seemed to draw the two parts of the country closer together in one common cause.

One interesting feature at Camp Sheridan was the splendid health record established by the regiment. The death rate was far below the average. The health record was due to the exact orders on camp sanitation. On Saturday afternoon and Sundays a passerby would see the majority of the regiment out with brooms, rakes and shovels making the camp spotless.

An incident not easily forgotten was the 1917 Halloween party, when Colonel Stansbery reviewed the regiment in the evening, the predominating uniform being the pajamas and comic costumes. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Kaiser Wilhelm after an appropriate ceremony for such a character, was laid to rest on a roaring bonfire.

A feature of the regimental training at Sheridan that will long be remembered, was the hike to the Taylor Aviation Field, lasting five days. This was the first introduction for many of the men of life shelter tents.

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Conditions of warfare necessitating advance guards and outpost conditions were simulated.

In order that worthy men might have certain opportunities and privileges, G. O. No. 50 was issued, which prescribed that all men must qualify themselves in military courtesy and the duties of a soldier before being permitted to leave camp for recreation. This greatly increased the efficiency of the regiment. Another method to bring out the importance of military carriage and appearance was inaugurated by Colonel Stansbery, who for three weeks required the men to repeat in unison paragraph 51 of the I.D.R., which prescribes the position of a soldier at attention.

On May 9th, 1918, the regiment received an assignment of Second Lieutenants from the third Officers’ Training School at Leon Springs, Texas. (If the Division Historian desires the names of the men so assigned, the names will be found in the Division files).

Near the conclusion of the training period, the fourth Officers’ Training School was established at Camp Sheridan under the command of Lt. Colonel Frank C. Gerlach, who was later to be in command of the regiment. Instructors drawn from the regiment were Capt. C. C. Chambers, Senior Infantry Instructor, Capt. D. D. Dennis, Lt. S. S. Beard, and Lt. Don A. Wheeler.

Finally the much expected moving order came and the regiment said goodbye to Camp Sheridan and the citizens of Montgomery, who by their kindness had won the everlasting friendship of every officer and enlisted man in the 145th Infantry.

The regiment entrained on the afternoon of May 22nd, and arrived at Camp Lee, Va., the following day. While here the training was carried on with an intensity never before known, probably due to the fact that the regiment was required to absorb about 2000 selective service men fresh from the walks of civil life. Several new officers were assigned at this time.

The work at Camp Lee was marred by the intensive heat and glaring white sand. The time was so filled that it was necessary to move battalions to the rifle range as early as 4:00 P. M. in order to accomplish the day’s work. The nights were spent in trench occupation.

On June 11 the regiment left the hot sands of Virginia and arrived the following day at Hoboken, N. J., immediately commencing boarding the S. S. Leviathan, formerly the Vaterland, and interned German passenger liner, which steamed quietly past the Goddess of Liberty at exactly 10:55 A. M., June 15, 1918. After a voyage, broken daily with abandon ship drill, we docked at Brest, France, June 22, 1918. The regiment camped near the city for three days, then proceeded be rail to Bourmont, Haute Marne, arriving early in the morning of June 29.

The regiment was billeted in several small villages nearby: Goncourt, St. Thiebault, Iloud. While in this area, the regiment continued its intensive training with the assistance of French instructors, carrying on the work of trench and open warfare, in which they were so on to participate. For the first time in its history the regiment spent Independence Day of foreign soil and was entertained an welcomed by the speeches of the Maire [sic], and songs of the

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French school girls. Colonel Stansbery was presented with a boquet [sic] by the women of Goncourt, a token of the esteem in which the American is held by the French people. A similar exercise was held on July 14, the French Independence Day. Here the regimen received for the first time overseas caps, “tin Hats”, wrap leggins [sic] and gas masks.

During the second week of July the regiment was ordered to the front, and with a great liking for the task, packed up and proceeded to the Baccarat Sector, where it arrived July 22, and was assigned the Badonviller Sub-Sector, which was held until September 15.