Source: The Morning Herald, Gloversville and Johnstown, 29 Sep 1928
HINDENBURG LINE SMASHED TEN YEARS AGO TODAY
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LEST WE FORGET
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the crashing of the Hindenburg line, in which the boys of Company G, 105th Regiment, 27th Division, composed almost entirely of men recruited from Gloversville and vicinity, took a prominent part.
Their deeds of glory on the field of battle did not remain unsung. Everywhere the men of Company G were regarded as the real heroes of the never-to-be-forgotten conflict which marked the beginning of the end of the great World War.
Their prompt action in mobilizing, their thorough training for the big job and the spirit in which they entered into the great adventure, made them outstanding figures from the time they landed on the shores of France until the day the armistice was signed.
It was a raw, untrained outfit that went into training camp at Spartanaburg, S. C. It was a body of men, trained to the minute, with mind and muscle thoroughly
co-ordinating, when they left. This splendid seasoning they took with them to France and almost immediately they were plunged into the great war.
Their exploits there are told in song and in story. Many of the boys came back with insignia that told of valor on the field of battle. Many of them came back not at all. Some still lie under the poppies in Flanders Field. But all
are remembered for their gallant prowess on the field of battle.
And when the boys came home! Such a scene of jubilation was never before enacted in the history of Fulton County. When the men came home from the Civil War and the Spanish-American War they were fittingly welcomed. But when our brave and gallant sons came back from the great World War there was rejoicing unrestrained. The old town was theirs and they were given to understand it in no mean manner. They were feted and praised and received with the open arms of the multitude. Their home-coming was more glorious than their out-going.
But there were those who never came back, others who came back undermined in health, lame and halt, it is to the ones who did not come back that we owe our greatest allegiance on that anniversary day. Here is the list:
WILLIAM J. HYLAND,
ALBERT C. KNEESKERN and
ALBERT A. WETMORE.
Hyland and Wetmore were in the front line trenches ready for their first attack against the Germans when they lost their lives. After a tough day at the front a group of men not on duty were located in a dugout singing. A high powered shell smashed its way into the hut and exploded, killing the two Gloversville boys.
The other three boys, Wheeler, Hutchinson and Kneeskern were all killed in action. Wheeler was taking part in the advance on the Hindenburg line when a shell exploded wounding a number of men. After he had been wounded the men were left where they fell and a second shell exploded a short time after killing several men in that section. All of the men gave excellent accounts of themselves up to the time they were fatally injured, each and every one falling with his face to the front.
MOBILIZATION OF COMPANY G COMPLETED IN JUST ONE DAY
Order Issued on March 25, 1917, and Men, All But Two, Who Were Out of Town, Were in Places Next Morning
On March 25, 1917, Captain Roscoe B. Trumble issued the first order that was to mobilize Co. G., Second Regiment, New York Infantry, which was to
band them together for the duration of the war. The historic order well nigh forgotten by this time follows:
Order No. 6
"Pursuant to order received, from headquarters, Second Regiment, this company will assemble at the Armory at 8 A. M., Monday. March 26.
Signed, R. B. Trumble
"Capt. Second Inft.
"Gloversville, N. Y., March 25, 1917."
In accordance with the orders issued by Capt. R. B. Trumble on March 25, 1917, 74 officers and men comprising Co. G. Second Regiment, New York Infantry, assembled at the Gloversville armory, on the morning of Monday, March 26, bringing together a hardy handful of strapping broad-shouldered men of many nationalities who would live together as one family, until they finally broke ranks at the Gloversville armory on April 7, 1919. Co. G was truly representative of America, being composed
of men in various walks of life; men of many nationalities and many occupations.
There were men in the ranks who dropped their spring plowing to answer the call to arms, others dropped glove patterns in the shops, quick to take up the orders issued by their commanding officers, while still others left their occupations in the mills. Many of them came from offices in the city, but all represented a sturdy band of fighting men, who little realized the tremendous drive they were to head, the history their organization would make in the world's greatest conflict.
When the men gathered at the armory, they answered to the roster thusly:
Captain, B, B. Trumble;
First Lieutenant, Chester L. Benedict;
First Sergeant, John F. Mahoney;
Supply Sergeant, Harry B. Hart;
Mess Sergeant, Harry Meissner:
Frank P. Clancy,
Frank K. Dienst,
William Brown, and
John H. Sturm.
Lee H. Ingram,
John D. Chatterton,
Howard A. Tanner,
Frank M. Lamb,
Leonard C. James,
Max R. Fosmire,
Robert J. Brewer,
Sam N, Paesero,
Francis L. Galpin and
Harry Walrath and
Gerald D. Wilson.
Mechanic, Harry H. Brower.
Alfred J. Dodge and
C. Lefler Mason.
A. P. Aldi,
Charles C. Brooks,
Albert E. Cole,
Arthur C. Davis,
Frank J. Graham,
Guy B. Harris,
Clayton H. Johns,
Martin E. Parramore,
Bert A. Park,
Charles H. Cruthers,
George D. Rapport,
Clyde B. Snell,
David L. Stafford,
Harry W. Ecker,
Jay W. Newkirk,
Harry W. Hayes,
Reuben H. Todd,
Clayton H. Dingman,
George A. Sparks,
Louis F. Peartree,
By 9 o'clock on the morning of Monday, March 26, 1917, 72 of the members of the company had answered to the roll call in the armory, in response to the orders issued by Captain R. B. Trumble. It was an excellent response, showing the spendid spirit that prevaded the countryside. The two men who did not answer the roll call were out of the city on business trips, telegrams being sent to them ordering them to report to their company as soon as possible.
DRASTIC ORDER MEETS WITH QUICK RESPONSE BY RECRUITS
Major Mathias Crowley, connected with the Federal army appeared at the Gloversville armory on Tuesday, March 28, When he directed Captain Trumble to bring the company up to its war strength of 150 members. Immediately calls were issued for volunteers to the service. The word went out through the day and men responded rapidly to the call.
Recruits who responded to the first call to ranks on March 28 were as follows:
John J. Quinn,
Lester G. Hong,
Clarence R. Sutton,
Howard E. Miller,
Frank J. Steenburgh,
Lee A. Mathias,
William J. Hyland,
*Guy B. Harris,
*Walter B. Holmes,
*Clyde J. Dornburg.
*Stands for men who re-enlisted after their term of service in the militia had been completed.
Although there had been a splendid response to the call for recruits issued during the day, the order was rescinded at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. The men who answered the call were examined as to their physical fltness, and soon equipped With suits and other equipment.
It was during this time that announcement was made that Dr. Homer H. Oaksford, of Gloversville, had been commissioned as a Major and examining surgeon, assigned to the Second Regiment Dr. Oaksford had been connected with Co. G as post surgeon since 1915. He was on the campaign that took the company into Texas and Mexico. He was promoted from lieutenant to major.
On March 30 Major Crowley with the company standing at attention, swore the members into the Federal service. The company at that time became a branch of the regular army.
Promotions Pleased Men
Enthusiasm ran high through the ranks of the company when John Mahoney received his promotion as first lieutenant. He had worked his way up through the ranks to a responsible position in the company. Lieut. Mahoney enlisted in the company as a private, March 31, 1916. On July 20, 1916, he was made first sergeant and on March 24, 1917, he was commissioned as first lieutenant.
Sergeant Frank Clancy, ranking sergeant under Lieut. Mahoney, was promoted to the jmst of first sergeant, while Corporal Lee Ingram was named sergeant. The fact that these three men bad been promoted from the ranks provided stimulation to other members of the company, who set out with the do or die spirit to seek promotion.
Meanwhile the men kept a constant guard over the armory, while companies of infantry throughout the state were being summoned to take up sentry duty along all important railroad centers and government property.
Everyone was on edge, orders were expected momentarily to detrain for some part of the state. Every messenger entering the army was eagerly awaited for news.
Men Entrain April 2
Captain Trumble received orders to prepare to entrain his company, preparatory to moving to Watervliet on Monday, April 2 and on April 3 the company started the movement that was to take them away from their homes for a period of two years. It was almost two years to a day when the company marched back through their native streets.
With martial music, flags unfurled, this hardy band of men started on the first lap of the journey that was to carry them through the mud in Flnaders Field, through the Hindenburg line that had resisted all the efforts of the combined allies.
Mayor Abram Baird accompanied by a large group of city officials and a large part of the citizens of Gloversville turned out to see the "boys" off. It was a stirring scene, those parting moments on the station platform in West Fulton street.
Once the men were in the cars the order to move was given. "Babe" a dog presented to the company when it moved to border by "Bill" Brownell, accompanied them on the trip to Watervliet.
As Co. G marched out on their way to Watervliet, Captain Frank Fremmer in charge of the Co. G depot unit, took charge of the armory. Men were immediately placed on guard at the building, replacing the regulars who had departed.
After a brief and uneventful trip the Company encamped on the spacious lawns in front of the Watervliet arsenal where they took up guard duty. It was the first step in the great trek.
RECRUITING CONTINUES WITH MAJOR OAKSFORD IN CHARGE
In the meantime recruiting was going on throughout the state. Major Oaksford was named as recruiting officer for the second regiment with headquarters at Troy. He took up active work at once.
Lieut. Mahoney, accompanied by Sergeant Chatterton and Private Rapport, opened a recruiting station in the Gloversville armory on April 19. Lieut. Mahoney made an immediate appeal to the county for new recruits. He said the officers were anxious to fill the company's ranks With men from the county and not with outsiders, also that they preferred to have all New York men.
Seven men responded to that first call for recruits after the company had left the city. The men responded rapidly and with no urging. They
Elvln R. Adams,
William G. Galpin,
Albert A. Wetmer,
*George G. Burgess,
Richard C. Burton,
Peter Perrone and
*James H. Hayner,
Martin B. Spencer,
Harry J. Hutchinson,
Walter W. Vieweg.
Richard T. Bruce,
Fred M. Clute,
*Failed in Physical Tests.
Having taken in a total of 17 recruits in a period of 19 days Lieut. Mahoney with his squad of recruiting agents returned to their camp at
Recruiting Again Begun
Sergeant Chatterton and Corporal Rapport returned to open another recruiting station at the armory on May 14. Rapport in the meantime
having been promoted from a first class private to a corporal.
The following enlisted the first day the station was opened:
William E. Goodbread,
Wallace F. MacLachian,
Robert D. Dotie.
After the various companies sworn in as federal units had been moved into camp, the government issued the edict that the married men should be given their honorable discharges as soon as possible. Twenty-three men were taken from the ranks of Co. G when the order went through. They were:
While these men were returning home the enlistments continued however quite as brisk as before.
Herman H. Gifford,
Albert T. Kniskern,
George F. Duffy and
ENTHUSIASM RUNS HIGH WITH ENLISTMENTS COMING FAST
Sergt. Chatterton having secured 12 men in three days departed for camp at Watervliet being succeeded by a recruiting group in charge of Lieut. G. F. Rugge, Lieut. H. G. McEwen, Corp. W. G. Robinson and Pvt. E. R. Collins with Major Oaksford and Lieut. J. T. Houghton as medical examiners. They opened headquarters at the armory on May 21 while the following day Corporals Clayton Johns and Anthony Wilt opened a station in Buchanan's funeral parlors in Johnstown. The following enlistments were recorded:
Henry K. Bush,
Frank E. Long,
A. B. Blandy,
All of these recruits were taken in the Johnstown station. The armory station was turned over on May 10 to Lieutenant Mahoney, Corporal Johns and Privates Aldi, Crane and Jerome.
Recruiting received, a stimulus when on May 30 announcement was made that First Sergeant Frank P. Clancy and Bugler Charles L Mason of Co. G had been sent to the Officers Reserve Corp, at Madison Barracks for training. Both men worked their way through the ranks, having enlisted as privates.
New enlistments that came in at that period were as follows:
William F. Hopkins,
Charles F. Brower,
John R. White,
William F. Ingram,
Charles L. Bowers,
Elmer C. Young,
William D. White,
William L. Mortimer,
Hugh J. McGuire.
Milton L. McQuade,
Roul J. White,
Edward J. Daley.
Chester H. Lendrum,
Harry H. MullIn,
Milton J. Coey.
Lieut. Mahoney returned to barracks on April 12 having picked up quite a bunch of recruits the few days he was in the city. Announcement was made at the time that the company boasted a roster of 114 officers and enlisted men.
Word reached Gloversville on June 13, 1917 that Capt. Trumble had been transferred from command of Co. G to the Supply department of the regiment. First Lieut. Chester L, Benedict was placed in charge of the company for the time. Capt. Trumble had been in charge of Co.G since 1912 and the change came as something of a shock not only to the men but to many residents of the city.
With Lient Benedict in charge recruiting was resumed again.
Roy E. Dence,
Elbert N. Belden.
Francis M. Herrick.
On July 15 orders were issued in the company for the promotion of Verne Young, Walter Vieney, Lester Hoag, Chauncey Jerome, Albert Wetmore and Joseph Michel from first elwacs privates to corporals.
Frank B. Harvey,
Earl J. Miller.
Raymond S. Baker.
On July 27 Lient. Mahoney received orders to report to Capt. Trumble in the supply department of the regiment while Lieut T. Forrest Brown, of Amsterdam was transferred to Co. G, Lieut. Brown had prior to this time been an officer in Co. H, the Carpet City outfit.
Arthur C. Blowers,
Harry L. Bugler,
William C Mead.
Off For Spartansburg
These were the last men to answer the recruiting call from officers or members of Co.. G as the company moved into camp near Schenectady on August 1 and entrained for Spartansburg, South Carolina, on August 27. The company at that time was part of the 111th regiment.
That in substance is the history of Fulton County's own company prior to the camp life st Spartansburg. It is the substance of much meaning to the med who gave so much for their country in the time of need. They made history in the world at large, but it is appreciated greatest in their own homes.
NO LOCAL OFFICER ALLOWED TO STAY WITH HIS COMPANY
As though foreordained by fate, none of the officers from Gloversville, men who had grown up with Co. G. were to be given the opportunity to lead the organisation on the field of battle when it arrived in France, although these officers who headed the company when it was mobilized, had worked their way up through the ranks. Chester L. Benedict, ranking first lieutenant in charge of the unit, when it reached Camp Spartansburg, and oldest member of the company in point of service, was the last of the local officers to relinquish his post. His removal from the company, part of the supposed efficiency program of war times, tore at the heartstrings not only of the company but his own. Benedict's record is something of which anyone can be proud and is part of Gloversville's contribution to the war.
In 1005 Benedict enlisted In Company G as a private. Through diligent application to his work in the armory here he worked his way from a first class private to a corporal. Having gained his first promotion, he was not satisfied until he rose to the rank of sergeant.
While holding the rank of sergeant his enlistment expired. When he re-enlisted he entered the service again as a private. This time he rose to the position of second lieutenant.
When the company moved on to Watervliet he held the post of second lieutenant. After Captain Roscoe B. Trumble and First Lieut. John Mahoney had been transferred to the transportation units. Benedict was promoted to a first lieutenancy. It was the goal he had aimed at for years. What a blow it must have been when he was forced to leave the company.
As soon as the militia reached Spartansburg there came a general shifting of officers, but Lieut. Benedict was left in charge of Co. G., at that time. But while the heads of other units in the division were being schooled in special training he was left in charge of troops in the field.
One night, after 72 hours trench duty in the camp, when men and officers were cut off from any communication whatsoever with the outside world, he received orders that he was being transferred. His removal came as a deep shock, not only to himself, but to the men in the company.
Personally interested in the men with whom he was fully acquainted, Lieut. Benedict suffered deeply from the change that was necessary for wartime efficiency.
When he prepared to depart Lient Benedict took particular pains to present to the 130 men in the company at that time, a slight token which they would remember him by when they marched into France. When he left be presented each man in the company with a small, light soap box, each containing a small bar of soap. The small gift was thoroughly appreciated. The men stored their soap in the box and the next time they took a bath did not have to stop to tear off the newspaper it was wrapped in. As officer and men took the leavestaking there were few dry eyes in the unit. The next day as Benedict was about to leave an envelope was presented to him containing seven ten dollar bills. Because of the military law, gifts were not to be presented to the officers, the donors did not sign their names.
On October 10, 1917 Lieut. Benedict turned the company over to Captain Eli, member of the 71st regiment of White Plains. Lieut. Maxson, of Amsterdam also became a member of the local organization at that time
At that time Benedict was transferred to the First regiment which later became known, as the First Pioneers. He continued in the service of this regiment until November 6, 1917, when he was transferred again into the 27th Division, this time being connected with Co. M. in the 106th regiment.
Benedict remained with Co. M, until April 18, 1918, when he tendered his resignation to the officers in charge which was accepted. While it has never been said in public, it was apparent from observers at the time, that an insidious pressure was Used in getting rid of the officers who worked their way up through the ranks. They were not wanted to lead the militia across the battle fields of France.
However, work of Benedict as a corporal, sergeant, second and first, lieutenant was done well. His was shown in the splendid discipline shown by Co. G. once it was placed in the front.
When Co. G, marched back to Gloversville the men asked their former commander to lead them in the welcome home parade. While the request was not unanimous it represented quite a number of men. However, their former commander said he was through with the war.
While he did not get an opportunity to go into actual fighting, Benedict is deserving of much credit for moulding Go. G, into a fighting organization.
When Captain Eli took command of Go. G. he took hold of a splendid unit in 27th Division, taking over a company with a thorough going discipline, with a complete knowledge of marching, the manual at arms and other routine matters. It was one of the best trained units in the regiment.
After the new commanding officer came in charge the men continued their training in trench warfare. The 150 men in the company were engaged in the practice of actual trench fighting when the new commanding officer took charge.
From November, until their departure for France in the Spring, Company G put in a period of at least five months of intensive training in modern warfare. This included a thorough knowledge of how to attack or defend themselves with their bayonets. A number of the members in the company were pronounced quite proficient in the use of the bayonet.
A Dashing Outfit
However a large part of the training was confined to the attack of enemy territory; it was this intensive training in Spartansburg that made the company one of the dashing, relentless outfits when the time came to dash through the mud in Flanders field.
It was with a deep thrill that the men recieved word to entrain the early part of May when the fate of Europe hung in the balance. Eagerly they took up the work of preparing for their departure from Spartansburg and all its routine.