The American Expeditionary Forces was a cross-section of America with draftees fighting alongside volunteers. National Guard units started out with local identities and newly organized units initially reflected a regional flavor, but mass mobilization, individual replacements and the rigors of combat soon mixed Americans from across the country and from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds together.
However, the American Expeditionary Forces were racially segregated. The 92nd and 93rd Division consisted of African American soldiers generally commanded by white officers. The 93rd fought alongside French forces in World War I due to racism in the American and British forces. The 92nd ultimately did fight as a whole under the American Expeditionary Forces during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, though upon arrival in France its constituent companies had been fed to the French front lines.
More than 12,000 American Indians served in the United States military in World War I. In the 36th Texas-Oklahoma National Guard Division, (under which approximately 600 Choctaws and Cherokees served,) several Choctaws communicated secret messages in Choctaw across the front lines, an encoding tactic called code talking that prevented the Germans from discovering the Americans’ plans.
Edward L. Grant
307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division
Plot A, Row 2, Grave 24
Capt. Edward L. Grant played baseball for the Cleveland Indians before moving to the Cincinnati Reds followed by the New York Giants. He attended Harvard Law School during this time, and received his degree in 1910. After the 1915 season, Eddie retired from the New York Giants and opened his own law practice in Boston.
Edward “Harvard Eddie” Grant died during a four-day battle to relieve the “Lost Battalion,” a large group of American soldiers encircled behind enemy lines by the Germans in the Argonne Forest.
Edward L. Grant is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot A, Row 2, Grave 24.
Walter De Haven
132nd Infantry Regiment, 33rd Infantry Division
Plot A, Row 35, Grave 22
Sgt. Walter De Haven was 48-years-old at the time of his death on the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He was a 25 year veteran in the Illinois National Guard and insisted on remaining with his troops.
On September 26, 1918, as the 33rd Division advanced in the area between the Meuse River and Bethincourt, De Haven was shot by an enemy sniper.
His son, Sam, who was also serving in France during the war, wrote a letter to him two months later, not knowing that his father had died during the initial advance of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He wrote, Are you near to me? I sure would go A.W.O.L. if I thought you were within walking distance.
Walter De Haven is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot A, Row 35, Grave 22.
Harry I. Buzzell
321st Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Division
Plot B, Row 16, Grave 4
Pvt. Harry I. Buzzell grew up on a family farm known as “Buzzell Hill” with ten brothers and sisters. He was drafted in October 1917 and reported to Fort Devens, Mass. that month.
By November 1917 Harry was at Camp Gordon in Atlanta, Ga., where he remained until he was shipped off to England in June 1918. In a letter addressed to mother and home folks from April 7, 1918, Harry writes,
Not that I do not value my life or that I do not love my folks and all the people at large, for I do. Although I never was much of a boy to show my love, but I do not think the folks understood me in many ways. But now I am willing to fight, suffer, and die for you and them, that the world may be free and have peace that can’t be had till this war is won in the right way, which I pray may come soon. All I am sorry for is that I ain’t a stronger and better man for Him.
Harry Buzzell died on October 21, 1918 of wounds received in action.
Harry I. Buzzell is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot B, Row 16, Grave 4.
Victor Emmanuel Chapman
Plot D, Row 1, Grave 33
Sgt. Victor E. Chapman was the first American pilot to die in the war, and the only member of the Lafayette Flying Corps to be interred at an American overseas military cemetery.
Son of American essayist John Jay Chapman, nephew of U.S. congressman William A. Chanler, and great-great grandson of John Jay, first U.S. Chief Justice, Chapman heard the call of duty loud and clear when the war began. Chapman volunteered to fight with the French and British before the official entry into the war by the US.
He was one of the founding members of the Escadrille Américaine. The name was changed to Escadrille Lafayette following German protests of American neutrality in 1916.
Chapman was killed flying in a non-combat mission from his base at Behonne, near Bar-le-Duc. He was delivering fresh oranges to another American pilot at the evacuation hospital at Vadelaincourt, near Verdun.
Awards: French Medaille Militaire and French Croix de Guerre
Victor Emmanuel Chapman is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot D, Row 1, Grave 33.
Coleman Tileston Clark
28th Air Corps, French Army
Plot G, Row 1, Grave 6
When the United States entered the war, Asp. Coleman T. Clark attempted to join the American military but was told that his eyesight was too bad. Still determined to aid the war effort, Clark went to the French Army and joined the French Foreign Legion. He was killed in counterbattery fire on May 29, 1918.
His older brother, Salter S. Clark, Jr., was drafted into the war in February 1918 and landed in France in June. He was brigaded with the British until the 311th Infantry Regiment was sent to Verdun. He was killed in the Argonne Forest on November 1, 1918.
Coleman T. Clark and Salter S. Clark are one of 21 pairs of brothers buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.
Awards: French Croix de Guerre
Coleman Tileston Clark is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot G, Row 1, Grave 6.
305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division
Plot F, Row 5, Grave 19
Sgt. James Sutherland was a part of the 77th Division, the first National Army division to arrive in France. On June 19, 1918 it moved to the Baccarat Sector in Lorraine, relieving the American 42nd Division. The French began to withdraw a month later, and the 77th held the “quiet” sector until August 4, 1918.
In the opening stage of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the 77th attacked on the left of the American First Army, with the 1st Cavalry Division of French Fourth Army to its west.
The 77th Division’s WWI casualties totaled 1,992 dead and 8,505 wounded. Several of its units were cut off for five days behind German lines near Binarville, constituting the famous “Lost Battalion.” The 77th advanced 71.5 kilometers against resistance during the offensive, further than any other American division.
Sutherland led his platoon up the steep slope of a ravine under heavy machinegun fire on October 3, 1918. During the advance he was seriously wounded and died later that day.
Awards: Distinguished Service Cross
James Sutherland is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot F, Row 5, Grave 19.
Elizabeth Stearns Tyler
Civilian, American Red Cross
Plot F, Row 1, Grave 17
Secretary Elizabeth S. Tyler was born in Amherst, Mass., and studied at Smith College from 1905 to 1909. She pursued studies in Paris and Italy, eventually receiving a Ph.D.
After commencement in the summer of 1918, at the age of 30, Tyler sailed for France in the service of the Red Cross. She was assigned to the care of refugees. Her excellent knowledge of the French language made her invaluable. She took ill and died of influenza while on duty at Sedan.
Elizabeth Stearns Tyler is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot F, Row 1, Grave 17.