65th Artillery CAC

The History Of the 65th Artillery, C.A.C. 1917-1919

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson had asked for a special joint session of the United States Congress for the express purpose of a declaration of war against the German Empire. After this joint session, on the floor of the Senate a resolution was brought before that chamber. This resolution was voted on and passed 82 to 6 on April 4. This resolution was brought to the House, and the resolution was passed at 3 o’clock in the morning of April 6 by a vote of 373–50. Immediately after the resolution was passed by the House, it was signed by House Speaker, Champ Clark. About nine hours later, at 12:14 p.m., it was signed by Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, and less than an hour after that, President Woodrow Wilson signed it at 1:11 p.m., which officially put the United States at war against the German Empire.

At the War Department the lights were burning the mid-night oil, and plans were being drawn up for America to enter the war. Quickly the War Department realized the need for artillery units which would support the infantry troops became apparent. In response, the Adjutant General of the Army ordered the organization of six new Coast Artillery Regiments to go to Europe as part of the American Expeditionary Force. These regiments were the 54th, 55th, 56th, 59th, 60th and 65th Coast Artillery.

On December 15, 1917 orders from the War department were issued to the Commanding Officer, Northern Pacific Coast Artillery District in Seattle, Washington to organize the 65th Coast Artillery Regiment. This is a copy of the order given from the War Department:

Hines HVP.

December 13, 1917.

Memorandum for chief of staff.

In reply to paragraph 6, No. 367, cablegram from General Pershing, the Chief of Coast Artillery, is of the opinion that the following regiments will best meet the requirements for service abroad at this time. By using the regiments enumerated below, it is believed that it will best meet the Supply of material, which is expected at an early date.

First three regiments to go:

55th Artillery C.A.C., 6-inch seacoast guns, tractor drawn, Coast Defense of Boston.
56th Artillery C.A.C., six-inch seacoast guns, tractor drawn, Coast Defense of Long Island Sound. Aircraft 59th Artillery C.A.C., eight-inch howitzers, Coast Defense of Southern New York.

Second three regiments to go:

54th Artillery C.A.C., 6-inch seacoast guns, tractor drawn, Coast Defense of Portland, Maine.
60th Artillery C.A.C., 8-inch howitzers, Coast Defenses of the Delaware, Potomac, and Chesapeake Bay.
65th Artillery C.A.C., 8-inch howitzers, Coast Defense of San Diego, Colombia and Puget Sound.

Major General,
December 15, 1917

All commissioned officers for the 65th Artillery would be appointed by the Adjutant Generals Office. Colonel Robert E. Callan was given orders to be the Commanding Officer and to organize the 65th Artillery. His staff officers were Lt. Colonel H. S. Kerrick, Captain George H. Terrell, 1st Lt. Stuart H. Clapp, and 1st Lt. Albert K. Mathews, Regimental Chaplain. All enlisted men were to be drawn from the following sources:

Headquarters Company and Battery F would come from the Coast Defenses of Puget Sound.
Batteries C, D, E and Supply Company would come from Coast Defenses of the Columbia River headquartered in Fort Stevens, Oregon.
Enlisted men for Headquarters and Battery D would come from Regular Coast Artillery Regiments.
Enlisted men for Supply Company and Batteries C, E and F would come from National Guard Coast Artillery.
Batteries A and B would come from the Coast Defenses of San Diego both Regular Coast Artillery as well as California National Guard units.

All during the summer of 1917 men from Washington, Oregon and California were gathering and forming into what would become the 65th Artillery, CAC. In February of 1918 orders were issued for the entire 65th Artillery to be mustered together in one location. This was to be Fort Winfield Scott in San Francisco, California. Under the command of Col. Callan on February 28, 1918 the 65th Artillery were mustered together for the first time. All men were given a physical examination and then boarded the SS Northern Pacific for the long trip to the East Coast.

By March 2, 1918 the entire 65th Artillery was aboard the Northern Pacific and they sailed out of San Francisco and the 65th Artillery began the long journey to New York by way of the Panama Canal. They reached Colon in the Panama Canal on March 9 and the Northern Pacific replenished with fuel oil and then transited the canal into the Gulf of Mexico. The Northern Pacific on March 16 eased into the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey where she offloaded the men of the 65th Artillery. There on the dock they waited for trains to take them to Camp Merritt, New Jersey for a brief stay.

At Camp Merritt on the morning of March 23, 1918, the men were up early and boarding another train that would take them to a ferryboat landing. The ferryboats would take the men to a Cunard Line dock where the RMS Mauretania awaited them. Two days passed until all the men of the 65th Artillery and the entire 55th Artillery and some 200 Red Cross nurses were aboard. Two regiments of Artillery were aboard but not one artillery gun was loaded aboard, as they had no artillery pieces to take to France. They would be totally dependent on loaner weapons that the British and French could spare. What a way to start a war was likely on the minds of the men of both the 55th and 65th Artillery.

The Mauretania steamed into Liverpool, England on April 1, 1918, just as she had done many times before the war and tied up to the docks. They had to stay aboard for the night and on April 2 began the disembarking process, which was none too soon for many of the boys who still had not gotten their sea-legs under them yet. Once off the ship they kept on the move and marched to a railway station and away they went, to where no one knew. That evening by 6 o’clock, both the 55th and 65th Artillery were now at the American Rest Camp in Romsey, England.

Just two days rest for the 65th Artillery when on April 5 they were marched again a short distance to the docks in Southampton where they boarded a steamer to cross the English Channel to France. There cross channel trips were taken during the night so to keep movements of troops cloaked in the cover of darkness. By the morning of April 6, the 65th Artillery was in the congested harbor of Le Havre, France.

Now the 65th Artillery was separated with the First Battalion consisting of Batteries A and B, the Second Battalion consisting of Batteries C and C and the Third Battalion with Batteries E and F, were assigned billets in three different French cities. Once they were settled in their new billets they learned that they would be assigned to British 9.2-inch Howitzers. It was during this next 70-day period that the training was undertaken in learning how to operate and fire these British Howitzers.

The following are articles written after the war for the “Liasion, the official publication of the Big Gun Corps” which was the official Coast Artillery monthly magazine.

Waiting for Orders

These batteries at this time were not equipped with any of the field material, so settled down to real life of drill and study for overseas service. Finally, the equipment arrived, and with it orders to leave from the various Forts for San Francisco by train and boat. The Regiment first consolidated on February 28th 1918, at Fort Scott, San Francisco. Here every man was given a medical examination and sent aboard the USS Northern Pacific, with a berth ticket showing where he was to sleep.

Off For New York

On March 2nd 1918, the USS Northern Pacific cleared the Golden Gate at noon bound for New York via the Panama Canal. On board each day was one routine of drills and inspections held hourly at by the officers. The following Sunday morning, March 9th, the Northern Pacific entered the canal, going through the locks and main channel in something like seven hours. At Colon the boat was held up for the rest of the day and night to take on oil. The same routine continued up the Atlantic. A shortstop was made at Norfolk, Va., where the men took a hike, and the following Sunday morning, March 16th, sailed into New York Harbor, past the Statue of Liberty and landed at Hoboken, New Jersey. Here the Regiment entrained for Camp Merritt, New Jersey.

From Camp Merritt To France

After disembarking at Hoboken, the Regiment was taken by train to the final resting place at Camp Merritt before being sent to France.

Our stay at Camp Merritt was one continual round of inspections and completing of equipment, so that every man would have the necessary outfit to combat the Huns. At this time 24-hour passes were issued to the lucky few who had checked up with the Supply Sergeant and were not found wanting. These passes gave the soldiers several happy hours before leaving for a country unknown.

Every man at this time was acquiring through the use of the BONES or persuasion of men who were better fixed financially, money enough to buy a supply of sweet chocolate, and all the cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other delicacies dear to the heart of every soldier, such as could be carried in the limited Barracks bag.

Up The Gang Plank

After a stay of a week the regiment was confined to Camp on March 23rd, and all speculation as to when we were going over came to an end. But on Sunday morning we left camp Merritt by rail with full equipment. At the end of the two-hour run the men were transferred to a ferryboat and taken across the river to the Cunard line docks, then marched aboard the RMS Mauretania. Each man as he went up the gangplank was given a ticket designating his hammock and the portion of the ship he was to occupy for sleeping and eating purposes. The balance of the day was spent in looking over the new quarters and getting settled for the trip across the water. At this time the men were supplied with postcards to be filled out and directed home, the mailing to be done after the safe arrival overseas.

RMS Mauretania

On board the Mauretania were the 65th Regiment C.A.C., from the Forts on the Pacific Coast, the 55th Regiment C.A.C., from the Forts around Boston, and about 100 officers and 200 Red Cross nurses. On Monday evening, March 25th, the Mauretania in the tow of tugs went out into the river with all men below decks, then down the Channel where the Mauretania proceeded under her of steam. We past the Statue of Liberty and headed into a stretch of endless blue.

Every man was in good spirits, perhaps because we had yet to sample English grub. The gray coastline had faded from sight and we speculated as to when we should again set foot on that favored land, America. The first few days were spent in acquiring sea legs. Some never annexed them. A drill schedule was put in force, which at times was a complete failure, owing to the fact that every man aboard ship was obliged to wear a life preserver at all times.

British grub was not popular from the very start. Rice soup, hard tack, beef stew (made from goat's flesh), carrots, spuds with their jerkins on and orange marmalade were served at all times. A guard of 42 posts was established. Special orders being to watch out for submarines, for the fact that the boat was not convoyed made it a very dangerous voyage. The Mauretania was defended by several three-inch guns, with English gun crews in charge.


Early Monday morning a sub-chaser was sighted, then a few moments later another sub-chaser and a dirigible balloon. These lookouts of the coast of England accompanied us almost into the docks at Liverpool. It was a happy group of men that sighted land that day. Monday evening was spent in docking at Liverpool. Tuesday morning, April 2nd, each man in the regiment, after being served with a sandwich and an apple as rations for the day, disembarked in a heavy fog. The British subjects were right there to welcome us on our hike through the heart of the city to the train. At the depot eight men with packs and rifles were pushed into one compartment, which would as seated four good-sized men comfortably. However, the boys took the situation as a matter of course and decided that they were fortunate in having an opportunity to travel to the heart of Great Britain.

Romsey, England

Each time our train stopped at a good-sized city the platform would be crowded with men in search of food. At some of these stops the men were served with coffee by Red Cross Canteen workers. During the day the train passed through Manchester, Derby, Birmingham, Oxford and Redding, arriving at 6:00 at the historical town of Romsey, near Winchester, England. During this very interesting journey we had been impressed, especially, with the absence of wood in any shape or form. Stone fences and circled every field, and the houses, though modern in appearance, were inevitably made of stone and plaster. After Detraining at Romsey, we marched through the town and on up a winding hill to an English rest camp.

At this rest camp the men were given a chance to feed up on war rations issued by the English, and to wash all of the equipment that had been soiled in route from the states. One of the most popular sports here was waiting in line for a shower bath at the bathhouses. If a man was lucky at the end of a two hour wait he might take a bath until someone next in line usurped his place, and so on. Quite a number of the men in the regiment were taken down with pneumonia at this place and sent to the hospital at Winchester. The regiment lost several men here through death, and others who were physically unable to travel, although they eventually joined the Regiment in France sometime later.

After a stay here of four days we then hike to Southampton docks, preparatory to crossing the Channel. The trip over was not made until the cover of darkness assures a safe passage.

Across The Channel To France

After dark we boarded an English cattle boat, and found ourselves packed in so snugly that a man with large feet had considerable trouble in locating standing room. It was a rough trip, and a sigh of relief rose from the ranks when we heard that the boat had docked at Le Havre, France. A breakfast of cheese and coffee proceeded the unloading, and at 7:00 we were lined up on the French soil for inspection.

In a drizzling rain we marched through the old city of Le Havre and then up a waterfront street lined with summer hotels, and now used as Army hospitals. The hike up the Le Havre hill taxed the strength of the stoutest man in the regiment. Sweat was flowing freely. Two miles from the city we arrived at our second rest camp in Europe, which had not the slightest appearance of being a good place for a rest. The regiment was lined up in formation, and later assigned to squad tents of limited dimensions.

On The Box Cars

The regiment was billeted here until the morning of April 9th, when the men marched six long miles from the rest camp to the train. We had heard about writing in French boxcars, but no pen can do them justice. One must jolt in one of these for four days and nights before he can realize that they are devoid of any soft spots. An American humane Society would never have stood for the carrying of eight Horses in one of these cars. Needless to say, it took a man with experience as a packer or paper baler to crowd 35 pieces of humanity with full packs and rations into one of these French toys.

Each man realized that he should have a place to stretch out for the night, but when he endeavored to deposit himself, someone else was always there. The next up of procedure was that of finding some small persons who could be handled, if necessary, and flop down on top of him. In a brief period, the under party would find himself smothered and wish to arise, and at the same time number two would occupy his berth, and so on. Each night would be just like the proceeding one, only more so. The thing that continued to fool everyone was just where we were going. It certainly was impossible to tell from directions. The train would pull into some have grown village, where upon our engine would proceed to sneak around to the other end of the line and then tear out and new a direction. At times the train only poked along, when part of the men would get off and walk along the side, keeping up with us at a fast walk.

On this trip we pass through some of the most picturesque country encountered during the regiments stay in France. The train passed through such old towns as Vincennes and Orleans. Some of the old Chateaux passed on the route had been built since the early history of the French Empire. It seemed to be a hobby of the men to get off at all stations and visit the small canteens to be found there, and the object of interest was readily understood when they always came back with their canteens (not full of water).

On the morning of the fourth day the train pulled into the large city of Limoges, haute Vienne. Being more or less battered up from their long ride in these side door Pullmans, they presented a very weak appearance when it finally arrived at the stone barracks in the heart of the city once occupied by Napoleon's 20th Dragoons during his reign in France.

Billets And Training Schools

The Regiment in its first few days at Limoges underwent a severe cleaning up. All of the men were allowed to visit the city and the shower bath houses seemed to be the most popular attractions. At this time the men first realize the necessity of learning the French language. Very few people in the store could understand the American language, but through the use of French-American dictionaries we were able to make a few purchases.

The people of the city treated the American soldier as if he were a hero sent to them to deliver the people from the hands of the Huns. In all the shops and residences for the major part, the men were received with open arms, nothing being too good for them in the minds of the French people. A few of them even invited the men into their homes for social visits, which in some cases, especially if there happen to be a daughter of marriageable age, resulting in a war wedding, and a war bride being annexed by the regiment of which the soldier was a member.

The rudiments of drilling were not forgotten by any means, and from a long hikes and constant drilling the men were soon in physical shape again. It seemed to be one of the hobbies of the new Officers, who were attached to the regiment at this time to start on a hike early in the morning to see how far he could walk the men before it came dark. Inspections were also indulged in at least twice a week, in which the whole regiment participated.

After a stay here of a very few weeks, the First Battalion was sent to Nexon, and the second Battalion to Pierre Buffierre, and the Third Battalion later to Nexon, two small villages on the outskirts of Limoges. The training area around Limoges was called O. & T. Center No. 2, for heavy artillery. The men really received at this time their first lessons in handling the English 9.2-inch guns that did so much destruction later on the front lines. This type of gun was altogether new to the members of the Regiment, but the men seem to acquire the knowledge of handling them in record time, as they did in all things tackled by the regiment.

A force of Military Police was chosen from the different batteries to enforce the military government of the soldiers. Each man chosen district in the city of Limoges to look after, his duty being that of keeping the American soldier out of trouble. Quite a number of men were also sent to Military Schools in the vicinity of Paris, the purpose being that of teaching them the art of drilling, driving and Repair work on trucks and tractors, also gun work in order that they might be able and in readiness to instruct the balance of the men.

One of the biggest events that took place at any time during the period spent by the men, seemed to occur when the company mail man came to deliver the mail. If there happened to be a soldier who did not receive any mail, the ones who were lucky enough to get something almost always shared it with comrades who might have come from the places in the United States near their homes. At this time a change in Colonels was affected by the War Department.

France, July 29th, 1918

My Dear General,

Callan has the place I was originally detailed for, and I am assigned it to the 65th Artillery, C.A.C., the Regiment he brought over. We have sixteenth 9.2-inch howitzers and eight 8-inch howitzers. Have target practice next month, then to a tractor Artillery area for a short time, then to the front. I am anxious to get along. I have been organizing since last December, this makes the second Regiment, and staff of Army Artillery, besides my work with you, which last is of great benefits to me now.

I am enclosing a letter in regard to the conduct of the men of the 65th at their billets, which speaks well for the regiment. I have been with them about six weeks, and there has not been a case of disorder or complaint.

I took a "Tip" from Mathews, and at a sanitary inspection last week by some "medicos" who had been all over the region of the Services of Supply, they said we had the best kitchens, etc., etc., they had seen.

Please remember me to Mrs. Coe.

Cordially yours,


J. F. Howell, Colonel, G. S. C.

Office of the chief Coast of Artillery, Washington.

August 16th, 1918

Memorandum from the chief of staff.

Enclosed is a copy of testimonial from the inhabitants of (censored) where the 65th Artillery, C.A.C., has been training. A note received from the commanding officer of that Regiment states he has been with it for six weeks, and that there has not been a case of disorder or complaint.

F. W. Coe,
Major General,
Chief of Coast Artillery.

Americans of The 65th Artillery, C.A.C., Detachments At (censored)

You have just past three months among us, and now you're leaving us to accomplish this sacred mission which has been trusted upon you by your citizens and countrymen, and to throw in the balance of destiny the Heavy sword which will make its way to on the side where is found the right, the Justice and the liberty of the world. And that the almighty will accompany you and give you the strength to accomplish gloriously your mission.

Who will permit the most of you to return to the liberal America who gladly made the sacrifice and sending you hear and found the greatest glory in doing so, and we pray that you will return safely to the loved ones left behind. Who will permit you to return and find all your parents, who loved you with all their hearts, still alive and in good health. And who will grant to those among you will fall in the struggle the reward, which His reserved for his elect.

Your departure, Americans, will leave a large space among us, for we have become so accustomed to seeing you drill on our streets and ways and to see you circulate among us, gay, happy, confident, and filled with kindness. Our children will never forget you large boys who played with the children and took them into their arms, and gave them caresses and bonbons, and no doubt these children brought sweet remembrance of home. Our young ladies will keep sacred the memory of your good graces, of your gaiety and of your courtesies, truly chivalrous. Our poor will also regret the departure of those who so generously gave, and with discretion, and thus put into proper application the verse of our poet; "The motive is of more value than that which we give."

We all love you, we will all regret your departure, and we will accompany you with our best wishes wherever you go. We all have admired the good harmony which exists among the officers and men, and the exact discipline fully observed, not withstanding the great familiarity existing between officers and men. Our thanks and remembrance to your Colonel, that gentleman accomplished and surely loved by you, who has been a pillar of strength despite the gravity of the hour and who has laid at our doors entertainments, excellent music of the Regiment, concert of the winner, boxing matches and many other things, almost discontinued by our population.

And we also extend our thanks to have been permitted to admire every day the good carriage of the officers and troops, the parades and the reviews with a noble flag of the Stars and Stripes, which already on the battlefield floats with our glorious tricolor. Receive our farewell, American friends, and we wish from the bottom of our hearts that health, happiness and glory will follow you, and you leave remembrance which will make you considered as one of our beloved family.

(Censored), France
July 25th, 1918
Aubert, chief of the (censored)

Mobile Equipment

The mobile equipment carried by the regiment at this time were, 26 automobiles of the Tour car type, which were used by the officers in maintaining communication with their bases of supply, reconnecting positions in distance sectors, and transporting them from one position to another. Four large cars built especially for reconnaissance work over rough and impoverished roads. Four observation cars, built to hold a large number of persons. 32 motorcycles for courier service and speedy message bearing. Of this number 10 were equipped with sidecars. 161 trucks of the three Ton type, for carrying miscellaneous Gun supplies, hauling ammunition, and carrying provisions to the battery positions. 24 large Caterpillar tractors, used to haul the heavy guns. These tractors were of 75 and 120 horsepower, and were built by the Holt Company of the United States. The large "Cats" singly weighed 25,000 lbs. Twenty-four 9.2-inch British Howitzers of the Mark I and II types.

The guns in traveling position were in three parts, each transported on four wheels and pulled by a single tractor. When the guns were put into firing position the parts were placed together in such a manner as to make a very permanent field Howitzer capable of throwing a 290 lb. projectile from 10,000 to 13,000 yards. The guns when firing position are set in the ground on steel beams. The weight of the guns and equipment in ring order, not including a dirt box to give stability, is approximately 29,000 lbs., while the three parts in traveling position weighed four and five tons, according to the part.

Off For The Front

In order to give the exact account in detail from now on we will have to follow each Battalion separately.

First Battalion

This is a photo of Battery A, 65th Artillery, C.A.C. taken sometime in early February 1919 at Camp Dix, NJ after they returned to the States. The Battery was then commanded by Captain Robert C. Mizell. The photo was taken by the Mather Studios of New Egypt, NJ. The original photo is 42 x 8 inches and was shared by Richard Whitt, who himself is a former member of the 65th Artillery. Whitt was in the 65th during 1966-67 in Key West, FL. Back then the 65th was a Hawk missile unit at the time. They have had reunions in 2004 and 2006 having been invited by the Navy. Somehow along the way, Whitt became the historian, mainly, because nobody else wanted to do it. Whitt wrote a short history of the 65th for their web site, missilesofkeywest. Rather than a sweeping narrative, he chose to do a timeline type history since he had to cover a 70 year period, 1917 to 1987, at which time the 1st / 65th was reflagged as the 3rd / 1st ADA, a Patriot missle unit.

The Battalion was under training at Nexon until July 31st 1918, when the schedule on instruction was discontinued and preparations made to load material, leave this place and proceed to La Courtine. At this place instruction in target work was continued until August 21, 1918, when arrangements were made to evacuate this station, and on the same day the battalion left La Courtine by train for Dionjeux, which was reached at 1:30 a.m. on the 23rd. There was no stop of any consequence made here, the Battalion soon being in route to Rouvroy, a distance only 1 km, which the men covered by marching, and the next day the guns were moved from Wassey to that place. On the 27th the battalion was in preparation for leaving Rouvroy, which it did the next day at 8:45 p.m., the trucks arriving in camp near Pancy at 11:00 p.m. The movement of the troops began at midnight, the boys arriving in camp near Pancy on the 29th at 4:00 a.m., but left that night at 8:10 p.m. The trucks reached camp in a forest near Lergeaux at 11:00 p.m., while the troops and tractors were still en-route at midnight. The distance traveled was 20 km.

On August 30th troops arrived in camp Lergeaux at 4:00 a.m., and left three and a half hours later for a camp in the forest near Sonneville au Rupt at midnight, with tractors and trucks en-route, the distance traveled being 21 km. The troops and Tractors did not remain long at this place, but left for a station near La Neuville, which they reached on the 31st at 4:00 a.m., and five hours later pulled out for a camp two kilometers east of Bouck, where they arrived at 4:00 a.m. the next day, but 8:00 p.m. were on the move again. Echelon No. 2, consisting of Tractors, guns, Carriages and 110 men, was left at Camp in the forest near Bouck, while the balance of the Command proceeded on towards Manonville, which was reached at midnight, and went into camp in the forests one- and one-half kilometers east of that place.

The next few days were utilized in preparing gun positions and camouflaging the camp and guns, constructing emplacements, trenches and dugouts, etc., all of which were completed by the seventh. On this date the tractors and Guns were also started from the park to their respective bands, into which they were duly installed before the close of the following day. On September 9th and 10th the ammunition was brought up, and on the 11th final preparations for firing were completed, and on the next day at 1:15 a.m. the Guns began to roar, ceasing their activities at 7:00 a.m.

Reconnaissance of new positions and removing guns from old positions began on the 13th, and three days later the battalion left camp near Manonville at 8:30 p.m. for the forests 1 km east of Royaumeix, which was reached 11:30 p.m., after traveling 12 km. The next day at 7:40 p.m. the troops broke camp at Royaumeix, and at midnight were en-route near Trondes, and on the 18th camped on the road between Void and Sorcy. Leaving that point at 7:15 p.m. they arrived at the camp in the woods 3 km east of Pierrefitte at 2:30 a.m. on the following day.

At 7:15 p.m. on the 20th the camp near Pierrefitte was evacuate, and the next day the Battalion struck camp in the woods 3 km north of Vraincourt, and on the 22nd began erecting telephone lines and preparing gun positions, which were completed on the 23rd. The ammunition was brought up on the 24th, and during the following day the Battalion was moved from billets in Vraincourt to Bois de Parois, and a final preparation completed for firing, which began on the 26th, the concentration being on 12 targets, three dugouts, four machine-gun nests, one Trench and four crossroads, with results undetermined. The total number of shots fired was 706.

The next two days were utilized in reconnaissance of the portion of the field, making preparations for moving to new positions, and on the 30th and October 1st the guns were on the road, remaining there six and one-half kilometers north of Vraincourt, under Camouflage until the fifth when camp was broken in the woods two kilometers north of Parois at 8:00 p.m. and the Battalion started for the Verdun station, which was reached the next day at 2:00 a.m. Preparations for final firing were completed on the seventh, and during the eighth and ninth both batteries were in action, the results of the firing were not ascertainable.

On the 10th two guns from Battery B, which had been injured the day before, were removed for repairs. On this date the Battery position was also shelled by the Enemy, but without injury to the armament. Battery B guns were being prepared on the 11th, and there was no firing on that day or the next, and although the positions were changed on the 13th they remained in active until relocated a few days later. This occurred on the 23rd at Bois de Forges were both batteries opened fire, but without known results. This new position was occupied on the night of the 19th, and during the next two days guns were placed in positions for firing, which occurred the next day, as stated above, with six guns in action.

On the 24 of preparations for moving the guns from Bois de Forges to a position two kilometers southeast was begun, and they were started on the way at 4:00 p.m. following day, reaching Parois at midnight. Left Parois at 7:00 the next morning, and arrived in Sannc at noon, the distance traveled being 41 km. The 28th was spent in preparing the gun pits and moving guns into position, and on the 29th everything was in readiness for action, but firing did not occur until November 1st, when both batteries again began firing, but definite results were not known. On this date the echelon was also moved from Lancon to Sannc.

On the fourth and fifth the guns were removed from emplacements in preparation for another shift, and on the sixth placed in park 15 km east of Sannc, and the next day Batteries A and B were relocated at Baulmy, but were not again called into action.

Loading a 9.2-inch Howitzer of the 65th Regiment.

Photo contributed by Patrick Gariepy

Second Battalion

This is a photo of Battery C, 65th Artillery. This photo was taken at Fort Stevens while the Battery was being formed in early 1918 in the Coast Defenses of the Columbia River.
The Officers of Battery C were:

Captain Luis H. Howard, C.A.R.C.
1st Lt. Donald M. Spencer, C.A.N.G.
1st Lt. J. Wray Chase, C.A.N.G.
2nd Lt. Clarence Collins, C.A.N.G.
2nd Lt. Vern N. Walton, C.A.N.G.

This photo was provided by (M)Sgt Scottie Slayback who is on active duty with the US Airforce at Hill AFB, Utah.


My name is (M)Sgt Scottie Slayback and I'm assigned to the 75th Security Forces Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah. Yesterday while searching through the base thrift store I purchased an old unit photograph of Battery C, 65th Artillary CAC, Ft Stevens Oregon. ... Its been 17 years and I still get a lump in my throat when the flag goes up and I also applaud you for honoring your family and all military personnel. As a historical side note, I feel a special honor in serving this beautiful country since my Great (4) grandfather fought in the Revolutionary war, his son in the War of 1812, his son in the GAR of the Civil War, my grandfather in WW 2 and my father served in the USMC. My son and I also re-inact the Civil War.

The picture of C battery is approximately 9 by 20 inches and is affixed to a homemade plywood frame. I tried to open the frame and look behind the image but the glue and the picture are very brittle. One funny thing about the picture that may not be evident in the digitals is in the middle of the photo a soldier inside the barracks has played a silly prank and stuck his hand on the window to be immortalized in the picture.

Scottie Slayback

From April 22nd 1918, to May 5th 1918, the Battalion was stationed at Limoges, leaving at 8:30 a.m. on the latter date, arriving in Pierre Buffere at 10:00 a.m. while at this place the Battalion received its first lessons on the 9.2-inch Howitzers, continuing training until July 25th when at 7:00 p.m. they entrained for La Courtine, were the equipment was unloaded two days later. This marked the beginning of the real excitement for the members of this organization. At this famous target range the guns were calibrated and the crews receive their preliminary training in handling the pieces before going to the front.

On August 20th, the men were again on the move, this time for Donjeux, and on the 22nd at 11:00 a.m., arrived at Wassey where the guns and tractors were unloaded, after which the troops returned to Donjeux by train, where they had been billeted, reaching here at 6:00 p.m.

After being billeted in old stables and worn-down houses in and around the city the regiment settled down for a few days rest and quiet before being called upon to take up the business of fighting the Huns. Several different kinds of inspections were indulged in here, such as foot inspections, etc. All Barracks bags and surplus material were turned over in readiness for the call to the front.

The Battalion was inspected at this place by Colonel Harry T. Matthews, C.A.C., and pronounced fit for service and ordered to the front. Everything was excitement and bustle when the men at last realized that an opportunity for entering into the work for which they were brought to France was about to materialize. At this stage there was no conjecture as to the nature of the work assigned for all the equipment had been issued, and they fully understood just what the work cut out for them by the higher officers would consist of.

On the 26th the truck train left Donjeux at 8:00 p.m., then there was a march 3-kilometers north of Montier. Breaking camp the next day at 8:00 p.m., the troops left for a point 2 km north of Marigny-Le-Grande, and on the 30th at 8:00 p.m. were again on the move, their destination being 7 km west of Toule where they encamped a couple of days.

This is the 2nd Company out of Ft. Stevens, Oregon. This was the unit from which Battery D of the 65th Artillery was formed from. In this photo is Emerson Sloan Reavis.
Pvt. 1cl Reavis brought home with him many photos of the 65th Artillery while overseas. These photos were in an album and document with pictures where and what the 65th Artillery did while on active service. Jim Reavis, Emerson's son has shared these photos so that we all can see what the 65th did while in France and learn from their history. See this page to get a feel what things were like in Battery D through the eyes of Pvt. 1cl Emerson S. Reavis.

Roster 2nd Company, CD of the Columbia

Captain Edwin B. Hyde, Jr. Commanding

1st Lt. Kirk P. Cecil
2nd Lt. Miles H. Mckay
2nd Lt. Benjamin H. Williams

1st Sgt. Paschal, John E.
Supply Sgt. Hanheide, Rudy A.
Mess Sgt. Pigott, Thomas A.

Murphy, James J.
Sappelsa, Joseph P.
Matthews, Perry L.
Guthrie, Charles W.
Freel, Joun
Nauman, Stephen P.
Clifford, Neal, C.
Allen, Loyal R.

Crabtree, Oliver, R.
Bowden, Perry M.
Hunley, John
Schultz, Carl M.
Pitzer, William M.
Heater, James W.
Zinn, Harland O.
Gilliam, Mitchell A.
Wood, Clifford R.
Davis, Clifford, L.
Baer, Charles E.
Manning, James A.

Ahlberg, Carl, T.
Tucker, James M.

Cook, William
Kimble, Truman G.

Krogstad, Conrad
Pykkonen, William C.

Privates, First Class
Borane, Michael
Clayton, Alvin L.
Croon, Raymond L.
Gehre, William A.
Harmon, James T. C.
Higuera, John C.
Hilton, Paul
Johnson, Emil N.
La Hue, Harrison H.
Matherly, Charles T.
Montgomery, Clarence V.
Morgan, Anthony
Piacentini, Carlo
Powell, Lewis, K.
Reavis, Emerson S.
Sortor, Jacob
Voigt, Ernest E.
Wilson, Tom E.
Zumpfe, Joe

Arnold, Edwin F.
Batty, Clyde
Bertolucci, Anibale
Caldwell, Minice, H.
Corlew, Roy A.
Croshaw, Nelson E.
Herrington, Norman C.
Hodson, Virgil O.
Johnston, Ray
Kronick, Saul D.
Ledford, Byron
Lester, Albert G.
Madsen, henry
Mattox, Otto A.
McCollum, Edger J.
McCoy, William E.
Miller, Frederick A.
Mitchell, Ben C.
Morrison, Robert O.
Pace, Herbert L.
Pickens, William O.
Powell, Guy E.
Quinlan, Stanley J.
Ross, Albert G.
Siroy, Frank R.
Spreen, John M.
Taylor, Lee
Telfer, George
Tohill, Arthur
Tomberg, Neil H.
Turner, Robert
White, Rockfort
Wood, Carey E.

Emerson Sloan Reavis was in the 2nd Company and with the 65th Artillery Battery D through out the duration of the war and he returned to the States after the war.

St. Mihiel

The second Battalion remained in concealment near Toule until their first position was finally chosen. The equipment and officers carried by the Battalion at this time were as follows:

Battalion Commander: Major O. H. Longino, C.A.C.
Adjutant: Captain Louis H. Howard, Jr. C.A.C.
Supply Officer: Second Lt. E. H. Sloan, C.A.C.
Orienteur Officer: First Lt. Philip F. Murray, C.A.C.
Transport Officer: Second Lt. Harrison F. Clippert, C.A.C.
Signal Officer: Second Lt. Clarence R. Nichols, C.A.C.
Battery C, (Oregon National Guard):
Captain James L. Hatcher, C.A.C., Commanding
First Lt. Martin W. Hawkins, C.A.C., Battery officer
First Lt. Robert F. Lakemen, Jr. C.A.C. assistant Battery Commander
Second Lt. John S. Skinner, F. A., Battery officer
Second Lt. Vern N. Walton, C.A.C., Battery officer (battalion gas officer)
Battery D, (Regulars from Fort Stevens):
Captain Carl E. Hocker, C.A.C. Commanding
First Lt. George W. Fisher, C.A.C., Battery officer
Second Lt. Raymond H. Carrington, C.A.C., assistant Battery Commander
Second Lt. Fritzhof J. Lundstrom, C.A.C. Battery officer
Second Lt. William R. Bullard, F. A., Battery officer
Battery C had four 9.2-inch Howitzers Mark II, maximum range 12,000 meters
Battery D had four of the Mark I, 9.2-inch Howitzer, maximum range of 9,300 meters.

Total Equipment

Four 9.2-inch howitzers, Mark II
Four 9.2-inch howitzers, Mark I
Six 15-Ton Holt Caterpillar tractors
Two 20-Ton Holt Caterpillar tractors
One truck, Artillery Repair
31 trucks, 3-Ton with cargo bodies, 19 with ammunition bodies
One car, White, reconnaissance
Four cars, Dodge
Two cars, Ford
Five motorcycles

Upon arrival at Toule the Battalion was assigned a position in the Bois de Haye, near the villages of St. Jean and St. Jacques, the regimental headquarters at Liverdun. However, before the position could be prepared, the Brigade Commander, Brigadier-General William C. Davis, made a change and a new position was assigned, which lay on the opposite side of the Mosselle River in the Foret du Facq, near the villages of St. Genevieve, where the 327th Infantry of the 82nd Division had their headquarters. At first the Commanding Officer of that Regiment objected strenuously to the placing of the guns in that position, as they were installed right on top of the Infantry is a line of resistance, and it was two days before a position satisfactory to both parties could be found. Before the guns could be brought up to the position, which was 30 to 40 km from Toule, it was learned that the troops on the right bank of the Mosselle River were not to participate in the attack and, in fact, might drop back slightly, and as this would cause the guns to be in a precarious position, as they were within 500 m of the existing line of resistance, the position was again changed.

The new position assigned was in the Bois de Puyenelle, on the Left Bank of the Mossellle River, south of the village of Madierres, and about 2 km southwest of the town of Pont-a-Mousson. The 360th infantry of the 90th Division held this part of the line. The guns of Battery D were emplaced practically on top of the line of resistance of the Infantry, and those of Battery C having a longer range, and also on account of lack of space, were placed about 1 km south of Battery D, and across the road immediately behind the kitchen of the reserve company of the Infantry battalion, which was holding the line at that time.

The various changes of position which had taken place made the remaining time before the attack very short and hence it was necessary for us to work day and night in order that the position might be prepared in time. The night before the drive everything was in readiness except for the Ammunition, which was to be delivered by the Ordnance officer. Word was received from him to have a truck train in Madierres after dark to receive the Ammunition and get it away before daylight. The French, who were handling the railroads had miscalculated, and when the trucks arrived in Madierres they found that the railroad tracks had been destroyed, apparently for years, as there were weeds about 4 feet high growing in the tracks, the latter being broken in many places. The trucks were removed before daylight, but no ammunition had been seen, and it was not until noon the following day that it was located at Dieulovard, some 10 km south of Pont-a-Mousson. No truck trains were allowed to move during daylight; hence darkness came on before it was possible to start moving ammunition to the guns.

The artillery preparations were to start at 1:15 a.m., but owing to the congestion of the roads it was 12:55 a.m. before one complete round of ammunition arrived at the Battery emplacement. The battalion opened fire at 1:45 a.m., and both batteries thereafter responded every time they were called upon, until the drive was over.

According to government statistics both parties fired continually from 1:00 a.m. until noon on the 12th, but the next day were an operation intermittently only, and on the 14th Battery D slackened up considerably, firing slowly during the night, while Battery C was an operation less than four hours, ceasing entirely at midnight. On the 15th the troops were ordered to move again, first to Frouard, then to Royaumeix, which was reached at 10:00 a.m., but a few hours later were en-route to Vavincourt, where they arrived at 11:00 a.m. on the 18th and located in a stretch of woods northeast of Dombasle. Here at the enemy shell the roads in new gun positions very heavily, although the guns were fairly well protected by Camouflage.

The next day, September 21st, gun positions were prepared, while the enemy shelled a point just south of our location. The work was continued until the 24th when the guns were duly installed in their new positions. The 25th was utilized by the enemy in trying to bombard our supply of ammunition by shelling the road over which it was being transported on the way to the front, but no casualties were reported. The following day are batteries began an attack on the enemy positions at 2:30 a.m., Battery C firing 234 rounds, and Battery D 462 rounds.

During the course of the action the Battalion was ordered to fire upon a German Battery of 210 mm guns which was giving a great deal of trouble to the personnel of the First Corps. Observation by an American section of the F. R. S. was obtained and the first salvo was reported as being 25 meters over and 5 meters to the right, the second reported as "Hit" Battery (probably powder burning), the third salvo was reported as all hits, "Battery destroyed".

In the first few minutes of the action a German shell struck near Battery D's position, slightly wounding First Lt. G. W. Fisher and one enlisted man, and setting fire to the power piled near No. 1 gun. But for the prompt and efficient action of First Lt. Fisher and Second Lt. Raymond H. Carrington, who with their own hands remove the burning charges, the results with had been very serious, as a box of fuses was also in the pile. As it was, only two powder charges were destroyed.

In getting from the old gun position at St. Mihiel to the new positions at Domobasle the Battalion traveled 100 km or 62- and one-half miles and four days, traveling only at night. This was only one of the many seemingly impossible feats that were accomplished by this Battalion during their stay on the front lines, all the men in during all hardships without a murmur of disapproval.

This being the second front visited by the Battalion the men were well initiated in the art of battle and Camouflage. Really no casualties of any importance were caused here through any of Fritz's gun fire, although their airplanes in this offensive did some very destructive work destroying quite a number of the allied observation balloons. All objectives were fired upon with entire success to the American gunner’s expertness.

Night firing during the Meuse-Argonne Operation. Photo contributed by Patrick Gariepy

The following letter was received from the grouping commander commanding the battalion for its work during this action:

Headquarters "Howell" Grouping, 15 September 1918

From: Commanding Officer, "Howell" Grouping.

To: Major Olin H. Longino, C.A.C.

Subject: Expression Of Thanks

I take this opportunity to express my great appreciation of the splendid work done by the personnel of your group during the recent offensive, and wish you to convey the same to the officers and enlisted men. I consider that the effort of the personnel was most exceptionally, and their devotion to duty is deserving of the highest commendation. Your Battalion got into position in a very short period of time, and their guns were exceptionally well emplaced. Having no ammunition at midnight proceeding the day of the attack, the extraordinary work of unloading the ammunition from the cars, hauling it by trucks to the guns, and serving same from the trucks to the guns during the opening artillery fire, I believe to be quite exceptional in the present offensive. I particularly congratulate you and the officers and enlisted men for successfully destroying an enemy 210 mm Battery which had been giving trouble to the personnel of the First Corps, which Corps had requested that we silence this Battery, if possible.

The observers reported the enemy Battery hit on the second salvo, and practically destroyed on the third salvo of the fire. Throughout the entire period of firing the batteries of your command were constantly on the alert, and responded promptly to every demand made upon them.

J. F. Howell,
Colonel, G. S. C.
Commanding "Howell" Grouping.

Verdun Offensive

The guns were again taken from their positions on October 4th and made ready for another forward move, which began the next day on receipt of orders to proceed at once to Verdun. In compliance with these orders the truck train left for that station at 10:00 p.m., reaching its destination on the 6th at 5:00 a.m. Positions were at once prepared and the guns installed ready for action, and the next day the Howitzers were also placed in position, the enemy keeping up and intermittent shellfire until nightfall without doing any material damage. Our batteries commenced firing on the 8th at 5:00 a.m., and ceased at 9:00 a.m. while the Germans put in the whole day shelling our positions, with no casualties excepting the slightly wounding of some of the Medical Corps men.

On the 9th are batteries fired intermittently both day and night, which was slowly kept up by Battery C alone during the next 24 hours, while the high explosive shells from the enemy positions landed close to our guns, but only two slight casualties resulted. During the 11th Battery C again fired intermittently throughout the day, while the Germans retaliated with a slight shellfire without serious effect and on the 12th this Battery continued in action day and night. It slowed up the next day, however, firing only five shots between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., and soon thereafter orders to move to a new position were issued, and that night the change was affected, the guns being duly installed in new positions on the 14th.

The enemy batteries began firing on both personnel and gun positions the next day, destroying a Mark I with three 9.2-inch shells through a direct hit, but no casualties of men reported. On the 18th the gas alarm was sounded, but nothing of a very serious nature occurred, although a few of the men were caught while asleep, and were sent to the hospital for resuscitation.

By way of further comment, I will state that positions were taken on the east bank of the Meuse on the famous French battleground to the north of Verdun, and just to the rear of the famous French fort of Douaumont. The Regiment operated in support of the 17th French Army Corps in a purely local but difficult action. In this sector the Germans were unusually active, shelling of Batteries was unusually heavy.

This was one of the most difficult of all the battles the Battalion was in, being under such heavy fire at times. Credit at all times seems to be due to the everlasting coolness and precision of the American soldier, who seemed to know no fear in whatever position he might be occupying.

Bois De Forges Offensive

The next day our Battalion prepared to depart for Bois de Forges, while the enemy batteries shelled the positions during the night, but without damage or personal casualties. On the night of the 20th the Battalion reached its destination, immediately placed the guns in position for action, and firing began the next morning, while the enemy retaliated late at night by bombing the woods from airplanes, but without serious effect.

The moving of the battalion to this place brought it into the most difficult of all its positions on the West Bank of the Meuse. In this position the regimental post of command, as well as the Battery Commander and Group Commanders stations were established in elaborate dugouts, constructed by the Germans during their occupation of this territory. The battalion moved all equipment 26 km, established the batteries in their new positions, brought up ammunition and opened fire within four days’ time.

The batteries opened fire on the German positions, supporting the American 26th Division on the right and the American 29th Division on the left. In this offensive the Battalion was still under the direction of the 17th French Army Corps.

The objective given to the batteries in this battle was in the Bois de Belleau, which they obtained without a great deal of extra effort. Ammunition was being delivered to the guns in record time, and the batteries responded with salvos whenever called upon to do so.

A 9.2-inch under Camoflague.
Photo contributed by Patrick Gariepy

Forrette de Argonne Offensive

On the 24th Battery C fired on targets, while Battery D proceeded to move its guns from their positions preparatory to leading Bois de Forges for a new position at Fleville. The next day the Battalion reached Dombasle at 6:00 p.m., reaching Fleville the next day. That night the men began preparing positions for the guns while the enemy through shells into the town, continuing the attack during the 29th and 30th and although 75 cans of Battery D's powder was destroyed, no personal casualties were reported. But the next day the Germans renewed the shellfire on our gun positions, this time destroying 13 projectiles and wounding two privates.

Positions were established in the Grand Pre Gap, were fighting had been fast and furious for some time. On November 1st this offensive opened, driving the Germans in retreat before the fast-moving troops, and which was still in progress on November 11th when the Armistice was signed. This was probably the worst and hardest of all the battles in which the Battalion took part in France. The batteries were in precarious positions at the opening of this battle, being under steady shellfire until the retreat of the Huns began.

Battery D removed its guns from the firing positions on November 4th, and six days later the battalion left Fleville at 4:00 p.m. and proceeded to Lacheres, reaching its destination at 7:30 p.m.

Third Battalion

This Battalion had been training at Limoges from April 22nd, 1918 to May 24th, and from May 24th to August 2nd at Nexon, on which date it began preparing for a change to La Courtine. In pursuance of this order the boys left Nexon at 6:30 a.m. reaching La Courtine at 9:30 p.m., where they remained at target practice until the 22nd. Leaving that station at 10:45 a.m. they proceeded to Donjeux, which they reached at 10:00 a.m. on the 24th. Two days later they were in billets at Mussy-sur-Marne, where they remained until October 25th, when they left at 2:00 p.m. for Vignory, reaching that place after an hour's travel. On the 26th the Battalion again broke camp and left for Toul, arriving there at 1:30 p.m. The stay at this station however was of short duration, for at 5:00 p.m. they were again on the march, this time headed for Rosieres-en-Haye, reaching their destination after an hour's travel, where they were billeted for the night.

The Battalions next move took place on the 28th, when it left Rosieres-en-Haye at 3:30 a.m. for Autreville where the boys arrived at 11:00 a.m., and soon thereafter Batteries E and F were located in Walde-de-Facq, but the next day moved on to Point du Mons. On the 30th, 31st and November 1st, Battery positions were prepared, and on the eighth four shots were fired on the target by Battery E. Two days later the Battery headquarters at Autreville were billeted in and echelon at Point du Mons, and on the same day Battery E fired 88 rounds, Battery F fired 57 rounds, both with good results. On the 11th both batteries became active again to a limited extent, Battery E firing 50 rounds, and Battery F firing six rounds, results not recorded.

This offensive by the third Battalion of the 65th Artillery, operating independently, was really carried on from the east bank of the Mosselle before Pont-a-Mousson. The results were most satisfactory, and excellent targets were quickly destroyed.

Even before the Armistice was signed the 65th had reconnoitered and planned positions near the well-known Sedan battlegrounds, but the signing of the Armistice interrupted these activities.


During all the operations of the regiment at the front, one of the most difficult problems the men had to face was that of supplying ammunition for the Batteries. This was usually accomplished under heavy shellfire from the enemy positions, and in the midst of a great and numerous difficulties. General Alexander of the 17th French Army Corps, caused special letters of citation to be written and distributed to the men and officers engaged in this work while the 65th was cooperating with the French unit. Captain Terrell, Lieutenants F. E. Potter and A. R. DeBurgh were the officers named.

During the entire 70 days the regiment was an almost continuous action, either fighting or moving material, and strange as it may appear, the casualties were almost negligible, there being only three men killed, while 99 wounded suffering from gassing while recuperating at a special echelon established at Verdun, where men who had undergone severe exertion were sent for relief and rest. The Verdun echelon was located in the famed citadel of that community. Records show that since its inception there has never been a general court-martial of either Officers or enlisted men.

The conduct of all men under fire, and other most trying of circumstances, was declared to be exemplary by officers of the regiment. The good fortune of the Regiment in keeping out of reach of Fritz's shellfire is attributed to the proficiency obtained in the art of Camouflage.

Back To Billets

The Regiment joined and moved back to Donjeux by truck train after the Armistice was signed, where the men were given a long needed a rest before receiving orders for their return to the United States. Conveniences here during the regiments stay were not of the best, nor even what one might consider modernized. The men's clothes were washed in a little duck pond, which likewise to serve as a cheap laundry from all of the housewives in the neighborhood. This emergency pond it was fed by a nearby creek, located just far enough from the kitchen to give the water detail plenty of good exercise.

The heavy guns were moved to Vignory and turned over to the Artillery Park. Then after resting at the billets until late in December the regiment was loaded into the now never to be forgotten box cars, and started on as long journey to the camp of debarkation at Brest.


Several chapters could be written on the time spent at Brest, the point of debarkation, and camp Pontemazon. The men arrived at the latter place on December 27th, and at the time were in wonderful physical condition. The German prisoners were really accorded better treatment at Brest than that given out to the American soldiers. It was indeed a terrible place at the best. The regiment was compelled to sleep in tents on the ground that had been soaked with rain for a long time, in fact, it rained every day we were there, and the camp was in a continuous sea of mud. The tentage was poor, and while an effort was made to minimize these disagreeable conditions by transferring us to some dilapidated barracks whose buildings were also without floors, the change proved but little better than the quarters we had just vacated.

To add to our discomfort the food was far from wholesome and palatable, besides we were compelled to wade through mud it almost up to our knees and order to reach the kitchens. In fact, the Regiment was better fed well engaged on the battlefront, then during our stay at Brest.

The hospital at these quarters was a very busy place although large and commodious, containing 40 or 50 wards. But even with these extensive accommodations it was not large enough, being too small for housing the sick in order that they might be properly cared for. During the time we were there sick calls rose from a dozen to 340 in one day. Under these unfavorable conditions there was naturally a great deal of on avoidable suffering, and as a result four of the boys died, while it became necessary to leave 12 more behind in the base hospital, several of whom were in such a deplorable state that their deaths seemed imminent at the time of our departure.

One of the regimental poets gave this description of the experiences at Brest:

"Our Hitch In Brest"

"I'm sitting here and thinking of the things I left behind,
And I hate to put on paper what is running through my mind.
We have packed a million duckboards and cleared ten miles of mud.
And every other minute we would fall down with a thud.
But there's still one consolation, which come stronger than the rest,
When we die were bound for Heaven, for we've done our hitch in Brest.

We have dined at many kitchens when they mixed mud with our beans,
Where they issued us old G.I. cans to use as our latrines.
We have paid two bits for tangerines in water to our knees,
A and we've had a million scraps with our dear friends, the bold M.P.'s
They threatened much and often said they'd keep us with the rest,
But they can't do that in heaven, for we've done our hitch in Brest.

We've killed a million cooties that tried hard to take our beds,
We've plucked them from our toenails and we scratch them from our heads.
We have stood a million 'spections in the pouring, tuming rain;
We have loaded ships and eval scows till Labor gave us pain.
But we went about our duties with all kinds of pep and zest,
For we knew it would be Heaven when we'd and out of Brest.

When the last recall is sounded and we lay aside our cares,
When they wouldn't even ask us to dust down the Golden stairs;
When the Angels bid us welcome and all Generals are barred;
Were the whole of Kingdom come is held for you and for your pard,
It is then we'll hear St. Peter calling sweetly to the blessed,
You have earned eternal happiness, you have done your hitch in Brest".

Homeward Bound

On the morning of January 14th, 1919, the Regiment tramped through 6 miles of mud during a misty rain to the docks, at which they were to take passage for the homeward trip. After waiting at the dock three hours the men were finally hurried aboard the English ship, HMS Haverford. Of all the regiments experiences this last march marked one of the happiest events in the lives of its members, as at last they were bound for home.

The Haverford carried 19 sick men in the sick bay during the trip over who had been under treatment at Brest. Sixteenth of these were members of the 65th Regiment, while the other three were colored men from a Casual company. There was not a single soldier undergoing surgical treatment on the boat, as all those on board who had been wounded had recovered, and were now returning home for their discharges.

There were no arduous drill formations for the men while on board the ship, although calisthenics were indulged in every morning, and a few guard posts were established. Most of the time was passed in playing games of chance, and in musical entertainments given by local men on board. The food, of course, was not of the choicest, a condition always experienced on board English boats. It seemed it to be a fad of the men to line up in groups late at night and by some appetizing morsel from the cooks.

Two weeks of this sort of life were spent on board the ship without so much as a storm to break the incessant monotony of the trip. Late on the night of January 29th the lights could be seen on the New Jersey coast, but it was early in the morning of the 30th before the boat finally passed Marcus Hook. The Haverford was met at the quarantine station at that point by a committee of prominent Philadelphians, and after passing the regular preliminaries here proceeded up the river between the two boats, the Adriatic and the City of Camden, loaded with friends and bands from the city.

Philadelphia and Camp Dix

In disregard of all orders the boat was greeted by a salute from the Naval Station, and whistles on both sides of the river. At the Washington Avenue Pier where the Haverford docked the men were greeted by the Red Cross and other war workers, who through chocolate and papers on board, while the former served the men with coffee, ice cream and cake, before being called upon to march in Parade. All during the refreshments the crowds outside the Pier were clamoring for the boys to come out. At last after getting there fill and donning packs the Regiment moved through the great gates of the pier to the street outside. Everywhere along the line of march to the depot at Broad Street and Washington Avenue was a happy welcome. Girls asking for souvenirs, greetings shouted, and hand clasps asks for until, by the time the train was reached, the people lining the streets were wild with excitement. The train pulled out early in the evening for Camp Dix. It was a happy but tired group of men who went to bed that night.

After loafing around and buying their fill of American sweets the regiment was lined up one morning and marched to the receiving station opposite the depot. Here the men were given medical examinations to make sure that they were free from communicable diseases, and given hot baths with a special brand of soap to kill all cooties and germs. While this was in progress the clothes of the men were thoroughly fumigated in great boilers. For 30 minutes the clothing was subjected to real live steam under high pressure, then after being dried by compressed hot air was ready for the soldier to don, although a few sizes too small, having shrunk considerably in the process.

A few men were discharged at Camp Dix but the balance of the men was entrained for Western Demobilization points. The Regiment traveled across the continent in three sections of one Battalion to a section, the only stop being made at Kansas City, the home of Colonel Kerfoot, where they were given a big reception and dinner.


The Third Battalion, consisting of men from California, were sent to San Diego where they were discharged to return to civilian life, or re-enlist as they saw fit. The First and Second Battalions were discharged at Camp Lewis, Washington, after a reception in Seattle and Portland, where the battalion members had many friends and relatives. According to the February 22, 1919 edition of the San Diego Union, San Diego City officials held a homecoming day of Batteries A and B, of the 65th Artillery. Both Batteries took part in a parade and celebration after. Speeches were held at Balboa Park with dinner and dances in clubs in evening.

During it activities in the War Zone the Regiment, less the 3rd Battalion participated with the American 1st Army from 30 August - September 16, 1918 in the St.-Mihiel Operations and as Corps Artillery for the American I and V Corps, 21 September - 11 November, 1918 in support of the Meuse-Argonne Operations. The 3rd Battalion served as Corps Artillery to the American IV Corps 17 September - 16 November, 1918 in the Toul Sector and Thiaucourt Zone. During 23 October - 13 November, 1918 the 3rd Battalion served as VI Corps Artillery in the occupation of the Marbache Sector (Lorraine). From 13 November - 10 April, 1919 the 3rd Battalion served as VI Corps Artillery during Post-Armistice activities of the American Army. Also, the Regiment, less the 3rd Battalion during 18 September - 10 November, 1918 served with the French XVII Army Corps under the American 1st Army on the Verdun-sur-Meuse Front. The Regiment suffered a total of 3 men killed in action and 99 wounded as a result of a gas attack on a rear (R&R) area in Verdun. February 28, 1919 - The 65th Artillery CAC was demobilized at Camp Lewis, Washington. On July 1, 1924 the Regiment is reconstituted in the Regular Army as the 65th Coast Artillery and organized (less the 3rd Battalion) for duty in the Panama Canal Zone.

The following article appeared in the New York Times, January 30, 1919, page 4.


PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 30 -- Philadelphia today extended a hearty welcome to 2,197 men of the American Expeditionary Force, first of the overseas contingent to arrive at this port. They came on the liner Haverford. After being entertained at luncheon by women of the various war organizations, the veterans marched to the Pennsylvania Station and entrained for Camp Dix.

Most of the returning soldiers were members of the 65th Regiment, Coast Artillery. In addition, there were 138 colored casuals from nearly every American division that fought in France, thirty-seven officer casuals, and nine naval officers. Nearly all of the casuals were wounded. Among the Navy men were Ensign Jay Gould of New York, who had been stationed at Murmansk, Russia and Lieutenant Neilson Pee of Baltimore, once a Princeton football star.

The 65th Regiment is composed mainly of men from Washington, Oregon and California. Colonel Benjamin H. Kerfoot of Kansas, a veteran of the Philippines, is in command.

The regiment claims the honor of being the only organization of American troops to fire the British: 9.2-inch howitzer in action, and is said to have handled the heaviest mobile armament outside of the railroad mounted guns used by the American First Army. The regiment fired 15,000 tons of steel and explosives at five different points in the German line of defenses, all within a period of seventy days and nights. During this time, Colonel Kerfoot said, the casualties amounted to only three men killed and ninety-nine wounded in action. His records show that since the regiment’s inception, there had not been a court-martial of either an officer or enlisted man.

The following article appeared in the New York Times on March 25, 1919 on page 10.


WASHINGTON. - March 24. - Delays in the demobilization at Camp Eustis, VA., of some units of the 65th Coast Artillery Regiment recently returned from France, has been due, it was learned today at the War Department, to investigations of complaints made by the owners of buildings in which these companies were quartered while in France.

Following the departure of the regiment for the United States, it was reported that serious cases of malicious mischief had been discovered at these quarters, and also that valuable oil paintings were missing. General Pershing asked that the companies involved be held in service until an investigation could be made. Subsequently the demobilization of the entire regiment was ordered but it is understood that the responsible officers are to be held in the service until the entire matter is cleared up.

The 3rd Battalion was taken by train to San Diego where the men were discharged. The 1st and 2nd Battalions were taken by train to Camp Lewis, Washington where they were discharged. Units of the 65th Artillery participated in campaigns in St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Lorraine in 1918.


The Sixty-fifth is Sleeping on the Cold, Cold, Ground

(To be sun to the tune of "Massa's in the Cold, Cold, Ground.")

'Round the camp at Brest it's raining, and it is so blue;

There the soldiers are a'working, working all the long night through.

There the duckboards are a'sinking, so deep they can't be found

There the soldiers are a'sleeping, sleeping on the cold, cold, ground.


Down in that mud hole

Hear that mournful sound,

There the soldiers are a'sleeping,

With their tummies on the cold, cold, ground.

There we get up in the morning, first call at 3 A.M.

Then you hear the bugler's warning, but you get your chow at half-past ten;

Then you get into a mess line, with ninety thousand men,

And by the time you've washed your mess kit,

It's time to get your chow again.


Down in that mess line,

I'm glad I ain't there now.

If you slip or miss your footing,

You're S. O. L. to get your chow.

The Regimental Muster of Men Who Served in the 65th Artillery During WWI

As I find names of men who served in the 65th Artillery, C.A.C. I will add them here with what I know of each. If you know additional facts about these men or others have a family member who was in this Regiment please e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell I have had so many profiles of former members of the 65th Artillery, C.A.C., that I have had to put them on a second page. Below are the names of each man profiled on the 65th Artillery Regimental Muster Page. Each link will take you to the profile of each man.

This page owned by Joe Hartwell 2006-2019

This Page was last updated on December 18, 2018

If you have research comments or additional information on this page e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell

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