Once the 6th, 7th and 8th Provisional Artillery Regiments had formed and sailed to France in August of 1917, a fourth provisional regiment was created for duty in France. This artillery regiment would be known as the “Howitzer Regiment, 30th Artillery Brigade, C. A. C.”
Pursuant to orders issued from the General Headquarters, AEF another artillery Brigade was to be raised and formed. This provisional regiment was to consist of a Regimental Headquarters Company, Supply Company and four battalions of two batteries each. The men for this new regiment came mostly from Regular Coast Artillery men along the east coast of the United States.
As created the names of the companies and batteries were as follows:
During the same time the 6th, 7th and 8th Provisional Artillery Regiments were forming the Howitzer Regiment was also being formed and men re-assigned to this Regiment. It was on August 13, 1917 that the entire Howitzer Regiment sailed aboard the SS Lapland from New York for France.
Once in France the American Coast Artillery units went to Mailly-le-Camp and began to re-organize and train to become a fighting unit. They left America without any artillery weapons and would rely instead on what artillery pieces they could get from the British and French. In the beginning this was quite unorganized but during almost weekly changes to the makeup of the American Artillery Regiments things began to take shape.
By April of 1918 the 30th Artillery Brigade, CAC had changed and was now made up of three new artillery regiments, and had now become part of the American Railway Artillery Reserve, First Army, American Expeditionary Forces. The three new regiments of the 30th Brigade were the 51st, 52nd and 53rd Regiments. Brigadier General William Chamberlaine on June 24, 1918 was assigned to command the Railway Artillery Reserve and the 30th Brigade. General Chamberlaine assumed command on June 29 and was in command until they were demobilized in January of 1919. The formation of the basis of 51st, 52nd and 53rd Regiments came the original Howitzer Regiment. Regimental HQ and Supply Co. of the Howitzer Regiment became the HQ and Supply companies of the 51st, 52nd and 53rd Regiments along with transfers and assignments from other organizations and artillery schools in France.
|The below shows the changes made to the Howitzer Regiment:
Original Howitzer Regt. New Designation
1st Battery Battery E 52nd Artillery, CAC
2nd Battery Battery F 52nd Artillery, CAC
3rd Battery Battery G 52nd Artillery, CAC
4th Battery Battery H 52nd Artillery, CAC
5th Battery Battery I 51st Artillery, CAC
6th Battery Battery K 51st Artillery, CAC
7th Battery Battery E 53rd Artillery, CAC
8th Battery Battery G 53rd Artillery, CAC
And then again there was another major re-organization in late July-early August 1918 ordered by the General Headquarters AEF. The regiments of the 30th Brigade i.e. the 51st, 52nd and 53rd Regiments were re-organized into six new regiments viz. the 42nd, 43rd, 51st, 52nd 53rd and 81st Artillery Regiments, CAC.
But the 2nd Battalion of the 51st Artillery were assigned to the 57th Artillery and in return the 57th Artillery gave its Batteries C and D up to become part of the 43rd Artillery. During this change the 30th Brigade now consisted of the 42nd, 52nd and 53rd Regiments. The 51st and 81st Regiments became part of the 39th Artillery Brigade and were then not part of the Railway Artillery reserve. Shortly thereafter the 81st Regiment became the 44th Artillery Regiment, CAC.
On September 15, 1918 the five U. S. Naval Railway Batteries under the command of Rear Admiral C. P. Plunkett, USN were added to the Railway Artillery Reserve and assigned to the American First Army. But on October 10, 1918 the entire Railway Artillery Reserve was placed under the direct command of the American General Headquarters.
In November and December of 1917, some batteries of the 52nd and 53rd Regiments received their artillery pieces consisting of the 32 cm Glissement French Railway guns, Model 1870-81. These regiments only had 47-days to become proficient in using them as on February 13, 1918 they were firing them on the front lines in combat with the enemy.
Additionally, the 52nd Artillery was assigned the use of the French 105mm and 155mm French Schneider guns. These were fired for the first time on the front lines at enemy positions on August 24, 1918.
The 30th Brigade once the reorganization of August 1918 took place then became the command and control Headquarters Company for the 42nd, 43rd, 52nd, and 53rd Artillery Regiments. From that time until the return to the States they were known as 30th Artillery Brigade, Headquarters Company.
They returned back to The States on December 20, 1918 leaving aboard the USS Princess Matoika from St. Nazaire, France, and arrived in Newport News, Virginia on January 1, 1919.
When they returned the officers and enlisted men of the Headquarters Company, 30 Artillery Brigade, CAC were:
Major Benjamin N. Booth
Sgt. Major Jr. Grade Erhardt M. Gertle
Sgt. Benjamin Miller
|PFC George F. Bossler
PFC Perry B. Bowerman
PFC John C. Campbell
PFC Frank H. Dudley, Jr.
PFC Roy E. Ferguson
PFC Harry C. Jones
PFC Clyde D. Mahar
PFC Will C. Nutt
PFC Ralph H. Smith
PFC Frank J. Walsh
Pvt. John A. Barbknecht
Pvt. James L. Bartholomew
Pvt. Earl N. Brewer
Pvt. Samuel B. Hainley
Pvt. Garnett F. June
Pvt. Jackson Blue
Pvt. John K. Lewis
Pvt. Edward C. Lomasney
Pvt. John P. Murray
Pvt. Andre S. Peloquin
Pvt. Howard B. Silsby
Pvt. Grady A. Turner
Pvt. Willie Weiniar
|On the wooden sign hung from the tree in the background is painted: 7th Battery Howitzer Regiment. The photo shows the gun crew loading an 8-inch shell into the breech of the gun. The photo was identified on the back as:
"French Official Photo. From Underwood and Underwood, New York.
The first photo recieved of the American Artillery before Metz. In this, a French Official photo, one of the first recieved in this country of the great Metz drive are seen the American Artillery before Metz, this capitol of Alsace, firing into the German lines."
Dated: September, 27, 1918
As I find information on men of the Howitzer Regiment and the 30th Artillery Brigade I will list them here in this section. If you have a family member who served in this battalion please contact me.
Ninety-six years have passed since Corporal George N. White last had this dog tag around his neck. In March of 2014 this dog tag was found by Michael Toussaint who lives in the Northeast of France near the city of Gezoncourt. Michael finds bits of metal with a metal detector and when they can be identified such as this dog tag the goal is to return these found items back to a family member if one can be found. Such is the case with this dog tag. The only information it can tell us is that it once belonged to George N. White who was a member of the 7th Company CAC. He had once been a Private and then was advanced in grade to Corporal, as can be seen from the letters "PVT." that have been stamped out and "CORPL" stamped under the ones marked out.
From this information a story of who George N. White was may be able to be pieced back together. The story at the time the dog tag was found in 2014 still could not be discovered as there was not enough supporting information available to help uncover the facts. So, the dog tag that had laid in the mud of France near Gezoncourt would have to wait another 5-years. It was in January of 2019 that I again looked into this story. There were now passenger manifests of troopships available online now and they are a gold mine of information to the right people, like me.
Once again, we are looking for answers to who Cpl. George N. White might have been. WWI was the first-time dog tags were in use in the American army. Service numbers were first issued to service men in February of 1918. It can be assumed that George N. White was in the army before July of 1917 as noted on his dog tag as being a member of the 7th Company, CAC.
Several observations can be made of this dog tag. On the front side who ever stamped this side had a heavy hand on the hammer, as each letter is stamped deeply with several letters showing the shoulder of that letter. But on the back side the service numbers are not stamped as heavy and not as uniformly aligned as the front side. This would support the fact that when army service numbers were issued in February of 1918 Cpl. White was then in France. It is fact that his service number contains five digits and this aligns with the knowledge that army service numbers that were issued to men in France in February 1918 were numbered 1 - 310,000. Cpl. White's number falls within this block of numbers.
Coast Artillery service numbers contained six digits and came from the block of numbers of 147,000 - 152,000. If he was in the States at the time his number was assigned to him, and being he was in the Coast Artillery Corps he would have had a service number that came from that block of numbers. So, one could conclude that “Corporal White” had shipped out from the United States in an artillery unit before dog tags were issued in February 1918.
So, we must go back to his dog tag and observe what it tells us. First, we see that the letters “PVT” which is the abbreviation for the rank of Private have been “X” out and that the rank of “Corpl” or Corporal is stamped in its place. So, this means that this soldier was once a Private and had been advanced to Corporal. Secondly, the name of the unit is stamped “7. CO. C.A.C. U.S.A” which translated would be; “7th Company, Coast Artillery Corps United States Army.”
Now to answer the question who or what was the 7th Company, CAC? The answer is that this is the 7th Battery of the Howitzer Regiment, 30th Artillery Brigade, CAC. This was an early Coast Artillery regiment that sailed to France on August 13, 1917, before the dog tags were issued. So, when Pvt. George N. White sailed to France he did not have this dog tag on.
In researching the passenger manifest of the sailing of the 30th Brigade, Howitzer Regiment, 7th Battery there is in fact a George N. White listed. One of the things one will find during the early days of America’s part of WWI is that on paperwork the name of the units are written down in many different ways or even names. This is explained in part that the American army was just learning or inventing its self at the same time they were rapidly expanding. Case in point, on the passenger list of the sailing of the 30th Brigade, Howitzer Regiment which consisted of 8 batteries, on the passenger list it is written “Batt’y A 7th Regt.”
But the fact remains that there is a George N. White, Battery A, 7th Battery, Rank of Private listed. Additionally, each soldier had to list a name and address of someone to contact in case of an emergency. Pvt. White gave his father’s name and address and was typed as “George W. White (Father) 621 Warren St. Nankate, Minn.”
Now even the clerk typing this list made mistakes. In researching where “Nankate” Minnesota was I found there is no such place, but there is a Mankato, Minnesota in Blue Earth County. So, every detail must be verified. My next step was to see if there was a “George W. White living in Blue Earth County, Minnesota. This would confirm if I was on the right track.
In fact, I found that from the 1910 Federal Census form there was living in Blue Earth County, in the town of Mankato, Minnesota at 1012 South Front Street the George W. White family. Bingo I had found proof of who I was looking for. The information on the 1910 Census stated that George W. White was 47-years old, was born about 1863 in Illinois and worked odd jobs to make a living. His wife was Clara E. who was 41-years old was born about 1869 in Minnesota and had given birth to seven children, six of whom were still alive. The six children were; Clarence Elmer age 23; Willie or William age 20; Claude F. age 15; George N. age 9; Allen A. age 6; and Walter E age 3. So right there was proof of who “George N. White” from the dog tag was. George N. White was born in Minnesota about 1900.
So, I did as much research into this family as could be done and this is the story of the man from the dog tag.
At the time of the taking of the 1900 Federal Census in Blue Earth County, Minnesota on June 26, 1900 the George W. White family consisted of George W. and his wife Clara, and three sons Clarence Elmer, William and Claude. So, as the exact date of birth for George N. is not recorded one can conclude that his birth date is sometime after June 26, 1900 and not past early 1901. Possibly at the time of the taking of the Census Clara may have been pregnant with George N.
The 1910 Census was taken on April 19 and shows the family living at1012 South Front street with six children in the home. Young George N. White would have grown up in Mankato the spot where the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers meet among the many lakes and abundant woodlands of the area. The period from 1910 and when America went to war in April of 1917 seems to be a blank spot for the story of George White. About the only thing that can be said is that the family had moved from South Front street to 621 Warren Street in Mankato.
Likely after April of 1917 George N. White enlisted into the army and was assigned to serve in the Coast Artillery Corps in the east coast. Men then serving in Coast Artillery fortifications along the northeast coast and centered around Fort Adams Rhode Island were then formed into a new artillery outfit being created for duty in France. In fact, this new outfit would be the 4th Coast Artillery unit to be sent to France. This new unit was named the 30th Artillery Brigade, CAC, Howitzer Regiment, and it would consist of 8 Batteries numbered 1 through 8.
This is how Pvt. George N. White came to be in the “7th CO. C.A.C.” as stated on his dog tag. On August 13, 1917 the Howitzer Regiment was aboard the SS Lapland ready to sail for France. In the 7th Battery was Pvt. George N. White of Mankato, MN without a dog tag and no service number yet. Once in France the Howitzer Regiment, along with all the other American Coast Artillery units then in France underwent a few reorganizational changes. The eight Batteries of the Howitzer Regiment were divided up into three new Artillery Regiments that were formed in France. These new units were the 51st, 52nd, and 53rd Artillery Regiments. Pvt. George N. White was reassigned to Battery A of the 52nd Artillery, CAC.
Likely at that time which was about April of 1918 Pvt. George N. White had received a promotion to Corporal and was assigned his new army service number of 03411. This is consistent with the fact that army service numbers that were issued to men in France in February of 1918 were numbered 1 - 310,000, and Cpl. White's number falls within this block of numbers.
Being that Cpl. White was a member of Battery A, 1st Battalion of the 52nd Artillery he would have participated in combat in the following engagements:
Argonne Sector, 1st Battalion, August 27-September 6, 1918
St. Mihiel Offensive, 1st Battalion, September 12-September 16, 1918
Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Battery A; September 26-October 20, 1918
Once the war ended in November the men of the 52nd Artillery were one of the first units to be returned back to the States. On December 21, 1918 about a month and a half after the war ended, they boarded the USS Antigone at St. Nazaire, France and steamed westward across the Atlantic for home. They reached Newport News, Virginia on January 3, 1918 and moved to Camp Eustis, Virginia where they awaited their next orders.
On the passenger list for the December 21st sailing of the Antigone White’s name appears with the members of Battery A. He is listed as; “White 149726 George Neal. Pvt.” And he listed his mother, Clara White of 621 Warren St, Mankato, Minnesota as his person to contact in case of an emergency. So, there are several things we can learn from this passenger list, firstly he had been given a new service number, and was reduced back to Private. This may explain why the found dog tag was discarded. And secondly it re-affirms who he was as he listed his mother Clara. And a third thing we learned was his middle name of Neal.
After his discharge from the army it appears that if George Neal White did return home to Minnesota he did not stay long. The 1920 census that was taken in January of 1920 in Mankato, Minnesota lists only his father and mother, George and Clara and two youngest brothers Allen and Walter. Allen who was 16-years old at the time worked with his father installing drainage tiles.
The time between his discharge in early 1919 and March of 1926 for George Neal White seems to be a mystery, but a time that may have been filled with a life lived outside of the law. George N. White on March 9, 1926 was the day he began to serve a sentence at the Leavenworth, Kansas United States Federal Penitentiary. White was convicted and sentenced by Polk County, Iowa Judge Russell Jordan to at least a 17-year sentence for the crime of forgery. The exact nature of the crime is not known but to receive a 17-year sentence in the Federal Penitentiary it must have been a high-level federal crime. So, it’s a fair statement this likely was not his first crime.
By 1930, still incarcerated in Leavenworth, White had worked his way into a job at the penitentiary working as a waiter, likely serving meals to the staff of the prison. Listed on the Iowa Consecutive Register of Convicts ledger dated 1940, it lists George White as convict No. 19315 and additionally makes a note whether the convict was “Temperate or Intemperate.” Convict 19315 George White was marked “Intemperate” so, it seems that he was not a very agreeable inmate by then. It also listed his religious preference which was listed as “Gospel.” Finally, on October 17, 1942 George White was paroled. And on April 16, 1944 he was discharged from parole and was now a totally free man once again.
Again, the time after his release from prison the life of George Neal White seems to fall into a black hole. He may have straightened out and just drifted around the country or may have always lived just on the edges of the law. But the last paragraph in the story of George Neal White was written on December 20 of 1985, sixty-seven years after he lost his dog tag in France. Living in Habersham County, Georgia George N. White passed away on December 20, 1985 in Hall County, Georgia. Both Hall and Habersham Counties are in the northeast part of Georgia and are neighboring counties to each other. It is not known where he was buried so, his story will have to close here, 101-year after his dog tag was lost.
|Front side of George N. White's dog tag||Back side of the same dog tag|
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