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U.S. FIELD REMOUNT SQUADRON NO. 323, FRANCE, WW1
Note: Thomas Elliott has signed the guestbook on the Veterinary Corps website and in the future will be posting some very interesting material on his grandfather who served in the 323 th Field Remount Squadron in France during WW1. I am posting some parts of emails that Thomas has sent me because I thought his information was very interesting.
My grandfather, Sgt. Orie L. Richardson, served with the 323 Remount Squadron based in La Rochelle, France. In doing an Internet search for any information about his unit, I came upon your website. It contains a lot of solid information and I admire your effort and its result. Thank you for keeping alive the memory and the heritage of those who served in World War One.
EMAIL FROM THOMAS
And thank you very much, both for your response to my post and for all the work you have put into your website. You have performed a real service by providing so much solid information.
I have been unable to locate very much information on the 323 Remount Squadron via the Internet. I have quite a trove of photographs - mostly portraits the men had made in studios in France - plus I was fortunate to be told some stories by my grandfather, who passed away in 1986 at the age of 97. My grandfather was a Texas cattleman, and for the rest of his life he was upset at what he regarded as man's cruel misuse of horses and mules as tools of the war. The remount squadron had to put down a lot of those animals, and he never forgot it.
The men in his squadron were sent all across France by freight train, gathering and moving the horses and mules. Their home base was in the coastal city of La Rochelle, and they had to deal with the animals that had been shipped across the Atlantic in the dark holds of ships. He told me that those horses were crazy when they turned them into the corral after the long dark crossing below decks. The captain of his squadron was a man who knew nothing of horses, and he got himself kicked in the head and knocked unconscious when he went into one of those corrals to "show the men how to do it." My grandfather smiled a little bit when he told me he got to ride the captain's horse home.
I have his steamer trunk with many of the letters he wrote and received from France. Family members saved his letters and we collected them over the years. I have his leggings, his boots, souvenirs he picked up from battlefields, and a little sewing kit pouch that is still stained with French mud. I also still have his uniform in my closet. He shucked it off as soon as he got home in 1919 and left it on a plain wooden hanger in the attic. It's still on the same hanger; I know I should have it properly stored, but it's one of those things I have never gotten around to doing.
What I don't have is much of a record of the 323rd. I know when they departed and returned from the states; I have a large group photo of them on the dock in New York that was taken the day they got off the ship. From his letters I can get some idea of where and when they were, but that is about all I have to go by. Thank you for the information you provided to me. My grandfather told me that the Santa Rosa was filthy ship that stank of garbage and that no provision was made to feed the men, so the squadron CO turned them loose to scrounge whatever they could for themselves. They were glad to disembark back in the States, and the first thing they did was find something decent to eat.
I think that the work you are doing to document the efforts and achievements of the Veterinary Corps is very worthwhile and important. It underscores a significant reality of the war, that its weapons and supplies were pulled into place by horses and mules, and it took a special effort of men to make that happen. Thank you for keeping this memory and heritage alive. It is people like you doing the nuts and bolts work of historical documentation that allows the rest of us to have a record of what happened.
I will try to write a synopsis of what I know of my grandfather's service. It will be largely anecdotal in nature, based on the stories he told me. As is so often the case, I regret not having asked more questions and found out more. My grandfather was company sergeant of his company and had his 30th birthday in France, so he was a grown man in a good position to observe what was going on. He was a levelheaded individual who was not in the least given to big talk, so his stories are reliable. He tended to give me bare bones versions rather than a lot of details, but I do have a number of stories that reveal something of the men of the time and what their lives were like in the Remount Squadron.
At the moment I am in the middle of a prolonged move and almost all of the pictures are put away. When I can, I will try to get some photos to you.
Click on the below links:
U.S. ARMY VETERINARY CORPS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION GROUP
Motto: “Illic est Vires in Numerus” There is Strength in Numbers
“Working Hard to Preserve Our Country’s History wherever it is being lost”
U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group is a group of individuals that are concerned about the preservation of the History of the Veterinary Corps, Remount Service and Cavalry or wherever our country’s history is being lost in conjunction with our beloved “Horse and Mule”. There is no cost to join and membership is for life. We believe by uniting together in numbers we will be a more powerful force to be heard. Our membership list is private and only used to contact our members. Email us and become a member.
FACEBOOK: U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group
Click on the below link: