Tennessee State Library and Archives
The Volunteer State Goes to War: A Salute to Tennessee Veterans
They Are Giving All — Will You Send Them Wheat?, 1918, World War I Poster Collection
Intro18th Century19th Century20th Century

 

World War I

 

 

Over the Top

Over the Top, ca. 1918

John William Overton Papers

 

Reverse contains illustration honoring John W. Overton who was killed in action in 1918.

 

Unidentified Army unit

Panoramic photograph of an unidentified Army unit, ca. 1918

THS Photograph Collection

 

Company F, 15th Engineers

“From Col. Thos. B. Williamson, Co. F,
15th Engre, A.E.F., To Mrs. W. A. Williamson,
Douglas Ave., Nashville, Tenn.,”
ca. February 1919

Library Photograph Collection

The Great War, 1914-1918

European hostilities broke out between the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey) in 1914 after the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. With a few notable exceptions, the fiercest fighting took place in France and tiny Belgium.

In 1917 President Wilson convinced Congress to declare war on Germany after a series of outrages against the United States. Although American troops began arriving in France in 1917, they did not participate in any major action until 1918. General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing commanded the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.), which, at its largest, consisted of 4 million troops, some 2 million of them overseas. Over 100,000 Tennesseans volunteered or were drafted during the First World War, six of them winning the Medal of Honor.

The armistice of November 11, 1918, ended the shooting, but it was not until 1919 that the Treaty of Versailles formally ended the war. Germany was forced to assume sole responsibility for the war and to pay $438 billion (in 2010 dollars) in war reparations. Resentment of the treaty in Germany helped, in part, to fuel the rise of the Nazi Party there and led to World War II.

Germany made its final World War I reparations payment in October 2010.

 

Troops departing on a train

Troops departing on a train, ca. 1918

Library Photograph Collection

Troops departing on a train

Troops departing on a train, ca. 1918

Library Photograph Collection

Private Joe Gibson

Private Joe Gibson, ca. 1918

Library Photograph Collection

Unidentified American soldiers in Europe

Unidentified American soldiers in Europe, ca. 1918

Library Photograph Collection

Woman scolding Recruiting Service soldier

Woman “scolding” Recruiting Service soldier,
ca. 1918

Library Photograph Collection

Third Baptist Church Honor Roll

Third Baptist Church Honor Roll, 1919

Library Photograph Collection

 

Sgt. York at the grave of Andrew Jackson

Sergeant Alvin C. York at the grave
of President Andrew Jackson,
Hermitage, TN, ca. 1919

Library Photograph Collection

Sergeant Alvin C. York

Alvin Cullom York (1887-1964) was the most famous Tennessean to serve in World War I. Born at Pall Mall in Fentress County, York was drafted into the Army in 1917. On October 8, 1918, he was with a unit of nineteen soldiers who were ordered to capture the Decauville railroad. Misreading their French maps, the unit ended up behind German lines and was caught in withering machinegun fire. York was ordered to silence the German guns. His quick and effective actions led to the capture of 132 Germans by nine men. Although he never claimed to have acted alone, York was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and returned home to a hero’s welcome. After the war York pursued his dream of providing a practical education for the rural children of Tennessee, founding the Alvin C. York Institute in 1929 in Jamestown, Tennessee. The state took over funding of the school in 1937. York died at the Veterans Hospital in Nashville on September 2, 1964.

Sergeant Alvin C. York aboard the S. S. Ohioan

Sergeant Alvin C. York aboard
the S. S. Ohioan, 1919

Library Photograph Collection

Sergeant Alvin C. York in Fentress County

Sergeant Alvin C. York,
Fentress County, TN, ca. 1919

Library Photograph Collection

 

Alvin York later in life

Alvin C. York

Alvin C. York, November 29, 1939

RG 82, Department of Conservation
Photograph Collection

Alvin C. York

Alvin C. York, July 26, 1941

RG 82, Department of Conservation
Photograph Collection

Preview of film

Preview of film "Sergeant York"
at the Knickerbocker Theatre,
Nashville, TN, July 1941

Library Photograph Collection

Alvin C. York Institute

Alvin C. York Institute, Jamestown, TN
June 1, 1967

RG 82, Department of Conservation
Photograph Collection

Grave of Alvin C. York

Grave of Alvin C. York, Pall Mall, TN,
June 1, 1967

RG 82, Department of Conservation
Photograph Collection

York statue at the Capitol

Statue at the State Capitol, Nashville, TN
February 1, 1969

RG 82, Department of Conservation
Photograph Collection

 

Wilkins Stonewall Jackson Banks

Wilkins Stonewall Jackson Banks
ca. 1918

RG 53, Gold Star Records

African Americans in World War I

Roughly 350,000 African Americans served on the Western Front during World War I. Because the U.S. military was still segregated at the time, many of the African Americans who served were relegated to labor and stevedore units instead of combat units. One notable exception was the 369th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the "Harlem Hellfighters." The regiment arrived in France in January 1918 but was given only labor service duties until April, when it was assigned to the French Army. The regiment spent 191 days in combat, more than any other American unit, participating in the Champagne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. It was also the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine River in November 1918. All told, 171 of the regiment's officers and men received awards for bravery. The regimental band, led by James Reese Europe, is credited with introducing jazz music to Europe. Other notable members of the 369th were Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the tap dancer and actor, and Vertner Woodson Tandy, one of the founders (or "Seven Jewels") of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first African American fraternity.

Wilkins S. Jackson Banks

Wilkins S. J. Banks

RG 53, Gold Star Records

Jim Granberry Jim Granberry

Jim Granberry

RG 53, Gold Star Records

 

Our Colored Heroes

"Our Colored Heroes," 1918

Thomas Perkins Henderson Papers

"Our Colored Heroes"

Sergeant Henry Lincoln Johnson and Private Needham Roberts were members of the 369th Infantry Regiment. As a result of their heroic actions, depicted in this lithograph, Johnson and Roberts were the first American soldiers to be awarded France’s prestigious Croix de Guerre medal during World War I.

Honored as Heroes
Henry Johnson     Needham Roberts
Cited for Bravery and Receive
Croix De Guerre
Colored Man Is Eager to Show His Mettle and Do His Bit

General Pershing's Communique
Headquarters American Expeditionary Forces, May 19, 1918

"Section B — Reports in hand show a notable instance of bravery and devotion shown by two soldiers of an American colored regiment operating in a French sector. Before daylight on May 15, Pte. Henry Johnson and Pte. Roberts, while on sentry duty at some distance from one another, were attacked by a German raiding party estimated at twenty men, who advanced in two groups, attacking at once from both flank and rear.

"Both men fought bravely in hand-to-hand encounters, one resorting to the use of a bolo knife after his rifle jammed and further fighting with bayonet and butt became impossible. There is evidence that at least one, and possibly a second, German was severely cut. A third is known to have been shot.

"Attention is drawn to the fact that the two colored sentries were first attacked and continued fighting after receiving wounds and despite the use of grenades by a superior force."

 

Army Air Service recruitment poster

Army Air Service recruitment poster,
ca. 1918

World War I Poster Collection

1st Lt. Morton B. Adams

1st Lieutenant Morton B. Adams,
90th Aero Squadron, A. E. F.,
Nashville, TN, ca. 1919

Library Photograph Collection

 

A graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School,
Morton B. Adams was one of the founders of the
Nashville School of Law in 1911. The insignia with
a single wing on his chest denotes that he was
an observer pilot.

U.S.M.C. Lt.

Unidentified U. S. Marine Corps lieutenant,
ca. 1918

Ransom Family Papers

U.S.M.C. recruitment poster

United States Marine Corps
recruitment poster,
ca. 1918

World War I Poster Collection

 

John T. Sharp

Corporal John T. Sharp
ca. 1918

Sallie Gray Brown Papers

John T. Sharp

John T. Sharp was a corporal in Company D, 117th Infantry Regiment. He was wounded in combat on October 8, 1918, and died of his wounds four days later.

John T. Sharp

Corporal John T. Sharp
Gold Star record

RG 53, Gold Star Records

May 29, 1918

Somewhere in France

My Dearest Mumsey,
Lying in my pup tent flat down with two blankets between me and the ground and am feeling fine . . . . Just ate dinner and am as tight as a tick. Get plenty of it. But I liked to starve coming over for it. Was a English bed and English cooks and all they could cook was boiled spuds. Never want to see another boiled spud as long as I live. . . . And my goodness you never saw such a pile of spuds and eggs as I got for me
[in] France. 17½ cents. I couldn’t eat all of em. Now you know about how many there was. We are way up in the country now and this is a beautiful country. People don’t live out in farm houses all scattered about they are all grouped together in little villages. Billets is what they call em. And wood and paper is about as plentiful as hen teeth in this country. I have got so much I want to tell you but paper is so scarce and there is so much I can’t write but believe your son John he will have something to tell you all when he gets back. . . . The hardest thing about this war is getting us over here and getting em back. Whipping the huns is going to be a small matter of time and a cost of a very few lives. . . . Cigarettes is scarce here but I understand the government gives us three packs a week but they are these English make and know [sic] good. But they don’t allow the people at home to send us any for it takes up too much shipping space. . . . [A]ll my love and a million kisses for you and don’t worry . . . it is you I am fighting for and I am as safe as if I was home.

Your loving son,
John T.

John T. Sharp letter (1) John T. Sharp letter (2) John T. Sharp letter (3)
John T. Sharp letter (4) John T. Sharp letter (5) John T. Sharp letter (6)

John T. Sharp letter

Sallie Gray Brown Papers

War Department letter

Letter from the War Department
to Sharp's mother
January 7, 1919

Sallie Gray Brown Papers

Grave location notice

Confirmation of grave location

Sallie Gray Brown Papers

John T. Sharp obituary

John T. Sharp obituary

Sallie Gray Brown Papers

Lt. Leach letter (1)Lt. Leach letter (2)

Letter from Lt. Leach to Sharp's mother
January 20, 1919

Sallie Gray Brown Papers

 

Trenches near
Vaux-lès-Palameix, France

Aerial reconnaissance photograph of the trenches
near Vaux-lès-Palameix, France, September 9, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

 

2nd Battalion HQ

2nd Battalion, 105th Engineers headquarters
Brandhoek, Belgium, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

Francis B. "Dolly" Warfield

Francis B. "Dolly" Warfield arrived in France as a 1st Lieutenant in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 105th Engineers Regiment, 30th Infantry Division and ended the war as the Captain of the Headquarters Company in the same regiment. The 105th Engineers and the rest of the 30th Infantry Division took part in the fighting around Ypres, Belgium. During his career as an architect and engineer after the war, Warfield was involved with several notable projects, among them McTyeire Hall and Rand Hall at Vanderbilt, Westminster Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church, Bartholomew Episcopal Church, Two Rivers High School, Cheatham Place, the Coca-Cola Bottling Works in Columbia, Tennessee, and the Springfield Woolen Mills.

Recreation tent

"Recreation tent for men at Marolles"
Brussels, Belgium, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

Regimental trucks

"Twelve of the Thirty five trucks used by
regiment on road work."
Belgium, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

The 'Patronage'

"The 'Patronage' at Marolles. Used as a theatre by
regiment. The loft is a billet for 50 men.
Supply Office and Carpenter Shop were in left end."
Brussels, Belgium, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

'Side Door Pulman'

"A 'Side Door Pulman [sic]' Over the top is
St. Quintin [sic] and the Cathedral."
St. Quentin, France, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

First aid station

First aid station
Voormezeele, Belgium, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

Vauquois Hill in the Meuse-Argonne sector

Aerial photograph of
Vauquois Hill in the
Meuse-Argonne sector
France, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

 

Cloth Hall, Ypres

Ruins of the Cloth Hall and St. Martin’s Cathedral
Ypres, Belgium, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

Ypres, Belgium

The Belgian city of Ypres (pronounced "eeper" and called "wipers" by British troops) was the scene of intense fighting throughout most of World War I and the city was extensively damaged as a result. The Third Battle of Ypres (July-November 1917) serves as an example of the appalling casualty rates suffered on the Western Front. In their push to capture the town of Passchendaele, ca. 140,000 British soldiers were killed to gain approximately 5 miles. That translates into one soldier killed for approximately every 2.25 inches of ground gained. During the Battle of Lys in April 1918, the Germans recaptured all of the ground that they had lost during the Third Battle of Ypres.

 

'Dead End,' Ypres

"Dead End"
Ypres, Belgium, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

"Dead End," Yser Canal, Ypres, Belgium

"Dead End" Ypres
Officers Billets, Mess and N.C.O.'s billets. All comforts of home. Roulette, Tea and boating in the afternoon.

With morbid humor, British troops nicknamed the terminus of the Yser Canal in Ypres "Dead End" because it continuously came under German artillery fire. The name was clearly also adopted by American troops.

 

'Capt. George and 'Fritz'

Captain Henry H. George and "Fritz"
ca. 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

Captain Henry H. George and "Fritz"

Capt. George of "C" Co. and "Fritz"
Fritz was captured from the Germans at Busigny
[France]. Besides his three service stripes he has a wound stripe for a gassing.

Thousands of dogs served in World War I. Italy trained about 3,500 war dogs, France and England had about 20,000, and Germany had 30,000. Many World War I dogs served as "mercy dogs," and their task was to find and comfort the wounded. They were trained to find men under cover of darkness and bring them supplies or take them back to safety. Other dogs served as messenger dogs during battle.

 

Verdun

Aerial photograph of the Citadel,
Verdun, France, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

Verdun and the Somme

The Battle of Verdun (February-December 1916) was the longest battle of World War I. While Verdun had relatively little strategic importance, it had a long history and was a symbol of French national pride. Knowing the French would ferociously defend Verdun, German General Falkenhayn’s objective in attacking it was not achieving an immediate breakthrough, but, in his own words, "bleeding the French Army white." Over ten months of fighting at Verdun, the Germans inflicted only marginally more casualties on the French Army (377,000) than they themselves suffered (337,000). With the French and Germans firing ca. 37 million shells at each other during the Battle of Verdun and the resulting explosions obliterating soldiers or burying them under mountains of earth, the remains of the ca. 100,000 missing French and German combatants are still being found to this day.

Before the Battle of Verdun began, the British had been planning a summer offensive along the Somme River. They decided to carry out the planned offensive, in part, to help relieve the pressure on the French Army at Verdun. The Battle of the Somme resulted in the single bloodiest day in British Army history. On July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the British suffered ca. 60,000 casualties, of which nearly 20,000 were killed (for comparison, 60,000 is roughly the population for the city of Franklin, Tennessee in 2010). After five months of fighting, the British had suffered nearly 420,000 casualties and the French just over 200,000 casualties in their quest to capture about 6 miles of territory from the Germans, who suffered approximately 465,000 casualties.

 

Col. Luke Lea

Colonel Luke Lea, 114th Field Artillery
ca. 1918

Luke Lea Papers

Luke Lea

Luke Lea was born in 1878, in Nashville, Tennessee. After his graduation from the University of the South and Columbia University, Lea began to practice law in Nashville in 1903. He was a successful lawyer, but he soon turned his attention to other enterprises. On May 10, 1907, Lea organized the Nashville Tennessean, which was to become one of the most influential newspapers in Tennessee.

Politically, Lea became prominent in 1908 as a result of a split in the state Democratic Party. At the 1908 State Democratic Convention, the Lea faction was able to gain control and secure the gubernatorial nomination for Malcolm R. Patterson, an ally of Lea. From that point until the election of Henry H. Horton in 1931, only one governor was elected without the support of the very powerful Luke Lea. Because of his great influence, Lea became known as the "maker of governors."

Lea was to reach the peak of his career in 1911, when he was overwhelmingly elected to the United States Senate, entering that body as the youngest man ever to hold a seat. However, during his first years in the Senate, the federal Constitution was amended to allow the election of United States Senators directly by the people. Lea was defeated the Senate race in 1916 by then-Congressman Kenneth D. McKellar, who held the senatorship for many decades afterwards. The Memphis-based "Boss" Crump machine was just beginning to feel its power and played a part in the first McKellar nomination. Thereafter, Lea was to wage almost continual warfare with the Crump machine.

Shortly after Lea's defeat in his bid for reelection, the United States entered World War I. Lea organized a volunteer regiment, later to become the 114th Field Artillery, and was commissioned a lieutenant-colonel and later a colonel in command of the regiment. This Tennessee volunteer outfit served ten months in France, and it fought in the Meuse-Argonne and St. Mihiel drives that helped break the Hindenburg line. For his role in the war, Lea was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Lea was also one of the founders of the American Legion in 1919. Gordon Browning, later Governor of Tennessee, served as a captain in 114th Field Artillery and was in command of Battery A.

'Lt. Frank B. Evers

Lt. Frank B. Evers, 114th Field Artillery
ca. 1918

Luke Lea Papers

Lea plunged into the publishing and political fields after the war, bringing into both activities a number of men who had served with him in France. He championed the cause of Austin Peay and helped him win three terms as governor against the opposition of the Crump machine. With the financial crash of 1929, however, Lea was to lose both political control and the business empire he had built. Within two years, Luke Lea and his son, Luke Lea Jr., were indicted along with several others in North Carolina in the failure of the Central Bank and Trust Company of Ashville, North Carolina.

The Leas were found guilty of violation of the banking laws of North Carolina and entered the North Carolina State Prison on May 10, 1934 to serve their terms. Lea was to serve 6-10 years, and his son was sentenced to serve 2-6 years or pay a $25,000 fine. Luke Lea Jr. was freed after several months imprisonment because of a serious condition requiring an operation. Lea the elder sought a pardon in 1935, but it was denied by the North Carolina governor, J.C.B. Ehrichaus. However, after serving less than two years, he was paroled April 1, 1936, and was later given a full pardon.

After his return, Lea lived in semi-retirement. He would never again achieve the success that he had known before the 1930s. Several attempts to repurchase the Tennessean failed, and other publishing ventures never realized their potential. Suffering from poor health in his later years, Lea died in a Nashville hospital on November 17, 1945.

'Sgt. J. C. Ward

1st Sergeant J. C. “Dog” Ward, 114th Field Artillery, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

Artillery piece

Unidentified U.S. soldier standing
in front of an artillery piece,
France, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

U.S. soldier

Unidentified U.S. soldier wearing
captured German helmet and
standing in front of a
Red Cross wagon,
France, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

U.S. soldier

Unidentified U.S soldier standing
in front of barbed wire,
France, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

Captured German block house

Captured German block house,
France, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

 

Maj. Frierson diary entry

Major Horace Frierson diary entry,
October 15, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

 

Major Frierson commanded the 2nd Battalion,
114th Field Artillery Regiment.

Poison gas

The French were the first to use gas on battlefield in World War I, employing tear gas against the Germans in August 1914. However, on April 22, 1915, the Germans opened the Second Battle of Ypres with an attack on French, Canadian, and British troops using chlorine gas, marking the first use of poison gas — that is, gas designed to kill rather than to incapacitate — on the Western Front. Mustard gas, nicknamed HS ("hun stuff") by the British and Yperite by the French, was used for the first time in 1917 in the fighting around Ypres.

Gas memo (1) Gas memo (2) Gas memo (3)
Gas memo (4) Gas memo (5) Gas memo (6)

Memorandum outlining the various types of gas, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

 

Col. Lea wearing a gas mask

Colonel Luke Lea (left) and
2 unidentified soldiers wearing gas masks,
ca. 1918

Luke Lea Papers

Dulce Et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori
.

Along with his friends Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves, Wilfred Owen is one of the best known British soldier-poets of World War I. Owen enlisted in October 1915 and arrived in France as a 2nd Lieutenant, joining the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on January 1, 1917. He was killed in action on November 4, 1918 during the battle to cross the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors. His parents received notification of his death one week later . . . on Armistice Day. The British composer Benjamin Britten later incorporated nine of Owen’s poems in his work War Requiem.

 

General King and officers

Brigadier General Edward L. King and officers,
France, November 11, 1918

Luke Lea Papers

Armistice

The cessation of hostilities on the Western Front took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month — 11:00 a.m., November 11, 1918. This photograph was taken just after the Armistice went into effect. 1) Brigadier General Edward L. King, 65th Brigade Infantry, 2) Major Manning, 3) Captain Evers, 114th Field Artillery, 4) Major Bittel, 130th Infantry, 5) Colonel Clives, 130th Infantry, 6) Colonel Luke Lea, 114th Field Artillery

Maj. Frierson diary entry

Major Horace Frierson diary entries, November 9-14, 1918

Frierson-Warfield Papers

 

Group that attempted to kidnap the Kaiser

The group that attempted to kidnap the Kaiser, ca. 1919

Luke Lea Papers

 

Front row: Capt. Leland S. MacPhail, Col. Luke Lea,
Cap. Thomas P. Henderson, 1st Lt. Ellsworth Brown
Back row: Sgt. Dan Reilly, Sgt. Egbert O. Hail,
Sgt. Owen Johnston, Cpl. Marmaduke P. Clokey

The plot to kidnap the Kaiser

According to Lea, the idea to kidnap the Kaiser originated at a tea with the Duke of Connaught in June 1918. During the tea, the Duke boasted of being uncle to both King George V of England and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Lea would later write, "We realized that all of the force of the British crown . . . would be exerted to the utmost to protect the royal kinsman," but Lea believed ". . . that the Kaiser should be made to suffer in some small measure the orgy of torture he had inflicted upon more than half of mankind."

Shortly after the Armistice, the Kaiser abdicated his crown and went into exile in Holland, which had remained neutral throughout the war. With the aim of kidnapping the Kaiser and bringing him back to Paris to be tried for war crimes, Lea traveled to Amerongen Castle, where the Kaiser was living in exile, with several of his officers and men: Captain Leland S. MacPhail, Captain Thomas P. Henderson, 1st Lieutenant Ellsworth Brown, Corporal Marmaduke P. Clokey, Sergeant Dan Reilly, Sergeant Owen Johnston, and Sergeant Egbert O. Hail. They arrived at Amerongen Castle at 8 p.m. on January 4, 1919 and were able to talk their way inside the castle, but they were not able to meet the Kaiser and left when two companies of Dutch infantry arrived.

The U. S. Army would probably have preferred to ignore the incident had it not been for an official complaint filed by the Kaiser through the Dutch Government. The Kaiser wanted charges pressed against Lea for "appear[ing] uninvited at the castle of his host, Count Bentinck, and ma[king] him nervous." Then there was the issue of the bronze ashtray, monogrammed with the Kaiser’s initials, that Captain MacPhail had pocketed while at Amerongen Castle. While the Army was forced to conduct an investigation of the incident, none of those involved were court-martialed. General Pershing’s official position on the trip was to call it "amazingly indiscreet." Unofficially, he told General Bullard, commander of the U.S. 2nd Army, "I'd have given a year’s pay to have been able to have taken Lea's trip into Holland and entered the castle . . . without invitation."

Captain Leland S. MacPhail, thief of His Imperial German Majesty's ashtray, is better known to the world as Larry MacPhail, General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds (1933-1937), President of the Brooklyn Dodgers (1938-1942), and General Manager/President/Owner of the New York Yankees (1945-1947). MacPhail kept the ashtray and proudly displayed it on his desk for many years.

 

Sailing home aboard the USS Finland

American troops sailing home aboard the USS Finland, 1919

Frierson-Warfield Papers

Homecoming celebration at the Governor's Mansion

Homecoming celebration at the Governor’s Mansion,
Nashville, TN, 1919

Luke Lea Papers

St. Cecilia homecoming program

St. Cecilia homecoming program,
Nashville, TN, 1919

Luke Lea Papers

Victory celebration in Nashville

World War I victory celebration, Nashville, TN, 1919
The area shown is now part of War Memorial Plaza.

Library Photograph Collection

Maj. Frierson diary entry

Major Horace Frierson's final diary entry, 1919

Frierson-Warfield Papers

 

 

 

 

Section researched and written by Will Thomas, Archival Assistant.

 

 

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