An AEF Original Document


April 15, 1919

General Order Number 30:

      I desire to publish to the command an official recognition of the valor and extraordinary heroism in action of the officers and enlisted men of the following organizations:

Companies A, B, C, E, G, H       308th Infantry
Company K                               307th Infantry
Companies C, D         306th Machine Gun Btln.

Lost Battalion Survivors

Terrain in Back is Similar to Site at Charlevaux

      These organizations, or detachments therefrom, comprised the approximate force of 550 men under command of Major Charles W. Whittlesey, which was cut off from the remainder of the Seventy-Seventh Division and surrounded by a superior number of the enemy near Charlevaux, in the Forest d'Argonne, from the morning of October 3, 1918, to the night of October 7, 1918.

      Without food for more than one hundred hours, harassed continuously by machine gun, rifle, trench mortar and grenade fire, Major Whittlesey's command, with undaunted spirit and magnificent courage, successfully met and repulsed daily violent attacks by the enemy. They held the position which had been reached by supreme efforts, under orders received for an advance, until communication was re-established with friendly troops.

      When relief finally came, approximately 194 officers and men were able to walk out of the position. Officers and men killed numbered 107.

      On the fourth day a written proposition to surrender received from the Germans was treated with the contempt which it deserved.

      The officers and men of these organizations during these five days of isolation continually gave unquestionable proof of extraordinary heroism and demonstrated the high standard and ideals of the United States Army.

Robert Alexander, Major General, US Army

For Additional Informaton on the Lost Battalion Visit:

John Cotter's Lost Battalion Site and

The Doughboy Center's Biography of Charles Whittlesey

Postscript: Major Whittlesey and key subordinates, Capts. George McMurtry and Nelson Holderman, received the Medal of Honor for this action. Whittlesey, however, became despondent afterwards over the losses and, possibly, the implied criticism of him. One night in late 1921 after he had attended the interment of the Unknown Soldier, Whittlesey disappeared from the deck of a Miami to Havana cruise ship. MH

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