Clark B. Potter (at center) was born on October 3rd, 1891 in Kimball, Brule County, South Dakota; eventually landing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Clark went on to serve as an officer with Company E, 126th Infantry Regiment of the 32nd Division during WWI. He was wounded by friendly fire in August of 1918 during the Battle of Fismes (Second Battle of the Marne) where he was sent to a hospital for the remainder of the war. This incredible photo of Clark posing in a Paris photo studio on Christmas Day, 1918 includes two other wounded soldiers of different regiments. Of interest is the leg-amputee who seems to be keeping his jolly composure during the photo; an additional veteran attempts to pick Clark’s pocket during the photo, adding a bit of joviality to what should be a somber photo.
Clark and Friends in December of 1918
Clark Potter’s WWII Draft Registration
University of Michigan Class of 1919 Entry
Clark’s WWI Company posed after the war (he was still in the hospital)
Clark’s 126th Infantry Regiment Roster Entry
Clark as a Child (from ancestry.com)
Henry N. Derby was born in Wardsboro, VT on April 15th, 1846, later moved to Townshend where he enlisted for Federal service on December 8th, 1863 and mustered in on December 29th. He signed up for a three year enlistment with Company C of the 8th Vermont Infantry Regiment and traveled from Vermont to Louisiana, where he quickly became ill. He died on March 31st, 1864 presumably of disease; one of 241 from the regiment that died of such causes.
This photo just arrived in the mail from an eBay auction where the name of the soldier was not revealed. Luckily, I was able to tweak the lighting/contrast with photoshop to discover the name of the soldier before I bid. CSI: Civil War style!
Henry N. Derby
Brennan C. Gauthier Collection
Here’s a great link to a Vermont Historical Society collection from a Vermont soldier who also served with the 8th VT and also died in Louisiana.
What better way to remember Memorial Day than to post the most famous war poem of all time? This poem was written by Lt. John McCrae, a surgeon with a Canadian field artillery unit during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 3rd, 1915. The poem became an almost instant hit with the troops and with the homefront community “across the pond”.
What makes McCrae so special to me? He taught at my alma mater, the University of Vermont, between 1903 and 1911 where he taught Pathology in Williams Hall. I spent four years studying anthropology and archaeology in the hallowed halls of Williams, making my connection to McCrae even stronger.
This post is dedicated to all those who never returned home from the killing fields of France, Belgium, and Germany during WWI.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
McCrae entry from The University of Vermont in the Great War
I recently picked a nice WWI dogtag from a medical officer named Liva C. McLain, and found that he likely served as a surgeon with the 7th Evacuation Hospital at Chateau Montanglaust in France, a hospital especially equipped to deal with those wounded with mustard gas.
He is mentioned on page six of the following medical corps pamphlet,
It looks like Liva served with the hospital during some key battles during the war. His hospital served the wounded at both Chateau Thierry and Belleau Woods. Here’s a good JSTOR article about the unit’s participation at Belleau Woods:
Here is a link to a soldier in the 103rd Infantry Regiment of the 26th Division who spent some time recuperating at the 7th Hospital:
The 7th Evacuation Hospital was organized on 26 November 1917, at Fort Riley, Kansas, as Evacuation Hospital Number 7. The organization participated in WW 1 in the following campaigns: Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. It received a decoration streamer with colors of the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, embroidered St Mihiel-Msuse-Argonne. The organization was demobilized on 1 May 1919.
Updates – 12/12/2013
In an effort to reevaluate some of my WWI collection material, I decided to do a new ancestry search on Lt. McLain. I came up with an interesting document to confirm the above information. Nothing earth shattering, but it provides a bit of clarity to the presented information.
Lt. McLain’s WWI California Veteran Registry Card