WWI 26th Division Chaplain Photo – Bloomfield, VT Native Arthur LeVeer in France, 1918

It’s always fun to sift through assorted boxes from my collection in search of new material to post here to PortraitofWar. In tonight’s case, I stumbled across a portrait shot of a WWI Catholic chaplain from my adopted home of Vermont!  With only 16,000 soldiers, marines and sailors during WWI, Vermont is a hard state to collect.


102nd Infantry Regiment Chaplain Arthur J. LeVeer in 1918

Chaplain Arthur Joseph LaVeer was born along the Connecticut River in the Northeast Kingdom (a regional name) town of Bloomfield, Vermont on February 3rd, 1886. Commissioned as a 1st Lt. on August 22nd, 1918, LeVeer was quickly sent overseas to serve as a chaplain with the 102nd Infantry Regiment of the 26th “Yankee Division.”

Identified chaplain photos are incredibly hard to find on the open market, and to find an example taken overseas showing a unit patch and chaplain insignia makes this an exciting acquisition. Father LeVeer served at St. Norbert’s Church in Hardwick for the remainder of his life; this is a spot that I’ve passed hundreds of times during my life without giving a second thought to the WWI history of the area.


Arthur’s WWI Record


Arthur’s WWII Draft Card

Rev. Arthur LeVeer is buried in the Mount Cavalry Cemetery in Saint Albans, Franklin County, Vermont.


LeVeer in the 1960s

WWI Burlington, VT Portrait Photo – William W. Putnam 310th Cav. Fort Ethan Allen

William W. Putnam of Thomaston, Maine came to Vermont as part of the Machine Gun Troop of the 310th Cav in 1918.  He posed for a photo in a Burlington, VT photo studio while training at Fort Ethan Allen.  He had his photo taken in Burlington after his promotion to sgt (1/1918) at the studio of H. Raymond Paige of 22 Church Street.


Maine service record:
Name: William W. Putnam
Serial Number: 371805
Birth Place: Brewer, Maine
Birth Date: 03 Sep 1897
Residence: Thomaston
Comment: Enl: Ft. Slocum, N. Y., May 10/18. Pvt; Sgt Aug. 1/18. Org: MG Tr 310 Cav to disch. Overseas service: None. Hon disch on demob: Dec. 20, 1918.


William Putnam441



William Putnam442

Henry  Raymond Paige Studio Logo, Burlington, VT


January 1918 Article About the Return of Raymond Paige

January 1918 Article About the Return of Raymond Paige


Raymond Paige in 1920

Raymond Paige in 1920


WWI Vermont Veteran Photo – John J. Corcoran, 101st Machine Gun Battalion Wounded in Action

My continued obsession with WWI Vermont material has landed me a new WWI photo taken in France in June of 1918.  I literally stumbled across this listing; the seller didn’t mention the fact that the soldier was a Vermonter.  Luckily I checked out the back of the photo before moving on to the next auction listing.

The photo was addressed to a Mrs. George Bolduc of Fitzdale, Vermont dated June 25th, 1918.  The writer added the following info:

“June 25th, 1918

Dear Sister,

Am well and happy and hope you and children are well.  Will write you a letter later, am pretty busy just now so am sending this in place of a letter.  This is not very good but will have to pass some love to you all.  From bro-

John Corcoran

101st MG BN, AEF”


John J. Corcoran(R)

John poses in the above photo with an unnamed friend of his from the 101st MG Bn. sporting a beautiful example of a woolen M1911 sweater.  I’ve attached below a period advertisement showing two versions of the service sweater.  These were either hand-knit from patterns or could be privately purchased through various supply and retail companies.

I am fortunate enough to own a copy of the hard-to-find 101st Machine Gun Battalion unit history.  Wagoner John J. Corcoran is listed with a frontal snapshot beside his biography.  He was born on May 29th, 1890 in Maine and eventually made his way over to Vermont where he lived in Lunenburg, VT working as a paper maker with the Gilman Paper Company.  He enlisted at Fort Ethan Allen on June 29th, 1917 with the 1st Vermont Infantry, where he was later transferred into the 103rd MG of the 26th Division.  His WWI and WWII draft cards were both listed on ancestry.com and I’ve included them below along with a copy of his death record.  He passed away in 1947 and is buried in Lunenburg.  I hope to travel there soon to take a photo of his grave!

101st MG Bn. Unit History Roster Entry

101st MG Bn. Unit History Roster Entry


WWI Draft Card

WWI Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

John was badly wounded on July 22nd, 1918 during an attack on the French town of Epieds.  I’ve included a period map of the battle as well as an image of the location today.  Not much has changed!  This attack was coordinated only a few days after the Battle of Chateau Thierry.  Luckily, John’s encounter with the Germans was noted in the 101st MG unit history diary section.  I’ve transcribed the section:

“At daybreak both companies were sent into some woods overlooking Trugny to assist the attack of Major Rau’s battalion against the town. We could not locate any enemy to fire at, and the best we could do was wait to protect Rau’s left against possible counterattack.  We were shelled and M.G. bullets flew pretty thick.  Bristol of C Co. was wounded.  After awhile(sic) the attack crumbled in spite of Rau’s gallant efforts against impossible odds, and the troops were withdrawn to the old positions.  A little later C Co. was sent over to the right to join Rau.  There they found him with only a few of his men left.  The guns were set up on the edge of the woods in a defensive position.  B Co. got orders to support an attack of the 102nd Infantry Regiment on the town of Epieds over on the left flank.  The company formed a fourth wave behind the infantry, and spread out into a long skirmish line.  The advance started over the open wheat field at a slow walk, with frequent halts during which each man flattened out so that no moving thing was visible in the field.  M.G. bullets began to kick up little puffs of dust all around us, and the enemy artillery barrage came down fiercely just ahead.  We knew we would have to go through this, and every nerve was tense.  We soon found ourselves in the midst of it – direct fire at that, mostly from one pounders, and 105’s and Austrian 88’s which come with the shriek of a thousand devils.  The fumes choked us and the concussion half stunned us.  it was here that Hez Porter, following his platoon leader, was instantly killed.  Corcoran, Dick and Wendt were wounded…………………………….”

Unit History  Casualty Report

Unit History
Casualty Report



Death Registration

Death Registration

WWI Fort Ethan Allen 2nd Vermont Cav. Detailed Letter – Officer Shot in the Head! – Vermont WWI Content

The 2nd Vermont Cavalry trained at Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester Vermont prior to WWI and, after training, shipped off to France to fight with the only US cavalry unit during the war.  I currently live only ten minutes from the fort, and have previously posted a panoramic photo from an infantry regiment that trained there as well.  Collecting WWI Vermont items can be hard; the material seems to never come up to auction.  In this case, I was able to find a little nugget of Vermont history hidden amongst the seemingly endless WWI eBay listing section.

Looks like Clarence “Everett” Hall was originally from Manchester, Connecticut.  In his letter he mentions a number of interesting topics, including the everyday life of a cavalry troop as well as an interesting encounter where he inadvertantly shoots an officer in the head!  A great read, and a must for any fan of WWI cav.


Postmarked Burlington on July 30th, 1917.

Clarence Everett Hall

Fort Ethan Allen

Troop M. 2nd Vermont Cav.

July 28th, 1917

Dear Marion,

Your welcome letter received.  Will write while I have time.

Haveing(sic) a little better weather now.  It was 102 Wednesday on the range.  We was shooting for record shoot slow and rapid fire.  At slow you can take all the time to shoot you want.  Fire at 300, 500 and 600 yards slow fire.  Ten shots or rounds at each.  At 300 yards the bullseye is twelve inches across.  At 500 and 600 yards its twenty inches across.  If you hit the bullseye it counts as 5, the next ring 4, next 3 , rest 2 if you miss hitting the target it counts as nothing.  Then targets are like this.

On rapid fire we shoot 200, 300 and 500 yards.  At 200 yards have one minute to fire ten rounds.  Sitting from standing that time.  Fire sitting.  The shells are five in a clip.  And are loaded that way.  Have one clip in before the time starts and load the others after.  At 300 yards have one minute and ten seconds.  Prone from standing.  At 500 yards have one minute and twenty seconds to fire 10 rounds in.  And fire prone, laying down before the time starts.  The rapid fire target represents a mans head and shoulders.  And count the same.  The bullseye is forty inches across.

The higher score you get the better it is.  252 points gives you expert rifleman, that pays fire dollars a month extra.  238 gives you sharpshooter, that pays you three dollar a month.  202 pays two dollars a month and is marksman.  Nobody in the troop got expert several got sharpshooter, and several marksman.  I had marksman easy till the last.  Had an accident then.  Some of the shells are what are called slow fires.  That is they go off four or five seconds after you pull the trigger.  I had one, it went off on the ground after I ejected it from the gun.  The bullet hit an officer in back of me in the head, making a bad scalp wound.  The shell hit me in the leg cutting it about an inch.  It’s allright(sic) now but it sure did sting at first.  I got 200 points, only needed two more for marksman.

Besides the rifle we have a pistol, 45 automatic Colt.  Had no practice with them yet.  Besides that we have a saber.  Like a sword.  Straight and about three and a half feet long.  At full pack, “thats when we are ready for a long march we have the following.” One saddle, one saddle blanket, that foes on the horse, one surscingle, one pair saddle bags, they go on the read of the saddle.  In the saddle bag is carried everything for the horse.  Curry comb, brush, etc.  In the rear one is the man stuff messkit.  Knife, fork and spoon and any other little thing you want to carry.  The canteen in carried on the rear saddle packet the tin cup in the center of the loops.  The picket pin carried in the off pocket.  On front of the saddle is rolled overcoat (in winter), slicker in summer.  On rear is the blanketroll.  In that is one bed blanket, half a shelter tent, tent pole and rope and five tent pins, one suit underwear, two pair socks, one towel, soap, comb, toothbrush and paste.  The rifle goes in a boot on the near side, the saber on the off.  The pistol is carried in a holster on the belt which is worn.  Ninety rounds of rifle ammunition, thirty pistol and two pistol magazines and a first aid package make up the belt, which has suspenders so you can carry quite a little. The rest of out clothing etc. is put in a bag and carried in the wagons.  We just use the saddle for regular drill.

We have revellie, first call 5:15 roll call 5:30, breakfast at 6, drill at 7 until 10:30 mounted stables, that’s grooming the horses until 10:50.  11 till 11:30 dismounted drill with rifles.  12 dismiss.  In the afternoon if its not to(sic) hot have rifle, pistol, sabre drill.  Semaphore and wigwag practice, that’s sending messages with one and two flags.  Saturdays we have inspections of everything.  No drilling, afternoon off.  Sundays off except stables and water call.  Water call is 4:30.  Water and tie up the horses then.  5:30 retreat and supper.  Tatoo at nine, taps at eleven.  We have to put all lights out in the squad room at nine.

We have a nice building to sleep in .  Have a large day room downstairs, music library etc. there.  Shower, baths, etc. in the basement.  Have regular bunks to sleep in with springs, sheets, pillows etc.  There’s 105 in the troop.  Theres 15 troops in a regiment, four squadrons, three troops to a squadron and three troops over A.B.C, D.E.F, G.H.I, K.L.M, machine gun troop, supply and headquarters troops.

That’s all I can think off(sic) to tell about.  If I think of anything more that’s interesting I will tell it next time.  There’s talk of our leaving here the fifteenth of August for Worcester, Mass.  Be there for good.  Hope so.  This place is all right now but in the winter it gets to 45 below.  That’s too cold. 

I suppose there’s lots from Manchester drafted that don’t like it.  Don’t blame them.  For six months they will wish they were dead.  The first training is very hard.

Guess I will close now its time for retreat and if I write much more I’ll have to send this parcel post.

With Love,


Clarence E. Hall

The University of Vermont at War – WWI UVM Campus Panoramic Photo by Louis L. McAllister

The UVM Campus Prepares for War

A recent eBay auction had me literally drooling on my keyboard.  Could it be?  A WWI image of the University of Vermont?  I attended UVM between 2004 and 2011, graduating with an undergraduate degree in anthropology/archaeology and a masters in historic preservation; two fields that helped forge my passion for historic photography.  I placed a desperate last minute bid in hopes of winning the panoramic photo and victoriously won with a high bid.  Other comparable WWI Vermont “yardlong” images were usually taken at Fort Ethan Allen, but I’ve never seen one taken at UVM.

M1910 Leggings

From outward appearances the photo, taken by famed Burlingtonian (Vermont)  Louis L. McAllister, depicts a group of uniformed soldiers on the central campus.  Converse Hall is visible on the far right hand corner of the photo, followed by the hospital, Colchester Ave homes, and finally Billings and Williams Hall.  Looking at the visible trees

gives a good indication of the season; this photo was likely taken in the fall, after the trees defoliate, but before the dreaded Vermont winter sets in.  The soldiers are wearing WWI era uniforms, complete with campaign hats, single snap button ammo belts, and M1910 leggings.  These leggings were used extensively during WWI training but

switched out overseas for puttees.

After referencing a few books on Vermont during WWI, I believe that the image was taken in October of 1918, during the opening ceremonies for the university.  I’ve added an excerpt below that helps flesh out some of the details.

“The opening of college was postponed until October 23rd, due to the prevailing epidemic of influenza, which was then sweeping the country.  At noon on that date, however, the new members of the S.A.T.C. were drawn up on one side of a hollow square on the front campus, and formally inducted into the service of the country.  On the other two sides of the square at this impressive ceremony were the Signal School and the Mechanical School.  First the flag was raised, and then after swearing the men into service Lieutenant Colonel Leonhaeuser read a message from President Wilson.  The men were then divided into companies, assigned to barracks and for the first time in over a hundred years the University of Vermont was again an armed camp. “

(Source: Cushing, John T., Arthur Fairbanks Stone, and Harold Pearl. Sheldon. “The University of Vermont in the World War.” In Vermont in the World War: 1917-1919. Burlington, VT: Free Press, 1928.)

Louis McAllister Portrait Courtesy of The University of Vermont Special Collections

The photo was doubly exciting for me, as the photographer was a well known Burlington resident and Vermont photographer.  Louis L. McAllister was born in Nebraska in 1876 and lived in Burlington for nearly 60 years before passing away in1963.  He was famous for his panoramic photography, which he used extensively to document school groups, political events, and various Burlington scenes.  This example dates to 1918, but I’ve seen dated examples from Fort Ethan Allen reaching as far back as 1917.  McAllister is renown statewide for his photographic work, which is sought out  by Vermonters for his its composition and documentary nature.  The University of Vermont’s Special Collections inherited 45 crates of his photography.  A fabulous website was created by Special Collections in order to display some of his work to the public.  Interested parties can visit the collection or view it online at  http://cdi.uvm.edu/collections/browseCollection.xql?pid=mcallister&title=Louis%20L.%20McAllister%20Photographs