100 Years Ago This Week: Marines are Making a Name for Themselves

Background:  In September of 1917 My grandfather, John Rodney Jamieson, who we later called ‘Poppa’, joined the United States Army.  He was assigned to the 20th Engineers whose primary purpose was to mill lumber and build the wooden structures needed by the soldiers. In November he sailed to St. Nazaire, France aboard a troop transport ship.  He is assigned to the headquarters unit of Company A and is now based at a camp set up inside a bull ring in Dax, France.  


From the Journal of John Rodney Jamieson

Sunday June 2, 1918– Very warm today.  Everyone laying around camp.

Monday June 3– Nothing of interest

Tuesday June 4– Ten years ago today I graduated from P.H.S.  Little did I think then of being over here in the army at this time.

Wednesday June 5– Grading and setting sills for regimental hospital which will be located here.  Consisting of 5 large tents, five small and two buildings.

Thursday June 6– Went to casino this night.  Not much of picture.

Friday June 7– Marines are making a name for themselves.  Kaiser BIll will find out that Americans are more than second class troops.

Saturday June 8– Have not received any mail for some time.  Must be letters for us somewhere.


Tuesday June 4– Ten years ago today I graduated from P.H.S.  Little did I think then of being over here in the army at this time.

John Rodney Jamieson Poynette High School class of 1908. High school graduation picture.

Regimental Hospital

Wednesday June 5– Grading and setting sills for regimental hospital which will be located here.  Consisting of 5 large tents, five small and two buildings.

In a previous entry (Friday April 26, 1918) Poppa wrote– Started survey for hospital site down the river around the hotel and seminary.  Many very interesting things around these places and have met several English speaking people.

Poppa refers to the ‘seminary’ in Dax, France.  The seminary was named for St. Vincent de Paul who was born in Pouy, near Dax, France  in 1581.  In the later half of the 19th century his followers built the seminary near the birthplace of Vincent.   The bull ring where Poppa served as part of Company A of the 20th Engineers is nearby.  During the WWI, the Great Seminary of Pouy was used as a civilian Hospital from September, 1st 1914 to January 27, 1919.
Apparently Poppa and the other engineers were engaged in building an American Army hospital near the existing civilian hospital which was housed in the seminary built to honor St. Vincent de Paul.  This hospital had been authorized by Poppa’s commanding officer Major Edward E. Hartwick prior to his death on March 31, 1918.  (Thank you to Michel Boquet for providing information about the seminary and hospital).

Battle of Belleau Wood

Friday June 7– Marines are making a name for themselves.  Kaiser Bill will find out that Americans are more than second class troops.

Poppa is likely referring to the fact that the U.S. Marines had some success against the Germans in the Battle of Belleau Wood.  Although the Battle started on June 1st and lasted until June 26th, on June 6th the Marines were able to stop the advance of the Germans and turn them back.  The courage and tenacity demonstrated by the Marines during this battle helped to build their legacy.

Cover of sheet music ‘Comic song’ about Wilhelm II (1859-1941). He was the German emperor and king of Prussia from 1888 to 1918. The American soldiers saw him as the leader of the enemy although controversy continues regarding whether the Germany army was controlled by him or by his generals.

Next Week: We are Given our First Issue Tobacco

Sources:

“Battle of Belleau Wood.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Belleau_Wood. Accessed 2 June 2018.

 

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