The U.S. St. Mihiel offensive had the Germans contained in the fall of 1918, but the rain kept coming.
There were only three roads and one rail link, plus the rough terrain, leading up to the Argonne Forest. Influenza was hitting the troops, and the going was tough, but Allied tanks were moving up to the front lines by Sept. 26.
Among the Highland troops in France at that time was Pvt. Edgar L. Miche, the 29-year-old son of the Rev. and Mrs. C.E. Miche. He was called April 29, 1918, and by Sept. 12, he was at St. Mihiel and then in the Meuse-Argonne Forest area, where he was wounded on Nov. 1, 1918. He was taken to Base Hospital No. 53 at Langres, France. He later rejoined his division in the Army of occupation in Germany. He was discharged on June 3, 1919.
Several other Highland area soldiers were wounded, some during gas attacks, during these final days of the war.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Sgt. Edwin E. Peter, 24, the son of John Peter, enlisted on April 9, 1917 and assigned to Company H of the 127th Infantry, 32nd Division, at Camp MacArthur, Texas. Peter saw his first action at Alsace sector, May 21-July 19; then Cierges, July 29-Aug. 8; then Juvigny, Aug. 30-31, when he was overcome by gas. He recovered and was at Meuse-Argonne from Oct. 15-21, 1918. He was then involved with the Army of occupation until May 17, 1919.
Pvt. Orville J. Spengel enlisted on Nov. 15, 1917. The 30-year-old son of George Spengel was assigned to the 30th Engineers, Gas & Flame Section, and assigned to the chemical warfare service at Camp America. He was also gassed while in action in March 1918. He recovered and saw additional action at Chateau-Thierry front, Verdun, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne. He was discharged Feb. 20, 1919.
Pvt. Nick Trautner, 27, the son of Mr. Barney Trautner, was called Sept. 19, 1917 and sent to Camp Zachery Taylor, Ky., and was assigned to a machine gun company, the 333rd Infantry, 84th Division. Later, he was with the 33rd Division and was sent to France, where he had five more weeks of training. He was reassigned to the 17th French Army Corps and saw action at Verdun, Bois De Chaume and Bois De Plat Chenethen on the east bank of the Meuse River, and he was involved in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
On Oct. 6, 1918, Trautner was overcome by gas and was removed to Base Hospital No. 60. After one month, he was able to rejoin his unit in the Army of Occupation, located at Ettelbroeck, Luxemburg. He was discharged June 6, 1919.
Nick Trautner’s younger brother, Pvt. Leo Trautner, 26, was called, April 1918, was transferred to Fort Stevens, Ore., with the 9th Coast Artillery. Later, he was sent to France, for additional training but saw no action.
Charles L. Ulmet, musician first class, enlisted on Nov. 16, 1916, at age 21. He was the son of Mrs. Esther Ulmet. He transferred to post band at Fort Thomas, Ky. Later, he transferred to 47th Infantry Band, 4th Division. He saw action on Champagne front, July 15-18, 1918, and at Aisne-Marne, July 18-Aug. 9. On Aug. 9, he was wounded, gassed, hospitalized and returned to his outfit in time for the Meuse-Argonne offensive Sept. 26-Nov. 11. He served in the Army of Occupation and was discharged on Jan. 20, 1920.
Pvt. Edgar E. Yann, 26, the son of John Yann, was called April 29, 1918. He was transferred to Company L of the 147th Infantry, 37th Division, at Camp Lee, Va. He saw action on Alsace sector in July 1918, and in the Argonne Forest on Sept. 26, 1918. He was hit in right leg by flying shrapnel and moved to Base Hospital No. 19 and was sent home Jan. 25, 1919. He was discharged Feb. 24, 1919.
Pvt. Anton C. Voegele, 24, the son of Frank Voegele was called Feb. 23, 1918 and was sent to Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky. (A copy of the book Camp Zachary Taylor in Photos will be in the Highland Home Museum.) He was transferred to Company F of 113th Infantry, 29th Division and saw action on Alsace front, Aug. 1-30, and at Meuse-Argonne, north of Verdun from Sept. 28-Oct. 23, 1918. He went to the hospital suffering from the disease known as “trench foot.” He was discharged May 24, 1919.
Pvt. Nelson F. Walter, 22, the son of William C. Walter, was called Feb. 23, 1918 and was sent to Camp Zachery Taylor, Ky. He was assigned to Company C of the 335th Infantry, 84th Division. He was sent to France on Sept. 19 and was transferred to Company I, 362nd Infantry, 91st Division. He saw action on the Lys-Scheldt front in Belgium. On Oct. 29, he was wounded in his right cheek, but was back in action until Nov. 11. He was discharged April 29, 1919.
Pvt. Richard J. Wildi, 29, the son of Emil Wildi, was drafted March 29, 1918 and sent to Company A of 330th Infantry, 83rd Division at Camp Sherman, Ohio. He developed bronchial asthma and was discharged on Sept. 19, 1918.
Pvt. George Neumann, 27, the son of Fred Neumann, was called April 29, 1918 and was sent to Camp Dix, N.J. He was assigned to Medical Corps Detachment No. 2. Here, he contacted influenza, then pneumonia. He died on Sept. 26, 1918.
Pvt. Alvin Schoeck, 26, the foster son of John Zobrist, was called Sept. 2, 1918 and sent to Camp Grant, Ill., where he contracted Spanish influenza, which developed into pneumonia, of which he died Oct. 1, 1918.
Pvt. Henry Lionel Schwehr, 21, the son of Henry Schwehr, was called Sept. 6, 1918 and transferred to 9th Engineers, replacement troops at Camp Forrest, Ga., where he contacted influenza, then pneumonia, and died Oct. 15, 1918. Schwehr is buried in St. Gertrude Catholic Cemetery at Grantfork, an Army soldier statue is beside his tombstone.
Robert W. Vaupel, 25, the son of Robert Vaupel, was called Feb. 23, 1918. He sent to Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky. While in France, Vaupel, a bugler, was attached to 2nd Army Corps School Detachment as an instructor for the bugle. In March 1918, he had a nervous breakdown and remained a patient when the book Pass in Review by Allan C. Huber was printed.
(Information on soldiers in this story comes from Huber’s book.)