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World War One



           Marshall Beattie and the Red Arrow Division

  Marshall Killick Beattie was born, 2 Feb. 1898, the son of Robert I. Beattie and Hattie Anna Killick in a small town of Alma, Gratiot County, Michigan. His family later returned to the village of Orangeville, Barry County, Michigan, where his father continued in the family tradition as Blacksmith for that area.

  In the early 1900's, Orangeville was a very small, but thriving community. Aside from the Blacksmith shop and the hardware store, it boasted a general store, sawmill, gristmill, grade school, wagon shop, Church and a Tavern with a hotel on the second floor owned by the colorful Winchester T. Dodge. Presently, the Orangeville Baptist Church and the store mark the few remaining tributes of a once bustling little community.

  While Marshall's father ran the blacksmith shop, Hattie and the children tended the hardware store across the street. In September 1910, his father passed away at age 30. Marshall who was only 12 years old, was grief stricken. He idolized his father very much.

  The onset of World War One did not involve the United States, but rather favored detachment from the animosities in Europe. This changed when German submarines had indiscriminately targeted civilian shipping.

  On April 6 1917 war was declared against Germany and by June American troops had begun landing in France. In December, Russia signed an armistice with Germany, ending the fighting on the Eastern Front. This action liberated the Kaiser's troops to concentrate on the Western front in France and Belgium. The Western Front had been stalemated for nearly three and a half years. The opposing sides had dug themselves into trenches, and movement of the lines was measured in feet and inches.

  When the US entered the war against Germany, Michigan and Wisconsin each had one regiment in the federal service. The 33rd Michigan, which had been called into service for duty on the Mexican Border in 1916, had not been returned to the State control, the 3rd Wisconsin had been called up the precious March to guard vital war plants.

  The Lusitania and her sister ship, Mauretania , were two of the largest and fastest ever built at that time. Both with a displacement of 31,550 gross tons; 787 feet long; 87 foot beam, Steam Turbines geared to quadruple screws, and a service speed of 25 knots. The loss of the Lusitania is certainly one of the most tragic events at the beginning of the First World War. On May 7th 1915 she was torpedoed by a German submarine. 1,198 lost there lives, of whom 758 were passengers. Built for Cunard Lines by John Brown & Company Limited, Clydebank, Scotland, 1907. 2,165 passengers (563 first class, 464 second class, 1,138 third class).

  At age 19, Marshall Killick Beattie along with his cousin, Morse N. Beattie volunteered into the Michigan Army National Guard 5 July 1917, just one day after the Independence Day celebration. One can only assume that during a family Fourth of July gathering, they probably shared outrage for atrocities of submarine warfare by the Germans. On Marshall's first enlistment attempt, he was told that he was seriously underweight. They suggested that he feed his 110 pound frame by consuming plenty of bananas and milk and come back later. This he did, after which he entered into service July 10. By July 18, 1917 they were headed for basic training at Camp MacArthur near Waco, Texas. It was during this time that the Michigan and Wisconsin Guard units were forged into the 32 Division under Major General William George Haan. Marshall and Morse were instated in Company C, 126th Infantry, 32 Division July 18, 1917. This division was later to be known as the valiant Red Arrow Division.

 

   
 

Marshall & Morse Beattie,
Waco Texas, 1917

 

Marshall headed
for a morning shower

 

  The men of the Red Arrow have spearheaded more attacks in two world wars that any division in US .history.

  The 32nd Infantry Division was one of the first AEF (American Expidciery Force) divisions to reach France in 1918.
The first to set foot on German Soil. It was the first U.S. Army division to see offensive action in World War II.

  The 32 nd earned its nickname and insignia the hard way, by spearheading more attacks in the two world wars than another unit in U.S. military history.

  History of the Union Army's Iron Brigade.

  The 32nd Division was composed of Michigan and Wisconsin Army National Guard volunteers. Its battle streamers are embroidered with historic campaigns of two world wars Aisne-Marne, Alsace, Champagne, Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argone, Papua, New Guinea, Leyte and Luzon. The glorious tradition goes back to the days of the Civil War.

  In the beginning, during the Civil War, the only "Wild Westerners" to fight in the eastern theater of operations with the Army of the Potomac in the terrible battles in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. During 1862 to 1865, the Iron Brigade is said to have suffered the heaviest losses of any unit in the Union Army Command, but were also some of the hardiest men under the Union flag.

  When the Civil War ended, the Iron Brigade was disbanded and the Michigan and Wisconsin men parted company, until their sons and grandsons re-united in 50 odd years later. General Orders issued by the War Department on July 11, 1917, called for the Wolverine and Badger National Guardsmen to assemble at Camp MacArthur, Waco, Texas. It was here that the 32nd Division was born.

  The 32nd Division was composed of two infantry brigades of two regiments each; and artillery brigade of three regiments, a trench mortar battery; and auxiliary troops including engineers, signal corps, ammunition and supply trains.

  The Michigan infantrymen were formed mostly in the 63rd Brigade. while the Wisconsin doughboys comprised the 64th Brigade. The old 31st, 32nd, and 33rd Michigan Guard Regiments became the 125th, 126th Infantry Regiments, US Army, and the 120th Machine Gun Battalion. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Wisconsin Guard Regiments became the 127th and 128th Infantry Regiments, U.S. Army and 121st Machine Gun Battalion. These regiments were direct descendants of Wisconsin regiments of the Iron Brigade.

  The first commanding general of the 32nd Division was an old regular, Major General James Parker, who left for France to study trench warfare methods at the outset of war. Consequently, the Division's senior brigadier general William George Haan, was reassigned as Major General. General Haan, too, came of the Iron Brigade stock. His birthplace was Indiana and soldiering was his profession. A member of West Point's class of 1889, Haan was commander of the Artillery Brigade of the Division before he became Division Command.

  General Parker never assumed command of the 32nd. When he returned to the US, he was transferred to the 85th Division at Camp Custer, Michigan.

  General Haan was officially enrolled as Division Commander in December 1917. His tough training program paid off. In December, when the 32nd Division was inspected the Army brass from the War Department, it was judged to be more advanced in its training than other divisions in the Army. The War Department told General Haan to get his command ready to move to France and promoted him to Major.

January 1918

  January and February, the Division were transported out of Waco, Texas to Camp Merritt, New Jersey, the next stop would be France. The crossing of the Atlantic was not entirely uneventful. The transport Tuscania was torpedoed by German submarines and 13 men lost their lives. The Division established its headquarters near Langres, France on Feb. 24 1918.

  The 32nd Division was in high spirits as they assembled in France but, in a matter of days, the Division's morale dropped to an all time low. The were told that the Michigan-Wisconsin Division had been assigned to establish a replacement depot for the I Corps. General Haan gathered his commanders and pointed out that it was the duty of every soldier to do whatever was best for the war effort. If the 32nd could help most by training and furnishing replacements, then that was the way it was going to be.

  In the meantime, Haan went to work quietly behind the scenes and had several stormy sessions with the AEF headquarters. By mid April, General Haan had won his point. General Pershing agreed to designate another division to the replacement depot and the 32nd was reestablish to the status as a combat division.

May 1918

  Although Britain and France had launched major offensives against the Germans in 1917, they had been unsuccessful in advancing through German lines, only sustaining heavy losses. On May 18th, 1918, four battalions of the 32nd division were assigned to front line duty in Haute Alsace, relieving French troops decimated by an enemy offensive. By June 15, 1918, they were deployed in the trenches along a 17 mile front from the Aspach le Bas to the Swiss border. In the division's baptism of fire, 40 men were killed.

  From the Alsace, the division went to the Marne district and pushed the Germans from the Ourcq River back to the Vesle River. The 32nd paid a terrible price in seven days of savage fighting for these 19 kilometers between the two rivers.

  From June through mid July 1918, however, the Division continued to hold the line of trenches from Aspach le Bas to the Rhine-Rhone Canal. Many Red Arrow units also engaged in numerous combat patrols into Germany itself. For this reason the 32nd Division could claim the distinction of being the first US troops to "set foot" on enemy soil in World War I. When it was over 722 soldiers were killed, 992 severely injured, 618 gassed, 46 missing; 75 of the wounded later died. Marshall had consumed Mustard gas during this skirmish which gave him life long respiratory ailments.

Solders of the 32nd Division after consuming mustard gas

JULY 1918

  The 32nd Division soon moved into an assembly area near Chateau-Thierry in the old Marne salient and prepared for combat. The Division's movement toward the front began on July 27 1918, as the doughboys hit the road that leads from Paris to Metz.

  On July 28 1918, General Haan and his commanders moved up to study the positions of the 3rd Division and the nearby 28th. Two days later, the 32nd Division was in the battle line. It was a time when the fresh US troops were cracking open the concept of trench warfare, as it had been practiced on the battlefields of France since 1914.

  The Aisne-Marne offensive of mid-summer 1918 began as the Divisions first full scale battle. It began with an attack by the 64th Brigade in conjunction with neighboring elements of the 28th Division. They swept forward to seize the Bois de Grimpettes, a mile beyond Ronchere, where the relief of the 3rd Division had taken place. Division troops also took the Bois de Cierge. This was a far cry from the static trench warfare of the Division experienced in Alsace. The following day, the Wisconsin-Michigan men also took over the 28th.


Men of Company C, 126 Infantry, 32 Division, rest
by the roadside near Mont. St. Martin, France, as
other troops pursue retreating Germans Aug. 6, 1918.


Marshall and his war comrades of Company C


Solders of Company C, 126th Infantry, 32nd Division,
on their way to the front near Souilly, France, Aug. 23, 1918.
(Marshall is sitting on the tailgate left side, and
Morse is sitting next to him on the right)


Machine gun nest:
This German machine gun nest burrowed into the side of a railroad elevation
near Juvigny could not be reached by artillery and had to be stormed by
members of the 128th Infantry, 32nd Division, Sept. 1, 1918 at heavy cost.

SEP 1918

  On Sept. 13, 1918, former President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to Major General William Haan, "I most heartily congratulate you, my dear Sir, on the great work of your division. By George, your men have hit hard! Will you thank the division for me? " The unit won fame under three names: Officially it was the 32nd Division; to the people of Michigan and Wisconsin it was the Red Arrow Division, and to the French who fought alongside these mid-western Americans, they were known as "Les Terribles."

  From the Vesle, the division was sent to the Soissons front. There it came under the command of the renowned French Gen. Mangin, fighting between two of the best divisions in the French army -- the Moroccans and the Foreign Legion. Together they took Juvigny. In the five-day battle against five German divisions, the 32nd suffered 2,848 casualties.

  The Red Arrow moved on to the Verdun front and from there to the Argonne-Meuse sector. It was 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, 1918. They would now take part in an assault on the Hindenburg Line. The men of the 32nd Infantry Division, had taken up positions north of the Argonne Forest, France and fought hard. The heavily fortified ridge that was, realistically, Germany's last line of defense. The Germans were dug in deep, and planned to stay put. They realized the importance of the position and were under orders to hold the line at all costs. They didn't count on the ferocity of "Les Terribles." They held positions until Oct. 4th, when during the final assault, the town of Gesnes was captured.. The Allied advances during the last five days would cause Germany to send a letter to President Wilson, requesting armistice talks.

  The 32nd broke through the Hindenburg Line and moved on the Kriemhilde Stellung line. The day before, Haan had received word that a key position on the opposing line had been captured; a report that figured heavily in the plans for a large assault to take place the next morning. When it was discovered that the position had not been captured, Haan and his brigade commanders immediately began to plan. They would have to take it before the attack began. At 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 14, the Red Arrow broke through the maze of barbed wire and took the line of trenches and the Cote Dame de Marie, which was the key to all the defenses in the vicinity. For five more days the 32nd continued to advance under nearly constant machine gun and artillery fire. The 32nd Division met and vanquished 11 German divisions in the Argonne fighting, including the fearsome Prussian Guards, and the German Army's 28th Division, known as the Kaiser's Elite troops. Those three weeks of fighting cost the division 5,950 casualties.

OCT 1918

  Haan would later describe the division as "a living power actuated by a single huge, muscular body, determined to keep moving steadfastly in one particular direction." The German position was captured, the attack successful. By the time the 32nd was relieved on Oct. 20, they had taken several miles beyond what the higher command had thought possible.

NOV 1918

  The second week of November found the division fighting on the banks of the Meuse, with another major offensive planned for the morning of Nov. 11. H-hour was planned for 7 a.m. Just 10 minutes before they were to begin their attack, news came that the armistice had been signed. The attack was aborted, but the division had to endure heavy artillery fire from the enemy until the armistice went into effect at 11 a.m., sustaining a number of casualties in those last few hours.

DEC 1918

  When the allied commander-in-chief came to select the three divisions that were to hold the bridgehead sector on the east bank of the Rhine, he picked the 32nd as one of the three, the only National Guard division to be so honored. The division crossed the Rhine on Friday, Dec. 13 1918.

Delousing: Soldiers returning from the front
had to go through delousing stations like this
one near Montfancon, Oct. 22, 1918.

  

Post Pass for Corp. Marshall Beattie, Jan 1919   Troop Billet for the freighter F.J. Luckenbach.

  Homeward Bound
32 Division troops arrive in the United States aboard
the freighter U.S.S. Luckenbach, and Wilhelm, 1919.
Next stop will be the Parade in Detroit.

MAY 1919

  Detroit rejoiced on May 18, 1919, when thousands of the men of the 32nd arrived at the Michigan Central Railroad terminal, on their way to Fort Custer. The first would arrive at noon, and more throughout the day, with the last coming in on the midnight train. The next day, Monday, was proclaimed Red Arrow Day, and began with a parade of 4,000 members of the division down Lafayette.

  As The Detroit News noted at the time, the reception did not start with a cheer: "The thousands who had crowded against the yard gates waiting for the column to form and march, turned with the swinging platoons in that mood which, because of a tightness in the throat, makes cheering impossible. These who marched on curb and sidewalk were too closely bound to the marchers for clamorous demonstration. Mothers marched and fathers and sisters marched, and girls, every one of them, with worshipful gaze on some khaki figure, some sun-browned face."

  The cheering began as the marchers came abreast of the wall of humanity waiting with the Liberty Band. Behind the marching troops, came trucks and cars with uniformed boys in wheelchairs, white-faced with pain, but smiling at the cheering crowds, at the confetti, at the pretty girls waving flags.

  Troops from the 32nd Division march down
Woodward on their return to Michigan May 12, 1919.

  Washington Boulevard, from Michigan Avenue to Grand Circus Park was turned into an open air ballroom. Two bands and an orchestra furnished the music, and Detroit in general, and the Red Cross in particular, furnished the girls. Cornmeal and wax were sprinkled over the asphalt. The dancing started in the afternoon and continued until it began to rain.

  Marshall Killick Beattie and Mildred Ellis Warner 1919.

  Marshall and Morse returned to the US in May of 1919 and shared in the honor in the celebration of Red Arrow Day, May 19, 1919. Marshall mustard out of the 126th Division, Company C, as a Corporal, along with Morse Beattie at Fort Custer, MI. Coincidentally, they both were married in that same year, Marshall Beattie to Mildred Warner, and Morse Beattie to Mildred Spriggs. When Marshall passed away in December, 1953, he was fittingly buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery, near Lawton, Michigan, along the highway named after their division. The Red Arrow Highway.

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Bibliography

Jackson Family Association, 1973
Magazine Article, Sage, Jan 1954
News paper Article by Jenny Nolan, The Detroit News
News paper Article by The Journal Times, Jan 4, 1998
History of The 126th Infantry, by Emil B. Gansser
Western Michigan University Archives, Kalamazoo, MI
Michigan State Capitol, Save The Flags Archive, Lansing, MI
Mildred Ellis Beattie
Clifford Warren Beattie
Children of Marshall Beattie
Pictures courtesy of Beattie Family Album, Government War Department Photos.


©1998, Clifford Beattie all rights reserved worldwide.



All contents and photographs within these pages are   © 1999 Ancestral Tracks
All Graphics Design   © 1999 Beattie Graphic Design   All rights reserved worldwide.

This site last Updated:    Oct 2, 2006.

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