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History of the Regiment
Shortly after the arrival of the commissioned personnel, the first selected men arrived, and the task of welding them into what became the 314th Infantry was under way. Ten months of drill, and all the training that goes to make up a soldier, were indulged in before the regiment was pronounced fit for overseas duty.
In those ten months, thousands of soldiers who served with many other divisions passed in and out of Camp Meade, from rookies to finished products ready for the line.
On July 6, 1918, just as dusk was spreading its mantle over the camp, the regiment entrained for overseas duty. An all-night ride, a sight of lower New York and up the gangplank of the giant Leviathan. Quarters assigned, the omnicurious doughboys made their usual inspection of the liner.
The following night, with life-belts tied firmly around each man's chest and standing on deck to get a last, long view of home, the Leviathan steamed down the harbor. The Statue of Liberty, the skyscrapers and the cheering throngs on every available vantage point wished the regiment Godspeed. The last sight of land came as the Leviathan passed out into the bay, the lights of Coney Island flashing in the distance.
Six days later the transport dropped anchor in the harbor of Brest, and the Regiment disembarked on lighters to be deposited on shore. A hike to the outskirts of Brest, a rainstorm, during which packs had to be rolled, and into the traveling pullmans dear to the doughboys' hearts, 40 hommes and 8 chevaux.
A tedious ride to the vicinity of the tenth training area, which included such historic villages as Frettes, Argilleres, Pierrecourt, Larret, Gilley and Genevrieres, where until trained to the minute and equipped for battle, the regiment left for Fains. Two days along the Meuse and off to the front.
September 13th found the Regiment moving to the vicinity of Recicourt, after being held in Fains as a reserve during the St. Mihiel drive.
Quick movements, always at night, found the regiment in the front-line trenches of Hill 304 at midnight, September 25th. Five-thirty that morning, and up and over. Malancourt fell first to the regiment; Fayel Farm came next; Bois de Tuilleries, the strong point in front of Montfaucon; the woods at the right of the city, that enabled the 314th to finish its task; Nantillois and beyond, where, on September 30th, the Third Division relieved.
The fighting success of the 314th Infantry had been assured. Then followed nights of tortuous marching to the Meuse, where for two days the regiment was in support of the 316th Infantry. Back for a brief rest, and packed up again for the march.
On October 31st, "Halloween Night," the Regiment moved silently into Death Valley north of Verdun to relieve the remnants of the 26th Division. Eight days of acting as the pivot, while the remainder of the division joined us and then over in the darkness.
In three days the Regiment captured Etraye, Wavrille, Gibercy, Crepion and Moirey. The morning of November 10th found Hill 328 in possession of the Regiment, and that evening before dusk, in a spectacular rush, Cote 319. Cote Romagne was in the process of being taken when runners, at 10:45 on the morning of the 11th, reached the Regiment to announce that an armistice had been signed. When firing had ceased it was found that the 314th Infantry had made the farthest advance into the German lines of the American Army.
A month of remaining on the dormant front, long hikes and, finally, St. Nazaire. Delousing and all its attending ills, and homeward bound on the Princess Matoika. Ten days later and the Regiment was steaming into New York harbor with a happy boatload of doughboys. Camp Dix was the next and last stopping place, where the regiment was demobilized.
The reference to "40 hommes and 8 chevaux" in the above text,
"The Forty and Eight draws it's origin from World War I when young Americans
were sent to France to fight a war to end all wars. The narrow gauge railroads
of France had boxcars (voitures) that carried little more than half the capacity of
American boxcars and these voitures were used to transport men and
horses to and from the fighting fronts. On the side of these little boxcars was
stenciled the capacity of each, holding either forty men or eight horses,
and these voitures became the trademark of our organization.
If one could laugh at the train ride from the coast of France to the trenches
crowded in these little boxcars, only recently vacated by eight horses,
one could surely adapt to the changes in his life when he returned home.
Those who nobly served our Nation in war, would henceforth as Forty and
Eight Members, charitably serve our communities in peace."
If one could laugh at the train ride from the coast of France to the trenches crowded in these little boxcars, only recently vacated by eight horses, one could surely adapt to the changes in his life when he returned home. Those who nobly served our Nation in war, would henceforth as Forty and Eight Members, charitably serve our communities in peace."