"As I listened to those songs (of the
West Point glee club), in memory's eye
I could see those staggering columns of
the First World War, bending under
soggy packs, on many a weary march
from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn,
slogging ankle deep through the mire
of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly
for the attack, blue lipped, covered with
sludge and mud, chilled by the wind
and rain, driving home to their
objective, and for many, to the
judgement of God.
I do not know the dignity of their
birth, but I do know the glory of their
They died unquestioning,
uncomplaining, with faith in their
hearts, and on their lips the hope that
we would go on to victory.
Always, for them, Duty, Honor,
Country; always their blood and sweat
and tears, as we sought the way and
the light and the truth. "
Douglas MacArthur, address at West
|Delaware Military History
|A World War I Chronology
Jul 23, The 1st Regiment, National Guard of Delaware,
left Wilmington for its summer encampment in
5 Oct, The battleship USS Delaware, carrying 827
sailors and 55 officers, sailed into Wilmington.
Governor Pennewill presented a silver tea set to its
captain and crew after it docked in the Delaware River
off Deep Water Point.
Aug. 4, Vacationing in Europe, Delaware Gov. Charles
R. Miller and his wife were temporarily detained when
their German-American liner was impounded in
England due to the outbreak of World War I.
Nov. 29, The 2nd worst explosion occurred at the
DuPont's Powder Mills along the Brandywine killing
30 people and injuring 5.
Jan 31, A war scare over Germany was heightened in
Wilmington when a mysterious 'aeroplane' was
spotted flying over DuPont's gunpowder plants across
the Delaware River at Carney's and Deepwater
March 30, Ernest Schiller a lone German "pirate"
seized the SS Matoppo and was apprehended the next
day on the shores near Lewes.
Jun 30 Delaware National Guardsmen were sent to
Deming, New Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa.
Jul 20, With World War I raging in Europe, the First
Delaware Infantry was mustered into Federal service at
the State Rifle Range south of New Castle.
Feb. 7, The Delaware National Guard arrived back in
Wilmington from chasing Pancho Villa in Deming,
April 6, United States declares war on Germany
May 13, Construction was underway on Fort
Saulsbury at Slaughter Beach for protection of the
Delaware Bay during WWI.
Jun 15, William Cornish entertained at a school picnic
near Harrington with war and patriotic songs and
playing Billy Sunday's hymns on his Victrola.
Jul 21, Pilot Allen Ashley Smith, a 25 year old
Delaware Aeronautical School student from Brooklyn
died when his Thomas flying boat crashed in the
June 26, The Wilmington Aeronautical School flew a
mock air attack on the City of Wilmington with the
dropping of leaflets. Pretending the leaflets could be
German bombs, the feat sought to encourage men
from 18-45 to enlist in the military.
Aug. 19, The Delaware National Guard left for
maneuvers at Camp McClellan in Anniston, Alabama.
Nov. 15, The Kent Co. draft board received a letter
from a woman who thought her estranged husband
should be drafted.
Dec. 5, First Lt. Paris T. Carlisle, III, on returning home
from military service, was shown the Milford Fire
Company's new fire truck. After he was killed in battle
less than a year later in France, the company was
named after him.
Dec 6, Roy Rinard of Wilmington aboard the Von
Steuben witnessed a gigantic explosion in Halifax,
Nova Scotia harbor resulting from the collision of an
ammunition ship with another.
May 28, U-151, a German submarine commanded by
Captain Nostlitz, entered the Delaware Bay and laid
several mines which disrupted shipping off the coast
with several sinkings.
Jul 3, Referred to as the "work or fight" law, new
legislation required all men between the ages of 18-55
to be at some gainful employment at the height of
World War I.
Jul 18, Aviator Lawrence Layton of Milford, nephew of
former Secretary of State Caleb R. Layton, died in
aerial combat over France.
Jul 22, Delaware troops in the 77th Division, composed
mostly of Jersey troops, fought the Germans in the
Aisne-Marne District in France.
Jul 27, The younger brother of General John W.
O'Daniel of Newark, Lieutenant James A. O'Daniel, a
flyer, was killed at the front over France.
Jul 31, The steamer Poseidon collided with a tanker
carrying coal from Boston to Norfolk and sank off the
Delaware coast. Thirty-three men were brought into
Aug 5, Amanda M. Smyth, age 81, widow of General
Thomas Smyth, one of the last general officers to die in
the Civil War, passed away at home at 1401 Rodney
Street in Wilmington. She outlived her husband 53
Aug. 26, Twenty-two year old Lt. Lawrence Roberts of
Wilmington was killed in an aerial dogfight over
Cambrai, France while serving with the 17th Aero
Aug. 29.With war raging in Europe, Delaware's 59th
Pioneer Infantry embarked on the Leviathan at
Hoboken, N. J. for Brest, France.
Sep 7, The 59th Pioneer Infantry, Delaware Regiment,
disembarked at Brest, France.
Sep 12, Newark's Lt. John W. O'Daniel was awarded
the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in
helping close the St. Mihiel salient in France. His
younger brother, Lt. James A. O'Daniel, a flyer, had
been killed 6 weeks earlier over France.
Oct. 7, Ruth MacGregor, one of Delaware's few female
casualties in World War I, died of influenza enroute to
Oct 9, Cpl. Walter Fox died of wounds becoming the
first casualty in WW I from Dover.
Oct. 17, Soon after reading his letter, James Swift's
mother in Wilmington received a telegram stating he
had been killed in the war.
Nov. 9, The US Navy freighter Saetia was hit by a
mine off Fenwick Island and sank.
November 11, 1918 Armistice is Declared, War Ends
Nov. 12, The Milford Fire Company changed its name
to the Paris T. Carlisle Company in deference to the
Milford soldier killed in France in the last days of
World War I.
Dec 23, Raymond Acker of Delaware City was one of
the soldiers who accompanied President Woodrow
Wilson's peace mission to Paris.
Jan 22, Wilmington soldiers in the 59th Pioneer
Infantry Thomas Davis, Harvey Hadley, Howard
Johnson, and John Chandler were killed in a mine
explosion in Rehon, France.
At the conclusion of “The Great War” on June 29,
1919, the 59th Pioneer Infantry Regiment, Delaware
National Guard, sailed from Brest France arriving at
Hoboken on July 5.
Nov. 11, Town leaders in Middletown dedicated a
monument at Four Corners, or Cochran Square
recalling four servicemen who died in World War I.
Apr 17, Middletown planted trees in the yard of the
Academy commemorating Jeremiah Jackson, Davis
Manlove, Rupert Burstan, and John Hoffecker who
didn't come back home from World War I.
Sep 2, A 40 man crew was rescued from the US Navy
S-5 231 foot submarine as it foundered in 170 feet of
water at the mouth of Delaware Bay.
Dec. 23, The Washington Street Bridge, dedicated to
Delaware's war dead, was opened in Wilmington.
and Memorials of
World War I
Wilmington. The Washington
Street Memorial Bridge, dedicated to
Delaware's war dead, was opened in
Wilmington after rebuilding in 1920
and formally dedicated on Memorial
Day 1922 as the Washington
Memorial Bridge. On the bridge are
plaques with the names of all of
Delaware's dead from previous wars,
and some of their battles. Eagles and
pylons provide architectural
As in many places across the
country, trees were planted for lost
ones who did not come home after
the war. Such was the case in
Wilmington when in 1928 some
twenty trees were planted along
Bayard Boulevard (now Bancroft
Parkway) in memory of departed
The Todd Memorial also known as
the The Victory Monument honors
those who fought in World War I. It
is a 35 foot granite sculpture paid for
by the local shipbuilder with a figure
of Winged Victory at the top. It is
located at 18th Street and Baynard
Boulevard. On Armistice Day, 11
November 1925, over 9,000 people
gathered there to see the William H.
Todd Memorial unveiled. Warm
weather and cloudless skies helped
insure the good turnout for a
ceremony to honor the Delaware
soldiers and sailors who had died in
World War I.
The memorial that Todd donated to
Wilmington in 1925 is a bronze
sculpture, “Winged Victory,”
created by Augustus Lukeman.
Mounted on a rectangular granite
pier, it is set in a circular plaza in
front of a thirty-five-foot granite
Cast at the Roman Bronze Works,
the larger than- life winged figure is
a woman in classical dress, her arms
raised and a branch grasped in
her left hand. Stylized arrows bound
by bands decorate the granite shaft
near the top and an urn-shaped
sculpture surmounts it. At the foot of
the plaza, a granite base bears a
bronze plaque listing the names of
the 262 Delawareans “Who
Died in the Service of their Country
The granite plinth on which the
bronze figure stands is carved with
the words “Erected in Honor
of the/Soldiers and Sailors/of
Delaware/WhoServed in the World
War/1917—1918/A Gift of
William H. Todd/in Memory of His
Father and Mother/1925.”
University of Delaware, WWI
Marker near Old College inscribed:
1917, 1918 In honor of the rural men
of New Castle County who entered
the military service of their country
on this spot during the First World
War. This tablet is erected by the
University of Delaware and the
Community of Newark."
University of Delaware, Memorial
Hall, Book of the Dead
The Memorial Book honors
Delaware's World War I dead, which
is displayed in a glass-covered case in
the lobby of Memorial Hall. On each
page is the name and biography of a
Delawarean who lost his or her life
while serving in the military during
World War I.
Memorial Hall (then Memorial
Library) was conceived in 1918 at
the end of World War I by UD
trustee H. Rodney Sharp as a living
monument to “the memory of the
men and women in this state who
took part in the war.” To emphasize
that purpose, a book was compiled
with each page containing the names
and biographies of those
Delawareans who died in “the World
Middletown. Nov. 11, 1919, Town
leaders in Middletown dedicated a
monument at Four Corners, or
Cochran Square recalling four
servicemen who died in World War I.
Kiwanis Park, Seaford. The parks
and recreation department unveiled
a 10-foot-tall stone memorial in 1987
that lists the names of Seaford
residents who died in World War I,
World War II, Vietnam and Iraq.
The park is on Stein Highway.
Delaware veterans cemeteries.
The New Castle County cemetery is
at 2465 Chesapeake City Road,
Summit. The 52-acre site is the final
resting place for veterans of all wars
since World War I. Fifteen markers
represent the Delaware Medal of
Honor recipients although only one,
James P. Connor, is buried there. The
62-acre Sussex County Cemetery is
at 26669 Patriots Way in Millsboro.
A veteran of the Spanish-American
War is buried there as well as
servicemen from World War II, the
Korean, Vietnam and Iraq wars.
|Delaware Military History
Delaware in World War I
All photos courtesy of the Delaware Military
Heritage and Education Foundation collection.
Not yet will those measureless
fields be green again
Where only yesterday the wild
sweet blood of wonderful youth
There is a grave whose earth
must hold too long, too deep a
Though for ever over it we may
speak as proudly as we may
-- From "The Cenotaph" by
“He had come to America, haven of peace
and liberty, and it, too, was joining the
slaughter, fighting for the big capitalists.
There was no peace for men, only murder,
― James T. Farrell, Studs Lonigan
“My centre is giving way, my right is in
retreat, situation excellent. I attack.”
― French Marshall Ferdinand Foch
“All blood runs red.”
― Phrase painted on the side of the plane flown by
Eugene Bullard , the the first American black
combat pilot in World War I.
“No commander was ever privileged to lead a finer
force; no commander ever derived greater
inspiration from the performance of his troops.”
― John J. Pershing
“Yesterday I visited the battlefield of last year.
The place was scarcely recognisable. Instead of a
wilderness of ground torn up by shell, the
ground was a garden of wild flowers and tall
grasses. Most remarkable of all was the
appearance of many thousands of white
butterflies which fluttered around. It was as if
the souls of the dead soldiers had come to haunt
the spot where so many fell. It was eerie to see
them. And the silence! It was so still that I could
almost hear the beat of the butterflies’ wings.”
-- Unnamed officer in 1919
Would you like to know more?
We recommend the following
book available from Delaware
Bookstores and the History Press
Delaware in World War One
Delaware’s experience in the Great War was
that of an awakening. What had merchants
was rapidly transformed into a dynamic,
economically thriving society. From the
immense munitions contribution of the
DuPont Company to burgeoning
shipbuilding on the Wilmington
waterfront, the First State took a leading
role in meeting the war’s industrial
demand. It fortified coastal defenses and
thwarted U-boat attacks on its coast. Its
men and women learned of valor and
sacrifice as thousands of native sons fought
in Europe and daughters volunteered on
the homefront. Author Kennard R. Wiggins
Jr. traces the history that changed the state