Pixley, Rutherford Birchard, 1877- / Official war history of Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
The Marines at Chateau Thierry, pp. 93-94
U 0Marine at hateau Chpt rry Chateau Thierry! The name of that French town on the Marne lives forever in the memory of Americans. For there the United States Marines, whom Berlin had affected to pity as "untrained amateurs," stopped the rush of the famous Prussian Guards, and proved that the "amateurs" could shoot straight and did not know the meaning of the word retreat. For five days the German masses had been pressing back the French divisions, unbroken but very weary-from the Aisne to the Vesle, to the Ourcq, and finally to the Marne. They had taken Chateau Thierry and the crest over which the Paris road runs. To the west they had pushed out toward Meaux and Paris. To the east they had crossed the Marne at Dormans. That was on Memorial Day, 1918. Driving in at full speed of its cars, the Seventh Machine Gun Battalion had helped to hold the Chateau Thierry bridgehead. On the morning of June 2 the Second Division, and with it the Marine Brigade, was in line across the Paris road down the Marne. Though one of its regiments had been in France nearly a year the Brigade had seen no hard fighting. It had been seventy-two hours on the road in motor trucks, coming from reserve back of Montdidier. Late that afternoon they were attacked by huge masses of Germans advancing across a wheat field. Calmly setting their sights as if on the Quantico range, the Marines withered the German columns with rifle fire. What proved to be the last drive direct for Paris had been stopped. It was not yet the high tide of the German war machine, for after six weeks of beating against a stone wall it was to try one more big attack, up the Marne toward Epernay, in the hope of getting around what it could not break through. Meanwhile the "untrained amateurs" were to prove that they could not only hold but also could strike back. The Ger- mans had filled Belleau Wood, to the west of Chateau Thierry, with nests of machine guns. Until they were cleared out the battle of Chateau Thierry could not be considered won. On June 6 the Marines went in again to clear them out, with the villages of Torcy and Bouresches as the objectives. Companies that went in 250 strong dwindled to fifty and sixty, with a sergeant in command. Lieut. Robertson had only twenty men left of his platoon when he entered Bouresches at 9:45 p. m. It was fighting from tree to tree, in underbrush so thick that a machine gun fifty yards away could not be seen until it swept the ranks with its fire. Save by long artillery fire that would wipe out the timber the only way was with the bayonet, with perhaps but one man reaching the nest to kill the last of its defenders and turn the gun on other German positions. That is the way the Marines and their companions of the Third Regular Brigade did it. The task was not done in a day or a week. Not until July 6 was Belleau Wood finally cleared. But what the Yanks took they held. And in the memory of their valor France has decreed that Belleau Wood, whose tak- ing completed the battle of Chateau Thierry, shall be known forever as the "Wood of the United States Marines."
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