Letters Home: The 332nd Infantry

Camp Sherman (Image from http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org)

More Young Men Go To Camp Today

Nineteen Of Registered Men Leave For Training At Chillicothe.

LESLIE S. MOORE IN CHARGE OF MEN

Capt. A. Martin Graham Goes Part Way With Group On Trip.

New Castle’s latest contribution to Camp Sherman left this morning as scheduled. The nineteen young men accepted for service were on hand promptly this morning at the city building. They left that building shortly after 8:15 a.m. escorted by the Croton school drum corps directed by Prof. Hoffmuster, members of the G.A.R., the Lawerence Rifles, Mayor Newell and Councilmen Burns and Whaley and other citizens of the community.

They were taken to the P.& L.E. station, where a good sized crowd was on hand to bid them farewell. Their train left at 8:48 p.m.

The men were in charged of Leslie S. Moore, who had as his aides Edgar Thompson and John McNulty. Attorney A.M. Graham accompanied the boys a part of the way to see that they got the proper start.

The Croton drum corps had fifteen members out, the younger boys having been ordered to stay at home by the leader, owing to the expectation that the extreme cold weather of yesterday would still continue this morning.

The boys leaving this morning were:

Edward Anderson
Harold S. Johnston
Andrew J. Quinn
John Schrader
Howard Kirkwood
Leslie S. Moore
John P.G. Hirschinger
Pietro Scalero
J. Allen McNulty
Joseph Dawson
Harry Penrose
George Slack
Edgar Thompson
Wm. Joseph Heinrich
Joseph Embleton
Bernard Rosenblum
Russell W. Hiles
Walter Gunter
Simeon Cumberledge.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Feb 6, 1918

Soldiers Send Notes Of Thanks
Comfort Packet Committee Receives Responses From the Various Recipients Daily

[Excerpt]

Dear Madam:

Through your kindness I received a Comfort Packet before leaving home, and not until I arrived in camp did I realize what a valuable gift I had received.
Every article is of use to a soldier, and is certainly appreciated by all. Conditions here are very good (in my opinion) and the training received here will be of great benefit both at present and in the future.

Thanking you and your co-workers for your kindness, I remain,

Yours truly,
Walter Gunter,
Med. Detachment,
332nd Infantry,
Camp Sherman.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Mar 8, 1918

From Enoch Gunter.
Enoch Gunter of Mill street, received this from his son, Walter:
Italy, July 30, 1918.

Dear Dad:

In the land of song! And it is really the most beautiful place one could imagine. Had a fine trip through the Alps and saw some of the most famous resorts in the world. The scenery is so wonderful that one would have to see it to really know how beautiful it is. At the base of the mountains they farm and raise fine garden products and fruit and farther up the mountainside wheat is the principal crop; then there is space where there is no vegetation, till finally the mountain peaks disappear into the clouds.

The railroad through the mountains runs through more than thirty tunnels, one of them seven miles long. We saw two of the largest cities of Italy and the reception the Italians gave up was fine.

Sunday night I slept in an old palace and it is surely a fine place. Last night I spent in a school house; it is a fine building and we are quartered here for the time being.

Yesterday I visited a monument where there are three thousand skulls and bones of all the men killed in the last battle of 1876. The battle was fought within a mile of this place and these bones were placed in this monument and it is interesting to see them. There are many old castles around here and if possible I intend to visit them. Will write again soon.

Your loving son, WALTER.

Walter Gunter,
Med. Dept. 332nd Inf.,
American E.F. in Italy.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Aug 29, 1918

FROM JAY McNULTY.

Mr. and Mrs. J.W. McNulty of Volant have received the following letter from their son, Jay A. McNulty:

Back in Austria,
Jan. 26, 1919.

Dear Father and Mother:

I am out of Montenegro again, but most of the fellows are still there. I was taken sick on an outpost and laid around for a week or more, then I was taken down where the climate is more mild.

The lack of food and exposure finally got to me, although it was a long time coming. We have been getting all we can eat for a week or more. I am beginning to feel a lot better, or else I would not be writing to you that I have not been well. Will be O.K. soon, especially if I continue to eat good. We are getting more and better food now than we have had for seven months. In one of your letters you asked me what we had for our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Well, for Thanksgiving breakfast I had colored water and one-half slice of black bread with brown bugs in it, and for dinner about four tablespoonsful of macaroni cooked in water, and a little piece of black bread, and no supper at all. Christmas was just a repetition of Thanksgiving, only we had three meals instead of two. But I just want to tell you what we had for dinner today: Potatoes and gravy, brown bread without any bugs, bacon, coffee, and all of it that we could eat. Now, isn’t that fine? My, how we did enjoy it.

I received your letters of December 20 and 26. Am sorry that you are not getting my letters. I write to you quite often. Hope you are getting my letters by now. I will be glad to get back to the good old States again. Since coming across seas I have seen soldiers of every creed and color. Men from every part of the world. This was has certainly been a ponderous affair. Well, by-by for this time.

Your loving son,

JAY.
Jay A. McNulty, 332nd Inf., A.E.F.,
Italy, 901 C.A.P.O.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Mar 8, 1919

Make Exceptionally Fine Record In Austrian Defeat And In Diplomatic Campaign.
Losses Small In Battle — Best Trained Regiment In War — What Colonel Says.

The 332nd Infantry of which so many New Castle boys, who trained at Camp Sherman, O., are members, accomplished everything that it was called upon to do in the Italian offensive that put Austria out of the world war, as may be seen by the laudatory letter addressed to the members of its regiment by its colonel William Wallace.

A copy of this letter of commendation, which tells the history of the work of the regiment, the only Americans in Italy was received by Mrs. Ben McCann, whose husband, a well known employee of the New Castle post office, is a member of the regiment. The letter of commendation follows:

Colonel William Wallace - Italy

Above picture and others can be found at this Italian website.

Headquarters 332nd Infantry,
Treviso, Italy,
Dec. 6, 1918.

From Col. William Wallace, 332nd Infantry.
To the officers and enlisted men of the 332nd Infantry:
Subject: The 332nd Infantry, U.S.A. in Italy.

The Italian campaign of the 332nd Infantry has been exceedingly creditable. The government, state and friends of the regiment have reason to be greatly pleased and the soldiers composing it to be rather proud of themselves and of each other for the rather excellent manner in which they have adjusted themselves to unaccustomed conditions and borne themselves through many trying experiences.

The regiment had two missions. One of fight if occasion arose. The other, to act as a propagandist or diplomatic agent.

As to the fighting. Some regretted not being thrown into battle immediately on arrival. This could not be. There was no fighting taking place, the activity on the Italian front consisting solely in the exchange of occasional artillery compliments. Moreover, we were not sufficiently trained. So the time that might have been wasted in boresome guard duty in unhealthy trenches was spent in better fitting us to fight. The result was that no other regiment ever underwent so thorough a course of battle tactics as did this under the tutelage of Major Allegretti’s 23rd Assault Battalion of Ardittles. It was as near the real thing as training can be made. And for those who still cherish regret for lost time, it may be said that there seemed to be more warlike activity around the training camps of the 332nd Infantry than at any other place on the Italian front. The instruction was ideal and marred only by the deplorable accident which killed six and injured 50.

Owing to the time, the place and the occasion, these comrades of ours are, and should be, held as reverently in our memories as though their death and wounding had occurred in combat with the enemy.

In order to hold a place for the regiment when the advance should take place and actual fighting begin, one battalion was sent to take over a section of the Piave trenches. It received high praise from all superiors for its conduct there. Three weeks later the rest of the regiment was moved to Treviso, to be put in readiness for the expected offensive. Ten days’ hard marching followed. No doubt it hurt, but if it had not been exacted, the regiment, despite its previous training, would never have reached the Tagliamento with any integrity left. As it was, when the order to move against the Austrians came, and crossing the Piave, the hard marches that ensued were accomplished in a manner that would have been creditable to veterans. We were honored by being made, during the advance, the advance guard of the 31st Italian division (Major Gen. DeAngells) of the Tenth Italian army (Gen. Cav??). This is, we were an American regiment in the Italian division of a British army, and in a position showing utmost confidence by both our allies. That the regiment did not fail this confidence, the attached letters of approval by our generals fully show.

During the advance, Austrian rear guard action by means of machine gun patrols and nests were momentarily expected, and in all probability, heavier and more determined stands at river crossings. But the Austrians seemed bent only on getting away and paused only to break all bridges to delay our march. Not until the Tagliamento was reached, on November 3, was it possible to catch up. Here (at Ponte della Delizia) the enemy made a slight opposition to our crossing. The second battalion was ordered to clear the way. During the night it fled across a single plank foot bridge and deployed in position to the gravel bed of the river. About four platoons of other battalions had forded the river during the day and were in position farther to the right. Sixteen machine guns were in place in the line. The third battalion awaited on the bank up the river and the first battalion stood in readiness as reserve, both to be called upon to re-enforce the attack if by any chance it should be checked. At 5 a.m. the attacking line advanced. The Austrian machine guns and riflemen fired upon our advancing line. The line, however, moved steadily forward and in about 20 minutes charged, going over the top in a line as perfect as at drill, and with a cheer that could have been heard a mile, took the position and started the pursuit.

Only one man was killed and six wounded. The Austrain fire had swept the ground only a short distance to the rear of the advancing single line. The second battalion was halted at Codroipo, four miles to the front, and the only engagement of the campaign was completed. Small as it was it showed your metal and it proved pure gold.

Corp. Charles A. Kell, the American killed, was probably the last man of any allied nation to lay down his life for our just cause on the Italian front.

At 11:19 a.m. the armistice was signed and the war, one of whose great purposes was the restoration of Italy’s integrity, was won. Italy’s ancient foe was humbled beyond possibility of recovery, her lost provinces reconquered, and, let up hope, her people again cemented together in bonds of lasting loyalty to her good king and government.

To have had your part in all this and played that part well is great credit to yourselves and a good heritage of honor for your children.

As for the diplomatic part of the mission. That was of deepest concern. In a land where the language was unspoken by us, where many ideas, customs and manners differed radically from our own, where the people were sensitive and likely to be jarred by our American brusqueness, for 4,000 of us to live and march among them for four months without a note of friction, is simply marvelous. What praise you may get for having “the fighting spirit” is as nothing in comparison to the credit due all for the self-restraint that imposed upon yourselves a more tempered conduct than we are likely to employ even at home.

In the reorganization of the regiment back in France when it was ordered to Italy, it was asked that it might be made up not only of soldiers but gentlemen, without any of the latter’s bad habits, such as late rising and certain prejudices against work. This was a joke — a dream — then, but a realty now.

You have more than fulfilled expectations.

Thank you,

WILLIAM WALLACE,
Colonel 332nd Infantry,
Commanding.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jan 27, 1919

Plans For Demonstration Are About Complete — Big Dinner At Armory — Decorations To Be Presented To Regiment By Italian Government —

Harry Penrose Is Last To Arrive Of Local Contingent — News Of Local Boys Who Arrived On Canopic

BY ORVILLE J. BROWN,
News Correspondent.

NEW YORK, April 16. — Plans for the parade of the 332nd regiment in this city are about completed. The parade will move at 10 o’clock on Monday morning, from Washington Square, proceeding up Fifth avenue to 102nd street, a distance of about 94 blocks or nearly five miles.

At this point the regiment will swing into Central Park, where General Emilio Guglielmotti, respresenting the Italian government will carry out the program of decorating the regiment. The program here will be quite formal.

From Central Park the 332nd boys will go to the Sixty-ninth regiment armory on Lexington avenue, as guests of the mayor’s committee at dinner. Governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, along with Mayor Hylan of New York, the Italian ambassador, Italian and other foreign consuls and notables will review the parade.

The Italian societies will occupy a reviewing grandstand at 92nd street, and will fall in line at this point, going to Central Park to take part in the ceremonies.

The parade and ceremonies are being arranged by the members of the mayor’s welcoming committee. Italian organizations of New York are taking great interest in the program.

New Castle and Lawrence County boys are rather eager to have the New York parade over with, as they are anxious to get back to Pennsylvania and New Castle.

The third ship which sailed from Italy, which carries some of the regiment, the Dante Alighieri, is expected to arrive in port Thursday. No message had been received until 11 o’clock this morning as to its time of making port.

Penrose Comes on Third Ship.

Among those who arrived on the Canopic and who were very evident among the returned vets were Bernard Rosenblum, Joe Dawson, John Hershinger, Walter Gunter, Jerry McNulty, William Robison, former New Castle boy, Joh Hares, Pvt. Hanselman and Arthur Flack.

Harry Penrose, prominent New Castle boy did not get in on either of the first two ships. He is due to arrive on the Dante Alighieri which docks today or tomorrow. His father, H.S. Penrose will be at the pier in time to greet him.

Rosenblum is still up to his old tricks. While waiting in the messline on the pier, he tossed a roll of tinfoil at the News man and hit his commanding officer in the eye.

“We’ll shoot you at sunrise for that, Rosenblum” said his C.O. “Bunny” is the pep of his company and carried his mandolin all through the campaign. Besides that he bought another in Genoa which he brought back with him. He says the local boys had it easy compared to what the boys in France went through, but it was pretty rough in spots.

“Bunny” is tired of parading and want to get home as soon as possible.

Hares Had Tonsillitis.

Job Hares had a slight touch of the tonsillitis on the trip home but is alright now. He says he is coming straight home to New Castle.

William Robison is a former New Castle boy who says he has a warm spot in his heart for New Castle and would like to come back and see the old town again.

Walter Gunter, who was with the medical detachment of his regiment saw about all of Italy there was to see. He was detached from the regiment and stationed at Dalmatia for three months. Besides, he was on a trip for supplies which took 44[?] days.

Arthur Flack says he is anxious to get back to the quietness of Volant again. He is one of a family of 5 sons serving in the army. One gave his life for his country.

Joe Dawson is very popular with his outfit. He says is glad he is on his last lap home now. He claims that the boys never saw white bread while they were in Italy and although the food was coarse, the boys got fat on it.

McNulty and Hershinger are two others who are glad to be back in their native heath again, and aren’t crying about hard luck.

The officers of the 332nd claim that the men received good food while they were in Italy with the exception of the time they were at the front, and then they were after the Austrians so hard that the field kitchens did not have time to catch up to them.

Hard Trip Home.

The Canopic had a hard time weathering the trip back. She was forced to spend five days at Gibralter for coaling and were unable to get attention at first, as there was a strike on. The ship listed [?] all the way over and it was with difficulty that she was tied up to the deck.

Major Gen. Emilioy[?], Guglielmotti, Italian military attache at Washington and Lieut. Camillo de Carlo, were the first to board the Canopic and greet Lieut. Col. Elverson, who was in command of the detachment.

Col. Elverson denied the stories that had circulated about the boys receiving poor food and complimented the men of the regiment for their splendid morale in teh face of the hardships which they had to face.

Major Gen. Guglielmotti will go to Camp Sherman when the regiment is mustered out to do them the honors for the Italian Government.

Lieut. Floyd Miller of Springfield, O., who is in command of F. company in which most of the New Castle boys who arrived yesterday belong, complimented the local boys in his outfit and said they were there at all times.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Apr 16, 1919

*****

Read more about the 332nd Infantry:

Title: In Italy with the 332nd Infantry
Author: Joseph L. Lettau
Publisher: J.L. Lettau, 1921 (Google book LINK)

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11 Responses to “Letters Home: The 332nd Infantry”

  1. Scott Roberts Says:

    My great-grandfather was a member of the 332nd Infantry during WWI Roscoe Lee Roberts. He was from West Virginia.

  2. Herman Schiller Says:

    My grandfather, Private Herman Schiller served in the 332nd Infantry Regiment’s machine-gun company. He was from New York City but went to Cleveland, Ohio to sign up for the Ohio Doughboy Division. He was with the regiment’s main effort (the 2nd Battalion) in the battle of Vittorio-Veneto. When the regiment deactivated at the end of the war, he returned to New York. His first stop was at his father’s tailor shop. He was wearing his doughboy uniform. One of his father’s employees was a young Polish immigrant named Ruth. Herman and Ruth were married that year and eventually had 5 kids. I never met my grandfather. He died 5 years before I was born, but I am named after him. My dad is a Vietnam combat veteran and I’m an Iraqi Campaign combat veteran. Three generations of combat veterans. I wish I could have met my grandfather.

    • oldnews Says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. And THANK YOU and all your family for your service to our country; I truly appreciate it, as do many others. America wouldn’t be America without those of you who fight (and have fought) to protect us. Thanks again.

  3. stephen lakios Says:

    My father Steve Lakios served in the 332nd infantry regiment, 2nd Battalion. He told me tons of stories of his and his fellows lives in the campaign. I believe the 332nd was instrumental in ending WW1.
    Steve Lakios born Icaria Greece 1893 died on Icaria 1977. Where he retired..
    He lived most of his life in Cleveland Ohio, three Children,Penny, Stephen (me) and Joy. He owned and operated three restaurants.
    He was extremely proud of his 332nd experience, and i remember many of his 332nd buddies would meet in Cleveland’s public square to retell their experiences over and over.
    I heard a thousand stories of it, when i was old enough to understand. My ancestors were Spartans, every male on both sides of my family have fought in wars for this country since the Civil war.

    • oldnews Says:

      Steven, Thank you for sharing this piece of history. What a neat thing that they would gather and retell their experiences and that he shared your ancestral history as well. That is almost a lost tradition, it seems, these days.

  4. Danny Says:

    What is the difference in the 332nd Infantry Machine Gun
    Co. and the 332nd Machine Gun Company. Is it the same and are there company’s within the Machine Gun Company. I know there are Battery’s in an Artillery Regiment. Thank you and God Bless.

    • oldnews Says:

      Co. Is an abbreviation for company. You might google the other stuff; I don’t know without looking it up myself.

  5. Cesare Farinelli Says:

    I write from Valeggio sul Mincio, Verona, Italy, a little town in which the 332nd stay in the summer of 1918. I’m looking for pics that show the american camp and training camp where the special italian corps of Arditi works with the Americans. Can you help me? Thanks for all.
    Mr. Cesare Farinelli

  6. Janet Says:

    I have a uniform that I believe belonged to a solider with the 332nd. I have the collar disk and a patch with the lettering “P of E”. I can not find documentation as to what the “P of E” means. Can yo offer any assistance?

  7. Major Adam Aurelia, US Army Says:

    Thank you so much for your family’s service! I work in the Operations Section of the 83rd United States Army Reserve Readiness Training Center (USARRTC). In 2013 our unit adopted the lineage of the 83rd Infantry Division (ID). The 332nd Infantry Regiment detached from the 83rd ID to support the Italian army during WWI. The current Soldiers of the 83rd USARRTC are incredibly proud to share this profound lineage with the only US force engaged in combat on the Italian-Austrian front. This summer (2017), the 83rd USARRTC will honor the centennial of both WWI and the 83rd ID activation through a series of events on Fort Knox, KY. If you have any interest in participating, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Very Respectfully,

    Adam Aurelia
    MAJ, EN
    83rd USARRTC Plans Officer

    Phone: 502-626-2276
    Email: adam.m.aurelia.mil@mail.mil
    83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center (USARRTC)
    Fort Knox, KY 40121

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