1923; Sketches by Franklin Sly; softbound with brown boards; very interesting story (see below); book in fair condition with some worn edges but is a great memory.
The Lost Battalion is the name given to the nine companies of the United States 77th Division, roughly 554 men, isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before the 194 remaining men were rescued. They were led by Major Charles White Whittlesey. On 2 October, the 77th launched an attack into the Argonne, under the belief that French forces were supporting their left flank and two American units including the 92nd Infantry Division were supporting their right. Within the 77th sector some units including Whittlesey's 1-308th Infantry were making significant headway. Unknown to Whittlesey's unit, the units to their left and right had been stalled. Without this knowledge, the units that would become known as the Lost Battalion moved beyond the rest of the Allied line and found themselves surrounded by German forces. For the next six days, suffering heavy losses, the men of the Lost Battalion and the American units desperate to relieve them would fight a terrific battle in the Argonne Forest.
The battalion suffered many hardships. Food was scarce and water was available only by crawling, under fire, to a nearby stream. Ammunition ran low. Communications were also a problem, and at times they would be bombarded by shells from their own artillery. As every runner dispatched by Whittlesey either became lost or ran into German patrols, carrier pigeons became the only method of communicating with headquarters. In an infamous incident on 4 October, inaccurate coordinates were delivered by one of the pigeons and the unit was subjected to friendly fire. The unit was saved by another pigeon, Cher Ami,