Original U.S. WWI 26th Infantry Division Named Uniform Set With Documents and Research - “Yankee Division”

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Set Available. The 26th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the United States Army. A major formation of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, it was based in Boston, Massachusetts for most of its history. Today, the division's heritage is carried on by the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

Formed on 18 July 1917 and activated 22 August 1917 at Camp Edwards, MA, consisting of units from the New England area, the division's commander selected the nickname "Yankee Division" to highlight the division's geographic makeup. Sent to Europe in World War I as part of the American Expeditionary Forces, the division saw extensive combat in France. Sent to Europe once again for World War II, the division again fought through France, advancing into Germany and liberating the Gusen concentration camp before the end of the war.

Following the end of World War II, the division remained as an active command in the National Guard, gradually expanding its command to contain units from other divisions which had been consolidated. However, the division was never called up to support any major contingencies or see major combat, and was eventually deactivated in 1993, reorganized as a brigade under the 29th Infantry Division.

This wonderful uniform set belonged to Private 1st Class Myron L. Goodhue of Concord, New Hampshire, which is where he was born. At the time of entering the service on April 12, 1917 he was living in Springfield, New Hampshire. PFC Goodhue served with Company M, 1st Infantry, New Hampshire National Guard. He fought during the war from September 1917 and left France in May of 1919 after his time during the occupation was through. His foreign service and campaigns consisted of Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihel, Meuse-Argonne and the Defensive Sector. PFC Goodhue was fortunate enough to escape the war unscathed and returned home to his family after being discharged honorably in May of 1919.

This grouping consists of his uniform tunic and trousers, both offered in excellent condition and was more than likely his “going home” set. The tunic features a lovely “YD” 26th infantry division patch on the upper left shoulder, just above a single rank chevron. On the lower portion of the left sleeve are 3 overseas stripes indicating 18 months of overseas service. The collar discs reflect his “discharge unit” and are US NG 103 on the right side and M with crossed rifles on the left side. All buttons are present and the only button no longer attached is the right breast pocket. The button, original to the uniform, now sits loosely inside of the breast pocket if you wish to reattach it.

The documents included is a brief detail of his service record, where we pulled most of the information talked about above. The other items are an Army YMCA card for Camp Devons, Massachusetts, “Parley Voo Booklet” which is a booklet containing practical French and German Phrases and how to pronounce them, a first class train ticket stub and a letter to Goodhue from the New York War Camp Community Service.

The letter is as follows:

May 7, 1919
Dear Sir:
We are very glad to welcome
You home again, and if there is anything
We can do for you we hope you
Will let us know. Would you care to
Have any one from your home state
Come and see you, if so we will send
A lady to call upon you.
Or if you are able to be
Out and will drop in here we will be
Delighted to welcome you here
Sincerely yours,

Lastly, a photograph on a postcard is included. We believe the picture to be of Goodhue, but we are uncertain. There is a date written lightly on the back, 1917.

This is truly a wonderful set of items and would be welcomed into any AEF collection. Comes ready for research and display!

Collar to shoulder: 10”
Shoulder to sleeve: 24.5”
Shoulder to shoulder: 19.5”
Chest width: 20”
Waist width: 19”
Hip width: 23”
Front length: 32"
Pants Waist: 36"
Inseam: 29"

On 21 September 1917, the division arrived at Saint-Nazaire, France. It was the second division of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) to arrive on the Western Front at the time, and the first division wholly organized in the United States, joining the 1st Division. Two additional divisions completed the first wave of American troop deployment, with the 2nd Division formed in France and the 42nd Division arriving at St. Nazaire on 29 October. The division immediately moved to Neufchâteau for training, as most of the division's soldiers were raw recruits, new to military service. Because of this, much of the division's force was trained by the experienced French forces. It trained extensively with the other three US divisions, organized as the U.S. I Corps in January 1918, before being moved into a quiet sector of the trenches in February.

The 26th Infantry Division remained in a relatively quiet region of the lines along the Chemin des Dames for several months before it relieved the 1st Division near Saint-Mihiel on 3 April. The line here taken over extended from the vicinity of Apremont, on the west, in front of Xivray-Marvoisin, Seicheprey, and Bois de Remieres, as far as the Bois de Jury, on the right, where the French line joined the American line. Division Headquarters were at Boucq.

The stay of the division in this sector was marked by several serious encounters with the enemy, where considerable forces were engaged. There were furthermore almost nightly encounters between patrols or ambush parties, and the harassing fire of the artillery on both sides was very active.

On 10, 12 and 13 April, the lines held by the 104th Infantry in Bois Brule (near Apremont), and by the French to the left, were heavily attacked by the Germans. At first the enemy secured a foothold in some advanced trenches which were not strongly held, but sturdy counter attacks succeeded in driving the enemy out with serious losses, and the line was entirely re-established.

In late April, German infantry conducted a raid on positions of the 26th Division, one of the first attacks on Americans during the war. At 0400 on 20 April, German field artillery bombarded the 102nd Infantry's positions near Seicheprey before German [[Stormtrooper|stoßtruppen]] moved against the village. The artillery box barrage, continuing 36 hours, isolated American units. The Germans overwhelmed a machine gun company and two infantry companies of the 102nd and temporarily breached the trenches before elements of the division rallied and recaptured the village. The Germans withdrew before the division could counterattack but inflicted 634 casualties, including 80 killed, 424 wounded, and 130 captured, while losing over 600 men, including 150 killed of their own. Similar raids struck the 101st infantry at Flirey on 27 May, and the 103rd Infantry at Xivray-et-Marvoisin on 16 June, but were repulsed. The 26th Division was relieved by the 82nd Division on 28 June, moved by train to Meaux, and entered the line again northwest of Chateau Thierry, relieving the 2nd Division on 5 July.

As the size of the AEF grew, the division was placed under command of I Corps in July. When the Aisne-Marne campaign began shortly thereafter, the division, under I Corps, was placed under command of the French Sixth Army protecting its east flank. When the offensive began, the division advanced up the spine of the Marne salient for several weeks, pushing through Belleau Wood, moving 10 miles from 18 to 25 July. On 12 August it was pulled from the lines near Toul to prepare for the next offensive. The division was then a part of the offensive at Saint-Mihiel, during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. The division then moved in position for the last major offensive of the war, at Meuse-Argonne. This campaign was the last of the war, as an armistice was signed shortly thereafter. During World War I the 26th Division spent 210 days in combat, and suffered 1,587 killed in action and 12,077 wounded in action. The division returned to the United States and was demobilized on 3 May 1919 at Camp Devens, Massachusetts.

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