Original U.S. WWI Large 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division Time Capsule Trunk Grouping For Captain John D. Hitchman, Regiment Adjutant - Features Painted Helmet, Uniform, M1902 Sword and More
Original Items: Only One Grouping Available. Now this is an incredible trunk grouping. We had received this grouping some time ago and due to its size it was tucked away in our warehouse and essentially forgotten about until now. When purchased, it was the first time these items had seen the light of day in an extremely long time and was packed exactly how Captain Hitchman had left it. You don’t encounter these types of grouping anymore, making this a rather rare opportunity!
The trunk had belonged to Captain John Dickey Hitchman, 110th Infantry Regiment Adjutant, 28th Infantry Division. He was born on December 14, 1870 and was a graduate of Princeton University Class of 1894. He enlisted in the US Army National Guard out of Pennsylvania on April 10, 1917 at the age of 47, rather old for the day! He served in Mexico during the Pancho Villa Expedition and when the US was called to service in France, he served overseas from May 3, 1918 to December 2, 1918. He was honorably discharged on December 18, 1918. During his time in service he was not wounded, but his health was affected. The 110th Infantry Regimental Headquarters was located in Fresnes near Grimpettes Woods where a fierce battle took place. The night of July 30, after the capture of Grimpette Woods, the regimental headquarters of the 110th was moved up to Courmont, only 700 yards behind the wood. Major Martin summoned his staff about him to work out plans for the next day. They were bending over a big table, studying the maps when a six-inch shell struck the headquarters building squarely.
Twenty-two enlisted men and several officers were injured. Major Martin, Captain John D. Hitchman, of Mount Pleasant, the regimental adjutant, Lieutenant Alexander, the intelligence officer, and Lieutenant Albert G. Braden, of Washington, were knocked about somewhat, but not injured. This was the second time Captain Hitchman was almost killed by an enemy shell, the first being earlier that day! He survived the war without a physical scratch, but as we all know, not all wounds are visible and just like the millions of other soldiers, he was definitely affected by it mentally. He lived out the rest of his day in Mount Pleasant where he was born, passing away on November 25, 1932 at the age of 62.
Notable Items Featured In This Grouping:
- Uniform Set Featuring Visor, Tunic and Trousers: This is the same exact uniform Hitchman is wearing in both of the photos. They are well worn and unfortunately have some rather extensive mothing present due to lack of proper storage, but nothing that subtracts from the main beauty to display. The tunic features incredible insignia that have a lovely green verdigris and patination to them. The left shoulder has a lovely, complete Red Keystone shoulder sleeve insignia and the Captain’s bars are the desired “Coffin Bars”.
- M1917 28th Infantry Division Doughboy Helmet With Textured Paint (Complete): This is an excellent example of a U.S. M1917 "Doughboy" helmet, which features original period textured OD Green paint and a painted Unit Insignia. The shell is maker marked with a stamping on the underside of the rim that reads ZC 177. The solid rivets and heat lot number indicate that this helmet shell was produced in the United States.
The paint is in very good condition both inside and outside the helmet. The liner is present, and is in very good condition, with great looking oil cloth and netting. The original top tag is still mostly present, but not legible. The chin strap is present though it is in somewhat delicate condition. The liner is still attached to the helmet fortunately.
The best feature of this helmet is definitely the original hand painted 28th Infantry Division - The Keystone Division emblem on the left side of the helmet. The Division Insignia maintains most of the original paint and is somewhat dirty from years of service. It is a nice red "Keystone" emblem, well known to residents of Pennsylvania.
- M1912 Colt 1911 .45 Swivel Holster: This is a lovely, undamaged example of the beautiful M1912 swivel holster. The holster was manufactured by Rock Island Arsenal and is dated 1915. The swivel feature no longer functions due to verdigris buildup.
- M1911 Double Magazine Web Pouch dated May 1917: Undamaged but stained and produced by Mills.
- Private Purchase Leather Cigarette Pouch WITH Cigarettes: Now this is a lovely item. It was manufactured in Pennsylvania and is marked as being “Genuine Pigskin” with a Keystone symbol. The inside front underneath the main flap are the gold stamped initials of J.D.H. foe John Dickey Hitchman. Located inside are two Fatima brand Turkish blend cigarettes stored individually inside of glass tubes with a cork top, done so to protect them from the elements. The cigarettes surprisingly still smell fresh, but please do not make any attempts to smoke them.
- Model 1902 Army Officers Triple Etched Sword and Scabbard by N.S. Meyer With Sword Belt and Hanger: The Model 1902 Army Officers' Saber is the current sword used by officers of the United States Army. The official nomenclature for the current regulation U.S. Army saber is “saber for all officers, Model 1902”. It was adopted on July 17, 1902 by authority of General Order No. 81. The M1902 saber was authorized for all officers, both infantry and cavalry, with the exception of Chaplains. The lightly curved blade measures between 30-34 inches long with weights initially specified by the U.S. Army to be between 20.2 and 22.8 ounces (573 to 647 grams) and a point of balance of 3.25 inches from the hilt as specified for infantry sabers.
This fine example is in very nice condition. As with most, it is fully nickel plated, with a triple-etched slightly curved blade, and a nickel plated steel scabbard. The etching on the blade shows the standard heraldry of the U.S. Army with U.S. and E PLURIBUS UNUM, and various stands of arms.
The ricasso is etched with an unknown maker or supplier information:
N.S. MEYER INC
There is a large panel on one side, where usually the officer's name or initials would be etched or engraved, but this example was never personalized in that fashion. Condition is very good, though there is some oxidation and wear to the nickel plate, which has started to bubble up and flake on the scabbard. There is also some wear through on the hilt, which has minor movement. The leather blade buffer is still present as is the sword knot. The leather belt and hanger is in lovely condition but is rather stiff.
- Scarce “M1917” Beacon Army Light WITH Original Beacon Battery: Though no longer functional, this is in great condition and appears that it would be functional if fitted with a new battery, though we cannot guarantee it. The leather strap on the reverse uses a ½” US Army button for closure.
The trunk that everything is housed in is Captain Hitchman’s original trunk. It is marked on the top lid with J.D.H. Mt. Pleasant and on the sides with 10th Inf. The trunk measures approximately 42 ¼” x 21 ½” x 13 ¼: and is in solid condition, but is missing the side handles and locking mechanism. There are a few cracks and chips but the wood is sound. There is a musty odor present in the chest as well as all items present. There are a few methods to remove the musty smell from items, but the safest and best way to do so would be to air the items out put them in an enclosed space with a small dish of baking soda. The baking soda will remove a majority of the musty smell, but use caution.
This incredible grouping comes more than ready for further research and display.
History of the 28th Division:
The 28th Infantry Division ("Keystone") is a unit of the Army National Guard and is the oldest division-sized unit in the armed forces of the United States. Some of
the units of the division can trace their lineage to Benjamin Franklin's battalion, The Pennsylvania Associators (1747-1777). The division was officially established in 1879 and was later re-designated as the 28th Division in 1917, after the entry of America into the First World War. It is today part of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Maryland Army National Guard, Ohio Army National Guard, and New Jersey Army National Guard.
It was originally nicknamed the "Keystone Division," as it was formed from units of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Pennsylvania being known as the "Keystone State". During World War II, it acquired the nickname the "Bloody Bucket" division by German forces during the Second World War due to its red insignia. But today the 28th Infantry Division goes by the name given to it by General Pershing during World War I: "Iron Division".
The division moved to Camp Hancock, Georgia, in April 1917, and was there when the entire division was federalized on 5 August 1917. From May to 11 October 1917, the division was reorganized into the two-brigade, four regiment scheme, and thus became the 28th Division.
By May 1918 the division had arrived in Europe, and began training with the British. On 14 July, ahead of an expected German offensive, the division was moving forward, with most of it committed to the second line of defence south of the Marne River and east of Château-Thierry. As the division took up defensive positions, the Germans commenced their attack, which became the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, with a fierce artillery bombardment. When the German assault collided with the main force of the 28th, the fighting became bitter hand-to-hand combat. The 28th repelled the German forces and decisively defeated their enemy. However, four isolated companies of the 109th and 110th Infantry stationed on the first defensive line suffered heavy losses. After the battle, General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force, visited the battlefield and declared that the 28th soldiers were "Men of Iron" and named the 28th ID as his "Iron Division." The 28th developed a red keystone-shaped shoulder patch, officially adopted on 27 October 1918.
During World War I, the division was involved in the Meuse-Argonne, Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne including the Battle of Fismes and Fismette, Oise-Aisne, and Ypres-Lys (FA) operations. During the war, it took a total of 14,139 casualties (2,165 killed and 11,974 wounded). 2 individuals received the Medal of Honor: Sergeant James I. Mestrovitch, Company C, 111th Infantry; and Major Joseph H. Thompson, Headquarters, 110th Infantry. More detail about the history of the division during World War I can be found in Edward Martin's The Twenty-Eighth Division: Pennsylvania's Guard in the World War.
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