History And Rhymes Of The Lost Battalion
by "Buck Private" McCollum
Copyright 1922 Softcover
Sketches by Franklin Sly
Measures 5 1/4" w x 7" h
Condition: Published By the Author. 1922. Possible 1st edition (states three hundredth thousandth). Brown soft cover wraps with gold and black decoration and titles. Wraps lightly soiled; bumped corners (small creases) and spine ends. The very last page of the book, which is a letter to the reader from Private McCollum, has pulled through the staples. Printed on sepia tone paper with brown tone drawings. Internal pages clean, unmarked.
Plenty is known about the battalion itself; formally known as the 308 Battalion of the US 77th Division during World War One, its 500-odd members got cut off from the rest of the division during an ill-communicated assault in the Argonne Forest in October 1918, caught on all sides by German fire for five days without food or water. But under the steady hand of legitimate war hero Lt. Col. Charles W. Whittlesey, for whom this book is dedicated, the battalion kept its cool, and defended itself successfully against a much larger and better trained enemy until reinforcements arrived, eventually 194 soldiers of the original 554 were able to walk out afterwards. And this just happened to get seized on in real time as a newspaper-selling crisis by tech-equipped journalists back at home, making the entire battalion national heroes before even getting back to the US, and with Whittlesey eventually picked for the great honor of being one of the pallbearers for the WW1 Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. But all was not sitting well with many of the young men who came back from the war, including Whittlesey; after trying to resume his career as an attorney but getting called on so often for public appearances, and after privately complaining to a friend, "Not a day goes by but I hear from some of my old outfit, usually about some sorrow or misfortune. I cannot bear it much more," it's widely believed that he killed himself in November 1921 by literally stepping off the back of a transatlantic ship in the middle of the night when no one was watching.
Great read for the historian in your family or soldiers past and present