Dayton in the Wars

 

This was written in 1937 as one of the WPA projects in Dayton during the Great Depression.

 

Dayton in the Wars.

 

            This military history of Dayton, as well as of Montgomery County is interesting, honorable and in harmony with the American tradition that every citizen is expected to do his duty when the country is in the grips of war.  Our citizens have acted promptly, courageously and patriotically in every war in which American has engaged.  A city having no battle-ground has a military history only in relation to the contribution it is able to make to a great struggle; to the supplies it furnished for the victory of American arms and the men it is able to muster into service.  History records that, from the War of 1812, when Dayton was a rendezvous for troops of Ohio and Kentucky, Dayton and Montgomery county have loyally done their part.

            Further, some of the men who settled Dayton in 1796 fought in the Revolutionary War, while others took part in the Indian wars.  A few of them fought in both wars.  City and rural cemeteries contain the graves of not a few of these soldiers who took part in these early struggles, long before the city or county were either settled or incorporated.  Of course, the deceased veterans of the War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War are much more numerous.

            In Woodland cemetery lie buried 17 soldiers of the American Revolution, including Col. Robert Patterson, Col. Isaac Spinning, Major David Ziegler and Dr. John Elliott.  In the various rural cemeteries 173 Revolutionary soldiers are buried as well as many veterans of other wars.  But the graves of some soldiers of the Revolution cannot be located, including Dr. John Hole, who named the county in honor of Gen. Montgomery.

 

Civil War

 

            In all these struggles, the one which resounded nearest home, and the one felt most deeply by all citizens, was the Civil War.  Everybody seemed to feel the impact of great tragedy and to realize that, since rebellion has reared its ugly head, the county was facing the greatest crisis in its history.  It was fighting for its very existence.  Either the rebellion must be put down quickly, or the country could not hope to survive.  So the city and county, with the realization of these things, was alive to the meaning of the Civil War and to its responsibility from the start, and it remained so until the bitter end.

            The people felt comparatively safe from attack, except during Morgan’s Raid when the greatest excitement prevailed, and in August, 1862 when the advance of Kirby Smith into Kentucky arounsed the utmost fear for the safety of Cincinnati.  Both forays were quickly ended.

            But no one in these days can hardly imagine the feelings and emotions aroused by Morgan’s raiders, the wild reports that were circulated, the preparations made to hide valuables and conceal cattle and horses.  Cavalrymen, it was appreciated, have a peculiar liking for the best possible mounts, leaving their old worn out steeds in place of the captured ones.  The county military committee issued its call for men, the mayor placed Dayton under martial law, Gov. David Todd called out the militia to report at Camp Dennison.  Accordingly Companies A and B of Dayton left for the camp, July 13, 1862.  But before the assembly could be completed the raid was over.  It required the United States Cavalry under Gen. J. H. Shackelford to capture the dashing leader at New Lisbon, July 26.  About 400 men were taken prisoners.  Dayton saw six carloads of them pass through town on their way to Johnson’s Island.  Morgan and a few leaders were placed in the Ohio penitentiary for safe keeping, but managed to escape through the assistance of outside parties.

 

            At the outbreak of the War, the citizens of Dayton and Montgomery County seemed united.  It was later that people ok sides and Republicans and abolitionists began to make it very uncomfortable for Democrats, and all those suspected to being opposed to the war.  They were particularly hostile to friends of Clement L. Vallandigham, ex-congressman residing in Dayton, who continued publicly to condemn the war and its method of prosecution as oppressive and unnecessary.

            On the night of May 5, 1863, following the issuance of General Order No. 38, by Gen. Burnside, military commandant at Cincinnati, a detachment of United States soldiers made a quick run to Dayton under command of Col. E. a. Parrott, of Dayton, proceeded directly to Vallandigham’s w. First St. home, and at three o’clock in the morning, before his friends could rally to his aid, battered down the door of his swelling and placed the anti-war leader under arrest.  He was quickly speeded to Cincinnati, was charged by a military court of circulating disloyal sentiments and was sentenced to be interned at some military fortress during the continuance of the war.  Later it was decided to send him through the lines of the Rebel army and he was taken to the camp of Gen. Rosecrans, then at Murfressboro, Tenn., May 24, 1863.  The southerners not only proved hospitable, but they permitted him to pass eastward through the south.  He finally reached Windsor, Canada, where he was living when the Democratic party names him as its candidate for governor of Ohio.  After his defeat by John Brough, the Republican nominee, he returned to Dayton and was not molested again by the government.

            The forcible kidnapping of Vallindigham aroused the protest of his friends of both political faiths.  By way of retaliation for the indignity forced upon him, they burned the Journal building, then on the present site of the Union Trust Company Building, on the night following his arrest.  This act caused issuance of Order No. 146, by Gen. Burnside, placing Montgomery County under martal law.

            History proves, despite the Vallindigham incident, that Dayton and Montgomery County were conspicuously loyal to the Union cause; that those who opposed the War were against war in general, and did not believe it was the best way in pacifying the south.  Ohio, indeed, was the second state to come to the defense of the Union, and Montgomery County was on a par with the larger counties in furnishing men and supplies.  Prominent citizens from the first helped to arouse intense feeling in support of the war measures, after Lincoln had issued a call for 75,000 volunteers and Gov. Dennison had issued a call for 40,000 men belonging to the militia.

            Within 60 hours after word was received at the old telegraph office in the Merchants National Bank Building that the president had called for tropps, Dayton and Montgomery County’s companies were headed for Washington.  The Montgomery Guards boarded the train for Columbus, April 17, 1861, as did the Dayton Light Guards, which became part of the first Ohio Volunteer Infantry under the command of Capt. Walter Pease.  On the same day, the Lafayette Guards completed their assembling and departed.  That night the Dayton Light Artillery, catching the spirit of the hour, offered their services as a company of Riflemen.  Their offer was immediately accepted by the Governor, and on April 20, clad in showy red shirts, blue pants, and jaunty caps, they marched to the trains and departed.  The Anderson Guards having completed its enrollment and organization of 64 men, left the following Monday midst cheerful goodbyes, patriotic songs and prolonged cheers.

            Thus Dayton demonstrated its patriotism by promptly sending out four companies containing 450 men.  Every body worked.  The women rolled bandages, scraped lint, packed boxes, organized the young boys into the First Oho Division of Wood Sawyers, raised $12,000 to help care for the families of the soldiers.  Physicians offered their services free to the families of volunteers, and druggists agreed to fill prescriptions on the same generous terms.  The city Council appreciating its responsibilities to the families of the soldiers, appropriated $10,000 for their relief.  When companies of troops passed through Dayton, women would flock to the Old Union Station, and offer them refreshments of coffee and sandwiches.

            Of the companies sent out from Dayton, the Lafayette Guards, the Dayton Light Guards and the Montgomery Guards became respectively Company’s B, C and D of the First Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  The 92 Dayton Riflement under Capt. Cal. J. Childs, and the 97 Anderson Guards under Capt. Michael J. Nolan became part of the 11th Ohio, and this in turn became part of the Ohio Division commanded by Gen. Geo. B. McClellan.  James Findlay Harrison of Dayton was named Colonel of the 11th Ohio, and W. W. Coleman of Troy became major.  The division contained 6,483 men.  Not long after the war had be3gun, the First and Second Ohio Regiments were ordered to Washington and assigned to the brigade commanded by Gen. R. C. Schenck of Dayton.  This of course contained several hundred Dayton troops.  Posted at the stone bridge during the battle of Bull Run, they gave such an excellent account of themselves that they helped cover the retreat of the Union forces, and won high praise for their bravery.

            The Dayton Companies were mustered out in Aug. 1861, but most of the members reenlisted and served three years longer or throughout the duration of the war.

            At one time there were 12 recruiting offices open in Dayton.  These added enlistments to the First Ohio Regular Army, the 35th O.V.I., the Cavalry Sharpshooters, the 22nd Ohio, 44th Ohio and 2nd Ohio Infantry.

            Salient features of the table of commands containing troops of Dayton and Montgomery County are as follows: 636 in the 11th, 24th, 84th, and 86th Ohio Infantry who served six months; 116 in the 179th, 187th, 187th, 188th, 189th, who enlisted for one year, together with other enlistments prior to March 30, 1865 and drafted men, making a total of 256: 1,075 in 24 Oho regiments who served three years, together with 1,860 scattered among regiments of other states; Regular Army men, men of the engineering corps, the artillery, the U. S. Navy and several Batteries and Cavalry companies; 4,846 hundred-day men; 1,050 men who answered special calls, 50 of whom were members of the Dayton Zouaves, 500 of whom were the Squirrel Hunters of 1862 who sent away to the defense of Cincinnati during the Kirby Smith foray, and 500 of whom went forth to help resist the Morgan Raid of 1863.

            One of the notable events in Dayton during the Civil War was the recruiting of the 93th Regiment of Volunteers in the summer of 1862.  It contained more Montgomery County and Dayton men than ever before.  Three companies were raised under Capt. Martin, Mitchel and Birch.  The regiment was finally organized with Chas. Anderson as colonel and Hiram Strong as lieutenant colonel.  This regiment made a splendid record, serving bravely on the field of battle at Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, the Atlanta Campaign and Nashville.

            During the first four months of 1864, many of the regiments containing Montgomery County men were re-enlisted for three years or longer.  ON May 11, 1864, occurred the second draft.  However, by the use of substitutes purchased by subscription, the whole county was cleared of its obligation except the First Ward and Mad River township.  The number of  substitutes was finally obtained and the drafted men were released.

            The call for 100-day men to take care of the depletions made by the assignments of troops for post or garrison duty was made early in 1864.  Gov. Brough ordered the assembling of the “Home Guards”, an order which caused great distress among business and professional men ordered to Camp Chase on one day’s notice.  Most of these companies were assigned to the 131st regiment and were placed in duty at Fort Federal Hill at Baltimore, where they remained until they were brought back to Camp Chase in August and mustered out on the 23rd.

            As the end of the war was seen approaching, the president’s call for 500,000 men and later for 300,000 men caused another revival of recruiting late in 1864.  Many of the recruits were sent to Nashville, which was held by the Union Army.

            Finally came to the glad news of the fall of Richmond and the war was over.  A great jubilee was held in Dayton to the accompaniment of salutes, fireworks and speeches on April 14, 1864, and everybody was happy.  But the rejoicing turned to mourning the next day when it was learned that the great president had died from the effects of an assassin’s bullet.  Business was suspended all day in Dayton and the bells of churches and fire-houses tolled until mid-day.

            Several men of Dayton and Montgomery County attained national prominence either during or as the result of the Civil War.  Prominent among these are Robert C. Schenck, who became a Brigadier and later a Major General, then resigned to represent his country at the Court of St. James; George Crook, who after holding various commands was commissioned Brigadier General of Volunteers, and finally full Brigadier General, serving in campaigns against the Indians after the Civil War; Major General Thomas A. Wood, father of Gen. Geo. H. Wood, who after serving with distinction in the Army of Ohio and the Cumberland, married and settled in Dayton; Gen. Chas. Candy, who lived much of his life in Dayton after the Civil War, and Gen. Alexander McD. McCook of the “Fighting McCooks”, a distinguished corps commander of the Army of the Cumberland, who died in Dayton.

            So ends the story of the part played by Dayton and Montgomery County in America’s longest, severest and most critical war.

                                                                             

 

War of 1812

 

            Several of the prominent early settles served as soldiers in the War of 1812, when Dayton was named as the rendezvous for troops of Ohio and Kentucky.  Among these were Col. George Newcom, who had been a soldier in Wayne’s army against the Indians; his brother William, who took part in the war and afterwards died from the effects of hardships and exposure incurred thereby; Benjamin Van Cleve, whose father had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and had served in the army under St. Clair, Wilkinson and Wayne; and his brother Capt. William Van Cleve, who organized a company of riflemen in the village of Dayton and reported for duty, soon after the war broke out.

            At the outbreak of this war, Governor Return Jonathan Meigs called for 1,200 troops and appointed Dayton as the place for assembling them.  Gov. Meigs came to Dayton to superintend the organization of the Militia for service, and 12 companies reported for duty.  An appeal was made for blankets to be paid for immediately.  General Gano and General Cass arrived in Dayton wiht 700 men.  This made 15,000 men assembled in Dayton for service.

            Three regiments of militia were organized here; the first encamped south of Dayton, and the second and third encamped in Cooper Park.  Captain William Van Cleve’s riflemen were put to work guarding supply trains and keeping open communications with the army of the north.  Gen. William Hull, who had been made commander, arrived here from Cincinnati on May 25, and the formal change of leadership was made by Gov. Meigs.  Camp was established on Webster St. and became known as Meigs Camp.  The final order for the 1,600 men to move north was given May 31.  Up the Old Troy Pike moved the 1,600 men who had been assembled here, dressed in homespun, carrying crude implements and guns, but having stout hearts and high hopes.

            Dayton and the county had entire satisfaction in the war, and the merchants were receiving high prices for their supplies.  Citizens sought to inspire recruiting under Lieut. Gwynn.  Then came the dispiriting news that Hull had surrendered 2,500 men, containing many citizens of this city and county, to 330 regular British infantry, 400 militia and 600 Indians commanded by Gen. Brock near Ft. Detroit.

            Ohio and Kentucky quickly arose to the danger of the country after this defeat, and six infantry companies, containing men from 18 to 45 years, were organized here under Major General Adams, into a battalion.  General William Henry Harrison, made commander of the Kentucky volunteers, was given a salute upon his arrival in Dayton.  When Brigadier General John Payne arrived with 1,800 volunteers and they were parading through the city, one of the troopers had his hand mangled by the discharge of a cannon and another was wounded.

            Col. Robert Patterson was placed in charge of the government stores, Lieut. James Flynn of the Second Company of Rangers set up a recruiting office and Major Gunckel of German township organized a company to garrison forts and block houses at various points.  Perry’s victory on Lake Erie and Harrison’s pursuit of Proctor, ending in victory at the Thames, brought the war to a close.

 

 

Mexican War.

 

 

            Dayton and Montgomery County had ten infantry and two cavalry companies of militia at the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, when President James K. Polk requisitioned the state for troops.  Yet the population of Dayton was only about 6,000 at the time.  The troops were members of the First Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Adam Speice of this city, which brigade was part of the Tenth Division, commanded by Major General Hiram Bell, of Greenville.  When on May 20, 1846, Gov. Mordecai Bartley, in compliance with presidential orders, ordered the division generals to ascertain how many members of the militia company were available for service in Mexico, Brig. Gen. Speice acted promptly and ordered the companies in his brigade to assemble in Dayton.  Nine companies responded.  The men were marched to the lower part of the city, where they were given an inspiring address by Major General Bell.

            Recruiting began immediately.  The National Guard of Germans, commanded by Captain Lewis Hormell, recruited at their E. Second St. headquarters; the Dragoons, commanded by Captain Luther Giddings, recruited at McCann’s store.  Upon learning that the government did not want cavalry, the Dragoons reorganized as the Dayton Riflemen.  There were 77 men in each company when they were mustered into service by Major Thomas Tilton, Brigade Major of the First Brigade, and were ordered to Camp Washington, established at the Mill Creek bottom at Cincinnati under Samuel R. Curtis, adjutant general of the state.

            Before they left they were assembled in front of the National Hotel, Third and Jefferson Sts., where the Riflemen were presented with a beautiful new flag.  Then, attended by a great crowd of friends and relatives, they embarked on two canal boats for the camp in Cincinnati, a trip which at that period required two days.  The flag of the Riflemen became the standard of the camp.  On June 23, the several companies at Camp Washington organized as the First Ohio Infantry, of which the Riflemen and the Guards became respectively Companies B. and C.  On July 3, these companies, as part of the First Ohio Infantry embarked on the steamers, New World and North Carolina from Cincinnati, and encamped in August on the Texas side of the Rio Grande River.  Some of the officers were promoted, and the companies later took part in the battle of Monterey.

            Twenty-two men from Montgomery County were in the company recruited in the winter of 1847 by E. a. King, who was afterwards to fall at Chickamauga during the Civil War.  This company became part of the Fifteenth United States Infantry containing five Ohio companies.  But the company raised in Dayton, which suffered a real ordeal of fire, was the Dayton German Grenadiers, commanded by Capt. John Werner.  This was organized after the Guards and Riflemen returned home in May, 1847 and their return was heralded with a rousing celebration and the firing of “Mad Anthony:, a noisy little cannon whose detonations were often heard during the Mexican War.  Under Gen. Winfield Scott, who had already demonstrated his leadership in the War of 1812, the Grenadiers fought with courage and tenacity, at Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec and the City of Mexico.

            Only 36 of the 100 men in the company returned home in July, 1846 and were accorded a dinner and reception at Third and Bainbridge Sts., on the grounds occupied later by the Stoddard Manufacturing Company.  As for the two other companies which had returned home the previous year, the Riflemen lost 37 men and the National Guards lost 31 men.

                                   

 

Spanish-American War.

 

North and South, East and West were all united in the Spanish-American War, and Ohio’s response to President William McKinley’s call for 125,000 volunteers to enlist for two years, following the declaration of war against Spain, April 20, 1898, was immediate and very heartening.  America was a country undivided.  Ohio could not use all the men who wanted to fight the enemy, to avenge the sailors on the ill-fated Battleship Maine”, blown up in Havana Harbor, Feb. 15, 1898, and to liberate the Cubans, trodden under the Spanish heel for hundreds of years.  She quickly supplied her quota of six regiments of infantry, four light batteries and two squadrons.  The total enrollment for all brances of service from this state was 16,993, which was 2,000 more than the quota.  Only the militia, of which there were 100,000 in the entire country, had been trained; the rest of Ohio’s volunteers, numbering more than 10,000, had to be put through an intensive period of training and drilling.  Only eight days were required to muster the Ohio National Buard into the army.  Not long after Ohio placed a volunteer regiment in the field, leading all the states of the Union in the speed and promptness with which such a regiment had been enlisted, trained and equipped.  This was the First Ohio Cavalry of which Company F had been trained in Dayton.

            The war spirit here was very ardent.  Men clamored to enlist.  Preparations were made at once to organize the First Oho Volunteer Infantry.  To lead this col. W. J. White, a Civil War veteran with a splendid war record, resigned as superintendent of schools after serving them ten years.

            Companies G. and I, of the Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, all members of which were residents of Dayton and Montgomery County, left Dayton April 27, after a stirring farewell, for Springfield, which had been appointed as headquarters for this part of the state.  From there the Third Ohio was moved to Camp Bushnell near Columbus.  Later this regiment was trained at Tampa and Fernandina, Fla. and at Huntsville, Ala.  Company f. of the First Ohio Cavalry, previously referred to, received its training at Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga. But these companies were never called to battle.

            There were a few Dayton and Montgomery County men in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 12th regiments, which took part in several important battles.  Generally speaking, the casualties were few.  But there were many deaths from malaria, typhoid, swamp fever and other diseases; and many who returned home died early deaths because they were unable to rid their systems of these ailments.

            But before fighting ceased on Aug. 12, the names of two Dayton boys resounded throughout the country.  Charles Boone, a cadet on the Flagship New York, had the honor of firing the first shot in the war at Matanzas, Cuba, while Joe Abele, now an employee of the general delivery department of the Dayton Postoffice, performed a deed of daring and conspisuous valor.  Abele of Company ;E, 12th U.S.I. was one of the three Dayton men wounded on the filed of battle.  The other two were Homer Lines, of the Sixth Infantry Regulars and Harry Brooks, a colored member of the Tenth Cavalry.

            Abele, born in Dayton, Nov. 30,1874, emerged from the war a hero.  Later he was cited for bravery and was awarded medals by the government, and numerous patriotic societies and organizations.  He has at least a dozen medals and emblems of various kinds.

            This is the certified record of the deed of this Dayton boy, which stamped him as a hero and which brought him so many honors:

“American soldiers were surrounding a stone fortress manned by Spanish soldiers.  Fighting had been going on in this position for either hours, with the line about 300 yards apart.  The fortress was on top of a hill.  A call was made to take the American flag as far forward as possible to permit the entire lines to see that the fortress was completely surrounded.  Private Joseph E. Abele, of Company E, 12th U. S. Infantry, grabbed the flag from the color sergeant’s hand and ran toward the fort.  He climbed up the side and reached the top of the blockhouse roof, where the flagpole, which has been shot in two by Capron’s Battery, still had the Spanish colors standing up on the roof, waved the American flag.  All this time heavy rifle and artillery fire from the town Company E. signalled for private Abele to come down and not expose himself further to the enemy.  So he jumped down outside the walls of the fortress and captured eight Spanish soldiers, including the highest ranking Spanish officer at El Caney, who was later exchanged for Lieutenant Hobson and his men”.

 

            Ohio’s contribution to the war was not only in soldiers and sailor’s, but also in leaders and advisers.  William McKinley, and Ohioan, was president; John Sherman was secretary of state, and was succeeded by William R. Day and John Hay who, with Whitelaw Reid, another Ohioan, headed the peace commission; Russell Alger was Secretary of War, and Henry C. Corbin was adjutant general of the U. S. Army.  Others from the state who figured prominently were Joseph B. Foraker, who defended McKinley’s Philippine policy; William Howard Taft, later president and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who served as governor general of the Philippines; Major General Adna R. Chaffee, Joseph Warren Keifer, Henry W. Lawton and James F. Wade.

 

 

World War.

 

            Memories of the World war are too recent to require any long recounting of Dayton’s and Montgomery county’s participation in it.  Both sent thousands of men to the front, most of whom returned home in excellent health and spirits.  Some there were who were wrecks of humanity when they came back, and nearly 200 did not come back at all.

            But the contribution of the city and county to the war was not in man power alone.  That tells only a small part of the story.  Equally important to the eventual victory of the American arms was the contribution made here to such non-combatant works as the Red Cross, in which Dayton led the whole Lake division; the Red Cross schools, which awarded 86 diplomas in home nursing, 24 in diatetics, 75 in first aid, and 136 for making surgical dressings; the Liberty, Victory and War Savings stamps campaigns, and other war charities and projects.

            Moreover, a good many local factories engaged in manufacturing munitions and was equipment of various kinds.  Here it was that the DeHaviland airplane was developed by the Dayton Wright Airplane Company, flew the first of these planes and later trained 200 flyers at the Fairfield Air Depot.  After the war it was found the company had shipped 4,587 planes to France.  At the plants of the Maxwell Motor Car Co., and the Platt Iron Works, 450 of the tanks needed by France were made and shipped overseas.  The National Cash Register also shoved aside the manufacture of its usual product, and concentrated on numerous precision tools and accessories needed for war.  Various other local concerns did the same thing, demonstrating love of country, not self-interest guided their minds and hearts in the country’s emergency.

            Recruiting started before the draft, and was speeded up because the Third Ohio Infantry, made up largely of companies from Dayton, Troy, Piqua, Hamilton, Greenville and other towns and townships in this locality, had been serving on the Mexican border since 1916 when trouble with that country threatened.

            Battery D, a part of the Third Ohio Infantry, returned home after America joined the Allies and declared war against Germany, established camp at Triangle Park, and called men to enlist for service and avoid the draft.  When Battery D had been turned into a fighting unit, it was federalized in July, 1917.  It was then sent to Camp Sheriden, Montgomery, Ala., for further training.  When this was completed it was sent quickly, along with other Ohio National Guard troops to France, where it became part of the 62nd Field Artillery Brigade, the artillery brigade attached to the 37th Division.  It gave a good account of itself at Pettonville, St. Mihiel and the Argonne, fighting overseas from Sept., 1918 until the Armistice.

            The Second Battalion under Jamor Leon C. Smith, cashier of the Merchants National Bank, became part of the 148th Infantry.  This battalion, which was in the trenches and fought in the Battle of Verdun, was sent to Belgium only a few days before the sighing of the Armistice.  Several of its members were killed or wounded in Belgium almost at the very close of the World War.

            In the 322nd Field Artillery of the 83rd Division, there were troops from Dayton and Montgomery County, Easton, Xenia, Cincinnati, Cleveland, western Pennsylvania and Indiana.  Dayton’s colored troops, part of them commanded by Capt, Robert Mallory, were attached to the 92nd Division.

            Moreover, there were two from Dayton and Montgomery County in each of the companies of the famous Rainbow, or 42nd Division.  This division, made up of men of numerous states, trained at Camp Mills before being sent in two sections to France, one landing at St. Nazaire and the other at Brest.  The final training was received with the Seventh French Army troops; no company or regiment in the Rainbow Division was dominantly Ohioan; but it is likely there were more men from this state in the 166th Regiment, consisting of 3,605 officers and men.

            The Rainbow Division has been credited with being the greatest fighting unit in the American Army during the World War.  At one time it constituted the left division of the entire American Army.  When released from the front line it was within rifle range of the city of Sedan.

            The following terse listing of the campaigns in which it took part shows the extent of tis operations, although it gives little idea of how well and how bravely it fought;

            Combat service at the Luneville Sector, Lorraine, Feb. 21 to March 23, 1918; Baccaret Sector, March 31 to June 31; Esperance, Soulain Sector, Champagne, July 4 to July 14; Champagne-Marne defensive, July 15 5o July 17; Aisne-Marne defensive, July 25 to Aug. 3; St. Mihiel offensive, July 25 to Aug. 3; Essex and Pannes Sector, Sept. 17 to Sept. 30; Neuse-Argonne offensive, Oct. 12 to Oct. 30 and Nov. 5 to Nov. 10.

            This concludes the story of the ready response made by Dayton and Montgomery County in every war that has menaced the country, and what they gave and what they did to speed their country on to victory.  Because of the necessity of eliminating many important details of their contribution to these wars, the account is necessarily more factual than thrilling.

            As for the soldier dead, Dayton and Montgomery County has found a way to memorialize them.  The memory of the 189 soldiers of the world War who did not come back, for example, is hallowed by a memorial grove known as Victory Oak Knoll.  Here there is a tree planted for every soldier who fell in action, suffered wounds or other disabilities, or dies from disease, together with a marker indicating his name or branch of service.  It may be interesting to note that 85 of the 189 died from disease, being victims of the influenza epidemic for the most part.

            Moreover, Memorial Day is very widely and generally celebrated here every year, at which time the graves of the veterans of all wars are decorated by relatives and friends.  All the patriotic societies join in the celebration with addresses, a parade, and services at the various city and county cemeteries in which the soldier dead lie buried.  Decoration Day originated as a memorial to the Civil War dead, but the meaning of the observance has broadened and deepened through the years, with the result that families today decorate the graves of their loved ones, irrespective of the particular war in which they took part.