Robert Lee Bullard

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For the sociologist and environmental justice advocate, see Robert D. Bullard.
Robert L. Bullard
Lieutenant General Robert Lee Bullard.PNG
Robert Lee Bullard
Born (1861-01-05)January 5, 1861
Lee County, Alabama
Died September 11, 1947(1947-09-11) (aged 86)
New York City
Buried at West Point Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1885 - 1925
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Unit 10th Infantry Regiment
U.S. Second Army
Commands held 26th Infantry Regiment
1st Infantry Division
III Corps
U.S. Second Army (first commander)
Battles/wars Spanish-American War
Philippine-American War
Mexican Border Service
World War I
*Battle of Cantigny
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Other work President of National Security League

Robert Lee Bullard (January 5, 1861 – September 11, 1947) was a United States Army general. He was involved in conflicts in the American Western Frontier, the Philippines, and World War I. He was an administrator in Cuba.


A native of Alabama, Bullard attended the United States Military Academy, graduated in 1885, and was appointed first lieutenant in 1892. He served in various capacities in the Spanish-American War, and in the Philippines from 1902 to 1904. He was made lieutenant colonel in 1906. In 1907 he was special investigator for the U.S. provisional government in Cuba, and the following year was superintendent of public instruction there. In 1911 he was promoted colonel.1

World War I[edit]

After the American entry in World War I, Bullard was quickly promoted to brigadier general (June 1917) and major general N.A. (August 1917). He commanded the 1st Infantry Division ("Big Red One") from December 1917 to July 1918.

During World War I he led men in the Battle of Cantigny (1918) and captured the village of Cantigny. It had been held by the German Eighteenth Army. It was the site of a German advance observation point and strongly fortified. This was the first sustained American offensive of the war. It was considered a success in that it expanded the American front by about a mile. General John J. Pershing said of the attack:

"The enemy reaction against our troops at Cantigny was extremely violent, and apparently he was determined at all costs to counteract the most excellent effect the American success had produced. For three days his guns of all calibres were concentrated on our new position and counter-attack succeeded counter-attack. The desperate efforts of the Germans gave the fighting at Cantigny a seeming tactical importance entirely out of proportion to the numbers involved."2

Bullard was fluent in French and often served in joint U.S. - French operations.

General Pershing created the Second U.S. Army and appointed Bullard as its first commander with the rank of lieutenant general. At the same time he turned over command of First United States Army to Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett. Pershing himself moved up to become commander of an Army Group.

His behavior in sending troops into battle, at the risk of dying, with full knowledge that the Armistice was due in a few hours, was severely criticized by Alden Brooks in his post-war account of the war, As I Saw It, (1930).

Post war[edit]

After the war, his rank was reduced (this is normal procedure) to corps command in the smaller U.S. army. He retired from active duty in 1925 to concentrate on writing. He served as president of the National Security League.

He died in 1947. Bullard is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Post Cemetery, with his wife Ella (Reiff) Bullard (5 November 1870 to 3 March 1963).


He was author of the following books:

  • Personalities and Reminiscences of the War, New York: Doubleday Page, 1925 (ISBN 0-7661-9742-5)
  • American Soldiers also Fought New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1936

Bullard also wrote several magazine articles.

Further reading[edit]

  • The General: Robert L. Bullard and Officership in the United States Army, 1881-1925, by Allan R. Millett (1975).


^1 Wikisource-logo.svg "Bullard, Robert Lee". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). 1922. 

^2 Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

External links[edit]