372nd Infantry Regiment (United States)
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|372nd Infantry Regiment|
|Engagements||World War I
|Decorations||French Croix de Guerre|
|Col. Herschel Tupes, author 1906 Manual of Bayonet Training|
U.S. Infantry Regiments
|371st Infantry Regiment|
The 372nd Infantry Regiment. was an African American regiment, nominally a part of the 93rd Infantry Division (Colored), that served with the French Army in World War I. The 372nd Infantry Regiment was composed of the First Separate Battalion of the District of Columbia organized by Charles Remond Douglass; the 9th Separate Battalion of Ohio; the First Separate Company of Maryland; Separate Company G of Tennessee; Company L, Sixth Infantry of Massachusetts; and the First Separate Company of Connecticut---all these being National Guard troops, and 250 drafted men from Camp Custer, Michigan, recruited mainly from Michigan and Wisconsin.
The 372nd Regiment was seconded to the 157th Infantry Division of the French Army, called the Red Hand Division. Under the command of General Mariano Goybet, this division was in need of reinforcements.
Over the Top
Emmet J. Scott's Official History of the American Negro in the World War provides a chronological record of when the men were fighting with gallantry in the Champagne region of France for victory:
"Over the Top September 28, 1918, the 3rd Battalion started after the Boche. The first blow being delivered by the 2nd Moroccan Division of shock troops. The retreating Boches are still bombarding our position. Machine gun fire is thick and the 88s are falling like hail.
"On the morning of September 29, 1918, we are trying hard to keep up with the retreating enemy, which is retreating fast, unable to stand our assault. This afternoon it is raining which is unfortunate for our wounded, as there are many.
"Today is September 30, 1918, and we find that the 1st Battalion is on our right, and advancing fast in the rain and mud. Machine gun opposition is still stiff. Our casualties are small and we have captured a large number of prisoners.
"October 1, 1918, we are meeting with a stiff resistance from the enemy who has fortified himself in a hill during the past night. Owing to the bad condition of the ground we are not getting any support from the French artillery.
"October 2, 1918, we have driven the enemy out of Fountain-en-Dormois and are now in the village. Still we are giving the enemy no rest, they are retreating across the valley to one of their supply bases which has a railroad running into the same. The enemy is now burning the supplies which cannot be moved.
"October 3, 1918, we have advanced and captured the little village of Ardeuil and a considerable amount of war material. Our losses have been rather heavy during the past 24 hours, but we have inflicted a much heavier loss on the enemy. On our right the 1st Battalion has taken the village of Sechaut after some hard fighting by Company A.
"October 4, 1918, the 2nd Battalion is going in this morning, and we are resting at Vieox, which is about four kilometers from Monthois and is one of the enemy's railroad centers and hospital bases. The enemy is busy destroying supplies and moving wounded. We can see trains moving out of Monthois. Our artillery is bombarding all roads and railroads in the vicinity. The enemies' fire is fierce and we are expecting a counter-attack.
"October 5, 1918, the German artillery has opened up good and strong and we are on the alert. They attacked us and a stiff hand-to-hand combat ensued. Again he has been driven back, suffering an exceedingly heavy loss. We have taken many prisoners from about twelve different regiments. After resting a little, we continued our advance and are now on the outskirts of Monthois.
"October 6, 1918, the enemy is throwing a stiff barrage on our left where the 333rd French Infantry is attacking. The enemy is again being driven back. The liaison work of the 157th Division has been wonderful, not the slightest gap has been left open.
"October 7, 1918, our patrols entered Monthois early in the morning but were driven out by. machine gun fire, but returned with
gun and its crew. We have just received word that we are to be relieved by the 76th Regiment, French, sometime during the night; we were relieved at 8:00 P. M. We hiked a very long distance over the ground. We fought so hard to take to Minnecourt where the regiment proceeded to reorganize.
"Regiment reached Somme Bionne Oct. 9, 1918. Regiment left Somme Bionne Oct. 11, 1918 to entrain for Vignemont. Left Valmy 8:00 A. M. Oct. 12, 1918 and arrived at Vignemont Oct. 13, 1918. Hiked 15 kilometers to St. Leonard and arrived Sd. Left St. Leonard for Ban de Laveline in the Dept. of the Bosges Oct. 15, 1918, arrived at Laveline 10:15 P. M. Sd.
"November 7, 1918, 1 officer and 22 enlisted men captured by German patrol. Nov. 10, 1918, a patrol of Co. A, took several prisoners from a German patrol.
Citation for the men of 157th Division
On arrival in France, as this unit was transferred into the French command, its decorations are French rather than American. This unit was extremely well decorated, receiving unit and numerous individual citations including Croix de Guerre and Légion d'honneur.
P. C. October 8, 1918.
"157th Division. "Staff.
General Order No. 234
"In transmitting to you with legitimate pride the thanks and congratulations of the General Garnier Duplessis, allow me, my dear friends of all ranks, Americans and French, to thank you from the bottom of my heart as a chief and a soldier for the expression of gratitude for the glory which you have lent our good 157th Division. I had full confidence in you but you have surpassed my hopes.
"During these nine days of hard fighting you have progressed nine kilometers through powerful organized defenses, taken nearly 600 prisoners, 15 guns of different calibres, 20 minenwefers, and nearly 150 machine guns, secured an enormous amount of engineering material, an important supply of artillery ammunition, brought down by your fire three enemy aeroplanes.
Signed General Goybet
- Emmett J. Scott (1919). Scott's Official History of the American Negro in the World War: Chapter XVII The Record of the 372nd. Homewood Press.