Thursday, November 11, 2021

Nov. 11, 1918: The Georgia National Guard and the Day the Great War Ended

By Maj. William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Non-commissioned officers of the Georgia National Guard’s 151st Machine Gun Battalion in Germany in 1919. Georgia National Guard Archives.

On Nov. 7, 1918, after more than 12 months service in France, the Georgia National

Sgt. Charles B. Long. 

Guard’s 151st Machine Gun Battalion reached Thelonne, a small village set among hills just south of the Meuse River and the important supply hub of Sedan. While in Thelonne, the battalion was subjected to severe German artillery fire. The next day, Cpl. Charles B Long of Company B died of wounds. The 28-year-old native of Macon, Ga. was the last battlefield casualty of the 151st.

The 151st Machine Gun Battalion was composed of three companies of the Georgia National Guard’s 2nd Georgia Infantry (later the 121st Infantry). The Soldiers of the 151st came from more than 150 towns across Georgia. It was the only Georgia Guard unit to deploy to combat as an organic unit.

The firing position at Thelonne would be the last of more than 80 positions established by the battalion since arriving in France in October 1917. In the intervening months as part of the Allied Expeditionary Force, the 151st participated in ten engagements, and was in contact with the enemy for 167 days. With an original strength of 581, the battalion suffered 443 casualties including 57 killed, mortally wounded or missing in action.


The village of Thelonne, France. The 151st MGB arrived here Nov. 7, 1918 and suffered its final casualty the next day. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.

The battalion was relieved from their front-line positions November 8, 1918. On November 11, 1918, the day the armistice went into effect the 151st MGB was on the march from Grand Armoises to Germont.[1]


The Georgia National Guard's 151st Machine Gun Battalion held this commanding position overlooking Sedan, France when the Armistice was declared
November 11, 1918. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.

Sergeant Robert Gober Burton of Monroe, Ga. had served with Company A, 151st MGB through all of its campaigns and was wounded during the Second Battle of the Marne. Writing home to his mother after receiving news of the armistice, Burton expressed disbelief.


November 17, 1918

East of the Meuse River

My dearest mother,

Well will write you for the first time since the war has finished. Can you realize that the war has actually finished? For the first day or so I could not grasp that we would not have to go back up and fight some more. I am becoming more convinced each day that it has finished.

Long lines of Frenchmen pass each day and all day long coming from Germany. Most of them have been prisoners for four long miserable years. And they tell some horrible tales of those four years.

Can it really be that we have won the war and that we won’t have to go up and fight any more? That the Germans won’t shoot us anymore?

Great have been the celebrations in France since the Armistice was signed. Frenchmen coming back to their homes and the meeting of brothers and fathers and mothers and old friends. The Americans were certainly warmly received in the towns which they liberated. They have liberated many French towns and many thousands of the inhabitants.

Well mother dear, will close for this time. Am waiting for a letter from you.

Your ever devoted son,









[1] Arthur Peavy and White Miller. The 151st Machine Gun Battalion 42d (Rainbow) Division: A Battalion History and Citations of the Rainbow August 13, 1917 to April 26, 1919. ( J. W. Burke Co., 1919) 20.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive