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Early Erwin Baggett

Submitted by: Janet C. Rogers {Great Nephew}

Early  Baggett image

Early Erwin Baggett born around 1894. Early Baggett served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


Early Erwin Baggett resided in Quail, Collingsworth Co., Texas on the family farm. He was the third son in a family of 8 children. Early, age 22, registered for the draft June 5, 1917 in Wellington, Texas. He was inducted October 8, 1917 as a private in the 132nd Machine Gun Battalion, 141st U.S. Infantry, 71st Brigade, 36th Division of Texas.

Major General William R. Smith, commanded the division from the time it sailed for France in July 1918 until its return in the spring of 1919.

Early was ordered to report immediately to Camp Bowie which was located in Tarrant County near Fort Worth, Texas. He arrived at camp in civilian clothes. It was weeks before uniforms were provided and much longer before they were equipped with rifles. For a time, the men drilled with sticks and clubs.

Cold weather caused a great deal of hardship among the men. Many cases of pneumonia, measles and the flu resulted. After the first month overcoats and woolen clothing finally arrived. Tents were improved as they were walled and floored with wood.

The order directing the 36th Division to the Port of Embarkation came on July 2, 1918. The Division began movement on July 8 to New York. The 36th Division boarded the U.S.S. Princess Matoika at Hoboken, New York. She was part of a convoy of 13 ships transporting the Army Expeditionary Forces to Europe.

On July 27, Division Headquarters were established at Bar-sur-Aube, France in the 13th Training Area. New training was required to accustom the men to fighting in the open. The training period ended September 26.

The unit conducted major operations in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the Battle of the Argonne Forest, was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front. It was fought from September 26, 1918, until the Armistice on November 11, 1918, a total of 47 days.

The Hindenburg Line was a German defensive position built during the winter of 1916–1917 on the Western Front. The main German defenses were anchored on the Hindenburg Line. The Hindenburg Line was attacked several times in 1917 and was broken in September 1918, during the Hundred Days Offensive. Pvt. Baggett and the 132nd Machine Gun Battalion were there when the Hindenburg Line was broken. On October 9–10, the unit participated in heavy combat near the village of St. Etienne.

April 10, 1919, orders came directing the Division to prepare to move to the Le Mans area and then home. The movement to the Le Mans area began on April 26 and was completed in early May. Upon arriving in this area, Pvt. Baggett was steamed, bathed, deloused, disinfected and inspected in preparation to return to the states.

The unit was transported on American trains to Brest, France for embarkation. The entrainment for Brest began May 17th. The 132nd Machine Gun Battalion, 141st U.S. Infantry, 71st Brigade, boarded the S.S. Troy and sailed from Brest, France to New York New York. They arrived May 22, 1919. The entire Division embarked from this port.

Pvt. Baggett departed New York June 10, 1919 on the S. S. Yale to Hoboken, New Jersey. After a brief stay in rest camps, the men were again inspected and examined. The 141st Infantry was ordered to Camp Mills and the unit was inactivated in June 1919. Pvt. Early Baggett was discharged July 3, 1919.

November 11, 1927, the local newspaper, The Wellington Leader, printed a full page tribute to the men who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. The roster of tribute was titled "Their Deeds Live On". The roster listed Pvt. Early Baggett and all the other men from Collingsworth County, Texas who served.

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