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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: To Lloyd and Joe (371st Infantry Regiment, WW1

We are always more than happy to share our research with interested persons. In addition to having a wealth of information on the 372nd and it's parent units, we have also compiled a roster of approximately 2000 men of the regiment and parent units. The overall roster is still only about halfway completed. However, the Ohio, Connecticut, and Maryland National Guard portions are 100% finished. We are sorely lacking in information pertaining to the Tennesee component of the regiment and would appreciate any such info that anyone may have available.

You are very correct in your assertion that the 369th is the only one of the four regiments given to the French who receive any recognition. This is truly sad, particularly given the fact that the 369th was the newest Black National Guard unit in existance at that time. The 372nd, on the other hand, contained the oldest units, with their lineage going back to 1863. They also contained the only black company to have existed within an otherwise all-white regiment (Co. L, 6th Mass. Inf.) and the only Black unit to have been a part of an all-white division (1st Separate Co. MDNG, which was part of the 104th Ammo Train, 29th Div. for the last 4 months of 1917).

Additionally, the 1st Separate Infantry Batallion, DCNG (which became 1st Bn., 372nd Inf.) were the very first National Guard troops called to Federal service on March 25, 1917. This was specifically because of their race. They were the only military unit in the Washington, DC area that could be almost 100% guaranteed NOT to contain any foreign born members who might be sympathetic to Germany.

Where did you find the info to the effect that the 369th wore French uniforms? Our research has shown that the only actual uniform items of French issue that ANY of the four regiments of the Provisional 93rd Division were issued were boots and helmets. Period photographic evidence seems to bear this out. The quartermasater records from the 372nd which we have seen reflect this as well. For example, when they returned to direct AEF command in December,1918 the property returns are for helmets, infantry gear, and pioneer equipment, only.

I've only ever seen one image that was 'supposed' to be an American in a French uniform. This was a photo of an African Colonial that has been misidentified and published as such in several sources. He is obviously a Colonial soldier, due to the fact that in at least one copy I've seen you can clearly make out the anchors on his overcoat collar. None of the Americans of the Provisional 93rd who served with the French were issued French insignia other than helmet badges.

Regards,

Jim Ball


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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