|The only photograph I have ever seen of Harry Brosius; he is the elder boy. |
The baby is his oldest half-brother Marshall.
This week I shall highlight the World War I service of my grandfather’s half-brother, Harry Brosius. He had previously enlisted in the Spanish-American War, but seems to have served only about a month before he was discharged for being “unsuited to the service.” His hometown newspaper elaborated slightly more, by saying that he “was honorably discharged for disability, having a foot that had been hurt once, or something of the kind.”
His injured foot did not seem to affect his service in the Great War, however. He enlisted from Tucumcari, New Mexico on 26 Mar 1918, at the age of 36. Beginning as a private in Company F of the 30th Engineers, he departed Hoboken, New Jersey, for Europe aboard the President Grant on 30 June 1918. A letter to his father shortly after his arrival in Europe was printed in the Sedan Times-Star:
From Harry Brosius.
Somewhere in France.
At last I will try and write you a few lines to let you know that I am still alive and not far from the front but we can't hear the boom of the guns yet and don't know when that will happen.
I had quite a trip coming over. We were about twelve days making the trip and the weather was fine with the exception of one day when it rained and we also had a little excitement as a sub put in its appearance and disappeared very quick when the cruiser and a destroyer fired about a dozen shots. We could see the periscope from the ship I was on. Some of the men seem to think there was nothing to it, but I saw it so believe it.
This is a pretty country and the crops look fine. You see lots of wheat, oats, barley and potatoes, but not very much corn; a little alfalfa and quite a bit of clover. The stock looks fine. What cattle I saw were fat and look as though they were well fed and the horses the same. They work them differently than we do. Instead of working two abreast they string them out and don't use wagons, but two wheeled carts and can haul a fair sized load. They are away behind the U. S. in harvesting as they cradle their crops and I have only seen two binders so far, but they don't have large fields like we do. I presume that is why.
We were two days and three nights traveling on one of the most uncomfortable railroad trains I ever rode upon. You had to enter into the side of the car and you couldn't lay down or get up and walk around when the train was in motion and the seats were very straight backs and no toilets on the trains and every time they would stop it would be anywhere from fifteen minutes to four hours. It took us two days and three nights to go about 5000 miles and I was worn out when I did get off and haven't had any rest to speak of. I guess I can't stand to hit the ball like I used to.
I have been trying to locate Ormond but that is impossible as they don't allow us to divulge any names of towns and places and such being the case, one hardly knows what to write about but presume that when we get into action for awhile will have some interesting things to tell you in the line of experiences and may possibly bring back a few souvenirs. We can send home such as helmets, buttons and medals we take from the Germans, but they are very particular about other articles such as postcards, handkerchiefs and other small articles.
Well, Dad, I hope you are holding your own and everybody else the same. Will close this time. As ever,--Harry. F. Co. 30th Engineers, American Expeditionary Forces. via New York.
The Ormond he had been trying to locate was his half-brother, and the subject of last week’s post. (I would also like to thank the WikiTree user Natalie Trott, who shared this article, among others, with me.)
|World War I: American troops pouring into the St. Mihiel salient, toward Mont Sec, on the morning of September 12, 1918|
By Committee on Public Information [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By the end of the war, Harry had advanced to the rank of corporal in the 6th Casual Company Chemical Warfare Service. He departed Le Havre aboard the S.S. La Lorraine on 23 Mar 1919, and was discharged on 18 Apr 1919. He brought home a very significant souvenir, as described in the Sedan Times-Star:
In reading the war news you perhaps remember the term "shell splinters" in connection with various ways in which the men were wounded. Harry Brosius who is recently back is carrying a "shell splinter" but fortunately in his pocket and not in his anatomy. This particular "splinter" has a special interest for Harry because he was ducked down on account of a suspicion that something was due to come along and that was what came. It buried in the planking above him and when he straightened up he determined that his forehead would have been right in the way of it had he been standing erect. An exploding shell is shattered into fragments of many sizes and shapes. This particular "splinter" is a jagged edged chunk almost as large as two fingers and weighs several ounces and looks capable of tearing off a leg or an arm or even very much worse if it struck right and with full force.(Thank you again to WikiTree user Natalie Trott.)
“General News,” Sedan Times-Star, 8 May 1919, p. 4, col. 1-2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 5 Jun 2018).
Harry Brosius in El Paso Enlistments: U.S.N.A.--Jan. 1, 1918, to April __; Mixed Lists of Enlistees; New Mexico Adjutant General Records; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., “New Mexico, World War I Records, 1917-1919,” Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2018).
Harry Brosius; U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963; Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General; digital images, Ancestry, "U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963," Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2014).
“Letters From the Soldier Boys,” Sedan Times-Star, 29 Aug 1918, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2018).
Sedan Lance, 3 Aug 1899, p. 5, col. 3; digital images, America’s GenealogyBank (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 19 Nov 2011), Historical Newspapers.
“U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939,” online images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2018), manifest, President Grant, 30 June 1918, entry no. 21, for Harry Brosius, service no. 1199178.
“U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939,” online images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2018), manifest, S.S. La Lorraine, 23 Mar 1919, entry no. 27, for Harry Brosius, service no. 1199178.