Photo page 55 – 1919 Annual Report
No. 4731 Class of 1908. His battalion was one of two battalions of regiment which remained in line continuously for six weeks. He was especially valuable during those trying days as his calmness under fire and his ability to promptly and efficiently meet conditions as they arose, inspired great confidence in all his subordinates and helped in a great measure to crown each engagement of his battalion with the wreath of victory. He met his death from a shell fragment while valiantly directing his battalion in the advance in the open fields near Soissons, July 18, 1918, near Chateau Thierry, France, aged 32 years.
Major Arthur E. Bouton, 9.th U. S. Infantry, who gave his life in the first great American advance before Chateau Thierry, was a grad uate of the class of 1908.
After graduation, Major Bouton was commissioned in the infantry and served with credit at several posts in the United States and in the Philippines. After his return, his tour of duty in the islands, he joined the 9th Infantry, then on the Mexican border stationed at Laredo, Texas. After his promotion to Captaincy in 1917, he left with the regiment for Syracuse, New York.
After the division of the 9th into three parts, Major Bouton left for France with the 9th Infantry contingent. Upon arrival in France, he proceeded to the training area in the vicinity of Nouchateau, Department of Voges. In October, 1917, he was sent to the First Corps School, at Gondrecourt, and upon completion of his course, became an instructor in that school.
He returned to the Ninth Infantry shortly before they left the trench sector in the vicinity of St. Mihiel. He then became Battalion Commander, having received his promotion to majority. He had been recommended for promotion for efficient service while as instructor at the school.
In May, 1918, he took his battalion to the trench sector near Mont sous les Cotes, southeast of Verdun. A short time later his regiment moved north in the vicinity of Ardens to be ready to support the English. On May 31st, 1918, he accompanied his battalion by bus to Chateau Thierry area and entered the line before Vaux. His battalion did excellent work in the trying days that followed and was a material factor in the stopping of the German drive on Paris.
It was Major Bouton’s battalion (the Second) which attacked the Germans before Vaux and the Bois de la Roche on July 1st, 1918, capturing that town and woods to north and northwest. The attack was a brilliant success, several hundred Germans were killed and wounded, over three hundred taken prisoners with many machine guns and much material. An entire German regiment was completely put out of action by the battalion.
His battalion was one of two battalions of regiment which remained in line continuously for six weeks. He was especially valuable to us during those trying days. His calmness under fire and his ability to promptly and efficiently meet conditions as they arose, inspired great confidence in all his subordinates and helped in a great measure to crown each engagement of his battalion with the wreath of victory.
He met his death from a shell fragment while valiantly directing his battalion in the advance in the open fields near Soissons.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, posthumously, for this deed. The citation is as follows:
Arthur E. Bouton, Major (Deceased),- 9th Infantry:
For extraordinary heroism in action near Soissons, France, 10 July, 1918.
His exhibition of dash and courage in leading an assaulting line against enemy machine gun nests under terrific artillery fire, and the successful protection of his left flank, which became exposed when liaison was broken, aided materially the success of the whole attack. He was killed by shell fire while leading his battalion in the assault.
Next of kin: Edwin P. Bouton, Trumansburg, N. Y. Awarded 18 September, 1918.
His loss was deeply felt by all officers and men who knew him and his valiant deed will ever remain fresh in the annals of the Ninth Infantry.
Following are extracts of letters received by the father of Major Bouton from officers who were serving with him at the time he met his death; also copies of G. 0. 44, Headquarters, Second Division, A. E. F., and three citations.
Knights of Columbus Overseas Services.
On Active Service with American Expeditionary Forces, A. P. 0. 710.
Mr. E. P. Bouton, Trumansburg, N. Y.
Dear Mr. Bouton:
November 19th, 1918.
As you know, your son Major Bouton was killed in action on July 18th in the beginning of the attack that was the turning point of this war. I remember well the spirit with which he went into battle. For some days before the attack we had been enduring great hardships and he, soldier like, was grumbling on behalf of his men. But when it was definitely decided that we were to attack, what a change. He seemed to have but one wish, namely, to get into action, one desire for the appointed hour to arrive. He went into battle with his coat off at the head of his battalion, a true soldier and a true commander.
About Major Bouton himself, you have reason to be proud of him. We all were. He was an excellent soldier and a brilliant commander. It was men like he that made the American army what it was over here. Men of his type were the cornerstone and groundwork of American success over here. It is indeed a great sacrifice that has been asked of you, but I am sure you will make it as willingly as he did his,- rejoicing in the opportunity to fight in the front line of an advance in the cause our country had espoused. You have great reason to be proud of him. He was a man, a soldier, an American.
J. A. McCAFFERY, Chaplain 9th Infantry.
Headquarters Ninth Infantry, A. E. F. France, 22nd July, 1918.
Mr. Edwin P. Bouton, Trumansburg, N. Y.
Your son, Major Arthur E. Bouton, was killed while leading his command in action during the allied advance south of Soissons July 18, 1918. His death was instantaneous.
The regiment has lost a courageous and gallant officer, beloved alike by his fellow officers and by his men. His conduct during this battle, as in former engagements with his regiment, has been of the highest order and an inspiration to all about him.
The officers and men of the Ninth United States Infantry extend to you their heartfelt sympathy.
Sincerely yours, L. S. UPTON,
Colonel 9th Inf. Commanding.
Camp Lewis, Wash., October 17, 1918.
My Dear Mr. Bouton:
I have only recently returned from France where I commanded the
First Battalion 15th Field Artillery, which supported Major Bouton’s battalion of the 9th Infantry at Vaux La Roche Woods and in the big flank drive south of Soissons on July 18th, when the Major was killed.
He and I were the closest of friends and continually cooperated when the now famous 2nd Division went into action. Some day I shall write you of many little instances that caused me to hold the Major in such high esteem. He was a thinker, a valuable officer, held the respect of every man who knew him. His men loved him and we loved him because he was democratic; strict, but very approachable; conscientious and possessed energy, dash and unlimited courage. He lost his life at the head of his men on a victorious field, probably the most important and far-reaching success of American arms up to that time, if not up to date.
Sincerely and faithfully,
B. M. BAILEY, Col. 37th F. A.
Ninth Infantry, 15th January, 1919.
My Dear Mr. Bouton:
The loss of your son was deeply felt by all the officers and men
who knew him. He was especially valuable to us and the cause of the Allies in those
trying days before Chateau Thierry. His calmness under fire and his ability to promptly meet conditions as they arose inspired great confidence in all his subordinates and helped in a great measure to crown each engagement of his battalion with the wreath of victory.
He met his death while valiantly directing his battalion under heavy shell fire in the advance in the forest before Villers-Cotterets on July 18.
F. L. WHITLEY,
Major 9th Infantry.
Headquarters Second Division (Regular) American Expeditionary Forces, France.
General Orders No. 44.-Extract. July 12, 1918.
The names of and the deeds performed by the following named officers and enlisted men of this Division are published as being well worthy of emulation and praise:
Major Arthur E. Bouton, 9th Infantry. (Heading the list.)
He carefully prepared and successfully executed the attack and capture of Vaux, July 1, 1918.
By command of Major General Bundy:
Colonel, General Staff,
William W. Bessell, Adjutant General,
A. R. Knott, Captain, Infantry, U. S. A.
Adjutant 379th Inf.
Chief of Staff.
General Headquarters of the Armies of the North and Northeast.
Personnel Bureau. Order No. 11,187 “D.” (Extract.)
With the approbation of the Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, the General Commander in Chief of the French Armies of the North and Northeast cites in the Order of the Army:
Major Arthur E. Bouton, 9th Infantry.
“After having competently prepared operations of July 1, 1918, in the Vaux region, he himself conducted the attack on this village and by his personal action he insured the complete success of a particular difficult operation.”
At General Headquarters, November 4, 1918.
The Commander in Chief,
For original extract:
The Lieutenant-Colonel Chief of Personnel Bureau.
General Headquarters of the French Armies of the East.
Personnel Bureau. Order No. 14,229 “D.” (Extract.)
With the approbation of the Commander in Chief of the American
Expeditionary Forces in France, the Marshal of France, Commander in Chief of the French Armies of the East, cites in the Order of the Army: Major Arthur E. Bouton, 9th Reg., U. S. Infantry.
“Displayed great courage and bravery in leading his men to the assault of enemy machine gun nests under a violent artillery fire. Liaison on the left being cut off, he very ably protected the exposed flank, thus contributing to the success of the attack of July 18, 1918, southeast of Soissons. Was killed at the head of his battalion during action.”
At General Headquarters, March 10, 1919.
Commander in Chief of the French Armies of the East. PETAIN.
For original extract:
The Lieutenant-Colonel, Chief of Personnel Bureau.
American Expeditionary Forces United States Army. Distinguished Service Cross Citation.
Major Arthur E. Bouton (deceased), 9th Infantry, distinguished him- self by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States at Soissons, France, on July 18, 1918, and in recognition of his gallant conduct I have awarded him in the name of the President the Distinguished Service Cross.
Awarded on September 18, 1918.
JOHN J. PERSHING,