No. 3862. Class of 1898. At the Battle of Cantigny, in command of the 2d Battalion,28th Infantry, received wounds of which he died May 28th. He was cited for having advanced with his first wave in the face of heavy shell and machine-gun fire. Aged 45. DSC
Lieutenant Colonel Maxey was born in Mississippi on May 8, 1873, entered the United States Military Academy in June, 1894, and was graduated April 2, 1898. He was assigned to the 6th Infantry and served with that regiment in the Santiago Campaign. In 1899 he was ordered to the Philippines where he served three years in the Southern Islands. He returned to the States in 1902, and was stationed at Fort Leavenworth where he was an instructor in the Service School. In 1903, he became a Captain and was ordered to Missoula, Montana, where, on November 29, 1904, he married Miss Lu Knowles, daughter of Judge Hiram Knowles of the U. S. Federal Court. He served three tours of duty in the; Philippines, returning from the last in 1913. In 1915, he was detailed to the Army School of the Line and graduated an honor man. In 1916 he attended the Staff Class at Leavenworth and was graduated early on account of the Mexican trouble.
Early in 1917, at the request of General Martin, he was detailed to attend the officers’ training camp at Leon Springs, Texas. In May, 1917, he rejoined his regiment and accompanied it to France, going over with the first Expeditionary Force, in June, 1917. He was instructor in small arms firing to April, 1918, joined the Twenty-eighth Infantry about May 14, 1918, and a few days later, at the Battle of Cantigny, received wounds of which he died May 28th. He was cited for having advanced with his first wave in the face of heavy shell and machine-gun fire.
The citation adds:
“He was cool under fire and a dependable leader. Although fatally wounded, he gave detailed directions to his second in command as to just what to do and caused himself to be carried to the post of command of his regiment to give information to his regimental commander that he considered very important before being evacuated. This was under intense shell and machine-gun fire.”
Captain C. R. Hueber, Twenty-eighth Infantry, the second in command of the Battalion during the attack, gives the following account:
Lieutenant Colonel R. J. Maxey commanded the Second Battalion of the Twenty-eighth Infantry, in the attack upon Cantigny. In the early part of the engagement he was advancing with the first line of the Infantry when he was wounded in the neck by a shell fragment which later caused his death.
He was placed upon a litter and was being carried to the first aid station when he insisted upon being taken to my position as he, said he had some orders that he wanted to turn over to me. Upon reaching the position of my company, he ordered the litter bearers to lay him down and go and get me. I was about 200 yards away, superintending the construction of a strong point.
When I reached the Colonel I found him upon the litter and helpless, but he could speak and gave me full and complete instructions as to how to carry on. He had me get his map and showed me on the map where the positions were to be and how to defend them. All this time we were under heavy machine gunfire with an occasional artillery shot. He showed utter disregard for his own wound and thought of nothing but the success of the operation; nor would he proceed on his way until he was sure that I understood everything, thereby inspiring great devotion and courage.
He was a brave soldier, a worthy friend, and a devoted son and husband. He leaves a widow, two sons, Curtis Knowles Maxey and Radcliffe Stevens Maxey, a mother and three sisters.
Photo of Unit
WWI photo of Col Maxey
WWI photo of KIA’s with Col Maxey insert
Building at Leavenworth named after Col Maxey