Henry Henley Chapman

No. 5733, Class of April 20, 1917. He fell on the field of honor while leading his men over the top in the first wave of the great attack of the Thirtieth Division that broke the Hindenberg line at Bellicourt, about four miles north of St. Quentin, and where the St. Quentin Canal enters the tunnel September 29, 1918. Aged 24 years.


Captain Henry Henley Chapman, of the class of 1917, U. S. M. A., was killed in action, in France, September 29th,. 1918. He fell on the field of honor while leading his men over the top in the first wave of the great attack of the Thirtieth Division that broke the Hindenberg line at Bellicourt, about four miles north of St. Quentin, and where the St. Quentin Canal enters the tunnel. The 30th was operating with the 4th British Army and covered itself with glory in the hard fighting as shock troops on that and succeeding days, being highly commended by General Rawlinson and Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. Captain Chapman was commanding Co. F 120th Infantry (old 2nd N. C.) and charged into a storm of German artillery fire which brought heavy casualties to the gallant North Carolina men following their intrepid young leader.

He was the great-great-grandson of Lt. Henry Henley Chapman of the 2nd Regiment Maryland Continental Infantry, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, under General George Washington, and an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati, to which Captain Chapman had been elected by right of direct iineal descent. He was the great-grandson of Lt. Col William Chapman, of the class of 1831, U. S. M. A., a veteran of the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars, and eldest son of Captain William H. H. Chapman, class of 1891, U. S. M. A., who fought through the Cuban and Philippine campaigns and died in active service. He was the eldest grandchild of the late Major General William S. McCaskey, veteran of the Civil, Indian, Cuban and Philippine Wars, and nephew of Colonels Garrison and Douglas McCaskey. His brother, Captain William McC. Chapman, of the class of 1918, U. S. M. A., is aide-de-camp to Major General William S. Graves, commanding the U. S. forces in Siberia. Born of the 20th Infantry, in which his father and grandfather had served for many years, he was a son of the old Army and a long line of fighting men, and died leading men of the new Army he had helped train for service in France.

Captain Chapman was born at Fort Assinnaboine, Montana, August 8th, 1894, and at the time of his death was only 24 years old. Upon his graduation from West Point in the first war class of 1917, he was assigned to the 20th Infantry and made a creditable record in training new men of that regiment and of the new regiments formed from the old 20th at Fort Douglas, Utah. Selected by Brigadier General Samuel Faison as aide, he later assisted in training the North Carolina guardsmen of the 119th and 120th Infantries, forming the 60th Brigade of the 30th Division at Camp Sevier, South Carolina.

His promotion to Captaincy in April, 1918, took him to the 39th Infantry, which he joined on the eve of their embarkation to France. While with the 39th he took part in the heavy fighting of the 4th Division, which was hurriedly brought down from the British area, where it had been in training and placed in immediate reserve behind the new French front, in June, 1918. The second battle of the Marne was the 4th Division’s first great battle. The 39th Infantry attacked at 8 a. m. July 18th, ad took all objectives ordered by 3 p. m. At 4 a. m., July 19th, the regiment again advanced and took all objectives. The regiment was cited by General Tennant, commanding the French Division, for its work while attached to that Division. Captain Chapman commanded Company D, and his regimental commander writes that “he acquitted himself with credit and gallantry on both days.”

When adjusting the position of his Company on the night of August 1st, the German air- planes bombed the locality, killing and wounding many of the men of his Company and throwing Captain Chapman against a tree causing such severe shell concussion he was evacuated to the hospital. Upon recovery and being passed again for duty at the front, he was given command of F Company 120th Infantry, 30th Division, just ten days before his death.

His Division Commander, Major General E. M. Lewis, wrote of him:
“While he has been but a few days in his regiment (the 120th) his worth as an officer was recognized by his superiors and he had endeared himself to his comrades.”

Colonel S. W. Miner of the 120th Infantry, in writing of his death, said:

“There was not an officer in the regiment, old or young, whose death could have caused any more universal sadness and regret and we have lost a man whom it will be almost impossible to replace. His sweet, gentle and Christian character had so endeared himself to us that all -of us who knew him, however slightly, felt they had lost a personal friend, and this regiment has lost the benefit of his wide experience and military knowledge which I believe we can never replace.”

Colonel F. C. Bolles of the 39th Infantry, wrote of him:

“He was a brave and competent officer in combat, a capable, energetic and agreeable officer in administration. He was greatly beloved by all officers and men with whom he came in contact.”

Besides his mother and two brothers, he leaves a wife, who before marriage was Miss Urania Hudson Edwards, now at her grandmother’s home, 28 Ryder Avenue, Patchogue, L. I., and an infant daughter, Margaret Hudson, whom he had never seen. His one favorite of the popular war books was Donald Hankey’s “Student in Arms.” He carried it with him at Camp Sevier, and perhaps became “the beloved Captain” to some of his men in whose training he put his whole heart and whom he finally led into battle, and with many of those gallant crusaders made the supreme sacrifice on the field of honor.

“He was a Captain born and bred. In years,

Though yet a boy, he was a man in soul,
Led older men and held them in control;
In danger stood erect and quelled their fears;
When death calls such a Captain, he but hears
As ’twere a distant bugle and the roll
Of far-off drums. We wrong him if we toll
The mournful bell. Give him our cheers, not tears!
Through deadly scorch of battle flame and gas,
Through iron hail and burst of shrapnel shell,
Smiling as when we played at mimic wars,
He was our leader. Is it, then, not well
That he should lead before us to the stars?
Stand at attention! Let his brave soul pass!”

A Student in Arms by Donald Hankey

VFW Post discontinued

Possible Links – that is the best that can be said


The Library Records at West Point contain information relating to Graduates who were Ancestors

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