Francis Eugene Dougherty

No. 5620 Class of April 1917. Captain Dougherty when in the midst of our attack in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign, the enemy laid down a heavy counter barrage and a shell bursting a few feet from Captain Dougherty wounded him seriously. Died October 16, 1918, Aged 23 years.

Francis E. Dougherty

Francis E. Dougherty

Captain Francis E. Dougherty was born at Fergus Falls, Minnesota, August 20, 1895. His schooling was taken in the public schools of Glenwood, where he moved with his parents and lived until he went to West Point. Early in life he showed marked ability along mechanical and musical lines. In photography and drawing he left many excellent pictures. Much of hi.s spare time was spent in designing mechanical and electrical equipment for his own enjoyment; a telegraph line and a phonograph being practical successful results of his efforts. Musically he had marked ability, for he played the piano, violin, and clarinet unusually well, and sang in choruses and choirs during his years in school. While not an exceptional athlete, yet he was interested in football and basketball and played on all the high school teams in these sports. During his last year in high school he received an appointment to West Point. Without further study he passed the examinations necessary for entrance. Upon graduating with his high school class, of which he was the valedictorian, he went on to West Point to continue his education, entering the Academy in June of 1913, and graduating on April 20th 1917.

During his first year at the Academy he was known as a “good plebe” and a man who applied himself conscientiously to his duties. Throughout his entire stay at the Point he was always near the lead of his class, not only because of his bright intellect, but because he was a hard worker. He was fond of the gymnasium and always represented his class with credit at the annual’ indoor meets. On graduation Captain Dougherty was assigned at his own request to the 4th Infantry, then stationed at Gettysburg National Park, Pa. For a few months he was in command of a rifle company after which he was given the headquarters company which he organized in its new complexity.

In April, 1918, Captain Dougherty sailed for overseas service with his regiment, and after a month’s training the 4th Infantry was sent to Chateau-Thierry to assist in stopping the German drive on Paris which took place in the latter part of May. About a month later Captain Dougherty received a real opportunity to show his ability when the second big drive of the year in that vicinity had been checked and his regiment was leading the 3rd Division in its advance against the enemy. When the 4th Infantry was a small distance beyond a town on the northern side of the Marne, called St. Pere, he was placed in command during the remainder of that advance up as far as Roncheres, in all about ten days.

At this point the regiment was relieved and sent to the rear to be reorganized as it had suffered heavy casualties. When new field officers were assigned to the regiment he again assumed command of the headquarters company, which he conducted with great ability throughout the St. Mihiel drive and later in the Argonne, until upon the death of Major Roy Melvin Smyth, he was placed in command of the 1st Battalion. Captain Dougherty held this command less than twenty-four hours when in the midst of our attack the enemy laid down a heavy counter barrage and a shell bursting a few feet from Captain Dougherty wounded him seriously.

Colonel Halstead Dorey, who was near him, did all that was possible to stop the flow of blood which followed and refused to leave an officer who had rendered him such valuable service, in spite of the fact that he was repeatedly urged to seek a place of safety. Captain Dougherty lived about an hour; always maintaining the same calm manner which had characterized him throughout his life, though it was evident that he was suffering great pain. Later forty-six dead Americans were counted within a radius of fifty yards from the place where Captain Dougherty had given up his life.

Not only does the class of 1917 mourn a loved classmate in his death, but the army has lost a valuable officer who was. the embodyment of the Academy’s motto: ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’ He was never known to use profanity or intoxicating liquors and perhaps the best way to picture him is to say in the fullest sense of its meaning, he was a Christian gentleman through and through. Everyone who came in contact with him held him in the highest esteem and he seemed not to have an enemy in the world. There is but one consoling fact in his death, and that is a man who lived a life such as he did can only be in one place where he now enjoys the eternal reward for a life – well spent and freely given for a great cause.

Family crossing Honoring Fallen

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