Charles White was born in Florence, Wisconsin back in 1884. In 1894 the family moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts where he graduated from Pittsfield High School. He went on to Williams College graduating in 1905, then he was off to Harvard Law School graduating in 1908.
In 1917, just a month after the American entry into WWI he joined the U.S. Army.
He was sent to the Western Front as a captain. Later that same year he was promoted to major. His troop was sent into the Meuse-Argonne region where the Germans had heavily fortified the area. His command was cut off from their supply line, having been pinned down by the German troops. On October 7th, the Germans sent a blindfolded American POW with a message in English to Charles demanding their surrender. His rely to the demand “You go to hell!”
His troops held put until reinforcements arrived, for his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In 1921, he acted as a pallbearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. A few days later he booked passage from New York to Havana aboard the SS Toloa. The first night out of New York after dinner he retired and was never seen again.
While you may not know Charles White Whittlesey, surely, you’ve heard about his standoff, for his command was dubbed the Lost Battalion. A movie was made about their heroic stand. Until tomorrow please keep our service men and women in your thought and prayers.