Frederic L. Huidekoper to Cary T. Grayson




Frederic L. Huidekoper writes Cary T. Grayson to give his experience asks to be allowed to return home.


Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Virginia




My dear Carey,

I fancy that you will to surprised at receiving a letter from me in this remote place, but since we last parted in Washington the day before Helena and I left for Charleston in June 1917, I have had a decidedly adventuresome career.

After two months in Charleston, at the Headquarters of the Southeastern Department, I was singled out, to my surprise, to be the only man in the Officers’ Reserve Corps selected as a Division Adjutant, and was ordered to report at Houston, Texas, on , to Major General George Bell Jr., commanding the 33rd Division, then about to be organized. By virtue of its General Order No. 1, issued three days later, I became the Division Adjutant, a position which I have held ever since.

After eight months of the most intensive training, we sailed from Hoboken on , and, upon reaching Brest, were sent to the British area. Here the 33rd Division trained and fought until the end of August, itsits most notable actions being Hamel on the in which weit participated with the Australians, and Gressaire Wood on , which inaugurated the great British drive terminating at Mons on . For the former the King of England came in person on to our Headquarters to decorate 19 of our officers and men for gallantry, and only two days ago General Wagstaff of the British Army decorated two officers and 18 men for their part at Gressaire Wood, the decorations including the Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, Distinguished Service and Military Medals.

From the British front the 33rd was transferred to the Toul sector and thence sent to Verdun, where we were the first American Division to occupy a sector on that famous battlefield. In the great attack of the First American Army on we were next to the Meuse and it was this Division which captured the celebrated Bois de Forges. On part of this Division joined the 19th French Army Corps in its attack east of the Meuse, broke through all the German lines of defense up to the Kreimhild Stelling and captured the formidable Bois de Chaume and Bois de Stat Chene. Astride of the Meuse, this Division formed the right of the American Corps and the left of the French 17th Army Corps in the desperate Meuse-Argonne battle and we were not withdrawn until we had been 44 days in the trenches.

We then proceeded to the Troyon sector, near St. Mihiel, where this was the only American Division which broke through the Hindenburg system there. It was headed for Metz when the Armistice put an end to the fighting.

The 33rd is the only Division in the AEF which has fought with the British, the Americans and the French. We have served in five Armies and eleven Army Corps. We have battled on the Somme, on the Meuse and near St. Mihiel. We have marched through Lorraine, been in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation and, just now, we are wintering in a well-known summer resort in Luxembourg.

In addition to the above, I have graduated at the Army General Staff College and been promoted to a Lieutenant-Colonel cy. You can therefore see that my life has not been devoid of events during the past twenty months.

I am writing a Military History of the 33rd Division, which I expect to finish in a few days. When this is finished, my work will be done and I want to go back to my family, doubly so because an event is expected to occur before March and I do not want Helena to have to endure the ordeal alone as she did in December, 1917.

I am writing to ask whether you cannot help to have me ordered home. I know that, apart from myself, Helena and Mr. and Mrs. Gaff would deeply appreciate anything you could do to bring about my return to Washington. Were I still a bachelor, I should like nothing better than to stay here to the last, but my status is now different. I hope that I have a right to believe, in view of my long years of work for preparedness and for the Army, that my case is rather different from that of most civilians who entered the military service and, as such, ought to be entitled to consideration more favorable than the ordinary case. In addition to the personal side, I have many financial and business interests which would mean much to Helena and me if I could get home to attend to them soon.

In writing you thus, I am doing so with the knowledge of my General who is fully conversant with my wish to get home as soon as I can.

Please to give my kindest remembrances to Mrs. Grayson and anything you can do to get me sent home will be deeply appreciated by

Very sincerely yours,

Frederic L. Huidekoper.
Lieut. Colonel, AG

Original Format




Huidekoper, Frederic Louis, 1874-1940, “Frederic L. Huidekoper to Cary T. Grayson,” 1919 January 22, WWP15622, Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.