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Bartlett L. Hinkley (abt. 1882 - 1918)

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2LT Bartlett L. Hinkley
Born about [location unknown]
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 30 Jul 1914 [location unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Francemap
Profile last modified 25 Sep 2019 | Created 5 Dec 2018 | Last significant change: 25 Sep 2019
01:19: Lucy (Selvaggio) Selvaggio-Diaz edited the Biography for Bartlett L. Hinkley (abt.1882-1918). [Thank Lucy for this]
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Biography

2nd Lt. Bart Hinkley of Company F, 16th Engineers, AEF died while advancing light rail under fire at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon.

On the afternoon of October 28, (1918) the Company hiked to the "Bois-de-Chemin" and at once started to rehabilitate the abandoned German narrow gauge road leading around Montfaucon towards Romagne. The next three days were trying ones. This territory had been held by the Germans since the early part of 1914 and was so well mapped that the German artillery could make a direct hit at will. The narrow gauge road was in great demand and it was necessary that it be kept in operation. Ammunition and supplies could not be held up if the great American Drive was to continue. No sooner would a train get nicely along when a German shell would destroy a section of track. This would necessitate either refilling a hole three to four feet deep and six to eight feet in diameter or re-routing the track around the hole.
In the majority of hits it was necessary to move the track. What a thrill! In the distance you could see the fire from the German artillery; a few seconds later you would hear the shell pass over head (that's if you were lucky) and shortly after hear it explode, knowing damned well that more track would have to be replaced.
At about four o'clock on the morning of November first, the Company loaded into narrow gauge cars and moved into Romagne. The American artillery was occupying the old German gun pits, but this time the shell was traveling in the opposite direction.
About three hundred feet from the foot of the hill ran the old German narrow gauge railway and the job of keeping it open was given to F Company. Things went along smoothly until about 10:00 A. M. when the German artillery found their range, then Hell began to pop. To the left side of the hill, which sheltered the American artillery, firing French 155 M.M., ran an old highway which was now being used by trucks to carry up men and ammunition, and by ambulances returning the wounded. The narrow gauge crossed this highway about one mile from Romagne and was subject to artillery fire continually.
The second platoon under Lieut. Hinkley, had made several minor repairs at this point and were preparing to move farther up the line when they were caught in an artillery barrage. Lieut. Hinkley was killed outright and five men, Sergeant Edward Minton, Carl Schuster, Jules De Schoemaker, William Diehl and Aaron Goldstein, suffering shrapnel wounds. Carl Schuster died before he could be moved to a hospital; his remains with those of Lieut. Hinkley were buried at Romagne. Sergeant Minton was removed to a Base Hospital where he later had his leg amputated. Sergeant Simpson took command of the platoon and returned the men to camp. It was a sorrowful lot that lined up for mess that night, their appetites, although badly neglected for several days, failed to respond. F Company had suffered its baptism of fire.
The men at Romagne took shelter in several old abandoned American dug-cuts for the night and the next day resumed operation on the narrow gauge. On the night of November 2, the Company marched to Nantillois Junction, an old German ammunition dump. Did someone say "Marched"? Well, it was tramp, tramp, tramp.
The Lieut, in charge must have lost his compass for the Company marched all night, and the next morning found that it had moved less than three miles. Some navigators can cover considerable mileage in making a circle.
From November 3 to November 9, F Company worked on narrow gauge up into the front lines using Nantillois as base headquarters. On the tenth the Company was transferred to the standard gauge line running from Verdun toward Dun-sur-Meuse and moved up to Brieulles, a former German camp. On the morning of November 11 the Company was headed for Dun and arrived there about the time the news came that the Armistice had been signed. That night found the Company occupying another German camp at Clery-Le-Petit across the river from Dun.
What a night! The men had found several hundred German flares. The sky was literally a blaze, red, green and white rockets, which recalled the good old Fourth of July celebrations at home. Fires were built with powder sticks and the Camp took on a new atmosphere of life. No more artillery fire, no more air raids, no longer the need of gas masks, nor of dug-outs to shelter you. The war was over, and many a knee was bent that night in thanksgiving to the Maker of Man, with a fervent prayer for "Peace on Earth and Good Will toward all Men."[1]

He is the son of James L. Hinkley and Margaret Freeland. [2] He is a Mayflower Descendant through his father.

Sources

  1. History of the 16th Engineers (Railway)
  2. Marriage record
  • History of the 16th Engineers (Railway)
  • Marriage Records. Michigan Marriages. Various Michigan County marriage collections; database, "Michigan, County Marriage Records, 1822-1940," Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016 Ancestry Record 61374 #129855: accessed 24 September 2019; citing FHL Film Number 001007568. The record gives his age as 32.


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Categories: 16th Engineer Regiment, United States Army, World War I