The 92d Division, composed entirely of Negro units which had been trained at seven different camps, was ordered overseas in May, 1918. Following eight weeks of training there in the new war tactics, the Division took up its first fighting responsibilities in the St. Die sector and received its first baptism of fire. It held this sector for four weeks, repelling all attacks of the enemy, taking a number of prisoners and a quantity of war material. Later the Division was withdrawn from this sector and ordered to Marbache, directly south of Metz, one of the most strongly fortified positions of the Germans and most completely connected with the rear by means of railroads and other forms of communication. The enemy was not falling back here as he was doing along the Hinden-burg line; he was entrenched in positions prepared for more than four years and was supported by artillery that had had plenty of time to get the range of all area before it. The Negro troops, facing such defenses, were constantly on the offensive and had made repeated gains and territory when the order with the signing of the Armistice closed their operations. This Division suffered heavy losses in its various operations, the total of casualties and missing being 103 officers and 1,543 men.1

In reporting the conduct of the 92d Division, one of the Brigadier Generals said, "We took complete possession of No Man's Land. After the first few days we were unable to find any German patrols outside of their lines." The commanding general in making a report of the first day's operation said that undoubtedly the enemy considered the 92d Division an "uncomfortable neighbor with whom he intends to avoid close relations in the future." A major of one of the battalions in making a. report said: "I desire especially to call to the attention of the division commander the fact that the handling of their units by their company and battalion commanders was all that could be expected of the most experienced officers."2 In reviewing the troops in January, just before they reembarked for home, General Pershing said to the men of the 92d Division: "You stood second to-none in the record you have made since your arrival in France".

All the regiments of the 92d Division were vying for greatest achievement in service. It was said, however, that the 367th regiment, popularly known as "the Buffaloes," probably made the outstanding record. The entire first battalion was cited for bravery and awarded the Croix de Guerre, entitling every officer and man in the battalion to wear this insignia of valor. Colonel James. A. Moss, the white commanding officer of this regiment, born and bred in the South, learned to appreciate these Negroes as real men and received their confidence and affection. Speaking of his soldiers, he says, "Treat and handle the colored man as you would any other human being out of whom you would make a good soldier, out of whom you would get the best there is in him, and you will have as good a soldier as history has ever known - a man who will drill well, shoot well, march well, obey well, fight well."1

1 Scott, E. J., work cited, pp. 130-162.

2 From documents in Scott, E. J., work cited, pp. 148-167.

There have been charges and countercharges about the failure of some Negro troops in battle. As with some of the' white troops unused to the ordeal of this conflict, mistakes were probably made by some troops, but the testimony is universal that whatever happened these cases were exceptions and that the Negro soldiers in the fighting in France won honor for themselves and glory for their flag and country.

A Negro regiment, popularly known as "The Old Fifteenth" of the New York National Guard, had an interesting record. After some weeks of training in France, the regiment, unassisted by the French, was given a sector in the Bois D'Hauze in Champagne. They served here a few weeks, and after a period of rest were transferred to a French Division in which there were French Moroccan troops. On September 26, they were sent into action. The entire regiment deported itself with such gallantry and courage that 171 officers and enlisted men were cited for the French Croix de Guerre and their colonel for the Legion of Honor. This regiment was the first contingent of Negro American soldiers to enter the trenches and was the first unit of the allied armies to reach the Rhine. The regiment held a trench many days without relief, and was under such service at one period for 191 days. It is said of this regiment that it "never lost a trench, a foot of ground, or a man captured".

1 Scott, E. J., work cited, pp. 194-195.

Colonel Hayward, now United States District Attorney, County of New York, who commanded the regiment, in commenting on whether or not the American Negro would stand up in battle under the terrific shell and other fire in the World War as he had always stood up under rifle fire in other wars, said, "They are positively the most stoical and mysterious men I have ever known. Nothing surprises them, and French officers say they are entirely different from their own African troops. and the Indian troops of the British, who are so excitable under fire."1 When twelve volunteers were called from. one company of the regiment for a raiding party, the whole company fell in line. All wanted to go, and their captain had to pick twelve men.

A Negro regiment, the Eighth Illinois National Guard, was mustered into the National Army as the 370th United States Infantry. This regiment had Negro officers from the colonel down. Colonel Franklin T. Dennison, commander of the regiment, and later Colonel Otis C. Duncan, who succeeded him, helped to demonstrate to the world that Negro soldiers could fight heroically and successfully under the command of Negro officers. There were two other regiments, the 371st and 372d, composed of Negro troops that saw active service with a French Division. In a farewell order as these regiments took leave of France, General Coybet, of the 157th (French) Division, said, "Never will the 157th Division forget the indomitable dash, the heroic rush of the American regiments (Negro) up the observatory ridge and into the Plains of Monthois . . . These crack regiments overcame every obstacle with a most complete contempt for danger. Through their steady devotion, the 'Red Hand Division' for nine whole days of severe struggle was constantly leading the way for the victorious advance of the Fourth Army."1 The 157th Division erected a monument near Monthois, Ardennes, in honor of the dead of the 371st and 372d infantry who fought and died with them.