On November 3rd, 4th and 5th, the centenary of the American intervention and the death of the first American soldiers on the french soil in the "Pays du Sanon" were commemorated by ceremonies and celebrations. The success was such that the idea of perpetuating the homage due to them would be relevant in devising a memory path. it would be there to help French and the foreign visitors in their pilgrimage. It is in the form of a loop starting at Einville-au-Jard, through Valhey, Batheléomont, Bures, Réchicourt-la-Petite, Arracourt and coming back to Einville. In doing so, it mingles two symbols together, the two world wars.
The United States of Amerca declared war in April 1917, but it is only at the end of October that elements of the 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One, went to the front. It was more being under fire for the first time, than a military operation. The region, at the east of Nancy, to the north east of Lunéville in the Sânon area, was rather calm. In a month, the force lost around 30 men, if we take into account all the possible reasons. For 13 of them, the reason was "act of war". Compared to the 116 708 American deaths in the fighting, those who died in 1917 do not seem to be important. Nevertheless, at the time, those deaths aroused wide interest in the American newspapers. As far as the Germans and the Allies were concerned a close eye was kept on those American soldiers' first feats of arms. That is the reason why the events of October-November 1917, summarized belox, got a feeling of importance in History. They acquired a symbolical aura. The latter is the main reason for our paying homage to them in our times.
On the 21st October, the troops got into position in Bauzemont, Bonneval (Hénaménil), Batheléomont, Valhey, Hoéville. They set up a field hospital at Einville. The C Battery belonging to the 6th Regiment Field Artillery was situated 750 meters to the east of the village of Bathelémont. It fired the first American gun shot in Europe on 23rd October at 6 a.m. On the 3rd of November around 3 : 30 a.m. three soldiers from the 16th Infantry Regiment, F Compagny, were killed. They were Enright, Gresham, and Hay. It happened during a German raid in the trenches of the hill du Haut-des-Ruelles, over hanging the no man's land. They were buried on the 4th, in the meadow close to Bathelémont castle. 9 other soldiers followed them, in that place known as the first American cemetery in France of the front. The troops went back to their base at the end of November.
A monument designed by Louis Majorelle was erected in memory of them in the village square. It was dynamited by the Germans in 1940. A stele was put in its place outside the cemetery. A second monument was made for the centenary of the event. At the present time, it stands at the very place where the 3 American soldiers died on the hill of the Haut-des-Ruelles.
The bodies of the 12 soldiers were sent back to the U.S in the 1921 or they were buried at Romagne-sous-Montfauon in the Meuse.
The American soldiers came back in 1944. A tank battle took place, where 27 years earlier, the first American soldiers had perished in battle.
Communauté de communes du Pays du Sânon
54370 EINVILLE AU JARD
Close to Lunéville
- Permanent unrestricted access
- 15 km and more
- Location : Pays du Sânon
- Starting point (town) : Einville-au-Jard
- Finishing point (town) : Bures
- Distance in kms : 29