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World War I Photograph, M.G. Co., 311th Infantry

An inventory of the item at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 6 Feb 2020

Biographical History

The 311th Infantry was part of the 156th Infantry Brigade, which in turn was part of the 78th Division of the United States Army. Machine gun companies ("M.G. Co.") were specialized units established to take advantage of the capabiities of the automatic weapons, which were then still relatively new. According to Wilson A. Heefner, an infantry brigade usually had four machine gun companies, each of which was commanded by a captain and had six commissioned officers ["Organization and Employment of Divisional Machine Gun Units", Doughboy Center.]

The 78th Division was activated on 23 August 1917 at Camp Dix, New Jersey and transported to France in the summer of 1918 where it saw heavy fighting as part of the final offensive against Germany. Soldiers of the 78th participated in several major campaigns during the Great War, including the Battle of St. Mihiel (Sep 12-15, 1918), which was an attempt by American forces to retake the captured city of Metz from German forces, and the Meuse-Argonne offensive (Sep 26 to Nov 11, 1918), which was the second-deadliest battle of the war, resulting in 350,000 casualties.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The World War I Photograph, M.G. Co., 311th Infantry consists of a single photograph of seven men in U.S. Army uniforms, standing in front of a wooden building. A sign on the building reads "M.G. Co. 311th Inf." The men are probably the officers of the company.

Handwritten across the bottom are the men's names, marked with an "O" or "X" for those who were killed or wounded, respectively, as follows: Back row - Kearney O; middle row - De Kay X Hicks X; front row - Drury X, Gregory X, Cooke, and Barger O. In front of Major Cooke is a small white dog. Handwritten on the back is a note from "T. F. Cooke" dated either 1952 or 1956, describing his own history with the unit and the fate of the men pictured. Using various sources, four of the men have been identified as follows:

Paul KEARNEY, 2nd Lt., from Lowell, Massachusetts; killed in action 3 Oct 1918. Source: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Record Group 92: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985, Series: Card Register of Burials of Deceased American Soldiers, 1917-1922.
Howard T. BARGER, 1st Lt., from Lynchburg, Virginia; died of wounds received in action 6 Nov 1918. Source: NARA, Record Group 92: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985, Series: Card Register of Burials of Deceased American Soldiers, 1917-1922.
Henry Cheston HICKS, 2nd Lt., from Williamsport, Pennsylvania; wounded 25 Oct 1918. Source: Harvard's Military Record in the World War, ed. Frederick S. Mead (Harvard Alumni Association, 1921), p. 455.
Thomas F. COOKE, Major, from Buffalo, New York. Source: History of Buffalo and Erie County, 1914-1919, ed. Daniel J. Sweeney (Committee of One Hundred, 1920), p. 528.

The full identities of the other three men cannot be determined.

Arrangement of the Collection

Single item.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Barger, Howard T., -1918.
Cooke, Thomas F., active 1918-1952.
Hicks, Henry Cheston.
Kearney, Paul, -1918.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Army. -- Infantry Regiment, 311th.


Soldiers -- United States.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Dogs.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Photographs.

Genres and Forms


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

World War I Photograph, M.G. Co., 311th Infantry,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Found in backlog. Original date and source of acquisition unknown.

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