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203 Wahconah St, Pittsfield, MA 01201

COL. CHARLES WHITE WHITTLESEY January 20, 1884 - November 26, 1921

Medal of Honor recipient

Born on January 20,1884

Passed away on November 26, 1921

Disappeared at sea while on a voyage from New York City to Havana Cuba.

He was never found.

Graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1901

Graduated from Williams College in 1905

Graduated from Harvard Law School in 1916, after which he became a lawyer in New York City.

Put on active duty on August 8, 1917 with the first Battalion 308th Infantry

Commanded the Lost Battalion in the battle which began on September 28,1918 in the Argonne Forest in France called the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during World War I. The battalion had over 550 men, which were surrounded by Germans on all sides. Whittlesey refused to surrender and as a result his command was under relentless assault for over five days. Ammunition was in short supply as was food. The American artillery unfortunately miss calculated their shelling on the Germans and accidently fired on Whittlesey’s men.

Col. Whittlesey became one of four men from Massachusetts to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A plaque in his name was dedicated at the Boston Statehouse in 1924.

In 1919 a silent film starring Col. Whittlesey himself was made about the Lost Battalion.

In November of 1921, Whittlesey acted as a pallbearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

A military marker has been placed at the Whittlesey plot in the Pittsfield Cemetery to remember Col. Whittlesey’s bravery and service in the military during World War I.