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Edmund Wittenmyer
Edmund Wittenmyer (US Army major general).jpg
From 1927's History of the Seventh Division, United States Army, 1917-1919
Born (1862-04-25)April 25, 1862
Buford, Ohio
Died July 5, 1937(1937-07-05) (aged 75)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1887–1923
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Unit U.S. Army Infantry Branch
Commands held Company D, 15th Infantry
153rd Infantry Brigade, 77th Division
7th Division
Fort D. A. Russell
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
China Relief Expedition
Philippine–American War
Second Occupation of Cuba
Mexican Border War
World War I
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Honor (Commander) (France)
Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
Other work Teacher

Edmund Wittenmyer (April 25, 1862 - July 5, 1937) was a career officer in the United States Army. A veteran of the Spanish–American War and World War I, in addition to several other conflicts, he attained the rank of major general and was most notable for his service as commander of 153rd Infantry Brigade, 77th Division and the 7th Division during World War I.

Early life

Edmund Wittenmyer was born in Buford, Ohio on April 25, 1862, a son of Daniel G. Wittenmyer and Rebecca Ann (Murphy) Wittenmyer. He was educated in the schools of Highland County, Ohio and at age 15 he began teaching school in West Union, Ohio. In 1883 he was accepted to the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1887, ranked 55th in a class of 64.

Start of career

Witenmyer was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry and assigned to the 9th Infantry Regiment. He was posted to San Diego Barracks, California, where he remained until 1891. In 1892, he was posted to Fort Wingate, New Mexico. In 1893, he was on duty at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Wittenmyer was a student at the Infantry and Cavalry School from 1893 to 1895, and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1894. He then served with the 15th Infantry at Fort Sheridan, Illinois and Fort Bayard, New Mexico. While at Fort Bayard he served first as regimental quartermaster, and then as regimental adjutant.

During the Spanish–American War, he was first posted to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where his regiment conducted security patrols on the Mexico–United States border. In November 1898, he was in Huntsville, Alabama with his regiment awaiting transport to Cuba. In January 1899, he was assigned to duty in Puerto Principe. In March, 1899 he was promoted to captain.

In July 1899, Wittenmyer returned to the United States with the 15th Infantry. Again assigned as regimental adjutant, Wittenmyer was with the 15th Infantry in the autumn of 1899, when it participated in the China Relief Expedition. When the Army organized forces in China into brigades, Wittenmyer was appointed adjutant of the Second Brigade. He was then appointed to command of Company D, 15th Infantry, which was assigned to Legaspi, Cagdianao during the Philippine–American War. He participated in several expeditions against Filipino insurgents until February 1902, when he was assigned to temporary paymaster duty in Manila. He returned to the United States in April 1903 and performed paymaster duties in the Washington, D.C. office of the Paymaster General.

Continued career

In March 1906, Wittenmyer was assigned to the 5th Infantry at Plattsburgh Barracks, New York. In October 1906, his regiment deployed as part of the Army of Cuban Pacification during the Second Occupation of Cuba, and he served there until 1908. Upon returning to the United States, Wittenmyer was assigned as the 5th Infantry's adjutant, a post he held until January 1910.

Wittenmyer served on the Army General Staff from January 1910 to March 1911. In February 1911, he was promoted to major. In April 1911, he was a member of an Army board that considered locations for Army and National Guard training sites. After serving on the War College staff, Wittenmyer was assigned to the 27th Infantry at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. In February 1913, he was with the 27th Infantry when it was posted to Texas City, Texas for border security during the Mexican Revolution.

In July 1913, Wittenmyer was assigned as U.S. military attaché in Havana, Cuba and military advisor to the president of Cuba. He remained in this post until the summer of 1917, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in July 1916 and colonel in May 1917.

World War I

In August 1917, Wittenmyer was promoted to temporary brigadier general for World War I and assigned to command of the 153rd Infantry Brigade, a unit of the 77th Division. The brigade served in France beginning in April 1918, including completing its training in the Calais Sector before relieving the 42nd Division on the front lines of the Baccarat Sector in June 1918.

On August 3, 1918, Wittenmyer's brigade transferred to the Vesle Sector with the 77th Division, where it remained until August 13, when it took part in offensive operations to cross the Vesle River and advance to the Aisne River. The 77th Division then marched to the Argonne Sector, where it occupied defensive positions until September 25, when it took part in the Meuse–Argonne offensive.

Wittenmyer was promoted to major general with an effective date of October 1, 1918. The 153rd Brigade remained on the offensive until October 15, including the capture of Saint-Juvin from the Germans. On October 24, Wittenmyer assumed command of the 7th Division, which took part in the final offensive of the war as part of Second United States Army. After the armistice ended the war, Wittenmyer remained in command of the 7th Division as it occupied positions near Toul, France.

For his World War I service, Wittenmyer received the Army Distinguished Service Medal. In addition, he was awarded France's Legion of Honor (Commander) and Croix de Guerre with Palm.

Post-World War I

Wittenmyer took part in the post-war occupation of Germany. He remained in command of the 7th Division, except for brief periods of leave, until it returned to the United States. The 7th Division was demobilized on June 20, 1919.

After the war, Wittenmyer was reduced to his permanent rank of colonel and assigned as chief of staff for the Ninth Corps Area. In 1922, he was promoted to permanent brigadier general and assigned as commander of Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming. He remained in command until he retired in August 1923.

Retirement and death

Wittenmyer never married, and had no children. In retirement, he lived with a sister in law and her family near Peebles, Ohio and operated a farm in nearby Lawshe, Meigs Township. In 1930, Congress enacted legislation allowing general officers from World War I to retire at the highest rank they had held, and Wittenmyer was promoted to major general on the retired list.

In 1936, Wittenmyer became ill after an auto accident, and sought treatment at the military hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was diagnosed with cancer, and his left arm was amputated in an effort to halt the spread.

Wittenmyer's health did not improve after the amputation, and he died at Walter Reed Hospital on July 5, 1937. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


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