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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

Map of Belleau Wood. James G. Harbord Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (134.00.00)
Claude Charles Hamel. "Diary of Claude C. Hamel, Formerly Regimental Personnel Sergeant Major Fifth Regiment U.S. Marines AEF, April, 1917 to August 15, 1919," June 1922. Bound typescript memoir. General Collections, Library of Congress (130.00.00)

Bois de Belleau

This map from the papers of General James G. Harbord, commander of the Marines at Belleau Wood (Bois de Belleau), depicts the course of the battle waged in June 1918. The hand-drawn colored lines show the advancing American front in the vicinity of Bois de Belleau. One can see how gains at first were slow across the open country in front of the woods as Marines had little cover from the German guns hidden in the tree line and behind. However, once the Marines gained a solid foothold among the trees aided by heavy artillery barrages, the entire wood fell much more quickly. On the final day of battle, Sergeant Major Fifth Regiment U.S. Marines Claude Charles Hamel recounts: "Our dead are being piled alongside the road, as there is no time to bury them and we have not enough men to do it."