Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1914-1918
  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit of Service: 7th Infantry Brigade, 4th Division
  • Location of Service: Baltimore, Maryland; Sandy Hook Proving Ground, New Jersey; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Fort Russell, Cheyenne, Wyoming; France
  • Highest Rank: Captain

View full service history

"There were so many bad odors around that I had to watch the gas sentries from sounding unnecessary alarms." (Memoir, page 43)

Trained as an engineer, Captain Earle Covington Smith anticipated the US entrance into the war in 1917, requesting a commission in the Ordnance Officers Reserve Corps. After a stint as a proof officer, during which he tested various brands of ammunition, he was transferred to France, where he eventually became a gas officer. In his diary, he made notes on such topics as the chemical makeup of particular toxic gases, the construction of hand grenades, and how to remove mustard gas from the skin. Along with his diary, his memoir provides a glimpse into the role played by chemical warfare during World War I. Serving as an "official nose," he worked to make sure that soldiers were properly equipped with functional gas masks and that they were able to recognize different gases and identify the start of an attack. As he relates, the smell of death on the battlefield was so strong that it sometimes led to false alarms.

[ American Expeditionary Forces Casual Officers' Camp Angers: Notice To All Casual Officers ]

More Resources

[ Special Orders, No. 53-0 War Department, Washington [3/5/1919] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply Embarkation Orders o. 14 France [1/14/1919] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply Special Orders No. 225 France [10/23/1918] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply J/BJB Special Orders No. 256 France [11/23/1918] ]
[ From: The Adjutant General of the Army: Change of Station [2/27/1919] ]
[ From: the Ordnance Office, Technical Staff. To: The Ordnance Office, Administration Division, Military Personnel Section. Attention Captain Dodge [2/27/1919] ]

Show more resources (31)

[ Captain Earle C. Smith free from any infectious or communicable disease. Casual Officers' Camp District of Angers [1/30/1919] ]
[ Headquarters U.S. Troops. Angers, France, Special Orders No. 31 [1/30/1919] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces A.E.F. France Captain E.C. Smith is physically qualified for transportation [2/7/1919] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Service of Supply. Office of Headquarters Conandant Special Orders No. 139 [11/16/1918] ]
[ General Headquarters, American Expeditionary Forces Special orders, No. 238. France [8/26/1918] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply. Special Oderss No. 70. France [5/21/1918] ]
[ Headquarters U.S. Troops, Angers France. Special Orders No. 31. [1/30/1919] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply Special Orders No.223. France [10/21/1918] ]
[ General Headquarters, American Expeditionary Forces. Special Orders No.242. France [8/30/1918] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply Special Orders No. 201. France [1/7/1919] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply Special Orders No. 206. [10/3/1918] ]
[ Engineering Division Tests and Proving Ground Administration. You are directed to proceed to Bourges Proving Grounds [10/3/1918] ]
[ Headquarters Post of Brest (Casual Office) U.S. Army Post Office No. 716. Travel Order No. 3578. [2/7/1919] ]
[ Headquarters Eight Corps. Area Office of the Chemical Warefare Office Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Subject: Training of Reserve Officers, B.A. Group [1/20/1925] ]
[ Ordance Daily Bulletin: American Official Communique No. 197 [11/11/1918] ]
[ Ordance Daily Bulletin: Terms of the Armistice [11/12/1918] ]
[ Ordance Daily Bulletin: Summary of Paris Press Headings [11/13/1918] ]
[ Casual Officers' Camp, District of Angers : Camp Regulations [1/12/1919] ]
[ American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Services of Supply France: Embarkation Orders No. 14 [1/14/1919] ]
[ Proof Officers Hand-Book 156 Mobile Artillery Ammuntion: WWI memoirs of Earl C. Smith ]
[ Letter from R.C. Sahlin 2nd Lt Corps of int. Hqrs 3rd Div. A.E.F. [1/30/1919] ]
[ Letter from H. Meugnier, Paris [12/9/1918] ]
[ Bound Hand Written Diary of Chemical Warefare School of Earle C. Smith ]
[ Biographical Information compiled by Earle Edward Spamer, great-nephew of Earle C. Smith [4/2003] ]
[ Ordance Technical Section Proving Ground and Ordnance Ammuniton School-American E.F. Boures(Cher) France [Christmas 1918] ]
[ Auto-Cyclist Map of Area Paris Northeast Section ]
[ Relief map of Southwest of Neufchateau, France ]
[ Map "Front au Fer Octobre 1917" ]
[ Relief map of west of Reims ]
[ Map "Lizy-Sur-Ourcq' ]
[ Map of Bourgogne, France ]

About this Item

Title

  • Earle Covington Smith Collection

Names

  • Smith, Earle Covington
  • Spamer, Earle

State of Birth

  • DE

Home State

  • DE

Headings

  • -  Smith, Earle Covington
  • -  World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Army.

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Status

  • Veteran

Service History

  • World War, 1914-1918

    • Branch of Service: Army
    • Unit of Service: 7th Infantry Brigade, 4th Division
    • Location of Service: Baltimore, Maryland; Sandy Hook Proving Ground, New Jersey; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Fort Russell, Cheyenne, Wyoming; France
    • Highest Rank: Captain
    • Dates of Service: 1917-1919
    • Entrance into Service: Commissioned
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Manuscript: Diaries and journals [1 item] -- Typewritten document (collected 1917 - 1925)
  • Manuscript: Biographical information [1 item] -- Typewritten document (collected 04/2003)
  • Manuscript: Mixed (Multiple types of manuscripts) [1 item] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents) (collected 1917 - 1919)
  • Manuscript: Maps [5 items] -- Typewritten document (collected unknown)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/12817

Cite as

  • Earle Covington Smith Collection (AFC/2001/001/12817), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Smith, Earle Covington, and Earle Spamer. Earle Covington Smith Collection. 1917. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.12817/.

APA citation style:

Smith, E. C. & Spamer, E. (1917) Earle Covington Smith Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.12817/.

MLA citation style:

Smith, Earle Covington, and Earle Spamer. Earle Covington Smith Collection. 1917. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.12817/>.