John H. Harris diary  1918-1919
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The 37-page diary of Corporal John H. Harris concerns his service with the United States Army's 145th Infantry Regiment in France and Belgium during World War I. The volume also contains lists of soldiers' equipment, the battles in which Harris participated, and members of his first squad.

Harris began his diary with a history of his service from his enlistment in the American Expeditionary Forces through his transfer to the 145th Infantry Regiment of the 37th Division. Between June 6 and June 15, 1918, he briefly commented on his travels in the United States, and he mentioned an extended training exercise for trench warfare on June 8, 1918 (p. 2). After sailing to France onboard the Leviathan in mid-June 1918, he described his experiences in active service in France and Belgium. As he traveled, Harris consistently recorded the names of towns and villages and noted that his unit continued to train throughout their time abroad.

Harris often fought in the trenches, and wrote about his experiences during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive (September 25-31, 1918, pp. 9-12). The 145th Infantry traveled through France and Belgium after the armistice, and Harris occasionally commented on his accommodations and meals. In early March 1919, he recorded his distaste for camp life near Brest, France (March 5 and March 16, 1919, pp. 27-28). Harris embarked for the United States on the Great Northern on March 26, 1919, and recalled some incidents during the journey, which included a small fire and a strong storm. After his arrival, Harris was stationed near New York City and in Ohio. He wrote his final entry on April 23, 1919, after his discharge and arrival in Akron, Ohio.

The diary entries are followed by the following sections:

  • List of battles in with Corporal John H. Harris participated during World War I (1 page)
  • Inventory of United States Army soldiers' clothing (1 page)
  • List of items that John H. Harris carried in his pack during World War I (3 pages)
  • Illustration showing the layout of soldier's pack during an inspection near Le Mans, France, ca. 1919 (1 page)
  • List of men in Corporal John H. Harris's first squad (1 page)
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