1918 SIGNIFICANT ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT LETTER HANDWRITTEN BY ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST HONOURED SOLDIERS OF WWI RETELLING THE ACTION THAT LED TO HIS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS AND WHOSE VERSION DIFFERS FROM THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT CITATION

By: EDWARD RISCHMANN

Price: $5,455.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a simply outstanding, first-hand account, which differs with the official account, of how a soldier won the second highest military decoration in the United States. This handwritten letter is 4 pages long and each of the two pages measures 9 inches by 6.75 inches. Although a bit frayed in some places along the edges, the letter is completely intact. The handwriting is legible and easily read. Edward Rischmann was an American soldier who served with Company I, 312th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division, A.E.F., near Grand Pre, France. He was a private. The letter was written on Oct 22nd, 1918. Rischmann was 23 at the time. On October 23rd, he participated in the assault on the Citadel of the French town of Grandpre. This action was a small part of the overall Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It was the largest military operation in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. It was one of a series of Allied attacks known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which brought the war to an end. The battle cost 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives. It was the largest and bloodiest operation of World War I for the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), which was commanded by General John Pershing, and it was the second-deadliest battle in American history. Rischmann's citation succinctly describes his actions. The citation however is incorrect: "CITATION: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Private Edward Rischmann (ASN: 2412427), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company I, 312th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division, A.E.F., near Grand Pre, France, 23 October 1918. Private Rischmann was a member of an assaulting party which stormed and captured the Citadel at Grand-Pre. He scaled the wall and alone entered a dugout, from which he captured 45 Germans, guarding them until assistance arrived". His letter however, breathes life into those dry words. Filled with courage, humanity and at times despair, his letter presents a haunting picture a man plunged into the hell of close combat: "In the middle of the roadway lay one of our dead soldier lads, dead laying on his front part of his stomach. It was a pitiful sight to stare at. I can never get it out of my memory of this beloved young soldier lad who was shot down and killed while he was advancing toward the enemies. I will never forget as it is as though this boys position and his agonies he suffered dying there is imprinted into my mind". Although the Citation says he scaled the wall and alone entered a dugout, from which he captured 45 Germans, guarding them until assistance arrived. Rischmann's own words describe a grimmer reality. As he writes in his letter, in the assault, Rischmann was captured. He was led by his captors into that dugout. Because he was able to speak German, he could communicate with his captors and began to help treat their wounded. "I was taken into a dugout that led into the earth. ... What befell my youthful body and eyes I will never forget here were dying comrades of their army suffering in terrible pain. I quickly went to work and asked for bandages ... I done everything human for these unfortunate men for I too felt sorry for them". A short while later, he was questioned by a senior German officer and he offered to take their surrender and thus save their lives: "... I can save their lives and mine if they would surrender and give up to me. They held a brief talk together and suddenly the highest one who happened to have an iron cross pinned on his uniform said Alright Comrade, We Give Up. So forty five Germans surrendered to me". Rischmann lived a full life after the war. He passed away in 1978 at the age of 83. This is an outstanding piece of primary documentation from World War 1.For a war historian, it is precious. It provides the flavour and the context of an event that clearly warranted recognition. It conveys the immediacy of the action and hints at the horrors that he witnessed. It is a superb piece of battlefield history.

Title: 1918 SIGNIFICANT ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT LETTER HANDWRITTEN BY ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST HONOURED SOLDIERS OF WWI RETELLING THE ACTION THAT LED TO HIS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS AND WHOSE VERSION DIFFERS FROM THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT CITATION

Author Name: EDWARD RISCHMANN

Illustrator: /

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: WESTERN FRANCE, 1918

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall

Seller ID: 0008181

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF; 20TH CENTURY; NEWARK; NEW JERSEY; 1910s; FIRST WORLD WAR; WW1; GREAT WAR; EDWARD RISCHMANN; WORLD WAR 1; AEF; AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE; GENERAL JOHN PERSHING; 312TH REGIMENT; MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE; GRANDPRE, FRANCE; DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS; DSC; WARTIME CORRESPONDENCE; WARTIME LETTERS; WAR HEROES; HUNDRED DAYS OFFENSIVE, 78TH DIVISION OF AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE; 312TH INFANTRY REGIMENT; MILITARY HISTORY; PERSONAL NARRATIVES OF WW1; AMERICAN HEROES OF WW1; AMERICANS AND GERMANS ENCOUNTERS IN THE GREAT WAR; NEWARK SOLDIERS IN WW1; GREAT WAR HEROES FROM NEW JERSEY ; FRANCE; WESTERN FRONT; INFANTRY DIVISIONS OF THE US ARMY; AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, DIARY, DIARIES, JOURNALS, PERSONAL HISTORY, SOCIAL HISTORY, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL