The son of a Wisconsin logger, Charles Whittlesey graduated from Harvard Law School in 1908 and opened a law office in New York City. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917, after America entered into WWI, starting as a captain, he was promoted to major. He was ordered to lead a battalion of 554 soldiers against the German line as part of the American attack in the Meuse-Argonne region. His troops became cut off from their supply line, fighting for days without support. He received a Medal of Honor citation but found his return to his former life difficult. In 1921, he disappeared while on a ship bound for Havana, leaving behind letters to friends and family.
The Lost Battalion, WWI
The Allied offensive in Meuse-Argonne was the largest in U.S. military history, fought along the Western Front from September 1918 until the Armistice in November 1918, and involved 1.2 million American soldiers. Major Charles Whittlesey commanded a force of 554 soldiers who became cut off from supplies and fellow troops when they entered into a natural ravine with 200 foot high bluffs. Pinned down for five days while the Germans attacked with snippers, hand grenades, and flame throwers. War correspondents referred to them as the Lost Battalion. The Germans offered a surrender, but Whittlesey refused and fortunately a relief force arrived that evening. Only 194 were able to walk out, 107 men were killed, 63 missing, and 190 wounded.
This Charles Whittlesey History Mug is part of the Medal of Honor series.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
- Mugs are food and microwave safe.
- To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
- Mugs are usually shipped within 3-5 days.