Remembering Our Ancestors: Sergeant Wade Ernest Mulford

Great-great-uncle Wade, Mattie Mulford’s brother, died on this day in 1918 at the age of 28 and a day in the Battle of Château-Thierry.

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ChateauThierryTurningPointWorldWarCard.jpg

Wade Ernest Mulford was born on 18 July 1890 in a little speck of a place along the Kanawha river in Mason County, West Virginia, the 8th of ten children.  The family moved a little further west to Gallipolis Ferry, WV along the Ohio river towards 1900.  There is a Mulford Cemetery in that location until this day.

Wade seems to have lived with his parents until he joined the army in 1917 and went to fight against the Germans in France in 1918.  He ended up in the Battle of Château-Thierry in a counter-offensive on the morning of 18 July 1918 – his 28th birthday -, when combined French and American forces between Fontenoy and Château-Thierry launched a general counter-assault against the German positions.  The allied forces took the Germans by surprise when the troops went “Over the Top” at a quarter to 5 in the morning without a preparatory artillery bombardment, but instead followed closely behind a rolling barrage.  Eventually, the two opposing assault lines inter-penetrated and individual American units exercised initiative and continued fighting despite being nominally behind enemy lines, or so they say.

Sergeant Wade Mulford died in action, military records say, on 19 July 1918, and he lies buried in Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial.

After World War I, a memorial was built on Hill 204, 2 miles west of the town for which it is named.  The Château-Thierry Monument was constructed “to commemorate the sacrifices and achievements of American and French fighting men in the region, and the friendship and cooperation of French and American forces during World War I.”  Great-uncle Wade was one of the “fighting men”.

Back home they set up a memorial stone for him in the Mulford Cemetery in Gallipolis Ferry, WV, but his body lies in French soil.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Wade.  We feel sure that your sister Mattie named her son Lee Wade, who was born two months after your death on 22 September 1918, in your honor.

Monument Américain de Château-Thierry : résumé de la bataille en Anglais

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