Medal of Honor: Charles White Whittlesey

I am delighted to have the honor of bringing to you, dear readers, the citations of Medal of Honor recipients in our great nation’s history!

In being charged with preparing this regular segment of Guns & Patriots, I’d like to kick off my efforts by featuring some World War I recipients this month, and by initially sharing with you my personal favorite recipient.


Charles White Whittlesey

Rank and Organization: Major, U.S. Army, 308th Infantry, 77th Division.
Place and Date of Action: Northeast of Binarville, Forest of Argonne France, 2-7 October 1918.
Entered Service At: Pittsfield, Mass.
Birthdate and Place of Birth: 20 January 1884, Florence, Wis.

G. O. No.: 118, W.D., 1918.


Although cut off for 5 days from the remainder of his division, Maj. Whittlesey maintained his position, which he had reached under orders received for an advance, and held his command, consisting originally of 463 officers and men of the 308th Infantry, and of Company K of the 307th Infantry, together in the face of superior numbers of the enemy during the 5 days. Maj. Whittlesey and his command were thus cut off, and no rations or other supplies reached him, in spite of determined efforts which were made by his division. On the 4th day Maj. Whittlesey received from the enemy a written proposition to surrender, which he treated with contempt, although he was at the time out of rations and had suffered a loss of about 50 percent in killed and wounded of his command and was surrounded by the enemy.