Chateau Thierry Monument
"Come on ya sons of bitches, ya want to live forever?" ~Sgt. Dan Daley
While over 5,300 German troops were lost during the Battle of Chateau Thierry, the Allied forces only lost 1,900 troops. Of these 1,900 who fell, sixteen were from Louisiana, six of whom were residents of Acadiana. Henry Binet, Joseph A. Logg, Murphy J. Cole (Deridder), Sidney Manuel (Mamou), Dorsle Richard (Cameron), and Isaac C. Savoie (Houma).
Murphy Cole was only 24 years old when he joined the U.S. Army. He was born and raised in DeRidder, LA and was the son of Joseph C. and Denise Augustine Cole. He served in many companies during his short time in France, and fell on July 18th during the Battle of Chateau-Thierry.
Four and a half miles southwest of the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery overlooking the valley of the Marne river resides a double colonnade that rises above a long terrace. Designed by Paul Phillip Cret and sculpted by French artist Alfred Bottiau in 1937, the monument sits on Hill 204, where heavy fighting had taken place in 1918, and commemorates the sacrifices and achievements of the Americans and French during the Aisne-Marne and Oise-Aisne offensives. On the east side of the terrace is a map showing American military operations and an operation table which helps visitors visualize where battles or events took place along the Marne. It also features a sculpture of two women who represent France, and a list of French Divisions who participated in the operations near the Hill. The West side of the terrace bears an inscription which reads in French and English:
“THIS MONUMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO COMMEMORATE THE SERVICES OF HER TROOPS AND THOSE OF FRANCE WHO FOUGHT IN THIS REGION DURING THE WORLD WAR. IT STANDS AS A LASTING SYMBOL OF THE FRIENDSHIP AND COOPERATION BETWEEN THE FRENCH AND AMERICAN ARMIES.”
The west facade also features a sculpture of an American Eagle which represents America, and a list of American Divisions who participated in this sector of the war.
One of the first military actions of the AEF under General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, 18 July, 1918, French and American troops launched a counter-assault against the German Spring offensive stretching over 25 miles between the villages Fontenoy and Chateau-Thierry as part of the Second Battle of the Marne. Upon their entry into the war, German leadership expected the AEF to be clumsy and inexperienced. At 04:45 the Allies silently and calmly went over the top of the trenches and attacked with precision, taking the German troops by surprise, as there was no preceding artillery bombardment which usually precluded an attack. The assault was successful with American troops breaking through German lines, and individual Americans even continued fighting despite being behind enemy lines. In doing so, the AEF found themselves in command of the main bridge in the village of Chateau Thierry, and American machine guns helped rescue the French positions, effectively forcing the Germans to retreat.