State Historic Site
DAYTON RESIDENT WESLEY Emerson Dale enlisted in the Wyoming National Guard in 1914. He reenlisted in 1916 and 1917, and served as a Private 1st Class with Headquarters Company. Like other guard members, he was brought into the regular army when the guard was nationalized for overseas service.
As a member of the 148th Field Artillery, Dale was present at the biggest American battles: Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne. After the armistice was signed in November 1918, the 148th began what Dale called "The Watch on the Rhine."
After the war, Dale worked as a bookkeeper in Sheridan for awhile before moving to Los Angeles, where he found employment as an accountant. He married, raised a family, and died in California in 1972.
In a letter to his brother, written in Weissenthurm, Germany, and published in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise on February 13, 1919, he describes his post-war travels:
Dear Brother - Well, we are doing the watch on the Rhine at last. This is our stopping place until we start home, I guess.
We are located in the above named town [Weissenthurm] which is right on the bank of the Rhine about fifteen kilometers down the river from Coblenz. This is a pretty nice little town of I guess about ten or fifteen thousand population, and we are billeted all over town, right in the houses, and have it pretty nice.
Got a room with another fellow that has two real beds and a writing table in it, which is a real treat for soldiers that have been on the front sleeping most anywhere.
When the armistice was signed, we moved back off of the Argonne Forest front to the little town of Blercourt and from there we came up through Luxemburg, staying overnight in Esch, which is a very nice modern little town of about thirty-five or forty thousand people. The people talk German mostly, but quite a little French is also spoken, and I saw several that could speak English. They do not like the way the Germans treated them at all and have "beoucoup" French, American and allied flags on every building.
We also went through Luxemburg City, the capital. It is located in a steep valley and has some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Old castles and stone bridges, etc., and the country is covered with evergreen forests that have been planted. Fine roads, too, but not so wide or good as those of France.
We stopped at Wasserbillig, just inside the Luxemburg border for quite a little while before coming on up. Just a small place on the banks of the Moselle River, thence to Bitburg, Budesheim, Obr Ehe, Mayen and this town. I stayed over night in Mayen. It is quite a place, too. The people seem to be quite friendly; of course, it is a groundhog case and pays them to be, I guess. They are short on food, but not starving by a whole lot and don't seem to have suffered very much during the war. They say, however, that if they had as much to eat as we have, they could have fought a long time yet.
The Rhine is a pretty large river. It must be about four hundred yards across it here and deep enough for pretty large steamers to run on it and very swift. Almost as swift as the Big Horn at Thermopolis. It gets slower and wider further down and has old castles and ruins all along both banks on the hills. The country that I have seen is hilly and rough and has lots of forest, both hardwood and pine.
We were near Metz when the fighting ended, and I think we would have taken it in a little while. Nantillois was the nearest little town to our last position, and Mountfaucon, Malancourt, Montzeville and Verdun were in our rear. We went clear through that drive. Guess we would have moved up to Sedan next.
Well, I must close. Hoping this finds you well and enjoying life as I am. I remain, as ever, Wesley
(From In the World War)