Hill, James Andrew (P1, C2 L16)
Bugler James A. Hill was born 24 January 1895, at Crestwood, Oldham County, Kentucky. He enlisted with Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Kentucky Infantry Regiment. Hill was killed in action on 26 September 1918. He is buried in the Bardstown City Cemetery, Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky.
The Kentucky Standard, 31 October 1918.
Word has been received here by Mrs. Tene Carothers that Andrew Hill, her great nephew, had been killed in action in France. Andrew Hill was a son of Dr. James W. and Blanche Crum Hill, and was born in Bardstown. ...
Deceased has a brother, Jesse Bartley Hill, who is a Lieutenant in the service, his father Dr. James Hill, now in California was commissioned Captain in the Medical Corps, but when examined for overseas duty, he was rejected by the examiners.
HE WAS MY FRIEND
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Vol. 17 January
We publish the following beautiful tribute to our dear young friend, so beloved by all in the Historical Society of which he was a member.
- J. C. M.
He was my friend, and so I loved him well.
What needs it to say more? Those words tell all
As plainly as, from house of prayer the bell
Sends to a heedless world its urgent call.
From the same land we came, tho years apart;
And at the banquet of our state clasped hands
And felt the thrill true friendship gives the heart -
Golden nugget 'mid the waste of sands.
We had both trod the same society• halls
Of the old college of our bluegrass land;
And so talk rippled like a waterfall,
Full of a feeling both could understand.
Then came the war! He went forth glad and proud
To train for service in his country's fight;
In camp and field his bugle rang aloud
To lead the men to victory of right.
"Somewhere in France" he sleepeth well today —
"Killed in action" did the message read.
His bugle rang until the foe gave way,
And those that loved him• are the hearts that bleed.
He gave his all. And we have given him,
So manly, kind, and true until the end.
We are so proud, altho our eyes are dim
And aching hearts beat taps. He was my friend!
In loving memory of Bugler James Andrew Hill, killed in action; "Somewhere in France," September 23, 1918.
JAMES ANDREW HILL
A Gallant Young Soldier, Killed on the Battlefields of France,
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Vol. 17 September
This noble young hero of Kentucky, who fought in the World's War in the battles "Over-Seas," and lost his life on the battlefield, was at one time an Assistant in the Library of the Historical Society at the Capitol. He endeared himself to everyone by his gentle, courteous manner, and by his intelligence, and to the Officers of the Society by his faithful attendance to his duties and unvarying kindness at all times. His brightness in conversation was very attractive and his beautiful voice in song won all hearts. He was a model young Christian gentleman and his death was deeply deplored in Central Kentucky as one who gave his life in the World's War for the world's peace.
We append the following letters to his mother, and others to her after his death in France.
My dear Mother, Father and Sister:-
Am writing this on my knee so have my doubts as to whether yon will be able to make out what I am trying to write.
Have just returned from the front line trenches, that is, we have retired a few miles back of the lines for a few days' rest. .We can still hear the roar of the cannon and are still in what is known as the battle area. Just a little to our rear is a big gun that has been dropping shells on a principal enemy stronghold now for about thirty minutes.
We were very fortunate during our stay in the trenches - we did not have a single casualty and it wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be. We did have a little excitement the started up to take our positions. The night we Germans evidently got wind that we were coming, because they tried their best to blow us up with high explosive shells and the only reason they didn't was that they didn't have the correct range, although shrapnel fell all around us and, believe me, it certainly gave us a funny feeling. Well, you can imagine yourself going along a road at night so dark that you could hardly see your hand in front of you and all of a sudden hear a big shell come whistling through the air, sounding as though it was going to land on the same spot you were on, then to bear it explode; that's the time to duck and everybody does duck. It didn't take us three minutes to learn that when we heard a shell explode near by that we must get just as close to the ground as possible because in just a few minutes shrapnel would begin to fall all around and it was up to each individual to make himself as small a target as possible. We had very nice dug-outs, just a little damp and dark, and the rats! Honest you can't imagine rats as big as dogs, can you? Well, they are that big in the trenches and as soon as night comes they try their best to see which one can run around the most, making just as much noise as possible. We got most of our sleep in the day time as that is the time when there is less doing. At night it is best to keep awake and be on the alert because Fritz is apt to put over a gas attack or try to make a raid on your positions. Our artillery always gives about five gas shells to one and fully pays Fritz for all we receive from him. We had the pleasure of seeing two Hun aviators brought down behind our line. Really you are safer in the front line trenches than in the rear, because you are not so apt to be killed. In our town, I mean the town in which we are now billeted, there are American troops, really a very interesting sight. Last night the Quartet gave them all a serenade and I think they appreciated our efforts very much. . Yesterday another boy and I ate nine francs worth of grapes. They are certainly fine-they are a white grape.
I have made an allotment to you of fifteen dollars per month and gave your address as Dallas. You must write me where you want it sent so that I can notify the proper authorities.
Have just heard that there is a lot of mail in and I hope there will be several letters from you; have not received one now for some time.
Really I don't know what else to write. I am feeling fine and am enjoying our rest to the utmost.
I had to stop writing because we received orders to pack up and be ready to move. We did move and I will tell you about it. We moved from about seven p.m. to about three a.m., and finally camped in a woods. It had been raining and all were wet, but that didn't make any difference; we fixed a bed as best we could, crawled in and slept until about eleven o'clock. And just think, l haven't a cold yet.
You know if I were to walk in home now you would be scared to death. I have on a trench helmet, a big automatic pistol on my side, trench knife on the other, gas mask and a regular pack mule's pack. We get plenty to eat so of course can't find any fault. You know when you have a full stomach you are contented.
Last night I went over to see Mr. Booles; he is only about a quarter of a mile from us. He says he saw Jeff Peeler the other day-says he is a private in some Machine Gun Company.
I forgot to tell you that we had blackberry pie while in the trenches and that all the berries came from within our positions. Now what do you think of that for War?
Don't think it will last much longer, The Germans are being whipped so bad and when we go over the top they will be licked still worse.
Don't worry about me, I am all right and anxious to do my part.
With love and a kiss for you all,
Your devoted son and brother,
JAMES A. HILL.
LETTER OF M. M. HOFFMAN, JR.,
Chaplain, U. S. Army.
Alt, Germany, Dec. 13, 1918.
Mrs. J. W. Hill,
My Dear Mrs. Hill:-
I will tell all I can about your son, Bugler James A. Hill. I knew him very well, having come in touch with him often at Camp Travis, as well as over here. He had a splendid voice and sang in the Co. F quartette and I had often called upon him to assist me at public services.
Our regiment made a night attack on Preny and Paguy-sur-Moselle, a few miles north of the Bois Le Pretre, which is about fifteen miles north of Toul. He was among those who met their death in the fierce fighting of that Sept: 26th. He was near his captain in the thick of the fray when a bullet pierced his forehead, killing him almost instantly. His captain, David Vanderkook, was near him, was wounded in the arm and. leg, captured by the Germans and just a few weeks ago came back to our lines.
Your son lies buried with his comrade in front of Preny.
I am sorry I cannot relate more, Mrs. Hill. But you can rest assured that our entire regiment sympathizes with you in your loss, but at the same time our entire regiment is extremely proud of having had among its members, such a patriot as Bugler James A. Hill. He paid the last full measure of devotion to his country. Even in your sorrow you can well be proud of having such a son who made the supreme sacrifice for America. And God in His Mercy knows well how to reward the virtues of loyalty, courage and patriotism that he so conspicuously displayed.
Accept my profound respects and those of the entire regiment.
M. M. HOFFMAN, JR.,
Chaplain 359th Inf.
LETTER FROM H. J. EVANS,
Second Lieutenant, 358th Inf.
May 11, 1919.
Dear Mrs. Hill:-
Since coming to the 90th Division I have made every effort to get in touch with some of the men who were with Andrew in the 359th Infantry, but it was only recently that I was able to locate a man from his company.
It is needles to tell that he was the foremost man in his company in the training area, and, according to one of his old bunkies, he ''carried on'' after reaching the front.
In first aid work, especially, he made good in that supreme test of a real man- the test under fire-and according to one of the men, he helped many of his comrades after they had been wounded. The men say he was fearless and the cry of a wounded man took him into dugouts and trenches where others .hesitated to go. He played his part in the fullest measure and when called upon for the supreme sacrifice, smilingly gave his life for right.
It is hard to give up that which we love; only those who have parted with that which they hold most dear can understand the unutterable sorrow of your heart. But there is some consolation in the thought that he was ready when the time came to offer up his life that others might live.
I tried to get a leave to visit the place where he lies but it was turned down. As our Division is coming home this month I don't suppose I'll have another opportunity. However, his resting place will be looked after by mothers in France who also gave their all in the great struggle for the freedom of the world.
I guess I will be sent to Camp Taylor to be discharged, and if so, I'll stop and see you and Dr. Hill before going home.
LETTER FROM C. B. WILLIFORD.
Sherman, Texas, June 1st, 1919.
Mrs. J. W. Hill,
Dear Mrs. Hill:-
A letter from your sister (Mrs. Hawley) has just come to me, after having followed me all over France and not catching up with me till I reached home and was discharged from the service. It • gave me your address (which I have tried to obtain ever since the armistice.)
I'm immediately writing you a letter in regard to Andrew, your lovely son, who was called on to make the supreme sacrifice, in a raid on the German trenches on September 26th, 1918.
As I'm sure you have 'ere now heard all there is to be told about the fight in which your son was killed, I'm going to tell you of some of the noble and lovable things that I (one of his closest and best friends) knew him to do and say, while we were together.
On the evening before he was killed, I was in a shallow dugout talking to him, and both of us knew that our fight of the following morning was to be a hard and dangerous one, so as often our conversation was in regard to our religious beliefs, so it was on this memorable evening. We read several verses in the testament, and especially well do I remember reading the promises God gives us in the book of "Matthew," 18th chapter, 20th verse, where it says, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the •midst of them.'' This was a great comfort to your son as it was to most all the boys in the front lines. After reading this verse and also the 21st verse of chapter 22nd, "All things whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive,'' Andrew said, ''Let's have prayer, Charlie,'' so we had silent prayer, and Jesus was surely there, for we felt His presence. Andrew said he always could really say, •'' Thy will be done,'' and he did not seem to care what ''God's will'' was in regard to living or dying for the Cause, for it proved to be God's will that he should be killed next day for the cause of “Righteousness and humanity," and as Andrew marched off towards No-Man's Land that evening I remember how brave he acted, and how much he impressed me as showing most unusual courage and daring. This was the last time I saw Andrew, as he was always near the Captain, while I was over to the left end of my company in the 4th platoon. I heard he was killed instantly by a machine bullet while trying to render first aid to a wounded comrade. How like him! Trying to aid a friend. He was always thus and that is why all of us loved him so much. He was always so clean and honorable, brave and strong, no one could help but love him.
I helped to take Stanley to the first aid station that day, and of course he and I were both torn up over the loss of all the boys, especially over “Hill and Chapman” for we had sung together so long and learned to love each other as brothers. We were all in this fight that day, but I was the only member of the quartet that wasn't hit. Stanley was wounded through the leg, but not so seriously hurt, but his gas mask and blouse were torn in several places by machine gun fire.
If ever you come to Texas I want you to let me know so I can come to see you; especially if you go to Dallas, or better still, if you ever pass through Sherman, my mother extends to you a cordial invitation to visit us in our humble little home.
I wish that you could have heard Dr. Truitt speak at Austin College last night, at a meeting in honor of the boys who had made the supreme sacrifice for humanity, for it would have been of vast comfort to you; you would have been glad to know that your son was so lovingly remembered and could not help but be comforted knowing he died for so noble a cause.
Drop me a letter now and then and always know how very much I love the mother of so fine a son as was my friend and comrade ' ' Andrew Hill.''
Yours in sympathy and love,
CHAS. B. WILLIFORD,