Company E | 168th Infantry | July 28, 1918

Edward K. Haarer
Edward K. Haarer

Here are two soldiers, both privates in Company E of the 168th Infantry, who were killed on July 28, 1918.

Edward K. Haarer died “July 28, 1918 at Field Hospital No. 117. Wounded at Foret de Fere near Chateau Thierry. Son of Christine Haarer, Bay City, Michigan. Private Haarer joined the company in Lorraine in April and served during the remainder of the Lorraine Campaign and the Battle of Champaign. He was a good soldier and always did his duty.”

Emil E. Johnson died the same in “Field Hospital, No. 117. Private Johnson volunteered in a daylight patrol. Out of seven men, only one returned alive. Private Johnson was severely wounded having received twenty-three machine gun wounds. He was one of the first to enter Sergy. Private Johnson was a good soldier and a hard and faithful worker.”



Butterworth’s ‘Off The Battery’

“Off The Battery” by James E. Butterworth
“Off The Battery” by James E. Butterworth

This painting by James E. Butterworth sold for $211,500 in May 2000. 

‘Off The Battery,’ by James E. Butterworth, is a good example of his typical, small work. It not only shows Castle Clinton at the southern tip of Manhattan, but also the forest of sailing ship masts that dominated the skyline. . . . 

The end of the ‘age of sail’ had a wide effect on maritime economy, as well as maritime artists. . . . Buttersworth (1817-1894) was a highly regarded maritime painter who switched from views of full-masted sailing ships to yachting subjects. He famously portrayed scenes of the America’s Cup competition, which began in 1851.” 


August 29: Today In History

Tomorrow is Sunday, August 29, the 241st day of 2010. There will be 124 days left in the year. . . .

On this date:

In 1533, the last Incan King of Peru, Atahualpa, was executed on orders of Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. . . .

In 1943, responding to a clampdown by Nazi occupiers, Denmark managed to scuttle most of its naval ships. . . .

In 1957, the Senate gave final congressional approval to a Civil Rights Act after South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond (then a Democrat) ended a filibuster that had lasted 24 hours. . . .

One year ago: Funeral services were held in Boston for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was eulogized by President Barack Obama; hours later, Kennedy’s remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington. . . .”


The USS Albany

The USS Albany (CA-123), during a visit to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1951.
A photograph of the USS Albany (CA-123), during a visit to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1951.

My uncle, Robert Chitty, served in the US Navy during the Vietnam era. Most of his time was aboard the USS Albany, on duty in the Mediterranean.

Today I received an email message from one of his mates, a man who actually took his bunk when he left the ship, perhaps because of a medical discharge. Before this note, I wasn’t sure I would hear from anyone who knew him during his time in the Navy. Everyone who responded to my initial queries via the USS Albany Association said that they did not recall him.

Robert was commonly known as Bob. He died at the age of 38 in 1977. I am hoping this contact with one of his Navy friends will be the beginning of an effort to catalog memories, stories, and artifacts from the men of the USS Albany during the 1960s.


An Original WWI Rainbow Division Trench Sign

An original WWI Rainbow Division trench sign hanging on the back wall
An original WWI Rainbow Division trench sign hanging on the wall

A man who collects historic items has an original ‘Rainbow’ sign hanging on the back wall of his den. He’s written about it on his blog.

I wasn’t real enthused about buying military items as most of the calls on military turned out to be standard issue US Patches, a hat etc., but I would never turn down a visit because you never knew what else they may have. I brought my wife with on this visit since I thought it would be a short one, already having been told she had only a few military things.

When we got there, she had this Rainbow sign, a picture of her brother in a WW1 uniform and an old original Rainbow Div. Patch. She told me her brother was a Bugler in the Rainbow Division and that he was very proud of his WW1 service all his life. I looked at the photo she had and sure enough, it was a WW1 photograph of her brother in uniform, holding his bugle with a Rainbow patch on his uniform.

I asked her about the sign and she told me that her brother grabbed this sign that had been in one of the trenches (showing the way to the Rainbow Div. C.P.) when they were pulled out of the field at the end of the war and brought it home with him as a souvenir.


Records on the 168th Infantry at the National Archives

The National Archives at College Park, Maryland
The National Archives at College Park, Maryland

I just opened a letter from a gentleman at the National Archives (NARA) who’s responding to my query on records relating to the 168th Infantry. There’s a lot of material, numbering approximately 1,500 pages.

This letter is in reply to your recent inquiry to the National Archives regarding records relating to the 42nd Division, 168th Infantry Regiment (Iowa National Guard) during World War I.

We have located a large quantity of records (about 1,500 pages), in RG 120 Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), relating to the 168th Infantry Regiment’s activities. these records are operational in nature and generally do not include information concerning individual servicemen and women.

Due to their large volume, we are not able to provide copies of these records in their entirety to researchers. We will be happy to make relevant records available to you or your representative in our research room should you, or your representative, have an opportunity to visit the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. The Archives II Reference Section (NWVT2R) is located at 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD. For more information on conducting research at this facility, please visit our website at:

If you are unable to come to the National Archives, you may hire a private researcher to do research for you. A list of private researchers who are familiar with National Archives facilities is available on our web site at


Archives II Reference Section (NWVT2R)
Textual Archives Services Division

NWVT2R 10-12493


Idiotville, Oregon

Idiotville, Oregon T-Shirt
Idiotville, Oregon T-Shirt

Someone on touring the West Coast from Albany, New York wants to check out a place known as Idiotville. (No, I do not live there nor am I the mayor.)

I’m roadtripping up the West Coast and am detouring to Portland for a few days. . . . I found a town called Idiotville about halfway between Portland and Tillamook on a Google map. When I asked locals about the town, no one had heard of it. Upon searching further, I found that it is a ghost town. Anyone want to try to find and explore it with me?? I don’t know if any buildings are still standing but it could be a fun hike either way!! Come on! It’ll be totally worth it if we can find it and get pictures in front of a sign saying ‘Idiotville’!!! :)”

Here’s a blog post about it.

Along Highway 6 on the way to the coast my eye caught something so bizarre, I actually did a double take and laughed out loud: There is an Idiotville, Oregon. And not only that, there is an Idiot Creek and an Idiot Falls, too. 140 feet of falls, to be exact, and no photographic evidence of it anywhere online. Yet, you can see it from space on Google Earth. Hmm….”

Besides some beautiful scenery including waterfalls, there’s also a line of Idiotville gear.


The Iceman Cometh: Ötzi’s DNA

Hintere Schwärze, the third highest peak in the Ötztal Alps
Hintere Schwärze, the third highest peak in the Ötztal Alps

Almost 20 years after his body was discovered mummified in the Ötztal Alps, Italian and German scientists have sequenced the DNA of Oetzi (Ötzi) the Iceman. Considering the remains are 5,300 years old, this is remarkable news.

Professor Anne Stone of Arizona State University was part of the team investigating Ötzi. She’s with the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her specialty is anthropological genetics.

However, she cautions about infering too much about the period from just one man. “It is a sample of one. For us to really say something about that period, you need a sample of 25 to 50 individuals,” she told Deutsche Welle, a German news company.

They “are interested in learning more about Oetzi’s physiology and comparing Iceman and Alpine region population data to see if his genes are still around.” DNA sequencing was first attempted 15 years ago in the 1990s, “but the computer and processing technology available at that time was far too primitive to adequately analyze damaged DNA samples.”

Mitochondrial sequencing was successful, but other efforts were not because of the limitations of sequencing technology at the time. According to bioinformatics expert Andreas Keller of Febit – the German company that helped sequence the Iceman’s DNA – evaluation of the base pairs should be complete in about four months.”

Albert Zink of the European Academy of Bozen and the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman wants to compare and contrast Ötzi’s DNA with modern Europeans.

It tells us a lot about the iceman itself, about his immune system, about how his genetic data is composed. It tells us maybe the diseases that he suffered from, fertility diseases, and it tells us clues about modern times. We can, for example, say are there still some living relatives of the Iceman? Or are there any changes in the genome of the person who lived 5,200 years ago to today’s population?

It would be quite interesting to compare this data from the Iceman to people from this region and we can say whether there is a close link or maybe he is somehow distant from these people. Because it could also be that his lineage is somehow extinct or if his genes are still around in our population. . . . We want to know if he could digest milk, for example.”


New Details on German Plans to Invade Britain

A poster for the film 'The Eagle Has Landed'
A poster for the film 'The Eagle Has Landed'

The details, just made public, are documented in a MI5 file.

German shock troops would have landed at Dover, dressed in British uniforms, if the Luftwaffe had won the Battle of Britain . . .”

The news has been reported in a few places, including the Telegraph, Kent Online, and

The idea of shock troops wearing enemy uniforms, as they had in the Low Countries, is fascinating. It’s really The Eagle Has Landed stuff. It gives an indication of what might have happened if the Battle of Britain had gone the other way.”
— Dr. Ed Hampshire, principal records specialist at the National Archives (UK)

Personally, I really didn’t care for the movie. The National Archives has podcasts specifically devoted to military history.


Ahhh, Salzburg

Salzburg, Austria
Jay Nordlinger, an editor at National Review, has been in Europe, as a tourist, for awhile. Yesterday I read his interview with Lech Wałęsa, former president of Poland. That was from the print magazine and thus old material, especially in today’s lightning-quick electronic world. He wrote that while he was in Norway. Now he is in Austria. I dream of the day when I land on that continent to explore the haunts of my ancestors and so much history in every corner.
What’s to like about Salzburg? Nothing. Unless you like glorious views, beautiful buildings, delicious food, pretty girls, high culture, first-class hiking . . . I could go on (and will). When I first went to Salzburg, I had a heretical thought — heretical, because I was a student once in Florence, and was devoted to the place and its myth. (I do not mean ‘myth’ in a bad sense.) My heretical thought was, ‘It’s as good as Florence.’ I was later tempted to revise that to ‘better.’”
I am very, very envious.