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"Raindrops on Your Old Tin Hat:" Lt. John Hunter Wickersham-a Lost Voice, a Faded Poem
“The A.E.F. was about the most sentimental outfit that ever lived. Most of it—so it seemed to anyone who served on the staff of The Stars and Stripes—wrote poetry. All of it read poetry.” --John T. Winterich, Yanks: A.E.F. Verse, 1919
While many American Doughboys of the First World War were poets, only 119 were awarded America’s highest military decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Lt. John Hunter Wickersham was both a poet and a CMH hero.
In the first week of September 1918, American forces prepared to attack German positions in the St. Mihiel sector of northeastern France. The historian of the 353rd Regiment, 89th Division, recalled, “Each day had brought increasing signs of ‘something doin’ in the near future….Big guns were being pulled into place day and night….At dusk [Sept 11th] the different outfits began to move to their jumping off places. The roads were crowded with men….It was a dark night; a cold rain was falling—now a drizzle, now a downpour; the bottom of the trenches held water ankle deep.”