This is the first of the actual entries from Hezekiah's diary.  As a reminder, I (Porter) am posting two days of transcription each day, one for 100 years ago and one starting from October 9th (the beginning of the diary) and moving forward.

Hezekiah Scovil Porter WW I Diary Transcription

The following is the transcription of Hezekiah Scovil Porter’s diary of his time in the army until his death at Chateau Thierry on July 22, 1918.

Original is in black, annotations in red, horizontal lines indicate page breaks.

(Beginning pages)

H. S. Porter

101st Machine G. Bat.  (Gun Battalion)


(Places he went)

Niantic Conn.

Montreal, Canada

Halifax           "

Liverpool, England

Borden          "

Southampton "

Le Havre, France

Mont les Neufchateaux  "

Lifol le Grand  "

Vrigny  "

Pinon   "

Soissons  "

Brienne le Chateau

Bar sur Aube

Fontaine   Fr.  (This seems out of place as it is in southwest France, near Grenoble; could it be Hontaine?)

Colomby  "

Vignory  "

St. Blin  "

Menil la Tour  "

St. Agnan  "

Liouville   "  (It exists on Google, after you scroll down some from the famous person of the same name.)

Jouy  "  (Jouy is a commune in the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France)

Menil la Tour  "

Bois de Hazelle

near Fleury  (During the Battle of Verdun in 1916 Fleury was captured and recaptured by the Germans and French sixteen times. Since then, it has been unoccupied.  During the war, the town was completely destroyed and the land was made uninhabitable to such an extent that a decision was made not to rebuild it. The area around the municipality was contaminated by corpses, explosives and poisonous gas, so no farmers could take up their work. The site of the commune is maintained as a testimony to war and is officially designated as a "village that died for France." It is managed by a municipal council of three members appointed by the prefect of the Meuse department.)

Foug   "

Void  "

Vitrey le François  "  (Vitry-le-François is a commune in the Marne department.)

Coulommes  "

La Ferte   "  (La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is located at a crossing point over the River Marne between Meaux and Château-Thierry.)

Montreul ?  (Could not find in Google)

Bejou ?

Belleau Woods  (Actually spelled Belleau Wood)

(First entry)

(In Connecticut)

Oct. 9th 1917

Left camp at Niantic at about 8 A.M.  Train late at station.  Started about 10 A.M.  Went north via Saybrook Junction.  Through Hig. (Higganum, Connecticut) Lyndonville Vt. last town went through while awake.  Good reception there.

(Skipping to 100 years ago today)

(In France)

Saturday Feb. 9th

Up at 3:30 A.M.  Marched to station with junk & loaded it on cars.  Were off after breakfast at 6:30 A.M.  On box cars – 37 in ours.  Some crowd.  Rode all day. Slept but little


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Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Edit
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Hezekiah Scovil Porter was the youngest of Wallace and Florence Gesner (Wells) Porter's seven children, born into the tiny town of Higganum, Connecticut on June 4, 1896. He attended The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut.  It is now known as the school that "has educated generations of the upper-class New England establishment and the American political elite," but at the time it was only as old as Hezekiah himself. Twenty years later, John F. Kennedy would graduate from Choate, having been chosen by his class as the person "most likely to succeed." About Hezekiah, the Headmaster wrote:

Hezzie was always a man of deeds rather than of words.  And his influence either on the field, or in the classroom, or about School in general, was of the kind that very definitely made us a better School for his being part of it. In his Sixth Form year Hezzie was President of his class, and in the vote which was taken toward the close of the year, he was almost unanimously chosen as the member of his Form who had "done most for Choate." He was also voted—and there were no near competitors— the "most popular," as well as the man in his class "most to be admired."

But Hez never had his chance to become President.  As with many of his generation, his service ended on the battlefields of France. After graduating from Choate, Hezekiah attended Yale University. But he left during the fall of his sophomore year to join the Army. After four months he was at the front, and five months later he was killed in action near Chatêau-Thierry.

The following quote, and the one above, are taken from Yale in the World War, by George Henry Nettleton (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1925).  You can read a somewhat fuzzy but still legible copy of the article on Hezekiah Scovil Porter by clicking on the images in the middle of my Memorial Day, 2009 post.

On the morning of July 22, 1918, in the course of an American attack on Epieds, north of Château-Thierry, Hezekiah Scovil Porter, Private in the 101st Machine Gun Battalion, was killed in action. His diary closes abruptly with an entry recorded the night before while his company was awaiting the dawn which was to bring the expected advance. Next morning in the midst of the attack he met instant death in the open field as he was hurrying forward with ammunition for a machine gun.

Hezekiah Scovil Porter is my husband's granduncle.  That diary the article mentions?  Porter has it.  That is the reason for this post and the ones that will follow.  I will now step aside and let Porter take over.

One of my "95 by 65" goals is to transcribe Hezekiah's WW I diary.  I knew he had died on July 22, 1918 - but I didn't remember when he had started the diary.  Then I couldn't find the diary.  I had moved it to a "safe place" after I had last looked at it.  Finally, today, I found it again.  It turns out he started the diary October 9th, 1917 - so I am four months late starting a "100 years ago today" transcription.  Since that is the case I plan to have Linda put up two days of transcription each day, one for 100 years ago and one starting from October 9th and moving forward.  I think this will work out such that the missed entries will be finished before July 22 comes.  I hope this is of interest to all of you, and especially to my grandson Noah, who has Hezekiah's name as his middle name and also owns Hezekiah's schoolboy desk.

Thanks to Linda for "volunteering" to put this up on her blog.

Porter (Dad-o) Wightman, February 9, 2018.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Edit
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