Send the Alabamians tells the gripping story of a regiment of Alabama soldiers who on July 24, 1918, attacked and dislodged a German position in eastern France, as Douglas MacArthur would write after the battle, "in a manner which for its gallantry I do not believe has been surpassed in military history".
Originating as an Alabama National Guard unit, the 167th Infantry Regiment of the US Army's Rainbow Division joined the First World War and participated heroically in some of its most lethal battles. The 167th's hard-won victories and high casualty rate won the awed admiration of observers, but their achievements have gone largely overlooked in descriptions of that bloody conflict. In time for centennial remembrances of WWI, Frazer's book offers an unflinching and long-overdue account of the regiment, its members, and the battles they fought.
The defining battle for the 167th was the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm in eastern France's Champagne region. There on July 24, 1918, the 167th was tasked with dislodging a deeply entrenched and heavily armed German battalion. On a muddy field swept by burning machinegun fire, rent by exploding artillery shells, and poisoned with gas weapons, half the members of the Rainbow Brigade perished. But not only did they hold their ground, they advanced, broke the German line, and propelled the Kaiser's troops back across the Rhine.
Days later, young Douglas MacArthur recorded in his journal that "the 167th Alabama assisted by the left flank of the 168th Iowa had stormed and captured the Croix Rouge Farm it was one of the few occassions on which the bayonet was decisively used." After Gettysburg, the Battle of Croix Rouge is the most significant military engagement to involve Alabama soldiers in the state's history.
Richly researched and documented, Nimrod T. Frazer has discovered a wealth of primary sources such as journals, letters, and military reports, which he weaves into a gripping narrative worthy of the heroism of this unsurpassed regiment. Covering the WWI-era history of the regiment, but also telling the stories of individual soldiers, Send the Alabamians will serve as a valuable text to historians of the war, regimental historians, military history aficionados, and those interested in previously unsung stories of Alabama history.