Academic journal article Military Review

Duty, Honor, Privilege: New York's Silk Stocking Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line

Academic journal article Military Review

Duty, Honor, Privilege: New York's Silk Stocking Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line

Article excerpt

DUTY, HONOR, PRIVILEGE: New York's Silk Stocking Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line, Stephen L. Harris, Brassey's, Inc., Dulles. VA, 2001, 374 pages, $27.95.

Stephen L. Harris' Duty, Honor, Privilege: New York's Silk Stocking Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line is first-rate social and military history. The 107th Regiment, a component of the 27th Division, was composed entirely of New York National Guard troops from two great New York Infantry Regiments-the 7th "Silk Stocking" Regiment from downtown New York City and the 1st New York "Apple Knockers" from upstate New York near Newburgh. The regiment fought gallantly and at great cost as part of the British Army's last great offensive of World War I.

To Harris the story is personal. He is a descendant of Raeburn van Buren, magazine illustrator, cartoonist, and member of the social and intellectual elite of New York City. The 7th New York Infantry's Armory on Park Avenue between East 66th and East 68th reflected Van Buren's neighborhood. The Armory housed soldiers who were, for the most part, well heeled. The 7th was mostly old money and had been so from the outset of the regiment's history in the early 19th century. In 1917, when the United States joined the fighting in Europe, soldiers in the regiment bore the names of the leading families of New York-Vanderbilt, Van Rensselaer, Gracie, and Roosevelt, to name a few.

Harris notes that, in addition to wealthy old New York families, the regiment included the newly wealthy, including the son of a Tammany Hall magnate; New York City's intellectual elite, including poet Joyce Kilmer, who became the regiment's most famous casualty; a band of New York journalists from major papers and periodicals; and graduates of Yale and Harvard. …

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