Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 7

December 7, 1918 – Eleven machine gun bullet wounds in one leg and a bayonet wound in a hand stand as testimony of the part that Private Francis Lequier, Deer River, Minn., former member of the Twenty-eighth infantry, and a full-blooded Chippewa Indian, played in helping Uncle Sam defeat the armies of the German war lords.

Private Lequier is one of 60 soldiers returned to the reconstruction hospital in Fort Des Moines, Ia., today for treatment.

It was early on the morning of July 18, when General Pershing ordered the advance at Chateau-Thierry, which ended in a defeat of the Kaiser’s army, that Private Lequier received his wounds.

Gen. Pershing1

With seven other Yanks he attacked a German machine gun nest.

“It was just kill or be killed,” Lequier says. “Some Germans may have given up without fighting but these weren’t that kind.”

One after another of his comrades went down under the rain of bullets from the German gun until only Lequier and one other were left. Of the 12 Germans who manned the machine gun, nine were lying prostrate. 

“I was on one side and my comrade on the other,” Lequier says. “They turned the gun on me and I felt my right leg give away, only the German operating the gun was left. He turned it on the other fellow and I finished him off with my pistol.”

Private Lequier enlisted May 20, 1917, while a student in school at Wahpeton, N. D.  His wounds have healed sufficiently so he can hobble around on crutches.


Did You Know…

Native Americans were not recognized as U.S. citizens until 1924 by an act of Congress. Many Native Americans joined the U.S. Armed Forces to serve and defend America during World War I. Native American veterans of WWI were allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune
; “Minnesota Indian Sustains Dozen Wounds Fighting Hun. Private Francis Lequier of Deer River Put a Machine Gun Out of Action at Chateau-Thierry.”; Dec. 8, 1918; p. 2.



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