26 September 1918 — France
Corporal Peter Gedda of Bessemer, Michigan. US Army, 4th Infantry Division, 39th Infantry Regiment, Company D.
Killed in Action, 26 September 1918 - WWI- Battle of Meuse-Argonne, France.
On 26 September, the last great battle of World War I, the Meuse-Argonne Campaign, began. Moving under the cover of darkness for secrecy, the Americans had moved into their sector of the front following the completion of their mission in the St. Mihiel area. Three U.S. Army corps were assigned sectors along the U.S. part of the front. III Corps held the extreme right (eastern) part of the front with V Corps to their left. The 4th Division was assigned to III Corps. The III Corps sector had the 33rd Division on the right, the 80th Division had the center, and the 4th was assigned the left, with the 79th Division of V Corps on their left.
The 7th Brigade was moved to the line in the trenches around Hill 304. The division plan called for one brigade to fight until exhausted and then send the other brigade forward to press the attack. The attack of 26 September was made through a narrow valley. The 7th Brigade moved through the valley and, while taking large numbers of German prisoners, reached the second line of defenses by 09:00 near the town of Cuisy. The Germans provided a formidable opposition, but the 39th Infantry overcame them and moved through Septsarges. During this first day, the 7th Brigade had captured 1700 prisoners, and more than 40 guns. Division headquarters was moved forward to Cuisy.
On 27 September the attack resumed with an artillery barrage. The 39th Infantry followed the barrage until they encountered withering machine gun fire from the Bois des Ogons where they were held up. The 8th Brigade was brought forward on 29 September to take the place of the 39th on the line. The 8th Brigade moved through the Bois de Brieulles but met increasing machine gun fire from the Bois des Ogons. Very little progress was made over the next four days as the terrible condition of the roads at the rear hampered re-supply and reinforcement efforts. By 3 October, Phase I of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive was over.