Remi Levesque

Michelle Mazares-Monga

Taylor McLaughlin

Remi J Levesque

Levesque Sq in Salem, MA found at Derby and Lafayette Street

Remi J. Levesque was born on March 17, 1888 in St. Antonin, Quebec in Canada. He was born to Louis Levesque and Justine Gagnon Levesque, and had five sisters, Claudia Bercier, Virginia Ledoux, Marie Potvin, and two sisters in Canada, Exilda Gagnon, and one unnamed. He moved to the United States to Salem, Massachusetts at the age of five where he attended the St. Joseph’s school. That same year, shortly after his family had moved to Salem, his mother tragically passed after contracting Typhoid fever, which as you could imagine was tragic for Remi and his five sisters as well as his father. Remi then went on to work at the United Shoe Machinery Co., so he could financially support himself and be able to live with his sister, Mrs. Bercler. Together they lived on 5 Porter Street in Salem, Massachusetts. He later went on to work as a blacksmith in Beverly, Massachusetts. Levesque stood at five feet and eleven inches and weighed one hundred and eighty pounds. Remi had blue eyes, and he also had brown hair, although at the time of registration for the war he was bald. 

          Remi Levesque had a short career in the army, yet it was very impactful. On April 29, 1918, Levesque was sent by a local draft board to Camp Devens. Then in July he was sent overseas. On July 2nd of 1918 he was transferred to Company E, 303rd Infantry, 76th Division. On August 2nd he was transferred to Company I, 162nd Infantry, 41st Division, and on September 4th to Company B, 128th Infantry, 32nd Division. Levesque then arrived overseas on July 7th, 1918. He was in the army serving as a private. Tragically, on October 14, 1918, Levesque was killed in action near Romagne, France during the Meuse Argonne Battle.

          Remi was part of the most fierce division of the First World War, the 32nd Division. This division was nicknamed “Les Terribles” when stationed in France because of the extreme magnitude at which they fought and the amount of intense dedication they had in battle. The day that Remi passed was the day him and his team were set out to conquer the last stretch of the German Defensive Position which was one of the most thought-out battles they had yet to face. With that being said, they did exactly what they had set out to do and they succeeded, but unfortunately the world also lost Remi that day. With no real indication of where Remi was laid to rest, we assume he is amongst 954 missing or unidentified soldiers at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery in France, which actually is the largest American cemetery, which covers approximately 130.5 acres of land and holds the headstones of 14,246 American Soldiers. Today, Remi’s short life is now remembered in the City of Salem, Massachusetts on Derby and Lafayette Street where Levesque Square was assembled in his honor.

 

Images

Levesque’s Baptism Record – 1888

 

Justine Levesque’s Death Record – 1893 (Remi Levesque’s Mother)

1900 Census Record

 

Louis Levesque’s Death Record – 1909 (Remi Levesque’s Father)

1910 Census Record

Levesque’s WWI Draft Registration Cards 1917

Remi Levesque’s Obituary – 1918

Levesque inThe Gold Star record of MassachusettsPart in the World War” (pg 162)

 

Secondary Sources

Article 1:

           The article, “Revelations of an Empty Footlocker” by Johannes Albert follows life before and after one World War I soldier because of his discovered empty footlocker. In 2005 a footlocker was delivered to the Anoka County Historical Society in honor of Edward Babb (Ned) Cutter, the World War I soldier. The footlocker was empty, so there were mysteries about who this man was, and questions such as was there a larger significance? The article then goes on to say how through research in records, newspapers, and more, knowledge of who Cutter was was gained, and that he died in France while an aerial observer and earned a Distinguished Service Cross. Cutter was one of the 54,402 killed in combat during World War I, which was the first time that many were lost in a war overseas. The article then goes on to give attention to Cutter’s life before enlisting, including his family background, then moves on to giving information about Cutter’s enlistment, schooling, and work.

          Albert then provides insight of from Cutter’s perspective about “the details of a soldier’s life in New Mexico camp as he adapted to a humble living situation” by providing part of a letter Cutter wrote to a friend. (Albert, 2016). The article also tells how Cutter’s observations revealed that war took a toll on everyone involved and weariness was present. It then goes on to give details about the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and provides information about the events that took place during it and what happened after the battle. Overall this article is relevant because it provides background details and support in regards to the battle in which Remi Levesque died so one can get a different perspective and more insight as to what a World War I soldier’s life was like and what was happening in France at that time.

Citation:

          Allert, Johannes. “Revelations of an Empty Footlocker: The Brief Life of 1st Lt. Edward B. Cutter, U.S. Army Air Service.” Minnesota History 65, no. 2 (2016): 60-67. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24898916.

Article 2:

          The article, “Up in the Argonne”: The Tragedy of Lieutenant Justus Owens and the 82nd Division of the First World War, By Richard Faulkner summarizes the series of events that lead up to the death of Remi Levesque on October 14th, 1918, as he was a part of the 82nd Division of the first World War. The article does not specifically talk about Remi but by reading this article you can get a better idea of what the goals of his specific division of the war were, and what kind of conflicts they were dealing with on a day to day basis at the time. Having an insight on where they were located and a description of what Remi may have been going through gives a much deeper level of understanding than we would otherwise not have had without access to information like this.

Citation:

          Faulkner, Richard S. “”Up in the Argonne”: The Tragedy of Lieutenant Justus Owens and the 82nd Division in the First World War.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 80, no. 2 (1996): 276-98. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40583436.

 Article 3:

          The article, “The Division as a Fighting Machine: What it is, How Prepared from its Inception to its Action in Battle, and its Troubles and Pleasures in it’s Hardest Day’s Fight, From the Viewpoint of the Division Commander” By Willian G. Haan, is one of the most informative articles we found that speaks about Remi Levesque’s final day at battle. The author of this article is the commander of the 32nd Division of the First World War and he tells about all of the difficulties that his men had gone through in training for this big day of October 14th, 1918, where they were planning on passing through the last stretch of the German Defensive Position.

          The men in the 32nd division trained for 7 hours each day and Haan described his men as “splendid” and stated that, in order for these men to be qualified enough to fight at the front end of the battle before the enemy, they had to have a high aptitude and extreme fitness. This proved to us that Remi was amongst the most highly trained men in the war which made us extremely proud to discover.

          Haan also mentions at one point in the article that there came a point where the 32nd Division of men no longer had to be told what to do or how to operate themselves properly each day. The commander had felt no anxiety when it came to thinking about the abilities of the 32nd Division because they were so properly functioning that he had not a single doubt in his mind that they would be successful. He also goes on the describe the grounds that they had confronted while fighting and what kind of terrain they were working with. The jagged rocks and large trees that had toppled over and the vines and trenches they used as cover. All of these details that give us such a different perception of the war and our veteran, Remi J. Levesque, who undoubtedly made an impact on the outcome of the First World War.

Citation:  

          William G. Haan. “The Division as a Fighting Machine: What It Is, How Prepared from Its Inception to Its Action in Battle, and Its Troubles and Pleasures in Its Hardest Day’s Fight, from the Viewpoint of the Division Commander.” The Wisconsin Magazine of History 4, no. 1 (1920): 3-26. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4630276.

Bibliography

 

          Allert, Johannes. “Revelations of an Empty Footlocker: The Brief Life of 1st Lt. Edward B. Cutter, U.S. Army Air Service.” Minnesota History 65, no. 2 (2016): 60-67. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24898916.

          Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

          Bruss, Tom. “The 128th Infantry Insignia.” History of the 128th Infantry Insignia. September 19, 2008. Accessed May 08, 2017. http://www.b-1-105.us/history/128ins.html.

         Faulkner, Richard S. “”Up in the Argonne”: The Tragedy of Lieutenant Justus Owens and the 82nd Division in the First World War.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 80, no. 2 (1996): 276-98. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40583436.

         Haulsee, W. M., F. G. Howe, and A. C. Doyle. Soldiers of the Great War. Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: Soldiers Record Pub. Association, 1920. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://books.google.com/books?id=vcwMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA415&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

        “Levesque Square.” Levesque Square | City of Salem MA. Accessed May 08, 2017. http://www.salem.com/veterans-services/pages/levesque-square.

          “Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery France.” Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery | American Battle Monuments Commission. January 01, 1970. Accessed May 09, 2017. https://abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/meuse-argonne-american-cemetery#.WRFI_O0rLrc.

         Putnam, Eben. The Gold Star Record of Massachusetts: report. Vol. 2. Boston: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1929. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://archive.org/details/reportofcommissi002comm.

         “United Shoe Machinery Co. (a.k.a. The Cummings Center).” United Shoe Machinery Co. Essex National Heritage Area. Accessed May 08, 2017. http://essexheritage.org/attractions/united-shoe-machinery-co-aka-cummings-center

          Wikipedia. Craig, William J. (2004). Fort Devens. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-738-53512-8.

         William G. Haan. “The Division as a Fighting Machine: What It Is, How Prepared from Its Inception to Its Action in Battle, and Its Troubles and Pleasures in Its Hardest Day’s Fight, from the Viewpoint of the Division Commander.” The Wisconsin Magazine of History 4, no. 1 (1920): 3-26. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4630276.

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