Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
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Pvt. Elwood Digby Colton
7th Anti-Aircraft Battery, Coast Artillery Corps.
March 10, 1897 - October 24, 1918

     During the heat of the conflict many opportunities presented
themselves of escaping death, or at least undue exposure, by a slight
flinching from danger.  Elwood Digby Colton, however, not only
did his duty faithfully, but in a beautiful spirit of self
sacrifice and altruism faced danger while helping those who were
in distress.

     He was born March 10, 1897. When he completed his primary
education at the Harlan Avenue School, he attended the local high
school for two years. After leaving school he was employed by the
Fischer Bros. Grocery. Later he accepted a position with the
Rumford Baking Powder Co., of Chicago. In July, 1916, he returned home
and two months later he enlisted in the army. In October he was sent
to Jefferson Barracks, and on November 3, 1916, he was transferred
to Ft. Barrancas, Florida, where he was assigned to the Medical
Department of the Post Hospital. In July, 1917, he was transferred to
the Regimental Infirmary, Fifty~sixth Infantry, Chattanooga, Tenn.
In September, 1917, he was assigned to an Ambulance Company at Camp
Greenleaf.  In February, 1918, he was transferred to Fort Cas~well,
N.C. In May he was sent to Camp Mills, and was assigned to the
anti-aircraft service.

     On June 10, 1918, Colton sailed for France, and arrived at Brest
ten days later. A few days later he went to Langres where he remained
but two days. After a visit to Paris, he received a special
course of training near St. Denis. On August 25, 1918, he left for
the front.  His battery was divided into two sections.  He went to
Pont-a-Mousson. His spirit of self sacrifice prompted him to go back
to the hospital at St. Julian to see the wounded boys, and give them
all the help he could. For this altruistic spirit the boys were proud
of him. The trip from Friancourt to Verdun lasted four days and
nights. Many of his comrades suffered from the Spanish Influenza.
Colton ministered to their wants, and further endeared himself in
their hearts.

     His unselfishness ultimately proved fatal to him. As a victim of
the Spanish Influenza he was brought to Base Hospital No. 18 at
Bazoilles. The epidemic developed into broncho-pneumonia. For the
last two days oxygen was used, but he did not recover. He died
October 24, 1918. Two days later he was buried in the American
Military Cemetery No.6, Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, Department of Vosges.
The grave is situated on a slope between the woods and the Meuse River.

     Many tributes were paid to his heroism by men with whom he
came in contact during his long experience in service. Comrade
Allison of Hendersonville, N. C., said of him: "He died a brave and true
soldier and comrade."  A letter from Captain Ladd said: "Private
Colton was attached to my battery as medical attendant, and was one
of my most faithful and dependable men.  He came to his death
through exposure in attending his sick comrades."
_____

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp45-47.

cdmyers@wowway.com
April 15, 1998