Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
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Pvt. Eugene Pate
Co. L, 120th Infantry, 30th Division
February 14, 1895 - September 29, 1918


     To many of the boys who grew up in one state or one part of a
state, and who scarcely came in contact with people from different
parts of their own country, the variety of associations and the novelty
of their experiences indeed formed a great adventure.  Although Eugene
Pate said that he couldn't write much, and that he would tell his
experiences when he returned home, many interesting facts, which
describe life at the front, are gleaned from his correspondence.

     He was born in Henderson, Ky, February 14, 1895. In Evansville
he attended Delaware School, and later worked at the Crown Pottery
Company.  He left Evansville for Camp Taylor September 22, 1917,and
was first assigned to Co. B, 335th Infantry, but was later transferred
to Co. L, 120th Infantry, 30th Division (Old Hickory).  At this post he
remained in training until March 29, 1918, when he was sent to Camp Sevier,
Greenville, S. C.  About May 12 he left for Camp Merritt, N.J., and five
days later be sailed from Boston harbor.  He landed in England June 5,
and then went to Belgium.

     For three or four days he and his comrades were lost, but the
Y.M.C.A. helped them out of their dilemma. On June 26, 1918, he entered
the trenches and began a continuously active military career.
He remained in the trenches for sixteen days before he was relieved.

     In one of the battles they were in the second wave.  He, with other
comrades, went out under the shell fire of their own guns and brought
in the wounded and dead.  On July 29 they were gassed, "but it did
not amount to much."  His company always fought at night and
slept during the day.  It was at this time that he was transferred to
a machine-gun squad, for which he received training at Camp Taylor.
On August 12 he wrote that they had just come out of the trenches, and
"our boys had been giving the Germans all they wanted." Speaking of his
experiences he said, "If you missed a meal you had to do without till
the next one, as you couldn't buy anything in that sector."  On one
occasion he bought a dozen eggs for $1.25 in U.S. money.  His numerous
experiences taught him to love France, but he said there is "nothing like
the good old U.S.A."  He often revived memories from home through the
local newspapers which he received.  As Paul Chamier and other Evansville
boys were near him, news from home made them feel as though they
"lived in E-town."

     On September 8 he came out of the lines for the last time.  He
had been in the trenches about two weeks.  Most of that time he was
exposed to a cold, drenching rain.  His last letter home was written
on September 29.  When he left his last words of comfort to his
mother were: "Mother, don't worry about me. Those Germans cannot get me."
On September 29, 1918, he was killed in action during the Hindenburg drive,
near Bellicourt, France.

     A letter from Capt. W.B. Stone, Co. L, 120th Infantry, to C. E.
Carter, gives a description of that battle, which is exactly the same
as that given in the Paul Chamier article, although it was written by
a different man, of another company.  In part the letter said:
     "The body of Private Pate now rests with those of several of his
comrades just west of Bellicourt, on a slight eminence near the St.
Quentin Canal.  It is near the scene of his death and the grave is
marked with his name and organization and will be preserved until
the time comes for the removal of the remains to the favored land
for which he gave his very all.  Proper and fitting arrangements for
the burial were completed and carried out and the services were conducted
by the Battalion Chaplain. The personal effects were cared for by the
Chaplain and will in due time be forwarded, through channels, to his mother.

     "To the bereaved mother and family you will kindly convey my
personal sincere condolences and sympathy and say to them for me
that Private Pate was a type of the ideal soldier and man.  Among
his comrades he was highly regarded as a young man of character and
principle, blessed with a gracious and charitable disposition.  By his
officers he was regarded as an especially courteous and obedient sol-
dier.  But perhaps his most praiseworthy quality, and best of all, to
be sure, was his marked, unfaltering devotion to duty."
_____

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp. 145-146

cdmyers@wowway.com
October 25, 1998