12th Engineers,

U.S. Expeditionary Force


12th Engineers on the march through London, Aug 15, 1917


Information that appears on this page regarding the Twelfth Engineers comes from, "History of the Twelfth Engineers, U.S. Army", by Col. John A. Laird. Edited by Maj. William W. Burden and Capt. Harry F. McFarland; Buston & Skinner, St. Louis, Mo. 1919.

Although the regiment was organized and recruited in St. Louis, other recruiting offices were opened in Kansas City, Mo. and Dallas, Texas. Men were accepted from all across the country, especially mid-westerners who had technical experience. St. Louis was the most prominent hometown listed among the regimental roster. Its original designation was the "Second Reserve Engineers" but on May 14, 1917, was redesignated the 12th Engineers. 

Camp Gaillard, St. Louis, Mo:

Larger size image

Camp Gaillard, the training encampment of the 12th Engineers, was located near the intersection of Chambers road and Riverview Drive near the "Chain of Rocks" on the Mississippi river, located in north part of the city. Because of the unavailability of tents, the army housed the regiment in "quarter boats" moored on the banks of the Mississippi river. They drilled on the open ground between the Chain of Rocks Pumping Plant (water works) and the former Nursery No. 3 Agricultural fields of the Div. of Parks & Recreation, City of St. Louis (now a city park). On land next to each quarterboat was a shower facility. The YMCA opened two large tents to provide refreshments, picture shows, music entertainment and writing tables for the soldiers when off duty. near intersection of Riverview and Chambers road. Today the only reminder of the 12th Engineers ever being there is a short road leading up the bluff named after the regiment.

The Camp was named "in honor of Col. David Du Bose Gaillard, who commanded the Third U.S. Volunteer Engineers in the Spanish American War" that was also organized in St. Louis, Mo. Camp Gaillard was occupied from  May 25th to July 25th, 1917. On July 25th, the 12th Engineers was ordered to begin their movement to New York for their embarkation to France.

Panoramic View of the 12th Engineers at Camp Gaillard 


Primary Duties of the 12 Engineers:

  Under direct shell fire of the enemy, the Twelfth Engineers built, operated and maintained light railway service that was so necessary in bringing troops, supplies and artillery to the battle lines of the British and American forces. They consisted of brakemen, civil engineers, laborers, locomotive engineers, conductors, locomotive firemen, machinists, mechanics, switchmen, and a whole hosts of other occupations necessary for operation of the Division of Light Railways ad Roads, American Expeditionary Forces.

Engine 5100 at Menil La Tour, France. This was one of the light rail steam engines that the 12th Engineers operated in the Toul sector 2nd Army offensive. Note: the engine bears the letters, "U.S.A.".


Welcome to Twelfth Regiment of Engineers

St. Louis, Missouri

When the Republic took the gage
  of war to save the world aflame,

Swift as the flash that called to arms

  Your eager answer came.


Your camp, moored at the Chain of Rocks

     On yon historic river's shore,

 You left ere summer waned and soon

     Were ocean-bound for war.


So far you sped your words came back

     Like echoes from enchanted land,

And you in knightly quest had grown

     To something new and grand.


We heard the news from far Cambrai,

     Where guns were grasped as shovels fell,

From Picardy, where your thin line

      Held through the battle hell.


First honors for the soldier sons

     Who fell where Fame her signet sets,

And cheers for you who bore the flag

     From London Town to Metz.


To you our hearts, and through the years

     A nation's gratitude and love,

While Liberty holds high her torch

     And heaven bends above.


--C. B. Galbreath, father of Capt. A. W. Galbreath


Historic Actions of the 12th Engineers:

Mobilized Camp Gaillard ("Chain of Rocks") St. Louis, Missouri, June 1917

Departed St. Louis aboard trains July 25th, 1917

Embarked for Europe from New York aboard the R.M.S. Carmania, July 28, 1917

Arrived at Liverpool, England,  Aug 12, 1917

Landed at Boulogne, France aboard the transports, "Australand" and "Antrim", Aug 18, 1917

Somme Sector, France  (21 Aug-19 Nov 1917); (6 Dec 1917-20 Mar 1918); (7 Apr-28 Apr 1918)

Cambrai Offensive, France 20 Nov- 27 Nov 1917

Cambrai Defensive, France 30 Nov- 5 Dec 1917

Somme Defensive, France 21 Mar- 6 Apr 1918

North Picardy Sector, France 23 Apr- 25 Jul 1918

Baccarat Sector, France 29 Jul-24 Aug 1918

St. Mihiel Offensive, France 12 Sep-16 Sep 1918

Meuse-Argonne Offensive, France  26 Sep-9 Oct 1918

Toul Sector, France  13 Oct-11 Nov 1918

Returned to U.S., aboard the troopship, "S.S. Cape May", April 26, 1919

Arrived  via "welcome home parade" to St. Louis, Missouri, May 12th 1919

Mustered out of service, Camp Funston, Kansas on  May 16, 1919

Rosters (with Home Addresses) of the Twelfth Engineers

British military cemetery at Tincourt, France. The grave of Pvt. Andrew Aubuchon, Co. F (of Chaffee, Mo.) with wreath. Aubuchon was the 12th Engineers' first death, killed Dec 22, 1917, near Liermont, France while the unit was supporting British operations on the Somme.


Officers Detached From Service in France p268

Officers Detached From Service in France p269

Officers Assigned To Regiment in France But Relieved Of Duty Before Return to U.S.

Officers That Returned to the U.S. With Regiment


Enlisted Men:

Note: Names listed in bold type are original members of the regiment. Those in regular type are replacements. Names listed with a dagger symbol were killed or died in service. An asterix denotes those wounded. A double plus sign denotes those men winning an officer's commission. [Note: to enlarge image for most browsers, click on image after it completes loading to get enlargement selection]


Abbott to Arnell

Arnold to Barry, James G.

Barry, William J. to Boggiano

Borgeson to Burner

Burrows to Clampett

Clapp to Colnon

Columbus to Cypko

Daghlien to Dodd

Dodson to Ellerkamp

Elliott to Flanigan

Flechs to Gault

Geiger to Grofils

Grunske to Harris

Harrison to Hilton

Hinds to Hughes

Hughes to Johnson, Parley J.

Johnson, Lawrence H. to Kelso, Lester D.

Kelso, William C. to Lackey

Lacy to Liddle

Lieber to McCracken

McCullough to Mahaney

Maher to Meredith, Farris

Meredith, Leslie L. to Morey, Paul E.

Morgan to Neihaus

Neil to Ott

Overby to Pierce

Pittman to Rankin, Albert I.

Rankin, Clyde to Robinson, James L.

Robinson, Jay P. to Sandler

Sandy to Shepherd

Shifflett to Smith

Smithey to Stroud

Stover to Thornton, Robert D.

Thornton, William L. to Vogel

Voiles to West

Weston to Yochum

York to Zwald




Unfortunately the above rosters are not necessarily complete. Those missing from the above list, have been added below. If you have a name to add, please send author documentation, such as military record or photo of  veteran's tombstone.


George J. Dyer, Sr.

Submitted by: Rosalie Dyer Ferry (daughter of Pvt. G. J. Dyer)


Missourians of the First World War

"The Doughboy Cafe"

Home: "Time Portal to Old St. Louis"

October 2001, Scott K. Williams, verdun1918@earthlink.net Florissant, Missouri USA