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45th Artillery, CAC


The 45th Artillery Regiment was formed in July of 1918 at Camp Eustis, Virginia. In October 1918 they moved to Camp Stuart, Virginia mobilizing for overseas duty. On 21 October 1918 the regiment sailed from Newport News, Virginia aboard the USS Aeolus, for duty with the AEF in France.

The 45th was in France a short time and did not get thier training completed before the war ended. As soon as transportation could be secured the 45th Artillery was transported to Bordeaux, France where they were loaded aboard the USS Siboney on January 23, 1919 and steamed westward to the States. On January 31, 1919 they arrived in New York and were unloaded going first to Camp Mills, New York and then were sent to Camp Dix, New Jersey, where on 6 February, 1919 they were demobilized.

The 45th Artillery, CAC was under the command of Colonel William P. Hase. Officers of the Field and Staff of the 45th Artillery were:

Lt. Colonel John Thomas N. O'Rear
Major Cedric M. S. Skene
Major Kenna K. Gandee
Major Robert N. Hazeltine
Major Maclom C. Grow
Captain Philip E. Bronson
Captain Verne C. Snell
Captain Gilbert A. Hunt
Captain Charles L. Sefrit
Captain Burton Hartley
1st Lt. Chaplain Dempsey W. Hodges
1st Lt. Chaplain Edmund P. Danbridge

Back from France. Headquarters Company 45th Artillery C.A.C. January 31st 1919. This photo must have been taken at
Camp Mills, New York shortly before being moved to Camp Dix.

This set of three photos were likely taken upon the return of the 45th from France, and may have been at Camp Dix. The caption on the back says, "To W. E. Walthers from 'Bearcat' Brescher, Middleweight Champion, 45th C.A.C." "Bearcat Brescher" was in fact Pvt. James A. Brescher of Battery B, 45th Artillery. Brescher was from New Orleans, LA.

This photo is identified as "Walter L. Brewster RFD #1, Box 17, Atlanta, GA"

Walter Brewster was Pvt. Walter L. Brewster, Service No. 2595531, of Battery C. Pvt. Brewster was from Atlanta and his mother's name was Mattie E. Brewster.

This photo shows 6 men of the 45th Artillery and was not identified. The bench they are setting on looks to be the same wooden bench that is in all three photos. "Bearcat Brescher" does not appear to be in this photo and he may have been the one who snapped it. But in the back row second from the left side standing appears to possibly be Pvt. Walter L. Brewster. PFC W. E. Walthers was known to be a short man, and he may be the man standing in the back row second from the right end.

45th Artillery Muster

As I find stories and photos of men who served in the 45th Artillery I will list them here. If you had a family member who also served in the 45th Artillery please contact Joe Hartwell.

Private James A. Brescher, Bugler, Battery B, And 45th Artillery Boxing Champ, aka "Bearcat Brescher"

The Regimental Middleweight boxing champ of the 45th Artillery, CAC during WWI was a Private by the name of James Albert Brescher. His service number was 2925258 and he was also the Bugler of Battery B. Pvt. Brescher used “Bearcat Brescher” as his boxing name.

James Albert Brescher was born on October 11, 1897 in New Orleans, to Catherine Seidenspinner (1866-1921) and Nicholas J. Brescher (1857-1911). Nicholas and Catherine had three sons, Alexender J., Harry Nicholas, and James Albert. In 1910 Nicholas J. Brescher worked for the railroad as a trackman to support his family, and Harry Nicholas who was 20-years old at the time worked as a teamster.

When James Albert was 16-years and 3 months old on January 3, 1914 he married Margaret “Maggie” Keppers in New Orleans. Maggie quickly became pregnant, and on September 29, 1914 she gave birth to a son they named Nicholas James. It was not known what James Albert did for work during these early years. He may have worked for his older brother Harry who was a teamster, but this is not known for sure.

During WWI James Albert Brescher joined the United States Army. Pvt. Brescher was a member of Battery B, of the 45th Artillery, CAC and sailed to France with the 45th aboard the USS Aeolus on October 21, 1918. During his time while serving with the 45th Artillery Pvt. Brescher became the Regimental Middleweight Boxing Champ of the 45th Artillery. He went by the nickname of “Bearcat Brescher”

Growing up the youngest of three boys and on the streets of New Orleans, was where Brescher may have learned how to box. He also had another talent, that of playing a bugle, as he was the bugler for Battery B. He may have also learned how to play from the many bars and music halls of New Orleans.

Once the war was over the 45th returned back home aboard the USS Siboney and James Albert was honorably Discharged from the Army. Once out of the Army James headed home to New Orleans and his wife and son. In 1920 James, Maggie and Nicholas James were living in the 9th Precinct of New Orleans in the home of Maggie’s sister. At the time, James Albert was working for a private family as a chauffer driver.

During WWII Nicholas James would follow in his father’s footsteps and served in the Army. James Albert and Maggie would only have one son, Nicholas James, and they would live their entire lives in the New Orleans area. The last job James Albert Brescher had was possibly working as an engineer for a company known as Ayres Materials Company of New Orleans.

On August 15, 1957 James Albert would lose his wife Maggie who passed away. On February 15, 1961 James Albert Brescher, the one-time boxing champ of the 45th Artillery passed away. His funeral was held at the Incarnate Word Church located at Apricot and Dante Streets in New Orleans on February 16. He was buried in the family plot in the Greenwood Cemetery in Orleans Parish.

James Albert Brescher, 1944 James Albert on the left with his son Nicholas James Brescher taken in 1944 while Nicholas was in the Army

PFC William E. Walthers, Battery C

PFC William E. Walthers served with Battery C of the 45th Artillery during WWI. He was friends with another man of the 45th, that of Bugler James A. Brescher of Battery B. Once the 45th Artillery had returned back to the states Pvt. Brescher had his photo taken setting on a bench outside of the barracks at what is likely Camp Dix, New Jersey. On the back of the photo Brescher wrote this; "To W. E. Walthers from 'Bearcat' Brescher, Middleweight Champion, 45th C.A.C."

William Ernest Walthers was born on October 5, 1891 in Georgetown, Colorado. He was the youngest son of Sarah Jane (1856-1922) and William Walthers (1854-1932). Georgetown sits at an elevation of 8,530 feet, nestled in the mountains near the upper end of the valley of Clear Creek in the mountains west of Denver along Interstate 70. During the 1880’s the Colorado silver boom helped the population of Georgetown to grow to nearly 10,000, and at the time Georgetown was a center of mining in Colorado only to be eclipsed by Leadville, Colorado.

Growing up in Georgetown, William E. Walthers was exposed to the mining industry, and it was only natural that when he became of age that he would seek the job of a miner. In June of 1917 when young men had to register for the Federal Draft due to America joining the fight in Europe, William Walthers did just that on June 5, 1917 in the first call-up of men.

Walthers’ was a short man with brown eyes and dark hair. On his draft registration form he listed that he worked as a miner for the Midland Chief Mines Company. He was single at the time, and he claimed exemption because he had to support his mother. But the Army saw it a bit differently and took him anyway.

The Midland Chief Mines, Company was incorporated in Massachusetts but was ran out of the Colorado Building in Denver by F. J. Woodward, who was the general manager. The company owned 11 claims, on 50-acres of land in the Democrat Mountain, and Georgetown areas of Clear Creek County, Colorado. The mine operations consisted of a 50-ton mill, with two ore-shoots that were opened up. One was 125-feet long and 4-feet wide, and the second one was 450-feet in length and 4-feet wide. The production in 1917 of the mine was about 700-tons of ore, which was likely silver. 

On July 13, 1918 William E. Walthers was enlisted into the army, and given his service number of 3458847, and was placed into the Coast Artillery branch of the Army. He would serve with Battery C of the 45th Artillery and would sail aboard the USS Aeolus with the 45th on October 21, 1918. The 45th was sent over late in the war and had little time to conduct training before the war ended. By January 31, 1919 the 45th was back on U. S. soil and was being sent to Camp Dix, NJ where they would be demobilized. PFC William E. Walthers was honorably discharged on February 24, 1919.

Walthers would say goodbye to the friends he had made in the army and return back to Colorado. Sometime in 1924 he would marry. Little is known of his wife except that her name was Florence and was born about 1892 in New York. It does not appear that William and Florence had any children. In April of 1930 William and Florence lived in a home he owned in Georgetown. At the time, William was out of the mining business and worked as the Clear Creek County Treasurer. Living in the home with William and Florence was a 19-year old nephew named William Hollingsworth. It was not clear if the nephew was on William’s side or Florence’s side of the family. Also, living right next door was William’s father who was at the time, 75-years old and was a widower, and was still working as a plumber.

By 1940 William and Florence were still living in Georgetown and William was then a Clear Creek County Commissioner. In 1942 William registered for the Federal Draft for the second time in his life. But this time the army did not see fit to take him as he was 50-years old at the time.

On May 18, 1955 William E. Walthers passed away, and was survived by his wife Florence. He was buried in the Alvarado Cemetery in Georgetown. The Alvarado Cemetery was established in 1865. About a year later on April 18, 1956 Florence Walthers filed paperwork to have a bronze military grave marker placed upon William’s grave. It was on July 17, 1956 that his bronze marker was finally placed upon his grave, forever marking the spot where an American Soldier lays resting.

PFC William E. Walthers bronze grave marker.

Private Donald Firkins, Battery B

Donald Firkins was the son of G. A. Firkins of Gibbon, Nebraska. Pvt. Firkirns entered the Army at Ft. Logan, Colorado on 14 December 1917. He was first stationed at Ft. Scott and then Camp Eustis and then was transferred to Battery B, 45th Artillery CAC. Pvt. Firkins was discharged on 19 February 1919.

Private Bryan Adams, 3372024, Supply Co.

Bryan Adams was born 27 July 1898 in Elkton, Kentucky. At the time Bryan entered the Regular Army he lived at 1147 Laird St. in Akron, Ohio. He enlisted at the Columbus Barracks in Columbus, Ohio on 30 July 1918 and was assigned to the Coast Artillery Corps at Ft. Screven, Georgia. On 29 August 1918 he was transferred into Supply Company, 45th Artillery, C.A.C. He sailed with the 45th Artillery to France on 21 October 1918 and returned to the States on 31 January 1919. Pvt. Adams remained with Supply Co., 45th Artillery until he was discharged on 20 February 1919.

Cook Benjamin Franklin Abear, Supply Co.

He was born 14 July 1986 and was placed in a Catholic orphanage when he was young, after his father died in a logging accident, and ran away from the Catholic orphanage at age 10 or 12, and travelled around the country as a young boy, all on his own. During the early summer of 1918 Ben Abair felt the call to serve his country and entered the Army. He was assigned to the 45th Artillery as a Cook in the Supply Company. He served overseas with the 45th Artillery and probably was discharged in February 1919 with the rest of the men in the 45th Artillery. According to the Minnesota Death Index Ben Abair died in Cass County, Minnesota on 18 August 1963. According to his grand-daughter Cheryl Little this is what it says on his gravestone: "MN Cook Sup Co 45 Coast Arty WW1"

Corporal Clyde McMurray, HQ Co.

Clyde "Claude" McMurray's grave marker states; "Illinois CPL HQ CO 45 Arty CAC World War I"

Private Theognis Halkiotis, Battery D

Theognis was born in Constantinople, Greece in 1891 and emigrated to Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1912. He served with Battery D. 45th Artillery C.A.A. from July 6, 1918 to February 12, 1919.

Sergeant Angus L. McDonald, Supply Co.

Angus L. McDonald, Service No. 813471, was a Sergeant in the Supply Company, 45th Artillery, CAC. McDonald entered the Army at Galesburg, Illinois on April 2, 1918 and served with the 45th Artillery until his discharge on February 21, 1919 at Camp Grant, Illinois.

Pvt. Hugh Combs:

Hugh Combs West Virginia
Private, 45th Artillery, CAC
World War One
September 30, 1897 - January 2, 1943

Sgt. George L. A. Davis, Battery C

George L. A. Davis was a Sergeant serving with Battery C of the 45th Artillery, CAC during the First World War. Sgt. Davis was from Savanah, Georgia and was the son of William A. Davis. When the 45th Artillery was formed, Davis was then a Corporal. As the 45th Artillery was at Camp Eustis, Virginia making preparations to sailing to France, Corporal Davis was promoted to Sergeant on October 1, 1918.

The entire 45th Artillery sailed aboard the Transport USS Aeolus on October 21, 1918. When the 45th was ready to return from France they boarded the USS Siboney in Bordeaux, France on January 23, 1919 and landed in New York on January 31, 1919. They were first sent to Camp Mills, NY and then moved to Camp Dix, New Jersey where the 45th Artillery was demobilized.

George L. A. Davis shown as a Corporal as seen by his two stripes on the right arm.
This photo would have been taken prior to his promotion on October 1, 1918. His Service Number was 2595447


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This page is owned by Joe Hartwell. This page created on 26 May, 2001 and last updated on August 24, 2017

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