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The History of 31st Co., Fort Caswell, NC


The Names of the Men

Spelling is to the best of my ability to translated the handwriting accurately. Only the last names of the men were listed on the back of the photo.

Front Row, from the left: Ferirger, Hare, Bullard, Covert, Richardson

Second Row Seated, from the left: Thompson, Moore, Stevens, Heatherly, Lee, James, Captain Hancock, Lt. McCleary, Holt, Maples, Nissaoro, Paul, Anderson

Third Row, from the left: McBride, Binder, Greer, Chapman, Harmon, Grant, Pellice, Johnson, Trancie

Fourth Row, from the left: Dixon, Garwood, Coats, Martin, Gray, Davis, Detloff, Stevens, Rife, Mruncie, Walker, Nealon, Biggs, Sechrist, Wilkinson, Will

Fifth Row, from the left: Irwin, Ayres, Ross, Smith, D., Briggs, Dugger, Harper, Sipple, Wolfe, Howell, Smith L., Slate, Fester, Hickle, Parsnel, Ridge, Curtis

Sixth Row, from the left: Trelkeson, Delawder, Mitchell, Odell, Ballue, Knight, Henckle, Kinsey, Jostin, Hoffran, Rogers, Burns, Corollo, Gills, Wray, Clark, Formhals


The above photo was submitted to me from David K. Rice, Col. (Ret.). It is a unit picture, circa 1916-1918. Written on the back: 31st company C.A.C., Fort Caswell, North Carolina. It also has each mans last name on the back of the picture. He found it at a flea market in the Dallas area 3-4 years ago. Being retired military, he wanted it to have a better home. I was very interested in the history and lineage of the unit and hopefully getting it into the hands of an appropriate descendant.

I wrote back to him and told him about what I had found. Col. Rice the photo you have has some history to it. Below is what I have found on the 31st Company:


Battery L, 53rd US Artillery, C.A.C.

Battery L, 53rd Artillery has it roots in the 31st Company, North Carolina Coast Artillery. In April of 1917 at Fort Caswell, in the Coast Defenses of Cape Fear men of the 31st Company, NC, C.A., manned the 2nd Company, which was originally formed in 1812. In July of 1917 the 2nd Company at Ft. Caswell was formed into the newly forming 8th Provisional Regiment at Ft. Adams, Rhode Island and was selected as one of the 3 Provisional Regiments that would be the first Coast Artillery units to go overseas. The 8th Provisional Regiment sailed on 25 August, 1917 aboard the PANNONIA with 79 Officers and 1,696 Enlisted men from the Port of Embarkation Hoboken, New Jersey. In August of 1918 the Coast Artillery Regiments in France were reorganized and the 8th Provisional Regiment became Battery L, 53rd Artillery. The Regiment sailed for home on February 25, 1919 aboard the transport NASEMOND. After landing at Newport News, VA the Regiment first went to Camp Stuart, VA for demobilization of the drafted men and then during March the Regulars went on to Camp Eustis, Virginia where they were retained in the army on active duty at Camp Eustis as part of the 30th Artillery Brigade.


Special note on David K. Rice, Col. (Ret.)

After a brief tour of active duty and OCS, I spent over thirty years in the Kentucky Army National Guard. I was Commander of the 623rd F.A, Bn. which has a storied history itself. Its lineage goes back to Bueno Vista (1846). They fought in the civil war as "Morgans Men" a John Hunt Morgan Command. I believe they were in WWI or WWII as coastal artillery unit. Headquarters was in Glasgow Kentucky with batteries in Monticello (my home town), Thompkinsville, Campbellsville, and Springfield, Kentucky. I also commanded the Monticello Battery "C". The Battalion went to Korea in 1951 as 623rd F.A. Bn. Finally they were deployed to the gulf during "Gulf-1".


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