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Dayton Dove
1895-1918

"War is neither glamorous not attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering."

The Dalai Lama

Dayton Dove was born at Circleville in Pendleton County, West Virginia, on June 11, 1895. His parents, Aldine Silman Dove and Cora Alice Harper Dove, were married on October 25, 1891, in Pendleton County.

Dayton’s siblings were Emmet Harper, Robert Jacob, Susan Louise (Mrs. Rock Paul Auville), and Seylon (“Pete”). The family lived on a farm in the Circleville District of Pendleton County.

Following the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the United States declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917. When the call for volunteers failed to produce the needed one million troops to support the war effort, the Selective Service instituted the draft with the first registration on June 5, 1917, for all men between the ages of 21 and 31. Dayton registered for the draft on June 12 in Pendleton County. Interestingly, while it was expected that he sign up on the date of the first draft, his registration card notes: “Party claims he had no opportunity to register on registration day.” Dayton gave his occupation as “farmer” in the employ of his father. He was unmarried and claimed no exemptions from the draft. His registration card indicates that he was of medium height and medium build with brown eyes and dark hair.
Boys of '17

Courtesy Pendleton County Historical Society.
It cannot be determined whether Dayton
Dove is pictured here, and, if so,
which one he might be. No
individual photo was available at the
time this biography was written.

Boys of '17

Courtesy Pendleton County Historical Society.

Boys of '17

Courtesy Pendleton County Historical Society.

This page from the Pendleton County registrar’s book indicates the kind of records kept on those who were drafted. Recent service records would not indicate the party of the draftee or enlistee, but here we learn Dayton (or perhaps John Dayton) was a Republican. On September 18, 1917, the registrar notes that Dayton left Franklin for Camp Lee (Petersburg, Virginia), where he was assigned to Battery “A” of the field artillery. On October 28, 1918, it was reported that he was wounded “just before daylight” and died of his wounds on the 30th after being evacuated to a field hospital. The page also states that he had sailed for France on May 25, 1918, and was brought back to the U.S.A. and buried at home between Riverton and Circleville. The page gives the appearance that entries were not made chronologically but rather as it occurred to someone to make note of the happenings.




Not only did the registrar’s office keep a record book of the soldiers’ progress, but it appears they were given postcards to send back when they arrived at camp. This one from Dayton Dove, addressed to H. M. Calhoun, reads as follows:

My Dear Sir
Arrived at Camp Lee all right like it very well the inspections in examination at Camp Lee wasn’t by 50 percent as close at [sic] it was at our local board very few exemptions one fellow here passed that had all four fingers off left hand cut close. the officers seem to be very nice men.
Respectfully
Dayton Dove

        Dayton was called to serve in the Battery “A,” 313th Field Artillery Regiment, 155th Field Artillery Brigade, 80th Division. The 80th Division was organized in August 1917 at Camp Lee, near Petersburg, Virginia. The 80th came to be known as the “Blue Ridge Division,” a designation that gave rise to its unique insignia of three blue mountain peaks and its motto, “Vis Montium” (“Strength of the Mountains”). The 155th Field Artillery Brigade was comprised of the 313th, 314th, and 315th Field Artillery units, which were made up of men almost exclusively from the State of West Virginia.

American forces commenced the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on September 26, 1918. The objective of this campaign was to repel the Germans eastward from the Hindenburg Line to deny them access to important rail lines which were supplying the German front. Thirty-seven French and U.S. divisions were opposed by 24 German divisions.

On September 28, 1918, while Battery “A” of the 313rd Field Artillery Regiment was relocating its position, Private Dayton Dove and four of his comrades were wounded by a German artillery shell at Bois de Dannevoux, France. Private Dove died on September 30, 1918, in a field hospital.

By early October, the German Army was exhausted, demoralized, and plagued with an influenza outbreak. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which lasted until the Armistice on November 11, was the largest in U. S. military history. It was also one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. history. More than 95,000 American soldiers were wounded and over 26,277 were killed. During the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives, the 80th Division suffered 1,141 battle deaths and 5,622 wounded.

In World War I, the remains of some soldiers were buried several times—first in battlefield graves, then in U.S. cemeteries in Europe, and finally in the United States. At the conclusion of the war, France banned the removal of bodies for reburial. However, in 1920 the French capitulated to pressure from American families to repatriate the bodies of American soldiers to the United States for reburial. The remains of 46,000 war dead were returned to the U.S. at a cost of over $30 million.

After the war, Private Dayton Dove was returned to Pendleton County and reburied near his parents in the Dove Family Cemetery south of Riverton.

Article prepared by Leon Armentrout, with editorial assistance from Patricia Richards McClure. We are indebted to the Pendleton County Historical Society for the materials they provided concerning Private Dayton Dove.
August 2015

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Dayton Dove

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