Hometown Boys from the District of Columbia: Information and Statistics about WWI Service Members

In addition to serving as the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. provided manpower to the U.S. armed forces during World War I. The 29th (National Guard) Division drew units and troops from the District. The 79th Division drew some of its initial contingent of selected servicemen from Washington D.C., as did the 372nd Infantry Regiment of the African-American 93rd Division. The 29th Division served in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign, most notably in battles to seize the high ground east of the Meuse River. The 79th Division fought in the Meuse-Argonne as well, seizing critical Montfaucon on the second day of the offensive. The 372nd Infantry Regiment, serving under French command, fought in the Argonne, Champagne and Vosges sectors.

As the nation’s capital Washington D.C. headquartered the War and Navy Departments, and also the dramatically expanded federal bureaucracy managing national and economic mobilization. The Congressionally-authorized Council of National Defense served as an umbrella for such consequential agencies as the War Industries Board, Food Administration and War Labor Policies Board. The District’s population soared from 330,000 to 440,000 during this period as more and more Washingtonians fulfilled government functions or supported those who did. Meanwhile individual citizens joined the Red Cross and Salvation Army, participated in war bond drives, planted “victory gardens,” conserved food and other critical commodities, and supported the war effort through other means.

Editor's Note: This ongoing series will feature information and statistics about World War I service members from every state. You can also find this information in our new Chateau-Thierry Visitor Center that will be opening later this year.