Freemason St Church, Edward Daniel Edgar
Backstory and Context
Recalled from retirement to active duty upon the United States entry into the War, Edward Daniel Edgar would be promoted to 1st lieutenant in order to place more experienced soldiers in leadership roles in the 3rd division of the United States Army. Edgar would depart for France from Hoboken, New York on March 29th after completing training at Camp Greene, North Carolina. This camp experience was critical preparation, even for experienced soldiers like Edgar. Edgar had been serving as an instructor at the Gordon Institute in Bonnyville Georgia at the time of his recall, but was not above being instructed himself. He would describe his time in training camp as “very instructive and helpful, both physical and thoughtful”.
Edgar first saw combat on June 4th, 1918, and would see major action in the 2nd Battle of the Marne, St. Michel, and the Argonne-Meuse Offensive. Edgar would advance with the 38th regiment until suffering a gunshot wound near Cierges, France on November 8th, 1918, just three days before the armistice ended the War. He would remain under medical care January of 1919, before shipping home and being discharged in late March.
Like so many other veterans of the Great War, Edgar maintained strong pride in his service towards the country he loved, but also bore the lifelong consequences of war. He describes himself as “20%” disabled after the conflicts end, and comments on how he is physically marked for life. Edgar would also grapple with the mental toll combat inflicts, remarking that he has gone through, and continues to imagine “things that before the war never entered my mind”. Edgar would be able to at least somewhat reconcile these experiences through his presbyterian faith and camaraderie with other veterans. He would describe God as being available even in the worst circumstances on the battlefield. Edgar would join the American Legion after the war, where he was able to enjoy the company of the “loyal men of whom I was under and who were under me”.